Faith in the future: St. John to be renovated

October 29, 2011

By Rosanne Bowman LIMA — St. John the Evangelist Church on South Main Street just began a capital campaign to renovate.The goal of the campaign — called Faith in the Future — is to raise $650,000 by December through three- to five-year pledges.Parishioners have already been contacted, but area residents interested in making a donation may call 419-222-5521.“To date, we have 29 gifts totaling $261,180,” said the Rev. David Ross, pastor of both St. John and St. Rose which are part of the Diocese of Toledo. Ross said the sanctuary needs to be repainted, and the congregation is growing.The church retained the consulting firm Cunneen Co. to provide counsel. The feasibility study, which used both focus groups and individual interviews, was completed about a year ago and showed that the parish could raise the necessary funds. While the building is not a registered landmark, Ross said they want to preserve it. The parish held its first Mass in 1901 on the third floor of Wheeler Hall, at Market and Elizabeth streets. In 1912, they moved to the current site and conducted Masses in the basement for 12 years. The upper church was dedicated Nov. 27, 1924. The restoration project has several goals. The first goal is to paint the entire interior, which is now blue/beige/gold. The last time the church was painted was in 1989, the paint is peeling. A special basecoat will be used this time, keeping the paint intact for 20 to 30 years, according to Ross. “While we want to retain some elements of the color scheme, such as the ceiling,” Ross said, “we will brighten up the walls. The liturgical architect we contacted advised us to brighten up the church.”The second goal is repositioning the tabernacle. This is the cabinet that houses the eucharist (consecrated communion items). The tabernacle will be moved into the apse, the open area behind the altar. “We want to create a worship space around that,” Ross said. “It will be a semi-circular area with a railing and seating or benches.”Finally, the lighting and sound system will be upgraded.“The light and sound system has not been touched in a long, long time,” Ross said. The parish hopes to begin work in the spring or as funds become available. Ross hoped all 300 to 400 parishioners will donate. “We are hoping everyone contributes,” he said. “We realize some are on fixed incomes but the idea is an equal level of sacrifice, myself included.”