Friday, April 1, 2022

St. Ann’s Episcopal Church springs forward with renewed optimism and sanctuary updates

St. Ann's Episcopal Church updated its 48-year-old sanctuary
with many vital renovations, giving the worship service 
space a much-needed lift. Member donations and volunteers
helped to make ther renewed sanctuary a success.
By Lorraine Glowczak

Parishioners at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, 40 Windham Center Road in Windham, experienced a restored sense of enthusiasm as they worshipped on Sunday, March 27 in a refreshed and updated 48-year-old sanctuary. The reasons for the renovations were often vital, especially in terms of the windows.

“The old windows let in so much air that you didn’t want to sit by them on a windy Christmas Eve service, or your candles would literally blow out,” Kim Wallace, parishioner and a member of the Renovation Committee, said.

Dan Wheeler, the chair of the Renovation Committee, said the Vestry started talking about the updates on the sanctuary in 2019. 

“But then – the pandemic brought it to a halt,” he said. “Eventually, we decided that COVID wouldn't stop us from proceeding forward, and we began the fundraising efforts in May 2021. We decided we would have faith and hope to make these changes happen despite the pandemic.”

By September 2021, the congregation had raised $51,000 through 56 personal donations while, at the same time, maintaining donations from the congregation for normal operating expenses.

“Obviously, our members had the resiliency to keep the vision of a renewed space alive,” said Church Rector, the Rev. Tim Higgins.

In October, contractors installed new Andersen Windows with new trim in the sanctuary and narthex. Soon after, other repairs and updates were completed that include: new doors and trim in the sanctuary, updated light fixtures, a fresh coat of paint in the narthex, sanctuary and alter, a new closet in the narthex, new carpet tiles in the narthex and altar as well as an updated indoor chapel – a space for personal prayer, meditation and the healing team. The indoor chapel will include a stone mosaic – custom made in Beirut, Lebanon.

During the renovations, one of the significant challenges included the high demand for contractors – and thus the lack of availability to complete projects. As a result, many contractors offered quotes that, according to Wheeler, were astronomically high.

“One painting contractor gave us a quote of $30,000 to paint our small sanctuary,” he said.

But not all contractors took advantage of the pandemic. 

“I wish to give a big thank you to Randy Perkins of Perks Peak Construction,” Wheeler said. “He was phenomenal. Not only did he charge us fairly, but he also made sure everything was done promptly and helped to oversee some of the other jobs. He made my job so much easier.”

Wheeler also stated that Pure Clean Company was a lifesaver after some major construction left the floors in ankle-deep dust. 

“The owners, Kayla and Cory Beaulieu restored the floors into pristine condition – better than it has been in ages,” he said.

Higgins added that the volunteer involvement has been extraordinary, stating he is humbled by their level of dedication to the church. He also said that he appreciated Wheeler’s leadership.

“Without Dan, this project would not have happened,” Higgins said. “It does take a team, and with Dan’s vision, persistence and resilience, he was a force that made renovations happen.”

But most importantly, Higgins was careful to recognize the most significant hand in the renovation efforts.

“This project was wrapped in prayer,” he said. “God has had his hands in this project from the get-go, including the fundraising, securing the windows in a timely fashion, the contractor, the professional cleaners and the volunteer efforts. God wants St. Ann’s to be around for a very long time and this is proven true again with this most recent renovation, thanks be to God.” <

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