Dreams for St. John’s

During September and October 2019 50 members and friends of St. John’s met in “Bungalow Meetings” to share their hopes and dreams for St. John’s, talk about how we are living our mission to “celebrate God’s gifts and respond to the needs of the world,” and how our building and grounds could help us better fulfill that mission. Here is the summary of those meetings. The next step is for our Architect/Project Manager Team to access the cost and feasibility of these ideas and present a list of projects for cost estimates and further design.

Bungalow Meeting Summary 

The Bungalow meetings revealed four main areas of action. A) There is general agreement that the plans for renovation of the entire basement are overdue and necessary. People value that St. John’s is a welcoming community and want to build on that strength. B) There were some new ideas that should be considered. C) There are some issues, both programmatic and pertaining to space use, which could be addressed and communicated without a campaign. D) We may want to address some basic building assessments and issues before beginning the campaign so that the renovation is successful 

A and B) The ideas which were generated in the bungalow meetings and which need to be assessed and researched are: 

Accessibility. How can we make the altar area accessible? How can we make the second-floor classrooms accessible? 

Parish Hall. Remove the posts. Add a flexible room divider. Install a sound system, Install air conditioning. New flooring. Repair paned windows. 

Bathrooms. Do we need two or three bathrooms? Or one bathroom with floor to ceiling stalls and shared sinks? Can we have a room with a shower (and how do we keep this a safe space)? Is this the place for a washer/dryer?  

KitchenConsider pricing out 1) a basic kitchen upgrade, 2) a better kitchen upgrade, 3) a commercial kitchen to increase space use income, and 4) a washer/dryer in the kitchen. 

Boiler Room. Install a tankless water heater. Invest in a new boiler or furnace. Add a slop sink. Put washer /dryer here? 

Nursery/Youth/Hands to Help Room. Must solve seepage and mold issues. New flooring. Add storage space, computers, modular furniture, folding murphy beds.  

Garage. Consider pricing out 1) making basic repairs to existing garage with additional storage for better organization, 2) building a new, two story garage for additional storage, 3) tearing down the garage and creating an extension of the church building, perhaps including an accessible entrance, and 4) tearing down the whole 1924 building (all classroom, office, bathroom, and kitchen space) and building a whole new structure. 

Second Floor Offices and Rooms. Repair and replace flooring. Expand choir room, removing stairs to the outside door. New choir chairs. Maximize storage area in altar guild/flower room. Refresh paint and furniture in Vestry room. 

Sanctuary. Repair stained glass and replace plexiglass. Add a sound system. Refinish wooden ceiling. