Sacred Space is our way to ensure that our church building and grounds, and the sanctuary in particular, continue to serve our mission. Our sanctuary was in urgent need of renovation so that we can continue to meet the needs of our congregation and to make room for other families, now and for the next generation. And the renovation also provided a new way to reach young families by creating safe, flexible, modernized spaces for children and youth of all ages.
The urgency to act was high. First, the spiritual needs of our community can be met by the strengths of our church. And second, not addressing some of our practical building needs would have limited our ministries and delay and complicate the inevitable when it came time to care of our facility.
We have reimagined the same colonial aesthetic we have come to know and love, in a larger more flexible space that provides both members and visitors a more welcoming, accessible, engaging worship experience, with multiple seating arrangements that accommodate a wide variety of worship needs and attendance patterns. We have utilized the latest sound and lighting technology, while all neatly integrated with a larger town square.
There are many enhancements that have expanded and enhanced our worship music during our phase 2 efforts. They fall into two areas:
Casavant Frères built a new pipe organ, known as Opus 3944. Once completed, with the addition of the now prepared Choir division, which includes a commanding Tuba, the instrument will have 37 stops and 45 ranks of pipes over three manuals and pedal, for a total of 2634 pipes of metal or wood. Interestingly, the new organ included the Clarinet 8’, Vox Humana 8’ and Chimes from the previous 1941 Redeemer instrument.
The organ will be installed in a large chamber located at the back of the chancel, designed especially for the new instrument. This new placement will enhance the sound for worshippers. Also, for the first time Redeemer will have organ pipes located on either side of the altar that are clearly visible from the sanctuary.
Tonally the organ is designed to lead congregational singing effectively, to support the choirs, and to play a broad range of organ literature convincingly. The Swell and Choir divisions are under expression (i.e. provided with sets of louvers that open and close to control the volume of sound) to provide an impressive dynamic range, from pianissimo to fortissimo when all the tonal resources of the organ are used. Traditional slider-and-pallet wind chests, operated electrically with pull down magnets, are used for the organ action.
The entire organ will be controlled by a state-of-the-art, three-manual console that will be moveable in the chancel. The console coloring (wood, paint, stain) will match the traditional colonial aesthetic at Redeemer.
Casavant’s first visit to the church occurred on May 20, 2016. Discussions with Steve SeGraves, Director of Music, and David Wagner, then organist of the church, resulted in a first iteration of the stop list for the contemplated organ.
From there the project evolved over time. The vision of church leadership — worship and music teaming together – combined with the opportunity to design an instrument around an all new worship space, opened the possibilities for a very successful installation.
While the instrument design is now complete, craftsmen will spend the next year building the instrument. Then, when the new sanctuary is complete, Casavant will install, fit and tune the instrument on-site to achieve our desired acoustic goals. What an exciting time that will be.
With so many young families joining Redeemer there is a need to update our facilities for children and youth. We no longer educate and minister to children on just Sunday mornings. Our programs have expanded by age, day of week and time of year. We now run ministry programs six days per week – 12 months per year – from age six months to 18 years. But our cinderblock classrooms, built in the 1950’s, have not kept pace with parents’ current expectations.
Every pew likely holds someone whose family has or will experience a significant physical, mental or developmental challenge. Sometimes those disabilities are apparent, and sometimes they can be hidden. Some are announced in the form of a walker, wheelchair or cane, but for many others, it is not so readily apparent. It is important that Redeemer’s facility welcome all people to worship. For many of our men, women and children with challenges, those doors can lead to barriers — barriers of architecture, access, and communication. This is our plan to reduce those barriers, all of which are ADA compliant:
For the first time the entire church professional staff will be together in one location. Offices for the senior pastor, ministry team, accountant and front office staff will all be along the main office corridor. The new front office, on the west end of the corridor, will now be accessible directly from the Town Square. Next to the front office is a shared workroom with a large center island workspace. The senior pastor’s office will now be on this hallway, as will all the other ministry team members, including our counselors. Offices will receive new carpet, paint, drop-in ceiling and the addition of all-important fire suppression. This office work represents the first important step in the overall project plan. The professional staff is working from temporary locations around the building until the offices are renovated and ready for occupancy. Occupancy is expected just after Easter 2021.