This is what I would do to improve this liturgical space and on a shoestring budget
Keep in mind only the altar platform as progressives call it, others call it the sanctuary, is being improved not the nave.
1. The window to the left of the ambo could have a nice faux stained glass application with that vinyl stuff that makes clear windows in homes look like stain glass.
2. The ambo is too large for the space and hides the altar if you sit to the far left chairs as you enter the nave. Thus a smaller ambo is needed.
3. The altar needs to be three steps higher, placed against the wall and with six proportionate candlesticks upon it and above the altar the cross on the right with a corpus placed upon it, even a senior are class’s cut out of a corpus from cardboard and nicely painted in an icon style. The altar with a nice andependium on its facade.
4. Nice contemporary Stations of the Cross placed on the walls of the nave.
It is "stained" glass, not " stain."
Have you seen those vinyl applications? Truly a stain on the glass.
The only thing that is going to (in fact it is already happening) self-destruct is the unsustainable Novus Ordo establishment.
Good luck with all this other noise.
Far more cost effective to sell it to an airport doing an expansion and use the money for a new church.
I get the design of this church. It highlights natural materials, and to some extent nature. The natural stone walls, the shadows, the natural light and the wood grain. Its a common theme at many tourist destinations surrounding parks.Here are my changes. I would reverse the ambo and the Altar. The Altar should be the massive solid structure, either a solid wood block from a tree or stone. The ambo could then be the more delicate structure. I cant argue with putting a corpus on the crucifix. I wont argue the added steps and turning the altar around or the six beeswax candles. I will suggest that the stain glass be replaced with a suitable view outside the window, a garden and/or statuary. From the photograph you cant see what the window frames outside. A window highlighting Gods creation isn't anti-Catholic. Also, no one mentioned the altar rail :)
Blenco, I had stained! And it was originally there...
On a shoestring budget: hang substantial crucifix on wall behind altar. Give altar a frontal and traditional candle arrangement.
For more money: salvage a stained wooden altar and reredos, preferably Gothic in character since it is an organic style that might mesh better with the natural stone, but no gilt accents. It will need to be a rather tall substantial one. Replace ambo with Gothic one and add either Gothic or sculptural stations of the cross. Add wooden communion rail. Polychrome statues in reredos. Perhaps some will find the mixing of Gothic with modern odd, but I picture the place having a cave-turned-church vibe.
What is the odd window? If it is to a cry room, there's not really any way to change it. If it just awkwardly looks out into a hallway (which it seems to), I would hang curtains over it and display either a statue or large painting in front with votive candles.
It's not my favorite but, I don't outright dislike it either for whatever reason.
*Agree on the window. A biblical covering to add a sense of sacred.
*Remove the free standing cross perhaps reincorporating on Good Friday/during Paschaltide as it lacks a corpus.
*Add a complimentary frame to distinguish the sanctuary area from the nave rising from the lower step and surrounding the sanctuary
*Find a carpet that is complementary to the style of the church to add richness before the altar
*Retain the floor candles to enhance the sanctuary furnishings during festal seasons but, mostly store.
*Large crucifix centered in the above mentioned frame.
*Move altar back, add 8 candles: 6 high, 2 low, tabernacle in center. A frontal may/may work in this setting. Find more contemporary candle sticks that complement both the interior, its style and furnishings.
*The ambo is a problem due to its size. Maybe move as much as possible to the side of the platform to not crowd the altar as much. "Shoestring", to me, means avoid replacing.
*Add complementary statues outside of the framing with votive banks underneath (there's enough of these things at liturgical exchanges that this shouldn't cost much). There appears to be sufficient room to add something that would look like it was always there. Make backers for the statues that thematically tie to the frame surrounding the sanctuary.
*Create a distinctive sedalia area (not a throne) where the chairs that match the nave chairs are currently placed. Find seating that is distinctive/complementary to the nave seating.
*Examine the lighting. Is it sufficient for a cloudy day, would the church look well lit and cheerful? Is it sufficient for usage during the evening, would the church and sanctuary look well lit and cheerful?
*Keep clutter to a necessary minimum
General: Exercise restraint. This style of interior doesn't lend itself to excess so, I believe a more traditional appearance is very possible but, in a simple, noble way that is reflective of elegance and good taste. Motivation would be, is it adequate for the liturgies of Holy Week, would all celebrating/serving have their proper places. Also, would a bride want to be married in this setting/would a bereaved family be comforted praying for a loved one in this setting (to me, one of the better ways to tell if you've got it right or not)?
As far as the cross goes, GIRM requires a crucifix for the altar 'cross' and the processional 'cross'. In the "Order for the Blessing of a New Cross for Public Veneration", it says, "The image of the cross should preferably be a crucifix, that is, have the corpus attached, especially in the case of a cross that is erected in a place of honor in a church."
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