“We’ll Figure it Out!”
Well, we’re in! After six months of displacement, dust and disorder, we are finally back into our church for worship, along with our new Sunday School space, ramps, an elevator, and washrooms. It’s all shiny and new and there is much we now have to learn about our renovated space.
In fact that has become our motto in recent months as we have been planning our return—”We’ll figure it out!” It was a default position for us when we could not imagine with certainty how things were going to be. Here is a partial list of some of those things we still have to “figure out”:
– Who will move the chairs and other furnishings when we need to change the configuration?
– How do we secure the church offices now that the elevator stops at the third floor?
– How do we let people know where the new washrooms are? (They’re down on the basement level.)
– Who will monitor the sounds and lights during regular worship services?
– Now that we have a ramp, how do we make the doors accessible for wheelchairs?
You can help us with this. Please give us your observations and suggestions and also your offers of assistance as we settle into our new space. If the sound isn’t working for you, tell us. If the arrangement of chairs is confusing, let us know. If signage is unhelpful, point it out.
We’ve travelled a long way together. Now we need to work together to inhabit our new space.
Next week our renovations wrap up, with only a few eleventh hour deadlines still to be met. These include the arrival of the new chairs (slated for Monday or Tuesday), the replacement of all the light bulbs in the church and chapel (including one defective spotlight), the installation of the new cabinets in the sacristy, and the completion of the worship accessories (processional cross and torches).
Two worship services will help us celebrate and reoccupy our new space. The first is the Blessing of the Furnishings—our new font, ambo and altar—on Thursday, November 21, at 7:30 p.m. The Bishop will be present to lead us in this dramatic spot-lit service as we move in procession through the church, ending in a large circle around the altar for communion. A wine and cheese reception will follow, with BRAG members available to lead guided tours through the renovated parts of our building.
Then on Sunday, November 24, at 10:30 a.m. we will celebrate “The Return of the Exiles” as our combined Sunday morning congregations process up from the lower Memorial Hall into our new church! The service will include our first baptism using the new font and a novel arrangement of chairs to help us gather in a new way. The coffee hour that follows will take place in the church itself, with BRAG members available again for guided tours.
Worshipers this Sunday will be unable to wander the church. The flooring in the narthex and in the hallways will have received their protective sealant so those areas will be out-of-bounds. Which is too bad. Because the recent progress has been stunning.
The finishing touches have been applied to the church and chapel, including the reinstallation of the altar rails in the chapel and the fitting of the old altar frontispiece into the reredos. Oak panels have been inserted where the curtains used to hang and the tabernacle has been moved forward to a more convenient location in the chancel.
Downstairs the washrooms have received all their fixtures, and the millwork has been installed in the Creation Space (the former Bethlehem and Nazareth Rooms). The connecting ramp to the lower Memorial Hall has been fitted with handrails (not so attractive perhaps, but mandatory).
Outdoors, the concrete for the ramp will have been poured by this weekend, making the church accessible from the street once again, and the damaged front steps are being repaired.
Finally, the new font, ambo and altar have arrived, though they will remain veiled until the opening. The accessories—a refurbished processional cross, a new paschal stand, and two new processional torches—will be completed by the end of next week.
Behind closed doors our new world is taking shape.
Renovation Corner #’s
As we prepare to close the file on the renovations here are some numbers you might find interesting:
10 The number of years we have been studying what to do with our ageing buildings.
3 The number of years the Building Renewal Action Group (BRAG) has been meeting to plan and coordinate the renovation of our church buildings.
9 The number of BRAG members who have carried out the project.
4.5 The estimated cost (in millions of dollars) of the original vision for the renovation of our church buildings.
1.1 The budget (in millions of dollars) for our renovations based on a feasibility study of what the congregation could actually afford.
1.75 The actual cost (in millions of dollars) by the end of the project.
350 The amount (in thousands of dollars) of public monies received, including both federal and provincial grants.
30 The amount (in thousands of dollars) of church monies received, including from the Diocese of Calgary and the Anglican Foundation.
1.3 The amount (in millions of dollars) received through the gifts, pledges and bequests of church members and friends.
112 The amount (in thousands of dollars) of outstanding pledges due to be collected in 2014 and 2015.
100 The amount (in thousands of dollars) of bridge financing required to cover the outstanding pledges.
0 The amount of any long-term mortgage of building loans relating to the renovation.
We have our dates! We expect to see the completion of the renovations within the first week in November, followed by our occupancy permit by November 15. This means we can begin moving back into our church, chapel and creation space (the former Nazareth and Bethlehem Rooms) the weekend of the 17th.
Here are some dates to mark on your calendar:
Moving Day. Sunday, November 17, 12 noon to 2 p.m. Sign-up sheets will appear the next few weeks for Movers, Fixers, Cleaners and Feeders to help us settle back into our renovated space. A true community effort.
Blessing of the New Furnishings. Thursday, November 21, at 7:30 p.m. It is the Bishop’s prerogative to bless new church furnishings. So Bishop Greg Kerr-Wilson will be with us in a unique service that will see our new altar, font and ambo blessed and set to use. A beautiful spot-lit ceremony not to be missed.
First Sunday Service. Sunday, November 24, at 10:30 a.m. There will be no 8 a.m. service that morning as we all assemble down in the lower hall to process together into our new, fully-functional worship space. Prepare to be amazed.