By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published October 2, 2014
CUMMING—The sanctuary of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Cumming has nearly doubled its previous seating capacity following a nine-month renovation project.
The renovations, which began in October 2013, included sanctuary expansion and new pews to comfortably seat 700 people, the addition of an entrance tower leading to a new and larger narthex, as well as a new Blessed Sacrament chapel.
“We’re all pleased. There hasn’t been a single negative,” said Father Frank Richardson, pastor. “The parishioners were just blown away by it.”
Weather conditions in January and February had delayed the project. The first Masses held in the renovated sanctuary were the weekend of July 5-6. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory presided at a concelebrated Mass there on Sept. 14, blessing the space.
The church now includes a balcony for the choir and an expanded altar platform with additional stonework.
The new Blessed Sacrament chapel seats 70 people. It features the stained glass window of Christ the Good Shepherd, made by Cistercian monk Father Methodius Telnack, in Conyers, which was moved from the former chapel. The old chapel space was converted into a sacristy.
“Eventually we hope to have perpetual adoration,” said Father Richardson. The pastor explained that many do not fully understand Eucharistic adoration so “there is a bit of education” to be conducted first.
The exterior of the church was upgraded with stone masonry on both the existing building and the new entry tower, and stonework was carried throughout including the baptismal font and ambry. Two reconciliation chapels are located off the sanctuary.
Father Richardson said the parish’s building committee, led by chair Marc Ferrara, the architect, contractor, and Catholic Construction Services are to be commended for the teamwork. Building committee member John Kieffer also provided much support and expertise, as did parishioner-architect Robin Millard.
“My contribution was signing the checks,” added Father Richardson.
The most important goal, said the priest, was to cater to the growing number of parishioners with an expanded place of worship.
The Church of the Good Shepherd has 2,630 registered families and offers three morning Masses on Sundays, a Mass in Spanish at 1 p.m. and a Sunday evening Mass, as well as a Saturday vigil Mass.
The total cost of the project is $2.6 million, and Father Richardson said they are comfortable that the cost of the renovations will be completely paid for within two years.
Renovations involved more than 11,200 square feet of the church, and new construction added 1,940 square feet.
Millard Inc., of Roswell, the architects of the original 1991 church when the parish had 290 families, created the architectural design, and May Moeller Purcell, of Norcross, was the general contractor.
Among the finishing touches to the remodeled sanctuary was a hand-carved wood corpus installed on the cross in the sanctuary by King Richard’s Liturgical Design of Alpharetta. The company rescued the vintage carved Christ figure from a closed church in Pennsylvania.
An updated audiovisual system and new organ were part of the renovation project.
“The revised space is just so much better than what we anticipated,” said Father Richardson.
To view photos of the recent renovation project at Church of the Good Shepherd in Cumming, visit www.gsrcc.net.