God Mod: St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church

text and photos by Lynne Rostochil

Last week, Robyn wrote about A. Blaine Imel’s Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Cushing and mentioned another A-frame beauty, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Pauls Valley.  Since few know of this off-the-beaten-path church, I thought I’d share some photos of it that I took a couple of years ago.


Robyn discovered this church on one of her back roads wanderings and as soon as she told me about it, I put it on my list of must-see places.  Constructed in 1964 on a shoestring budget for a very modest congregation, St. Timothy’s nonetheless impresses with its soaring roofline…


… interesting angles…


… and beautiful use of glass and wood…


… and that’s just on the outside.  Inside is even lovelier:


Architect Fred D. Shellabarger kept it simple but still very dramatic by creating an intimate space in which the eye can’t help but look upward to the heavens thanks to the skylight that runs the length of the building:


A native of Illinois, Shellabarger received his B.S, in Architecture from the University of Illinois and was teaching at the University of Florida when he was recruited by Bruce Goff to join the faculty at OU.  He arrived in Oklahoma in 1955 and taught at the university until retiring as Professor Emeritus of Architecture in 1981.  I guess that by that time, Fred thought of Oklahoma as home because he remained in Norman until his death in 2002.  While he designed some pretty cool buildings in Norman and a few in OKC, this small church on the outskirts of Pauls Valley remains my favorite.  I mean, how can you not love every detail of this modest mod, including the lovely pews:


And here’s another shot of the insanely wonderful skylight that looks like stitches binding the two parts of the A-frame roof together:


If you’re ever meandering in the Pauls Valley area, I highly recommend that you stop and have a look at St. Timothy’s — you can find the compact church on a huge hilltop lot at 1800 S. Walnut.