September 30, 2019
Dear St. Augustine of Canterbury Community,
“I am so ready for fall!” That’s a statement I often hear at this time of the year. The weather cools off a bit and nature begins its display of glorious new colors. This is apt metaphor for the changes that are coming to St. Augustine’s this fall. Our worship space is about to take on a new look in just a few weeks, and I’m so ready!
After years of dreaming on my part and many months of discussions and planning by our Vestry we are ready to make a significant change to our Nave. The reason driving the change is a practical one: the need to accommodate more worshippers as our parish grows. The reasons for the design of the new space are theological and historical. I’m excited to tell you about these practical, theological and historical aspects of the enhancements, but let’s first start with a basic description of what we’re planning:
In summary, the changes we are making are:
We’ve included a “worth-a-thousand-words” drawing that I hope will help you visualize what the new space will look like. We’ve also included details of the practical, historical and theological bases for the design choices we’ve made. I look forward to sharing more details about each of these aspects of our change in the coming weeks.
All of this transformation will cause some disruption to our usual routine beginning Monday, October 6th and culminating in the consecration of the new worship space -- along with the grand new Alice M. Norton Memorial Columbarium -- on November 3rd. So please pardon the near-term mess and rejoice with us in the opportunity for a new, fresh and meaningful look for our space in the near future.
Fr. Joseph C. Alsay
PRACTICAL ASPECTS of the Coming Changes:
Our reconfigured Nave will:
HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL ASPECTS of the Coming Changes:
Through the wonderful flexibility of our new space we will understand in new, fresh and powerful ways that we are pilgrim people, not unlike our ancient biblical ancestors. The variety of ways that we continually decorate our space for various church holidays and seasons will now be enhanced with the ability to rearrange the space as well. In Christian liturgy there is no audience, only participants in the unfolding drama of our understanding of God.
A church is the place where the Christian community is gathered to hear the word of God, to offer intercession and praise and, above all, to celebrate the Eucharist. Thus, having the altar located in the midst of the gathered congregation stands as a special image of the church itself – God in the midst of the people.
The new altar will be constructed of hard wood and have an inlaid slab of Jerusalem limestone from the Holy Land on the top. Prayers and intercessions of the current members and friends of St. Augustine’s, as well as scripture passages relating to the Eucharist, will be permanently placed between the slab of stone and the wood during construction. These will be our heartfelt dreams and prayers for those people in our community that are searching for what we have found at St. Augustine’s. Thus the altar will become a time capsule of our hopes and dreams for the future mission and ministry of our church.
It is our further hope that, when funds are available, our present altar will ultimately be repurposed into the new baptismal font and pool. The continuity of this cherished piece of liturgical furnishing will be evident through the creation of a piece that will aid in the initiation of new believers for generations to come.