New worship items grace Sanctuary
St. Paul people will notice updates to three items important to worship life in this place. Each change has a story.
On special days in the church year and for many funerals, a large cross leads processionals at the beginning and end of worship. A new processional cross at St. Paul was first used on Christmas Eve, given as a special gift to the congregation.
The metal and wood cross was crafted by Jordan Wanner, a sculptor from Milwaukee. The design for the cross is by Paul Barribeau, architect with the Groth Design Group. He also designed the Sanctuary, which opened 10 years ago. The 9-foot-high cross features an abstract impression of Jesus’ body on the cross. It complements the altar cross with similar proportions and wood, as well as the altar and paschal candles with hammered and curved metal.
It is used for Christmas, Palm Sunday, Easter, funerals, and other festival days.
“Martin Luther suggested that Christian people begin and end each day — the first and the last thing as one steps out of and into bed — making the sign of the cross,” Pastor Peter Marty said. “The cross is that essential for organizing our lives and centering our faith.”
Also new are wicker offering baskets that replace brass offering plates.
“The Sanctuary was designed with natural hues, rich wood colors, and a hybrid design that blends some traditional elements with a contemporary sacred space,” pastors Sara Olson-Smith and Katy Warren wrote in a request to the Memorial Gifts Fund Committee for funding, which the committee approved. “The architect designed the furnishings for the sanctuary, from the altar table to the baptismal font, and from the pews to the cross high above the altar table, to be something different than conventional Protestant church furnishings of the mid-20th century. Thus, the space has a minimalistic appearance, free of some of the embellishments and decorations that mark many other churches.”
The new baskets, in use since November, aesthetically fit well with the space, and are light for holding and passing.
Every weekend, hundreds of people pass the “Welcome to St. Paul” books up and down their pews. They flip the navy blue book open and write their name and contact information. One may indicate special requests, like a call from a pastor.
The covers of the old welcome books, more than two decades old, were beginning to show their age. The bindery that made the welcome covers had gone out of business. However, a family-owned company in Utica, Nebraska, Houchen Bindery, took on much of that company’s work. They said they could replicate the old welcome books, with a few requested modifications.
The Memorial Gifts Fund Committee approved the request to purchase the new books. They, like the new processional cross, were first used on Christmas Eve. The order included enough books for weekends when the Sanctuary is full and Chapel overflow is needed. On the cover is the church’s logo, a design which conjures up imagery of the pipe organ and the people who gather in this community of faith.