Sanctuary Readiness and Preservation Project
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June 30, 2015

Nearly 100 parishioners attended the June 7 Town Hall meeting to hear an update of the Sanctuary Preservation and Readiness Project.  Several speakers touched on numerous aspects of the major renovation planned for our beloved yet aging Sanctuary.  After more than a century as our sacred home, we learned about the lack of a foundation under the nave floor, the seismic vulnerability of the structure and of the theology behind each important element of the overall project.  Check out the articles below and be sure to weigh in with your ideas, suggestions and questions! 


May God Bless,

Sanctuary Preservation and Readiness Project Team
Major Sanctuary Project Update
Senior Warden Tom Mack welcomed the congregation to the June 7 Town Hall and set the stage for this, the third parish gathering regarding plans to strengthen and ready the Sanctuary for its next 100 years.  Tom explained the meeting's two objectives: to bring everyone up to date on the substantial progress made on both planning and design and capital funding and, importantly, provide an opportunity to receive feedback on the plans.  Read Tom's remarks by clicking here.


As Rev. Aimée noted in her welcome, the Sanctuary "houses the stories of our lives." She described the Sanctuary this way: "This is our spiritual home because we live out our stories here. We are washed in the waters of baptism and are marked as Christ's own forever. Here we are taught the story of our faith, in word and sacrament. We're fed at the altar each week with spiritual food, to give us hope for living and strength for serving as living members of Christ's body. Here we promise our devotion to our beloved in holy matrimony. We celebrate births and joyfully offer our children at the font, that they, too, might know the saving love of Christ and join us in Christ's ministry. And in this holy place we bring the fears and grief of our lives. As your priest I can affirm that this building we love is telling us that she needs our TLC. And she needs it now, so that we can ensure that this sacred treasure is still here for generations to come to form the faithful so that we, in turn, can change the world through Christ's love."

 "As your priest I can affirm that this building we love is telling us that she needs our TLC. And she needs it now, so that we can ensure that this sacred treasure is still here for generations to come to form the faithful so that we, in turn, can change the world through Christ's love."

Rev. Aimee 


To read the full text of Rev. Aimée's opening remarks, just click on this link.

Setting the Stage: Project Background, Reports from Engineering Experts

Immediate past Senior Warden Chip Nichols provided background regarding the steps taken by the parish over the past decade to address major maintenance and repair needs. The structural integrity of the Bell Tower, the needs inside and under the Sanctuary and a campus landscaping plan are the final elements required to ready our entire campus to serve as our enduring sacred space for another 100 years.


Chip's presentation provided a complete explanation of the following topics.

  • Background: How We Arrived at this Point

  • Bell Tower & West End of Sanctuary Foundation Lack Support/Reinforcement

  • Parish Survey: Improve Accessibility, Lighting, Sound, Acoustics

  • Master Plan v. Piecemeal Approach

  • A List of All Project Elements

  • Role, Work to Date From Bob Easton, AIA, Project Architect

To read his complete description of the project background and status, just click on this link

Sanctuary Preservation & Readiness  
Project Elements

The key elements include the following:

  • Bell Tower and Sanctuary Foundation - Due to serious structural vulnerabilities, we must rebuild the Bell Tower and seismically strengthen the foundations, floor, walls and roof of our Sanctuary. The Sanctuary must be tied to proper footings and braced laterally on both its north-south and east-west axes.


  • New Pipe Organ - Our pipe organ is an integral part of our worship and ministry, but is only about 30% functional and must be replaced to ensure the music ministry can reach its fullest potential. [Note: on June 19, our pipe organ actually quit working during rehearsal for Sunday services. We have experts from Los Angeles on their way to see if it can be revived and function during the 2+ years it will take to build our new organ].

  • ADA restrooms, working areas and Seaside Chapel - The Vesting Room and other rooms on the south side will be repurposed to provide a sacred space for children and family ministries, as well as an intimate setting for weddings and memorials. In addition, interior walls of this new chapel may be opened to expand seating capacity of the main Sanctuary. Working spaces of the Altar and Flower Guilds, and of the Sacristy will be updated. ADA-compliant restrooms will also be added.

