Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I hope each of you has had a wonderful summer, with plenty of time for rest, refreshment, and reconnecting with friends and family.
I wrote to you in May about our dream at St. Peter’s—a dream of a heavenly banquet where people are transformed through serving and being served. In that message, I outlined our vision of a new space with ample room to gather, to deepen our bonds, to form new bonds, to have appropriate space for our ministries, and to have space to create new ministries.
I also wrote that the Architect Task Force had been working for over a year to find an architect who will produce a picture of what our long talked about new building would look like. That committee, chaired by Jim Keller, ably (even fabulously) assisted by Kathleen Stephenson, Rick Fitzgerald, Henry Hauptfuhrer, and Barry Eiswerth, has done enormous amounts of work. They began by brainstorming about world-class architects—firms that are doing creative, thoughtful, and sensitive work on the cutting edge of sustainable design (“green building”) and using innovative materials to create a minimal carbon footprint. Recognizing that Philadelphia is home to many world-class firms with architects who are doing the kind of high quality work we would want and who know the city and our neighborhood intimately, the Task Force focused on soliciting proposals from Philadelphia-based firms.
After many interviews, visits to studios, and reviews of proposals, the choice became clear and unanimous, first for the Architect Task Force and then for the vestry. So I am thrilled to announce that we have retained KieranTimberlake to be our architects. We were impressed by their vision, their range, the way they “got” our church community (James Timberlake is a long-time member of Christ Church and a former Rector’s Warden), and their groundbreaking work in energy efficient buildings. KT is an award-winning architecture firm recognized for its environmental ethic, research expertise, and pioneering design and planning.They have received hundreds of design citations, including the Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects in 2008 and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Architecture from the Smithsonian Institution in 2010. They have built many LEED Platinum and Gold certified buildings and have received four American Institute of Architects “Top Ten Green” project awards, and have been cited as “a pathfinder for the holistic integration of sustainable design with compelling architectural form." Recent work in and around Philadelphia includes the addition to Rodeph Shalom synagogue, the Melvin J. and Claire Levine Hall at University of Pennsylvania, Dilworth Park, the Edgar N. Putnam Event Pavilion at the Michener Art Museum, and the Suzanne Roberts Theater. They have done projects at Yale and Harvard Universities, Sidwell Friends School, and are currently working on the United States Embassy in London, England. Click here to read more about KieranTimberlake and their recent projects.
In the coming weeks you will have the opportunity to meet representatives from KT. An Architect Liaison Task Force, consisting of Rick Fitzgerald (Rector’s Warden), Peggy Hatch, Lathrop Nelson, Katherine Hansen, and Jim Keller (consulting), will steer the next portion of the process. That involves providing for and facilitating meetings between the architects and parish groups to make sure we have a shared understanding of our space needs, which KT will incorporate in their design process. Those meetings will take place over the fall, and the dates and times will be widely communicated. Some time in the winter KT will provide us with images of what our building will look like and what it will cost to build. We will then be able to have an informed conversation within our parish community about possibilities, costs for construction and ongoing operations, and whether or not this is something we choose to do in fulfillment of our mission of embodying the love of God as Christ’s heart, mind, and hands.
There is, of course, a cost associated with this first stage of the architectural process. About four years ago, when we first started talking about new space, a parishioner who was inspired by the vision made a donation of $400,000 specifically for a new building. We have spent some of that money on the steps needed to get to where we are today, and will spend more of it to get us to the next step—no operating or endowment funds will be used.
I am grateful to Jim, Rick, Kathleen, Henry, and Barry for their tireless, faithful, enthusiastic service. And I am so excited to take this next step into a bold vision for St. Peter’s future. If you have immediate questions you may contact me, Rick Fitzgerald, or any member of the vestry. And stay tuned for an announcement soon about dates to meet KieranTImberlake.
It is a joy, privilege, and blessing to be the Rector of St. Peter’s—to be part of this vibrant community and to know each of you. May God bless you and keep you. May God’s face shine upon you. May God look upon you with favor, and give you peace.