Dear Parish Family:
The new church is coming along beautifully; spires are beginning to go up; sheet-rock has been put in place in the undercroft; and, most of the windows are in. Exciting times for St. Peter's! In this letter I'd like to accomplish two things: 1) Answer questions that I have gotten from some of you, in hopes that the answers may be useful to many. 2) Remind you that, as we've said from the beginning, columbaria prices will go up after our first Sunday in the new building. I have enclosed a list showing Construction and Post-Construction prices.
Frequently Asked Questions:
*Will we be in the new church for Easter?
While there is still some slight possibility that we can be in by Easter, it is unlikely. It is more likely that we will be in at the beginning of May.
*How many will the new church seat?
800 comfortably, 1000 shoulder to shoulder.
*Why is the church facing backwards?
A Gothic church is properly oriented with the altar to the east. With our altar in the east, the west doors (entrance) are at the opposite end. This allows us to keep green space around the church, keep parking in the back, and keep the noise of Thomasville Road away from the area where we will gather as we go in and out of the church.
*In which tower will the bells be hung?
The north tower (northwest corner of the building) is the bell tower. This keeps the bells at the entrance of the church and away from the noise of Thomasville Road.
*Will all of the stained glass be in place when we move in?
Absolutely not! Stained glass is very expensive, and the process of designing and creating (and shipping from England) takes considerable time. Three windows, out of the 36 in the church, have been purchased so far. As it stands, the east rose window, and the central north transept window will be in place when we move in. The west rose window will be installed sometime at the end of the summer. All the other windows will remain as clear glass until commitments are made for stained glass. The neat thing about this is that we will be able to watch the slow process of placing these beautiful windows over the course of many years. I did recently hear of a fellow in Alabama who wanted to provide the windows for his church, so he took out an insurance policy for that purpose, and when he died the church was able to commission 1O
windows! Just a thought!
*Will there be a playground when we move in?
We do have plans for a playground, though only a portion of it will be in place when we move in. A generous parishioner has designated some funds, and another parishioner has offered some equipment.
*Will the whole site be landscaped when we move in?
No. We cut back drastically on landscaping to save money. I have created a Gardening Guild, made up of men and women who care about the landscape, and I hope through their efforts that we will quickly begin to develop the landscape.
*Will we have a pipe organ in place when we move in?
No. We will take our little electronic organ with us until we can afford a pipe organ. As you will remember, we bought a number of pipes from an older organ and plan to use those in the creation of a beautiful new pipe organ that will serve the volume of space in the new church. An organ fund has already been created for this purpose.
*What is in the undercroft?
The undercroft (space under the church) will house everything other than the worship space: nursery, children's classrooms, parish hall, small kitchen, offices, vesting rooms, etc. When we began the design we initially felt we couldn't afford an undercroft and would have to put temporary metal buildings on the site. The Vestry made the very good decision to commit to the undercroft knowing that this would be our only chance to capture the space under the building; it could not have been done once the building was built. However, as our architect has said repeatedly, "We will have twice as much space as we have now, but half as much as we need." We will, of course, need to begin Phase II (the Parish House) as soon as we can. The Parish House will house a much larger parish hall and kitchen (the current one will be turned into youth space), a chapel, considerably more classrooms, and some offices.
*What will we have to borrow?
While we have been approved to borrow 3.5 million, and have budgeted to service that debt through the General Operating Budget, it is our hope to borrow less. The final determination will have to do with how much we sell the current building for, how well people pay their pledges, and how many columbaria niches we sell. This is a very reasonable amount for us to borrow, should we have to; it would be like buying a $400,000 house and ending up with a $100,000 mortgage (something all of us would see as a great thing). The Finance Committee and Vestry have done an excellent job assuring that this is a debt we can carry if we must.
*A few have expressed that perhaps we should have used this money for the poor rather than build a big church building.
We are building something that will last for many generations, and raise up a strong Christian presence in this city that not only will do much more for the poor over the course of those generations, but will have a significant impact on the moral, spiritual, and emotional life of this city. I think of the new church the way I think of the life of Jesus: He was focused on a bigger picture doing something great that would benefit many generations for centuries to come.
*Are there still things that are needed for the new church?
YES! We need about 200 more chairs for the transepts. We need candlesticks for the altar, statuary for the reredos, bronze statuary for the apse on the Thomasville Road side of the church, and another ciborium (large bread container) for the altar.
Please let me know if you have other questions, and pray for the on-going process of building this great church!
Fr. Eric D. Dudley+