  • Accessibility improvements - To make all aspects of worship fully accessible to parishioners and visitors, the project will:
    • Move the Communion rail and kneelers from the altar level to the congregation level so worshippers who cannot or should not use the stairs can receive Communion with the full congregation

    • Make the altar and choir areas accessible to all

    • Improve the lighting and acoustics to ensure that the Liturgy reaches all within our pews

  • Memorial Chapel - The project calls for the creation of a lovely and serene Memorial Chapel to house columbarium niches for parishioners and their families who wish to have their cremated remains rest within the walls of the church. The Memorial Chapel will be located in the northeast corner of the Sanctuary that is currently used to house excess organ pipes.

  • Landscaping - The project will repair construction damage, unify the look and feel of our campus with drought-tolerant plantings and create spaces for fellowship, formation and youth activities.

  • Endowment and Invested Reserves - These funds will assure the perpetual maintenance of the Sanctuary and support the new and broadened ministries it will house.

Architect Bob Easton Presented Conceptual Plans for Sanctuary Interior

Noted Santa Barbara architect Bob Easton, AIA, presented the results of a top-to-bottom engineering study conducted by Parker-Resnick - which can be read by clicking this link -- that not only confirmed the instability of the Bell Tower, but established that the old foundations under the west end of the Sanctuary are in even worse condition than thought, and these vertical seismic weaknesses are only part of the challenge: the Sanctuary is not properly braced to withstand lateral seismic forces.


A highlight of the Town Hall gathering was Bob's presentation of the floor plan of the Conceptual Project.  To see this document, please click on this link.


A highlight of the Town Hall gathering was Bob's presentation of the floor plan on the Conceptual Project.


Bob also presented a slide show showing poor or missing support under the nave floor and along the perimeter walls. 


Rev. Aimée Presented Important Theological Underpinnings for Project Elements

Rev. Aimée gave a thorough presentation on the theological reasons for the various elements of the comprehensive work envisioned inside the Sanctuary, mentioning that the seismic and reinforcement work speak for themselves. She explained, "Church buildings exist to serve the mission of the church" and then spoke as to how the elements of this project impact the mission of All Saints.


She noted, "We come to church to bring ourselves closer to God and to one another in community of faith. We bring the whole of our lives here that we may dwell more fully in God's will for us and for our world. The elements of this project address the whole of our lives lived out in the church."


To read Rev. Aimée's "Theological Framework of the Project Elements" just click on this link.



Aimée proceeded to describe each of the project elements and how they play such an important role in the life we live as Christians at All Saints:


Organ - "Our sacred music is an outward and visible sign of the worth which we give to God in public worship. We need an instrument that doesn't hinder our worship, but that is worthy to offer God the praise God deserves."


Communion Rail - "Just as our instrument shouldn't hinder us, neither should the architecture of our chancel, the altar area."


Seaside Chapel - "The parish articulated in your Parish Profile the desire to reach even the youngest Christians, and their families. I have a vision for the Seaside Chapel that can help us do just that."


Memorial Chapel - "We proclaim an adult faith at our Confirmation; we are married here; we give thanks for the birth or adoption of our children; we seek forgiveness here; and we are buried here."


Endowment/reserve Funds - "These funds will ensure our ability to be good stewards of this building and the ministry it houses for generations and generations."


Finally, Aimée concluded with this, "Ultimately, this project is not about the building, but about ensuring that we have the sacred spaces necessary to house ministries that form the faithful and allow us to grow in relationship with our God and one another as we serve the world in Christ's name, now, and for years to come."

What is the Project Budget?  How are we Going to Pay for all of the Work Needed?

The original and very preliminary $8.5 million goal included estimated construction costs provided by local builder Giffin & Crane. The firm's estimates were based on early conceptual drawings generously prepared at no cost by All Saints' parishioner Jock Sewall. The preliminary cost estimate also incorporated an initial structural analysis of the Bell Tower and Sanctuary foundations conducted by Dalziel & Associates.


