Return and Renewal Project
Watch this page... Each week we will add a new reflection about this project from a different perspective. What is the liturgical reasoning behind this project? How does this work from an architectural point of view? How will this enhance all of our worship, including the 8:00 am and 9:00 am Masses on Sunday, daily Masses, and special liturgies?
Update for April 15
The parish has had a chance now to see what’s happening with our rearrangement of the chancel, and we have been hearing warmly positive responses. The next big step is moving the pews from the All Saints Chapel (the north transept) up into the chancel, where they will make it possible for the 8:00 congregation to be seated in the chancel, and will allow flexibility for the 9:00 mass, while providing a new place for the choir at the 11:00 mass. Once we’ve fully returned, it really will be both a return and a renewal!
For the smaller congregations at the earlier masses, having the pews in the chancel is meant partly as a convenience, but it should also give people a sense that they very much belong in the chancel–that provision is made for them, and they’re not just guests in a space that’s designed for the clergy. We will be having conversation with those at these masses about how exactly to make use of the new arrangement. The smaller masses allow for an immersive, encompassing experience, and we want the furnishings to make clear that the chancel is space for the entire worshiping assembly.
For the 11:00 mass, having the singers in the sanctuary will give them a clear role as leaders of the congregation. They help with singing, leading the congregation in hymns, and they also become models of reverent attention to the liturgy. Having the choir up front should make clear that the music is fully integrated into the worship, and the singers are ministers of worship.
The freestanding altar has been shifted a bit and has become a close companion to the high altar. For those who have experienced the new position of the organ console, it seems like a natural fit. The remaining space in the chancel still feels a bit vacant, and moving the pews up should convey a sense of liveliness and vibrant participation around the altar.
Timing is important. Once we’ve moved the pews, we’ll be able to make any needed repairs or modifications necessary before our full return. We don’t know exactly when the choir will be allowed to return, but we want to be prepared for the moment when that’s possible.
Renewal is also restoration. Putting the choir pews up in the sanctuary restores something like the original arrangement of the church. It brings back an order of furnishings that has a deep history in the Anglo-Catholic tradition.
We hope the parish in general shares our enthusiasm for these arrangements, which we expect will help us move forward to even richer liturgy and more effective outreach to those outside our walls.
Richard Kieckhefer & David Beil
The Return and Renewal Project Team
Dave Beil, Greg Bradley, Ron Fox, Richard Kieckhefer, Liz Sarnik, Charlie Sega, The Rev'd Erika Takacs, Chris Windle, and Bill Hancox (Chair).
For more information on the Return and Renewal Project: Click Here
Archived Project Updates