Joining Jesus: Cathedral Redevelopment Project

This blog post was written by The Very Rev. Miguelina Howell, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral

From right to left: Dean Lina Howell, Architect Duo Dickinson, and Bishop Ian Douglas after singing Cathedral Redevelopment Contract.

The Cathedral Redevelopment Project is a venture whose seeds were planted seven years ago, bearing fruit of creativity, innovation, and hope for our collective participation in God’s mission at the corner of Church and Main street in Hartford and beyond.

In 2014, the Cathedral Discernment Task Force, led by the Rev. Harlon Dalton and appointed by Bishop Douglas, presented a final report with a set of recommendations. One of the recommendations exhorted us to transform our Cathedral Nave into a flexible space that various communities and constituencies could utilize. This report and the 2015 ECCT Annual Convention affirmed our role and cathedral vocation as a resource for forming apostles in God’s, creating a clear pathway for next steps.

The cathedral church should be configured with flexible seating rather than fixed pews and furnished in such a way that it invites pilgrims to enter in and wander about, even when weekday worship is taking place.

Excerpt from the 2015 Cathedral Discernment Task Force Report.

As then Vicar, my role was to support Harlon Dalton and the lay leadership of our Cathedral Congregations in engaging our community in the discernment conversation. Now, as Cathedral Dean, I have benefited from having been part of the initial stages of this dream as I work with Bishop Douglas, Architects Duo Dickinson and Nicole Desrosiers, and our Cathedral Chapter in materializing this dream.

The approved design will allow us to serve our Cathedral Congregations, the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, neighbors in the City of Hartford, and the State of Connecticut in ways we could not have imagined given the restriction of the pew boxes, lack of accessibility, and limited audio-visual resources.

The renewed space contemplates two additional restrooms, flexible seating, a ramp to access the chancel, improved lighting, livestreaming equipment, new flooring, onsite storage space, air conditioning, and much more.

The Joining Jesus Initiative provides the funds to support this redevelopment effort. Bishop Douglas has made a herculean effort in securing funds to bring this vision to fruition. Our Cathedral Chapter has also authorized a significant contribution from our endowment funds towards this project.

To this day, we have accomplished the following:

  • Finalized renovation design.
  • Secured a general contractor.
  • Executed a contract with AV company.
  • Tested for asbestos and implemented a plan for abatement.
  • Removed doors and recyclable wood from existing pew boxes.
  • Identified electrical needs and developed a lighting design.
  • Applied for city permits.

The demolition work will start in the next few weeks.

We are thankful for the generosity of so many faithful lay and clergy leaders who have enthusiastically supported this redevelopment project that will positively impact our common life and participation in God’s mission.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Ronald Kolanowski says:

    I still remember that day we went into our cathedral with Ian and Duo to consider the space with fresh eyes. What you all did following has been nothing short of spectacular. I can’t wait to visit soon following vaccine in a few weeks. So pleased to be a small part of this effort. Sending my next pledge to efforts today

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