Monday, September 28, 2009

A new canvas

Here is the nave of St. Francis Anglican Church, the parish where I serve as vicar. When I first laid eyes on this place it struck me as being very stately and ordered, but also very plain and dull. Much of this was due to the plans of the original architect - a prominent church architect who was also a Benedictine priest. Benedictine churches and abbeys tend to be minimalist and austere. When St. Francis bought the building in the late 70's few changes were made. The main changes were the colors. As St. Mary's Catholic Church it had a pastel color scheme. St. Francis stained the wood dark and put in red carpeting. A modernistic building, erected in the late 40's, was made to look like a Victorian church in terms of color. I am not quite sure it worked; or it didn't work as well as it could.

I am hoping, over the next few years, to do a huge redesign of the church to make it more suitable for Catholic worship. Plans include Stations of the Cross (which I am currently working on) executed in egg tempera and 24K gold gilding; a shrine to St. Francis of Assisi on the left hand (Gospel) side reredos complete with votive rack; a chapel dedicated to Our Lady - the Chapel of the Annunciation - on right hand (Epistle) side reredos. It will consist of an altar, a large gilded and tempera triptych of the Annunciation above, fleur-de-lis down the side panels of the reredos, and a gilded rays and a dove coming down from above after the manner of the rays in Bernini's "Ecstasy of St. Teresa". The carpeting will be taken out in the chancel area and sanctuary and replaced with new tile (the original tile is under the carpeting - but being from the late 40's it resembles more bathroom tile than ecclesiastical tile). I'll talk about plans for the sanctuary in the next post!