This Week at St. Stephen’s–December 01, 2013

“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?Dec 01

–  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.

Renovation Corner–November 17, 2013

Nov 17aNext 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 Nov 17bcombined 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.

Renovation Corner–November 10, 2013

Nov 17Worshipers 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.