From the April 21, 2019, Messenger
Over the last several weeks the Sacred Sound and Space Task Force has provided updates in the Messenger about potential enhancements to our worship space. These potential enhancements include replacing our failing organ, lighting improvements, acoustical improvements and addressing our pews which are in constant need of repair. The potential acoustical enhancements include reinforcement of the ceiling and full or partial removal of the carpet.
Our worship space is truly a gift provided us by past generations. Our most recent capital campaign did not include worship space enhancements and we are now in a discernment process to decide what gifts we will leave for future generations.
The Task Force’s charge from the Vestry isto “plan for the enhancement of the Christ Church worship space including a new organ, flooring options, lighting and pew restoration. The TF will propose to the Vestry what enhancements to pursue and the Vestry will adopt all, some or none of the proposals.” Alignment with Christ Church’s Mission which in part says “to welcome and inspire all people to faith, hope and spiritual growth through worship” is a key consideration in the Task Force’s work. Assisting the Task Force and the Vestry in this discernment process is the Vandersall Collective, a consulting firm with expertise and experience in helping churches analyze whether there is support for potential capital campaigns.
A key part of the Task Force’s work is to share information with the parish and seek input. To that end two well-attended Listening Sessions provided an opportunity for the parish to hear about the potential enhancements, provide input on them, and suggest other enhancements to be included for consideration.
There are several important upcoming opportunities for parishioners to ask questions and provide input and we hope you will fully participate in them.
On Sunday, April 28th, following the 11 AM service, there will be a meeting to provide an opportunity to again describe the potential enhancements, share what the Task Force has heard from parishioners, answer questions and receive more input. At that meeting next steps will be described.
Next steps include:
- A survey to assess support for the proposed enhancements – the survey will be sent to each household in early May and your responses are very important.
- Also in early May a cross section of the parish will participate in one-on-one interviews with Erin Weber-Johnson of the Vandersall Collective.
- Results from the Survey and the interviews will be analyzed by Vandersall, along with other information, to provide the Vestry and the Task Force a Feasibility Report which will gauge support for the proposed enhancements and willingness to fund them. In other words, is a Capital Campaign feasible? The Report will be delivered by mid-June.
- Based on the Feasibility Report, the Task Force will recommend to the Vestry which enhancements should be pursued. The Vestry will then decide whether to pursue any, some or all of the proposed enhancements and whether to initiate a capital campaign.
Please make every effort to attend the meeting on April 28th and also please complete and return the survey you will receive in early May. In the meantime please send any questions or input you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article from the April 7, 2019, Messenger
Two weeks ago the Sacred Sound and Space Task Force update focused on replacement of our organ and last week’s dealt with the ceiling and flooring in our worship space. This update addresses our pews and lighting.
Over the next few weeks we will continue to provide information about each of the potential worship space enhancements under consideration and continue to ask for your feedback
The chandeliers are located above the two side aisles and, if you are seated near one of those aisles, the lighting is probably sufficient. Unfortunately those seated along the center aisle and some other locations do not enjoy the full benefit of the light provided by the chandeliers. Among the solutions being considered is the installation of flush-mounted lights in the ceiling over areas where lighting is insufficient. No changes to the existing chandeliers are envisioned.
Also, we envision replacing the lighting control panel and relocating it from the choir loft to the Narthex. Our current lighting panel is unreliable and is no longer manufactured.
Many of our pews are in poor repair. We have also heard from parishioners that the pews are uncomfortable and that the hymnal racks are too small and in need of repair.
During and following the Listening Sessions we heard that the historic appearance of the worship space is a high priority for many parishioners and that our current pews are part of that historic appearance.
There are several options under consideration. They include repair of the current pews as well as replacing them with new ones. If replacement is the recommended solution, perhaps the current end caps could be retained. In any case the hymnal racks need to be enlarged and space between the pews needs to be increased. Increasing the space between the pews will result in the loss of a few rows of pews in each section but will increase legroom and make it easier for those who wish to kneel during prayers.