Subsequently, Bob Easton conducted significant design development work for the project's various architectural components. And as mentioned, the Parker-Resnick firm performed a comprehensive engineering study of the Sanctuary. This study confirmed initial conclusions about the severe structural weakness of the Bell Tower, established that the foundations under the old west end of the Sanctuary are in even worse condition than we thought, and reported that the Sanctuary's vertical seismic weaknesses are only part of our problem - in addition, the Sanctuary is not properly braced to withstand lateral seismic forces.


With this new information, the Easton firm engaged a different local builder, R. J. Spann, to conduct a very detailed cost analysis. That analysis serves as the basis for our new project budget of $11.6 million, of which $1.5 million is for endowment and invested reserves.

It's worth noting that to the extent the project elements did not change, the R. J. Spann analysis came out very close to the earlier Giffin & Crane cost estimates. The increase in costs is largely due to the additional seismic reinforcement required in the foundations, floor, walls and roof of the Sanctuary as called for by the Parker-Resnick engineering study. The project cost increase also reflects the greater design detail provided by Bob Easton's work, increases in construction contingencies recommended by the architect, and material and labor cost inflation.


To confirm these estimates we will soon receive two additional costs estimate reports from Frank Schipper Construction and Bob Young Construction. However, we feel very confident in our latest estimates due to the in-depth analysis provided by R. J. Spann and the generous 20 percent construction contingency that is now included in the budget. Of course, the ultimate project costs will be based on fixed-price competitive bidding by multiple construction firms. 

Capital Campaign off the Ground

The Vestry authorized a feasibility study in early 2014 to determine the ability of the parish to conduct a multi-million dollar capital campaign; the answer was a very strong "yes" - if we are able to secure a few very large gifts from members of the parish. Ed Birch, co-chair of the "How Firm Our Foundation" capital campaign along with Bitsy Bacon and Sheri Benninghoven, reported that while raising $11.6 million will be a formidable challenge, "I know this parish, and together we can raise the funds." The parish-wide phase of the campaign will begin in January 2016, he announced. In the meantime project leaders will continue to organize the campaign, enlist more and more volunteers and seek the support of church members. Ed made it clear that fundraising progress will determine how quickly construction can begin and no long-term debt will be incurred (short-term construction loans are anticipated, however).

Breaking News:

Immediate Action Planned to

Deconstruct Bell Tower

Bell Tower

By Chip Nichols

The Vestry has determined that the danger to life and limb presented by the Bell Tower requires that it be taken down as promptly as possible, and the Vestry has authorized deconstruction and re-construction of the Bell Tower as promptly as legally possible. We had believed we would be eligible for an emergency permit procedure. The County has now advised that would not be available, but that it is prepared to process in an expedited manner a "Substantial Conformity Determination" under All Saints' existing Conditional Use Permit, which would allow this work to begin as soon as this fall, with the balance of the work to await issuance of the full building and land use permits, which will take many months and likely not allow the bulk of the construction to begin until late 2016 or 2017. Once we receive the "Substantial Conformity Determination," if sufficient gift commitments have been received by the capital campaign, the Bell Tower work would begin and should require 3 to 4 months.  However, the Bell Tower work will not require closing the Sanctuary.  The main doors will not be available during this time.

Q&A Time Highlights Parish Gathering

The Town Hall meeting was a great opportunity for those present to ask questions and weigh in on various topics that were discussed. In addition, comment/question cards were distributed to all in attendance. All of the questions asked during the meeting and those submitted in writing are being combined and answers are being prepared. We'll send those out at a later date. In the meantime, please click on this link to review our current project Q&A.


We Invite Your Input, Questions!

Design Subcommittee - If you have suggestions about the project, please send them to  Our Design Subcommittee will be working all summer to meet, develop ideas, work with the architect and gather input from parishioners, clergy and staff.  Your input is critical and you are welcome at any of these summer gatherings.  Just send an email or call the Church Office and we'll make sure your voice is heard!


Online Survey/Comment Card - Just click on this link and you will get a chance to fill out a special online survey and ask questions.