From the bowling alley in the basement to the delicate stained-glass windows above the altar, it would be almost impossible to build the Church of the Good Shepherd in modern times.

The church, in Scranton's Green Ridge section, kicked off a celebration of its 100th anniversary Saturday with an open house. In addition to tours of the Gothic church on North Washington Avenue, the event also featured demonstrations by a woodcarver, a stone carver, a stained-glass artist and a stonemason.

"The altar and other pieces were shipped from England," said parishioner Pam Shotto. "We asked artisans whether all these details could be created today, and they said it would be almost impossible."

Organist and choir director Kathy Elgaway said the acoustics in the church are sublime and that the working pipe organ is a rarity for the region.

"They just don't build churches like this anymore," she said. "It really is a hidden treasure."

The church was designed to be more than a place of worship, Mrs. Shotto said, with a bowling alley, a stage and a gym that used to host basketball games and boxing matches.

Most of the amenities were shut away in the 1970s, Mrs. Shotto said. But as the Church of the Good Shepherd began reaching out to the community, members have refurbished the building and repurposed portions of it to help the public.

A group of students from Scranton Preparatory School has renovated the bowling alley, giving the walls a new coat of paint but leaving alone the lanes and ball returns, which date back to the 1920s. They also refinished part of the church's basement to store clothing and shoes donated for the needy.

And thanks in part to the help of the Scranton Prep students, the church has been able to maintain a program that provides a variety of services to the area's homeless - from free medical screenings to haircuts and hot meals.

"We're looking to the past ... to define our mission for the future," Mrs. Shotto said.

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