Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This Sunday we will worship together as one community at 10 a.m. and will then meet in the theater of St. Peter’s School for our annual fall gathering. We will share a meal, hear about a few ministries at St. Peter’s, and meet our architects James Timberlake and David Feaster, from Kieran Timberlake
architects (KT). This is our first community opportunity to share with them some of our hopes and dreams for a new building. In order for us all to be up to speed about where we are in the architectural process, here is a snapshot of what has happened so far and what the next steps will be.
Recognizing that in many ways our lack of space was constraining us, in 2010 St. Peter’s Vestry conducted a space needs assessment. A committee worked to interview ministry chairs and staff to determine what the current space needs were and how we might grow if we had more and better suited space. We also conducted a series of parish-wide conversations to dream about expansions of current ministries and consider new ones. The plan was to hire an architect to put flesh on the dream and then have a community conversation about whether we chose to build it. But we got sidetracked by an unstable roof and put the dream aside for a few years.
After we Raised the Roof, the Vestry revisited the question and, recognizing again how much our lack of space was hindering our ministries, got back on track. They updated the space needs assessment through conversations with staff, ministry chairs, and created the Way Forward strategic plan, which was born of multiple meetings with the parish. With that in hand, a task force convened to find an architect to help us put flesh on the dream. Working from early 2015 through September 2016, that committee recommended Kieran Timberlake to the Vestry, which wholeheartedly accepted the recommendation and retained them to create a building design.
For the last 6 weeks, the Architect Liaison Task Force has been working with KT to give them a strong sense of who we are as a community and of our needs and dreams. They have begun to incorporate that information into a building concept, and so we now want to make sure each of you has the chance to weigh in on what your hopes and dreams are for new space. The meeting on Sunday is an opportunity to do that. The task force will also hold meetings on Wednesday Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 6 at 12:30 p.m. Food will be provided at the meetings. If you cannot attend a meeting I strongly encourage you to share your thoughts with me, Rick Fitzgerald, or any member of the task force (see list below). You can also share your thoughts via our website.
In addition to the meetings at St. Peter’s, James Timberlake, David Feaster, and the task force will hold a listening session with the Society Hill Civic Association (Nov. 14) and later with St. Peter’s School to hear their hopes and concerns. KT will incorporate what they hear into a concept (design for a building) which will be presented to the parish for feedback some time in December. Conversations with our neighbors will also be held.
As we have said throughout this process, there are multiple “stop/go” points built into the timeline. One was whether or not we could find an architect who would capture our imagination—and we did that! The next “stop/go” point will be when we get the design concept (“pictures” of what the building will look like, externally and internally) from KT this winter. That will give us a clear picture of our building design and the opportunity to estimate what it will cost. Only when we know what a building will look like and what it will cost will we be able to have a substantive, informed, conversation as a parish about whether or not we choose to build that building.
And so the meeting this Sunday is not about whether we choose to build or whether we can afford it. Those topics will be thoroughly explored in the winter. Rather, this Sunday’s conversation is about making sure that the building design reflects who we are now and how we hope to grow.
This is a very exciting time in the life of St. Peter’s, and it is a blessing and privilege to serve as your Rector. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
Architect Liaison Task Force:
Katherine Hansen, Emy Halpert, Kate Julyan, Jim Keller, Lathrop Nelson, Peggy Hatch, Vincent DiPentino, Rick Fitzgerald, Sean Lanigan, Claire Nevin-Field