We will also create a better space for those in wheel chairs, space that allows them to sit among the congregation rather than in the front of the worship space.
Please continue to provide feedback and ask questions at email@example.com.
Article from March 31, 2019, Messenger
Scared Sound and Space Task Force Update: Acoustics
Last week’s update focused on the replacement of our organ with a high quality organ built for our worship space. This week the acoustics of our worship space is the topic. Over the next few weeks we will continue to provide information about each of the potential worship space enhancements under consideration and continue to ask for your feedback.
Having trouble hearing is a common complaint at Christ Church. Improving the acoustics of our worship space is the objective of two of the enhancements that were described at the Listening Sessions – flooring and ceiling improvements. Both are key among the recommendations made by an acoustics consultant who analyzed the acoustics of our worship space. The organ builders we have talked to shared the acoustic consultant’s opinion and stressed the need to improve the acoustics of our worship space if we are to get the full benefit of a new organ.
Flooring – the carpet in the worship space absorbs and deadens sound. A hard surface such as wood or stone would better reflect sound. Our ability to hear the spoken word, singing and all musical instruments would significantly benefit from acoustical improvement associated with replacing the carpet. During the Listening Sessions we also heard from some parishioners that a hard surface would also help those with walkers and wheelchairs. We have the original heart pine flooring in parts of the worship space and restoring it, and installing it where it is not present, is one option being considered.
Ceiling Stiffening – our ceiling is made of very thin wood. It actually works like the head of a drum and as it vibrates it transfers sound energy from the worship space into the space between the ceiling and roof. Among the solutions being considered is to somehow stiffen the ceiling from above. We are exploring that and other options for the ceiling. It is worth noting that there is no insulation above our ceiling and that, from above, you can see light coming through gaps in it.
The greatest benefits of acoustical improvement would likely be the quality of congregational singing and the sense of community that would come from being able to hear and experience the chorus of our fellow worshipers praying the prayers and saying the creeds. Having a floor and ceiling that reflect our voices, the organ and other instruments into the room rather than deadening or transferring them through the ceiling would allow us to fill our worship space with music.
Please continue to ask questions and provide your input to firstname.lastname@example.org. and visit the Task Force page on the Christ Church website. Please mark April 28th on your calendar. Following the 11 AM service that Sunday the Task Force will share what we have heard so far and talk about next steps.
Article from March 24, 2019, Messenger
The 200+ parishioners who attended one of the two Sacred Sound and Space Task Force Listening Sessions had the opportunity to learn about some potential enhancements to our worship space and provide feedback to the Task Force. Over the next few weeks, we will be providing information about each of the projects identified and continue to ask for your feedback. The most costly of the potential enhancements is the replacement of our organ with a new one. So, why are we thinking about a new organ?
- Our current organ can best be described as “off the shelf” and was not designed for our space. It does not support congregational singing or the choir as well as one designed for us would.
- Our organ is wearing out and has become difficult to play. One of the “stops”, a key component, no longer works.
- Two different organ consultants have told us that, in addition to the needed repairs we know about, other major repairs will be needed at some point and these repairs could cost as much as $300,000.00. And we would still have an organ that is at best, adequate.
A new organ, designed for our space, would better support congregational singing and our growing music program. Given the poor condition of our organ and the reasonable expectation that very costly repairs will be needed the Organ Study Committee authorized by the Vestry in 2017, after extensive study, concluded that we should replace our organ. Something the Committee learned while doing its research is that a new, well-made organ, properly maintained, should last for centuries.
The Vestry has made no decision regarding organ replacement or a capital campaign to fund an organ. The Vestry asked the Sacred Sound and Space Task Force to:
- consider a number of enhancements to our worship space, including the organ, and
- then to recommend a course of action. This course of action will be determined by the feedback of the congregation through a Feasibility Study in May 2019.
The only decisions that have been made are, if the vestry decides to move forward with organ replacement, we know who we want to build a new organ and its basic design.
Please visit the SSSTF page on the church website and send any questions or feedback to Bob Emory at bobemory8 (at) gmail (dot) com.