I do not know the exact dimensions of the sacristy, but I do know that it is smaller than my kitchen, and I have a small kitchen. The sacristy, as the name implies, is where sacred things are prepared and stored. The altar guild faithfully tends to the sacred vessels (chalices, patens, etc.), linens, candles, bread, wine, incense, liturgical books, and so on. Imagine preparing a banquet for 300 people and imagine doing it in your own kitchen! By pushing out the existing stairwell and adding another, the architects from Cram and Ferguson were able to expand the sacristy on a grand, and needed, scale. One small and oddly shaped room now becomes two sacristies, each 400 square feet. One sacristy will be a “working sacristy,” that is, the place where the altar guild prepares for Divine Service. This is where the vessels, linens, books, and even flowers will be stored and prepared, all with custom cabinetry to fit our needs. The other room will be the “priests’ sacristy.” This is where the vestments and other items will be stored and where the clergy and ministers can vest and pray for worship, essentially moving the room where this currently happens, upstairs. There are two wonderful consequences from this move. The first is that the large room downstairs is now available for other purposes. The second is that the design also calls for two identical rooms below the sacristy, thereby opening up three rooms, all around 400 square feet in size, downstairs for additional purposes.
What could be done with these rooms? The possibilities are exciting and manifold. One possibility for a downstairs room is to create a crypt. We are fast running out of space for our memorial garden and we must start thinking strategically about future burials. There is only so much green space available and free-standing columbariums are not without significant cost. A possible solution is to take a downstairs room and create a holy space for burial and prayer. The walls could be lined with niches for cremains and an altar could be placed in the center for requiems on the anniversary of death or even very small funerals. This possibility would place the crypt near an outside entrance and near the bell tower, creating a very practical and holy place for repose and prayer.