from Sarah Stanley, Senior Warden
This past year has brought exciting changes to All Souls’ building. While various improvements have been considered in the past, including a multi-million dollar addition, these recent projects have been the result of two things—a desire to make our building more accessible and generous gifts to our Building Fund by an anonymous donor.
Mortgage + Improvements
Two years ago, after a period of research and prayer, the Vestry made the decision to make a significant payment on the mortgage, using funds from the anonymous gift. This decision meant that if we continue regular monthly payments, our mortgage will be paid in full in approximately two years. The Vestry also decided to retain a large portion of the donation for improvements and remodeling, which we have seen take shape these last months.
A repeatedly expressed hope from our 2021 Parish Survey was to make our building more accessible to those of all abilities. The Clergy and Vestry felt a deep responsibility to respond to this long-standing need, and began exploring options. While a new elevator was deemed too expensive, the Vestry approved new chair lifts, one to go from the landing to the Narthex and another down to the Undercroft. These chair lifts will be installed in the coming weeks, along with an automatic door opener for the front door. Additionally, last October the steps at the front entrance were replaced with a full-width ramp leading up to the level of the inside landing, significantly improving accessibility.
Flooring + Hassocks
Little did we know that the addition of chair lifts would lead to other improvements. As planning got underway, church leadership learned that the installation of a chair lift would require that any flooring changes be made before lifts were installed. This led All Souls’ leadership to consider other needed improvements, and Father James formed the Interiors team in response. The team created a list of building enhancements to help care for our building, and presented them to the Vestry. Resulting improvements included painting the Nave and Narthex last fall, and the installation of hardwood floors and carpet in both areas this summer. All of these improvements have resulted in a more beautiful church space in which we can worship. Additionally, new kneelers—or hassocks—have been ordered. They will help cushion knees from the beautiful new hardwood, and are expected to arrive in November.
Prioritizing Our Children
Finally, in recognition that Children’s Ministries are a vital part of All Souls, church leadership turned its attention to needed improvements in the Undercroft. The hope was to change the space from feeling like a church basement into a flexible and pleasing space for children and community life. Thus a new ceiling and dimmable lighting were installed, as was drywall on three of the four walls. The walls and ceiling were painted a lighter color, helping the room feel brighter. Additionally, two new closets were created for ministries and vestments, to help organize and declutter the space. We also look forward to the arrival of new sound-reducing partitions that will help divide children’s classes, reducing noise.
As we near completion of a year’s worth of improvements to our building, we are grateful for the changes that have been and will be made to make our space more beautiful and usable. We are grateful for the many people who have given their time and talents to see this done. And finally, we are grateful to God for His provision of this building and the resources with which to care for it.
Recent and Upcoming Building Improvements
- New full-width ramp installed to front door of church building
- Painting of Nave walls and ceiling, church entrance landing and staircases, Narthex, Choir Room, and ceilings
- New carpeting on landing, staircases, lower hallway, and Nave
- Chair lifts installed to allow accessibility to Nave and Undercroft
- New hardwood flooring for Nave, Chancel, Altar, Narthex, Choir Room
- New ceiling and lighting in main room of Undercroft
- New door with window for classroom
- New drywall for Undercroft
- Painting of Undercroft walls and ceilings
- New closet for vestments and office supplies in Undercroft
- New ministries closet at the far end of the Undercroft
- New sound-diminishing portable dividers [Fall]
- New carpet and painting in classrooms [Fall]
- New hassocks (kneelers) [November]