Something remarkable has been going on at Grace Church Allentown over the past few weeks. The pews have been removed. They will be replaced with high quality, gothic-style church chairs. First, however, the entire sanctuary/nave now has a beautiful terrazzo floor. To prepare the floor for the pouring of terrazzo, a significant number of parishioners and the rector gave many hours and days to rip up the old floor and screw down plywood (one screw for every eight inches). The church is being painted as we speak.
Father Pat Malloy has posted a partial photo journal of the renovation here. Return to the site every few days to see updates.
"The amount of work and imagination that has been poured into our shared building and, thus, our common life, has been amazing," Father Malloy wrote recently in an email note to parishioners ... The crew has been large, tireless, and from every conceivable category: women, men, young, not-so-young, new to Grace, baptized at Grace ... Already the people who have been doing the work (and it is hard, dirty work) have begun to dream aloud about what we will be able to do with our renewed space: spread out a canvas labyrinth for prayer and retreat, give the homeless a place to sit during the day and even a place to unroll sleeping bags at night; a space for concerts; a room for elder care. It is so like Grace Church to instinctively link renovating our liturgical space to increasing our outreach. At Grace, we know that liturgy and life are one ... The Church exists for the world beyond the Church, and Grace Church knows that. Even as we renew our building, we are asking how we can renew the world."
I trust we will be hearing more from the leadership at Grace about all of this and about how it has been made possible.
All of this has taken place over the course of just a few weeks. The first Eucharist in the newly renovated space will take place on Christmas Eve ... with borrowed or rented chairs. The new chairs will be in by Lent.
More about the chair project here.
And more background here.