For the third time in thirty-plus years, I find myself serving a parish with a long departure from the main worship space. Earlier this month the “old” church, planned as a gymnasium for a school was stripped down. Most of the furnishings were set aside for the parish social hall.
I can relate the interim is fairly sweet acoustically–no need for microphones. The slightly tilted walls tend to focus sound down. It will be interesting to see our acoustician deal with relatively little flutter in what will be a more lively space. It looks a lot bigger with no pews, platform, or anything:
The space has potential, possibly unrealized over the past fifty years. To the left, most of that wall will be gone, replaced by a significant front entrance. The altar, ambo, and music area will flip to the right side.
You can see the contrast of light areas which were carpeted (alas) as aisles, and the darker patches where we had linoleum under the pews. Those interesting light fixtures will be a thing of the past.
Demolition began earlier this week on the outside.
The jackhammers on stone wall and concrete sidewalk are quite noisy. Thankfully, the major work won’t last too long–just on the east-facing front, once a sacristy behind a stone wall. By next year we’ll enjoy a wide new entrance with skylight and steeple with cross.
We’ve already had fifteen weekend Masses, a First Communion liturgy, and a funeral in the once-and-future social hall. Some interiors of the social hall-turned-church:
The dark pews in the similarly dark old church were at best ordinary, but I find that the cream-colored walls provide a lovely contrast. This seating never looked better.
Note the rough floor. The prior tiles were stripped away earlier this year and given the fastening down planned for seating, it was decided to wait until after the renovation is complete to finalize the social hall floor.
One of our retired priests raised a bit of a fuss about the lack of a raised area around altar, chair, and ambo. The black line delineates more for communion ministers than anything. Visibility is certainly a problem for people who sit on the fringes. But there’s not a lot of headroom, nor do the cramped quarters make for a safe solution for a platform that would only be one-year temporary.
I wish you and your community well in this adventure.
The completion of the multi-year renovations (exterior and interior) at Boston’s Cathedral of The Holy Cross have resulted in one particularly noticeable change: instead of little to no reverb (courtesy of a seeming acre of carpet, and wood platforms directly on wood subsurface for the pews) the space now has a 6 second reverb (courtesy of removal of all the wood floor and subsurface – which historical materials have been sold for repurposing in other historical renovations/restorations – and replacement with marble flooring throughout (a good fire safety measure, too) and refurbished pews resting directly thereon instead of said former platforms that tripped everyone who was not used to them). It’s a wonderful opportunity for Richard J Clark’s new leadership of music there, but I know that the shift will take a while for celebrants and other speaking ministers to adjust. (And it’s not quite complete until the venerable Hook gallery organ is completely reinstalled next month.) The place sparkles visually (both day and night) and is lively acoustically (ditto – there are now tower bells), not phrases anyone would have associated with it in memory before now – as I said to the rector this past Sunday, a generation ago the space made itself difficult to like. And it’s attracting more people. I’d link pics, but I know links basically throw any comment with them into a moderation cage here….