When we begin the Great Vigil of Easter after a long Holy Week of liturgies, we kindle a fire in the darkness and light the Pascal Candle at the rear of the nave, near the baptismal font. That light of Christ is then carried forward to the sanctuary and placed near the altar. This is our journey—at St. Timothy’s and in life. At regular Sunday worship and in our life’s spiritual journey we move from the rear of the church forward, from the font to the altar, from Baptism to Communion, from entry into the Church of Christ to full participation in the Life of Christ.
For the past three years a pair of committees, in consultation with St. Timothy’s staff, vestry, and parish members has been working to craft a vision for the future of our campus and a roadmap towards achieving that vision. Early on in that process, the Campus Vision Committee recognized this path, from font to altar, as absolutely central to everything we do at St. Timothy’s. Our life of service grows out of our life of worship, and again and again as we spoke to members of the parish we heard the words of Psalm 96: “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” As we discussed what we could do at St. Timothy’s to aspire to these words and to effect real change in our parish that would be felt from generation to generation, the way forward became clear—the completion of a worship space begun by previous generations of St. Timothy’s members.
How, we asked ourselves and others, could we go about completing the nave of St. Timothy’s, addressing not just the question of worshipping in Holy Beauty, but also more practical issues? Our choir loft is too small for our growing music program; our sacristy space is long since outgrown; our narthex is not a true transitional space from the outside world to the world of worship; our baptismal font (removed from the chapel) is unsuitable for many of our adult and other baptisms. Who could help us conceive of ways of addressing all these issues in a manner that reflects St. Timothy’s as an Episcopal parish in the Anglo-Catholic tradition?
The answer came first in a liturgical consultant who helped us see how interconnected all these issues were and then in a series of meetings with two architects from the firm of Cram and Ferguson, the leading architectural firm for Episcopal churches in the United States. These meetings produced a series of conceptual drawings showing how we could turn our nave and narthex into spaces that would inspire worshippers for generations to come. Bold, brave, and beautiful, these drawings—while only a jumping off point for our discussions of how we might bring the Beauty of Holiness to St. Timothy’s—represent a very real possibility for transforming our worship space.
On this Easter Sunday, the Campus Vision and Capital Campaign Committees share these drawings with the parish, inviting comment and discussion as well as support, through both your financial contributions and your prayers. There is much more to these conceptual drawings than can be parsed in this limited space, but we feel they show the way towards creating a space that reflects the true identity of St. Timothy’s.
We are an “Episcopal Church in the Anglo-Catholic tradition.” The “Catholic” part of that description means an emphasis on worship and in particular the sacraments. These drawings show inspiring spaces at the beginning and end of the path from font to altar and clearly define a worship space that draws attention to the sacramental nature of our lives. The “Episcopal” part of that phrase means we are American and the “Anglo” part means we have deep roots in the Anglican tradition, dating back to the English reformation and even to pre-reformation English worship. The space we could create at St. Timothy’s reflects all that. Our current buttressed wooden ceiling, reminiscent of the uniquely American Carpenter Gothic style of many nineteenth century Episcopal Churches, will be supported by stone arches and arcading inspired by the architecture of medieval and Renaissance English churches, chapels, and cathedrals. Our American identity will literally rest atop our English roots.
While plans are still at an early stage and there is plenty of time and opportunity for you to react to these concept drawings before we move forward with any concrete changes, the Capital Campaign Committee is thrilled to share with you news of our success so far in raising the funds needed to undertake this project. The architects estimate a total project cost of $3 million, including a 10% contingency fund. Already, early donors have given more than half of that to the campaign fund. Now we ask for your help. St. Timothy’s is centered on Adoration, Formation, and Transformation. In our completed worship space, with its holy beauty, we and parishioners for generations to come, can adore the triune God, be formed in the teachings of Christ, and transform ourselves for the work of Christ in the world. Please prayerfully consider supporting this work with a pledge of financial support. Pledges can be made over a period of five years and more information is available in the narthex, on the campaign website (www.holinessofbeauty.org) or from any member of the staff, vestry, or Capital Campaign Committee. There can be no better time to prayerfully consider our future as a parish and what we can all do to support that future than the Easter season. If you will make a pledge of support before Pentecost on May 20, we can begin our summer no longer talking about IF we can transform St. Timothy’s, but planning the details of HOW we will, in the years to come, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.