The First Plans

In the 1980’s the Community’s leaders Mother Cay Andersen and Mother Judy Sorensen had a growing vision for building a new church that would serve a growing community and a developing music program. In 1988, M.Cay died, and shortly after M.Judy retired. The Community elected M.Betty Pugsley as Prioress. Under her leadership, the Community began to earnestly pursue bringing that vision to reality. Because some members of the Community were architects, building contractors, and lawyers, they were called to draft early renderings of a new chapel and to chart a timeline for presentations to civil permitting groups. As 1990 approached, they decided that the obvious location for such a building would be an expanded footprint on the site of the current chapel.

Obtaining a building permit became a complex problem. Through 1992, Community members presented their plans to conservation commissions, historic commissions, zoning boards, other town and country councils, and finally, courts. Deep into the holy night of Orthodox Easter 1993, in return for approvals, the Community agreed to a series of height and site restrictions, clearing the way for a lower and smaller Gothic Revival chapel.

In the course of studying and preparing construction and site drawings, however, committee members became aware that the agreed-upon plan was not well suited for the Community’s liturgical needs. The floor plans and outward appearance were too closely identified with an architectural history and significance that was not expressive of the Community’s ecumenical vision. In addition, engineering obstacles increased as the plans were developed, further indicating a need to revisit the basic plans.

Next Page: The Next Round of Planning