By David Paulsen
Episcopal News Service
In Matthew Taylor’s imagination, the historic church in Washington, D.C., that sits across Lafayette Square from the White House is 144 “studs” long (about 45 inches). It is 15 inches wide, rises about 2 feet from its base and is made from as many as 5,000 bricks, many of them purchased online from after-market sellers around the country and the world.
The parishioners who worship in this version of St. John’s Episcopal Church are made of plastic and, whether sitting or standing, are only the size of a thumb. Even so, this yearlong project was an outsized achievement for Taylor.
“This is the biggest Lego model I’ve ever built,” Taylor, 31, said when Episcopal News Service reached him by phone to assemble the story behind his scale model of St. John’s. With the model mostly complete, Taylor showed it off last week at the annual BrickFair expo in Arlington, Virginia, alongside his Lego model of Christ Church in Alexandria, where he now lives. The Lego St. John’s caught the eye of CNN’s Jake Tapper, who posted a photo of it to Twitter during a family visit to BrickFair.
The first brick, or cornerstone, of the real-life, full-size version was set in 1815. St. John’s now is best known as “the church of the presidents” because of the occasional visits made by the sitting commander in chief. Last year, it was the backdrop to the large Black Lives Matter protests that occupied Lafayette Square. During those protests, the church sustained minor damage from vandalism, and the site became a focal point for outrage directed at then-President Donald Trump for posing for a photo outside St. John’s after police had forcibly cleared protesters from the square.