Sanctuary Taskforce Update
One of our agenda items that stood out to folks at Hope’s Annual Meeting in January was commissioning a Sanctuary Taskforce, whose purpose was to evaluate needed updates in our worship space. The taskforce consists of members of the board of property, staff, and former members of church leadership, who are all bringing their unique gifts to this work. Taskforce members include Pat Roush (Chair), Jill Anderson, Carl Berg, Mark Bovee, Duane Foss, Monte Lienau, and me, Pastor Matt.
Be assured, convening this taskforce was not a hasty decision. The process began over 4 years ago as our Board of Property recognized a need to replace the carpet in the sanctuary, at which time they had already done legwork in seeking bids. As the board engaged the staff at Hope some suggested that if we were going to recarpet, then perhaps we ought to look at other aspects of the Sanctuary and building to be sure it continued to serve us well into the future. After all, if there were other tweaks needed, it would be easier to do when the carpet was up, instead of a year or two after. Then COVID happened.
Toward the end of last year recognizing our sanctuary carpet still needed to be replaced, the Board of Property again approached the staff and church council, and the decision was made to create our current taskforce. At our first meeting, we acknowledged that our existing Sanctuary has aged incredibly well, thanks to the work done a few decades ago when it was first built. It could continue to serve us simply by replacing the floor covering, however we identified a few additional improvements that would enhance our worship ministry now and into the future.
Accessibility: We have heard from many at Hope who no longer want to read or help lead worship because accessing the chancel and choir loft is difficult. This is a legitimate concern. The taskforce is considering a design concept that extends the chancel from wall to wall, with ramp access on either side. This will allow for easy access and free-flowing movement on a single level for all worship leaders.
Functionality: Our primary worship instrument alignment in the Sanctuary leaves musicians sitting with backs turned to the chancel, the choir faces the pastors (which is great for me!), and moving from one instrument to the other can be a challenge. Further, our house band equipment is typically pushed back in the corner, and bell tables stored against a wall. By elevating the chancel from wall to wall, reorienting the choir loft, moving some outlets, and creating cord runs, the taskforce believes instruments can be more permanently placed, while also allowing for flexibility for special events.
Aesthetics: Cords, cords, and more cords! Need I say more? With a raised chancel, installed runs hide exposed cords. Further, the taskforce has discussed plans to match new handrails accompanying ramps with our existing communion rail. We have also considered using greenery and backlighting to enhance the worship space aesthetic with adjustments being made to instrument layout. Finally, the concepts we’re considering offers flexibility and options for special worship services, christmas tree setup, drama, and more.
Worship Experience: Hope’s House Band currently plays from the floor, which makes it difficult for the congregation to see and engage when they lead worship. A raised chancel will provide a more engaging worship experience when the House Band plays, and will better serve alternative worship services developed in the coming years.
All of this work is meant to enhance our worship experience into the future. The taskforce has already met with building and electrical professionals, discussed potential improvements with a number of members of Hope, and plan to engage the congregation in our work. All of this will lead to a recommendation being forwarded to the Church Council. You are encouraged to reach out to taskforce members with any questions you may have.