Saturday, December 27, 2014
AUGUSTA CHRONICLE'S TAKE ON METRO AUGUSTA'S NEW CATHOLIC CHURCH, THE DIOCESE'S LARGEST! IT WAS DESIGNED AROUND TRADITIONAL STAIN GLASS WINDOWS, STATIONS OF THE CROSS AND ALTARS FROM CLOSED NORTHEAST CATHOLIC CHURCH BUILDINGS!
The Church, designed by my parishioners at St. Joseph Church in Macon (Azar/Walsh, Kevin Walsh and Kamal Azar), was designed around Myer Stain Glass windows and traditional altars harvested from dead churches in the northeast and re-purposed for a grand new use in the south!
The Church can seat up to 1400. It has a large traditional choir loft with a brand new pipe organ (don't know what kind) and behind the choir loft which is accessed by a full service elevator and stairs is a large choir room, a bride's room and full service restrooms!
There is also a day chapel that seats up to 150 people for daily Mass, small funerals and weddings. It can be accessed by code 24 hours a day and can be locked off from the main part of the church.
This article and the photos are from Saturday, December 27th's Religion section highlighting last Saturday's dedication/consecration of St. Teresa of Avila Church in Grovetown, a suburb of Augusta:
New church facility now diocese's largest
By Lisa Kaylor
Friday, Dec. 26, 2014
The stained-glass windows were not made to fit the new St. Teresa of Avila sanctuary. The sanctuary was made to fit the windows – and the altars and the Stations of the Cross.
The Rev. Mike Ingram, the pastor of the parish, found the 100-year-old items shortly after he arrived at St. Teresa. Building the sanctuary was one of the main reasons he’d been assigned to the church, he said.
He contacted King Richard’s Liturgical Design and Contracting to search for the stained glass, the 6-foot-tall Stations of the Cross, and all three of the altars. The company purchased them from closed churches in New England. Then the architects designed the 40,000-square-foot building around the pieces.
Pointing to the windows, encased in Gothic-style arches, Ingram said he has learned that the value of stained glass can be determined by the number of faces in the artwork. One of the windows, for example, has five.
“They’ve told us we need to insure the windows alone for $1.75 million – just the windows. And we paid probably about $300,000 (for all),” he said.
The church building, at 4921 Columbia Road in Grovetown, now makes St. Teresa the largest church in the Diocese of Savannah in terms of seating, Ingram said. It can seat 1,200 people for one Mass, which will help accommodate the church’s tremendous growth.
“I’ve added over 250 new families since Jan. 1 of this year,” Ingram said. “We’re just growing at an incredible pace.”
Nearly 15 years ago, the pastor at the time, the Rev. Thomas Peyton, purchased 44 acres on Columbia Road, the site of an old driving range. He built two buildings on the property – a family life center that seats about 900 and an educational building, where today more than 700 children attend Faith Formation classes.
There was nothing out there then but a couple of old subdivisions, and the congregation consisted of about 600 families. Now subdivisions are springing up everywhere around the church, and the congregation has grown to more than 2,000 families, Ingram said.
“It’s incredible,” Ingram said. “We’re in the right place at the right time.”
Ingram said when he arrived at the parish more than three years ago, his goal was to challenge his parishioners to be better stewards of the gifts God has given them, whether that’s money or time.
“I’m a strong, strong advocate for what us as Catholics call the spirituality of stewardship. It’s the time, talent and treasure you give back to God,” he said.
He said the parishioners responded incredibly well, which has been instrumental in helping to build the church.
“I feel like I’m the most blessed priest in the world,” he said.
The church is continuing to grow. Construction is underway on a columbarium, for burial of cremated remains. It will provide a more convenient resting place for church members and their loved ones after death, as well as provide an endowment source to provide for the upkeep of the property and buildings.
Bishop Emeritus J. Kevin Boland, who assigned Ingram to St. Teresa to build the church and attended the dedication, said the building is the completion of a dream.
“This is a magnificent tribute to the people, to resolve to build this whole complex here. The church is the last part of it – the biggest part of it. From there, we get our spiritual energy to do what we do,” he said.