St. Mark's Episcopal Church

124 North Sylvia Street - Montesano, WA, 98563

Worship Space Planning

St. Mark's went through a review/action process for over a year with all of its worship space--the Nave, the Chancel and Sanctuary spaces, to determine changes that will make the space more usable and inviting for our worship experience.  Our own the Rev. Bonnie Campbell started leading this effort in September, 2008 as part of her participation in the diocesan-sponsored Resurgent Church program.  Bonnie contacted a diocesan known expert on worship--liturgy/space design, the Rev. Janet Campbell, to work with us on this project.  The Bishop's Committee in March, 2009 agreed to move ahead with consulting with Rev. Janet Campbell and set up plans to meet with us.  We met with Rev. Campbell on June 2, 2009 to begin this process with her.  Rev. Campbell worshipped with us on August 16, 2009, and then discussed her ideas about our worship and use of our space for about 1 1/2 hours afterwards.  On the weekend on November 7-8, Rev. Campbell revisited us, helped us make the needed changes to the chancel/sanctuary, and then presided and preached at the Sunday worship to try out and explain the changes made.  We have complete all of the changes to our worship space as of Lent, 2010.

Modified Worship Space Pictures

Changes completed:  (from early June, 2009 thru March, 2010)

  • Opened narthex doors (for better access, more inviting)
  • Created baptismal space: (to remind us of our baptismal vows)
    • Moved baptismal font to rear of nave
    • Placed Paschal candle next to font
    • Moved old bishop chair first to the rear of nave, then to left front of the chancel (has been re-padded, later to be re-finished)
  • Removed "modesty screens" at front of pews (opens up front pews for accessibility, opens up front of nave)
  • Moved lectern down in front and far right of the first pew (closer to the worshippers for the Service of the Word--readings and sermons)
  • Repaired & painted sides and back walls of worship space--a very light blue for cool and calming effect for worship, and to clean up the old tired dirty walls
  • Added baseboards and painted all trim white
  • Removed altar rail gates (not needed, distracting when opening and closing)
  • Placed only two chairs and a small table next to the altar for presider and deacon/euch. minister; removed the pew in the chancel formerly used for this
  • Painted door to sacristy from chancel the same color as the wall to make it less noticeable.
  • Angled pews more (from 12" before, to 18" now) (allow better viewing of the altar and other worshippers)
  • Removed all 10 chairs from the back of the nave
  • Removed one of the old pews from the back of the nave
  • Made a space between pews 5 and 6 on both sides of the nave to allow for handicap seating or for children a space on the floor to play near their parents
  • Replaced floodlight bulbs with spotlight bulbs in the sanctuary area and pointed them at the large cross to enhance its appearance.
  • Replaced the old solid wood door from the nave to the parish hall with a glass door to make the worship space more inviting to outside user groups of our parish hall.
  • Built new altar communion rails and installed them where the old chancel rails used to be; made 8 ft long padded kneelers for each side in front of new altar rails.
  • Moved the altar down into old chancel area about 10 ft closer to the congregation.
  • Moved the organ to far front left behind altar in old sanctuary area.
  • Moved the credence table forward near new altar position.
  • Removed the old altar/communion rails.
  • Installed short handrail along wall near organ to help ascend/descend steps to/from organ and upper area.
  • Moved plant stand and vases for flowers presentations near altar (as decided on by Altar Guild).
  • Installed new electrical outlet near new organ location.
  • Purchase wireless microphone system and updates to present wired microphones for all presiders and presenters during worship services.
  • Install aumbry on right side of sanctuary near sanctus light.
  • Apply finish costs to the new communion rails.

Original Summary of Changes Planned (thru July, 2009)

Click below on each meeting listed to see the summary of that meeting:

Fourth Meeting--August 16, 2009

Third Meeting--June 2, 2009

Second Meeting--January 6, 2009

First Meeting--August 27, 2008

Bonnie provided this input from the Resurgent Church group (from her January, 2009 meeting with them) about working on this project:

I had an excellent session with the resurgent church group (and great  
ideas from the other people's projects, too). Two of the priests were  
sketching out the space and laying out furniture-but, they kept them  
to themselves which is a good thing in the context.

They had two suggestions about the process:
1. Go see the space at St. Joseph/St. John in Lakewood/Tacoma as they  
have altered the use of a very similar space and it works well and is  

2. Get an outside consultant to finish the process of deciding what to  
do to the space-everyone can have equal voice if none of us are  

3. The other members of the group felt I had a good vision of what the  
space could be and how it could be used and they hated to see me  
subvert that by facilitating the process.

They were all excited about our plans to alter the space and thought  
we had some good ideas. They felt the expertise of one of the retired  
or otherwise priests in the diocese could help us firm those up and  
explain the theology behind the use of worship space. There are  
several people who would be good such as Ralph Carskadden but we could  
ask Greg for a recommendation. I'm thinking two or three sessions with  
this person would likely be enough. Maybe we could have them out to do  
the service one Sunday and go from there. It would likely be the cost  
of a supply priest coming in.

What is important at this point is we have discovered there is a  
substantial core of people who want to make some changes to the space  
and we are in agreement on the fundamentals of that. Taking the next  
step makes sense.