Our historic church, built in 1895, stands as the oldest building on North Tryon Street in a city known for having preserved only a few of its beautiful buildings. Its brick façade, stately stained glass, unique brownstone, and ornate elements offer a physical beacon of God’s love in the heart of Charlotte.
To live into our Vision and Mission, we must do more than admire the beauty of our beloved building. Its unconditional welcome, its inspiration, and its beacon of God’s love is in direct proportion to the courage and engagement of the community within it. Combining two beloved scriptures, a Bishop once offered his Diocese this challenge: “hold fast to that which is good AND sing to the Lord a new song.” I wonder what this might mean for St. Peter’s.
This year, our Building and Grounds team has engaged expertise in architecture, engineering, construction, and historic buildings to live into its ministry. Under the leadership of Facilities Manager Brian Whitley, our building continues to be expertly maintained. I am proud to report that through faithful clergy, lay leaders, and members over the years, design and construction experts report that our building is in excellent shape for its age.
During the year, Building and Grounds has undertaken several priorities. The team has engaged an engineering firm to evaluate our building exterior and recommend a plan for its preservation. A committee has been engaged in planning and commissioning a set of construction drawings to renovate the basement in order to support the growth of our youth program, music programs, and provide flexible space for the entire parish to use. Parish leaders are exploring what it might mean for St. Peter’s to honor its historic space in the form of a state or federal designation.
What “about singing to the Lord a new song?” How might we enhance our space to live into our calling as a church? Our strategic plan outlines ways which align with our values at St. Peter’s. However, an historic building brings its own complex set of problems. We must be courageous as a parish and take bold action. Our space not only reflects who we are, it also forms who we are. St. Peter’s, this holy space, is a gift to our parish and to our community.
Earlier this year, an anonymous parishioner offered a generous donation to renovate the parish house lobby. Plans are underway with a team of designers and parish leaders to enhance that space with updated flooring, paint, lighting, and an expansion of gathering space. Both unconditional welcome and love of God and neighbor are values which this revitalized space will foster, from coffee hour gatherings with hundreds of parishioners to greeting daily visitors for our robust schedule of daily activities. I am excited and hopeful this newly imagined lobby space will inspire our parish into a courageous new journey.
Cooper Morrison, Junior Warden