by Mike Kruger, Chair of Sanctuary Task Force
Getting involved in the sanctuary redesign effort at Gloria Dei has been quite an adventure and an amazing experience for me! It started with Tim Strand’s demonstration one Sunday morning in the Chancel. He literally gave a “hands on” demonstration on why we needed to replace our current organ. Basically, Tim was showing us that our organ was beyond repair, and as a result, it is limiting the future quality and scope of our music program. I was convinced and intrigued as to how I might help.
At same time, Pastor Bradley introduced the idea that there may be an even bigger question than just replacing the organ: “Will a new, repositioned organ drive us to explore other opportunities for renewal? Should we be looking at how we currently worship and examine whether the Chancel’s original design continues to meet our existing and future needs?”
I set up a meeting with Pastor Bradley to indicate my interest in helping to answer these questions. As we all know, Pastor Bradley has a way of delivering a compelling message. He not only inspired me to serve, but wondered whether I would be willing to chair a Task Force to explore all the possibilities for the Chancel and measure the interest of the Gloria Dei family. Both of us agreed that we would need a strong consensus of congregational support for any major change…we would need to know that we could financially support the project…and we needed to respect the tradition and beauty of the space.
Our Chancel Redesign Task Force and its sub-teams were formed early last summer and have been extremely active since our first meeting…and I have learned many things along the way!
First, I’ve learned that Gloria Dei’s faith family is very committed to the future vitality of our congregation and the space in which we come together each week to worship. 120 members attended our 11/18/19 “Needs Assessment Workshop” to share their ideas and questions on the Sanctuary. The turnout far exceeded anything our architect, Jim Hundt, had ever experienced on other church projects throughout his long career! Gloria Dei members clearly treasure our church home, but also understand we need to change and grow as a congregation.
Second, feedback from the congregation is critical to success. All of the major elements in the draft design plan reflects the comments made by participants in the Workshop. When the final design is introduced on May 19th , members of Gloria Dei will be able to “connect the dots” back to the congregation’s input from 11/18/19. The design will truly be congregation driven.
Third, the proposed design will also reflect the ELCA’s Principles of Worship, a document compiled in 2001-02 by 100 national church leaders with expertise in liturgy and music. Principles of Worship is intended as a guide for congregations going through renewal as they prepare for a changing world and entering into the next generation of worship life. The extensive guide contains sections on Language, Music, Preaching, and Worship Space, all relevant to Gloria Dei as it explores the future needs of it’s members.
A section title from the ELCA’s Principles of Worship states that “the renewal of space for worship is an opportunity for the renewal of a worshipping community”. The process has certainly done that for me. Through these discussions,I have a much deeper understanding of my own needs in faith and worship…not just in the physical space, design, and furniture of the church, but our collective need to keep exploring ways to improve and grow and reach out as a congregation.
Much more information will be coming and more conversations will be had in the months ahead! In the meantime, please be sure to review the Needs Assessment Report and Summary posted on the Gloria Dei Website or stop by the Office to review a hard copy.