10/6/12 – The Arrangement of the Church: Sanctuary

As we advised recently, the Church Renewal Committee is currently working through the planning process, considering how the church can be shaped and ordered to best fulfil the vision articulated by parishioners during the consultation process.  The Guiding Concepts developed from this consultation are, therefore, an important measure to work by.

Existing Sanctuary
3D sketch of the interior of the church showing the sanctuary in its present location and arrangement

Many parishioners during the consultation period have spoken about the placement and arrangement of the sanctuary.  This, in turn, obviously has implications for the placement and arrangement of the liturgical assembly that gathers before or around it.

The suggestions made for the placement of the sanctuary stem from a range of concerns, including visibility of the sanctuary from within the church and narthex as a focal point within the space, and providing an increased sense that we actively participate in, and not just observe the Eucharistic celebration.

As a result of our consultation, our Guiding Concepts state that:

The church needs to be arranged such that, as much as possible, the community is gathered around the altar and ambo, giving the sense that all of us gathered participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. 

While this can be very easy to achieve in a new building, it is a greater challenge when renovating an existing building such as ours, where a balance must also be found with our other hopes for the church, maintaining a reasonable seating capacity, and respecting the architectural integrity of the building which, for better or worse, has been built in a way that naturally sets its focal points along its north-south axis.

The Church Renewal Committee will continue to consider how the church can be best ordered to fulfil the vision articulated in the Guiding Concepts.  In the meantime, remember the look at the additional material provided at http://www.olmcwenty.org.au/churchrenewal.  Thank you also to those who have recently send in feedback about the process – it is always welcome, and can be given to Fr Paul, myself, the parish office, or emailed to litcomwenty@gmail.com.

20/5/12 – Church Renewal Committee Report

Church Renewal ProcessLast month, the Church Renewal Committee met again to continue the planning process.

A quote was tabled for the painting of the clerestory (upper level) of the church interior, as well as the refinishing of the ceiling, end walls of the church (sanctuary and choir gallery) and other selected elements such as the timber wall on the front of the choir gallery.  This has helped to give a clearer picture regarding the cost involved.  The matter will be taken up by the finance committee, who will provide further information to parishioners as required.

Further advice was sought on movement within the floor of the building, with a full report promised.  It was noted that while some movement occurred in the floor at one point, no further movement has occurred for several years, which is considered to be a positive sign.

The committee also began initial discussions about how the vision for the parish and its church, articulated in the Guiding Concepts, may be best expressed in the way the church is arranged and ordered.  There was an overwhelming desire to preserve as much of the church’s seating capacity as possible.  Also expressed was the need to respect the architectural form of the building which, for better or worse, suits itself to having its main focal points, such as the sanctuary, set along the longer north-south axis of the building.

An update on this discussion has since been provided to our liturgical consultant, Fr Stephen Hackett MSC, and he has already responded with feedback.  The committee will meet again in due course to consider Fr Stephen’s advice and continue our discussion around how the church can be best arranged and designed to support our parish community and the liturgy we celebrate.

11/12/11 – Church Renewal Committee Report

Church Renewal ProcessLast month, the newly-formed Church Renewal Committee met for the first time.  This committee has been formed to oversee the next stage of the Church Renewal Process – the development of plans for the maintenance and modification of the church.

The committee consists of members of the Liturgy Committee and the former Guiding Concepts Committee.  Both these committees have been involved in the process so far and are familiar with the project’s requirements and progress.  Also on the committee is Jenny Rickard in her position as the chairperson of the Pastoral Council.  Each meeting will, as a minimum, involve Fr Paul, Jenny, Clieve Lennon (Chairman, Finance Committee) and myself.

At this initial meeting, some review was undertaken of the maintenance report commissioned by the Diocese and undertaken by Paynter Dixon Facilities Management.  From this, the committee began to determine the major items of church maintenance which need to be included in any proposed work.  The following matters were determined:

  1. That suitably qualified professionals be sought as soon as possible to inspect the foundations and cracks in the walls of the church building.  They will be asked to report on the structural integrity of the building and provide an estimate for any necessary repairs
  2. That Peter Abood, in his role of coordinating maintenance of the parish plant, be invited to join the committee to assist with the progress of the project.

The committee believes the matters of structural integrity, internal painting and renewal of floor coverings and finishes need attention in the immediate to short term and will be of significant expense.  As such, estimates for these are required in order to determine the extent to which other works can be undertaken.

The committee will meet again early in the new year.

Robert Barden
Liturgy Coordinator

19/6/11 – Guiding Concepts

Our Church: ever ancient, ever newYou may recall that last year, two parish meetings were held as part of our Church Renewal Process.  The latter of these was primarily focused on sharing the important aspects and values of our parish community that should be kept in mind when preparing plans to renew the liturgical space.

From this meeting, the discussions of the parishioners present were to be drawn together into a set of guiding concepts that who assist those who will responsible for preparing design plans.  After a long drafting process, the most recent draft of these guiding concepts is now available.

If you attended the parish guiding concepts meeting last year, we ask that you take a copy of the draft home with you – they are available today from the parish centre.  Please read over them and consider whether they reflect what was shared by parishioners at the meeting.  Attached to the draft is a form to note any comments you may have and return to the box in the narthex.  We ask that you return your comments by the end of June.

You can also access the draft from our parish website.  Also there is a comparison document, which we hope may be helpful in seeing how the various comments and thoughts shared at the meeting have been incorporated into the guiding concepts.

Once the feedback from parishioners has been received, we review the guiding concepts if necessary and seek to release the final draft of the concepts to all parishioners as soon as possible.

22/8/10 – The General Plan of the Church

At present, we are exploring the liturgical principles which underpin our work in the Church Renewal Process.  Having considered active participation, we now consider the sixth principle, namely:

The general plan of the church

Over the centuries, many Catholic churches have been built.  Very rarely is one church building identical to another, and the layout, design and style of the buildings has changed immensely over the period of almost two thousand years.  So what, then, are the basic requirements for the general plan of a church?

Firstly, the liturgical documents since Vatican II focus on the church being arranged so that “it in some way conveys the image of the gathered assembly” (Rite of Dedication of a Church and Altar, Ch 2, No 3; General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 294) It is a reminder to us once again that it is the whole Church, each of us gathered together that becomes one body in Christ and celebrates the liturgy.  There needs to be, therefore, spaces for each of the various ministries to be carried out.  Once again, the arrangement of the church should encourage full, conscious and active participation of everyone in the liturgy.

Considering the matter of participation further, the most recent General Instruction of the Roman Missal encourages the provision of seating for the assembly, as well as ensuring good lines of sight to focal points such as the ambo, altar and presidential chair.  It encourages us to provide adequate sound amplification, and space to allow us to move as necessary during the Mass – both to sit, stand and kneel as required, but also to move in procession to communion (GIRM, 311).

Also, while the church is a liturgical space, we are also challenged to think about how our place of worship also provides the usual comforts that people come to expect when they gather in public buildings.  This could include facilities such as toilets and parking, but also extend to other areas such as suitable climate control (GIRM, 293).

Finally, our Guiding Concepts Committee met last weekend to draw together the material and feedback gained from parishioners during our meeting with Fr Stephen Hackett MSC in June.  A draft of the guiding concepts has been prepared and is being reviewed by the committee before it is presented to all parishioners in due course.