Pennies from HeavenAnonymous donor allows project to proceed
The Rev. Troy Richmond thought that it would be at least five more years before St. James could afford a needed renovation to the chapel. That is until an anonymous donor made the work possible with a $150,000 matching donation.
Plans for the renovation began in 2010 when Richmond arrived at St. James. He said at that point, the plan was to purchase new flooring, new pews, a new sound system and new lights for the chapel. As planning continued, the small project grew into a larger renovation which now includes redesigning the sanctuary area, a place for prayer, and the baptismal font will include a full-immersion baptismal pool.
“It really has transformed into a complete interior renovation of the church,” Richmond said.
He said the only thing slowing the progress was the $400,000 cost of the second phase renovation. Phase 1 of the project – the new lighting and new sound system – was being completed last year when the church received word of the donation. The second phase of the project was scheduled for this year.
“Thankfully generosity enabled us to move forward at a much quicker pace,” Richmond said. “It is fitting that this church was built in 1962 and the gift came forward in 2012 – at the 50-year anniversary of the church building.”
The renovation is scheduled to begin in mid-August. Richmond said that he hopes the project will be completed in late November or early December. He said the goal is to be done by Dec. 1, which is the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the church year.
During renovations, the church will be having Saturday evening Masses at 5:30 p.m. at Tobin Hall. On Sundays the church will hold two Masses instead of the normal three. At 9 a.m. the English language Mass will be held and the Spanish language Mass will be at 11:30 a.m. The Masses will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
Once the renovations are complete, Richmond said he believes Martin Amos, Bishop of the Davenport Dioceses, will celebrate the newly renovated chapel at the first Mass.
During renovation of the floor tiling, Richmond said that asbestos in the 50-year-old tiles would have to be abated. He also said that the current pews would be sold. For more information, contact the church office.
About five years ago, the church had expanded by building a new parish center.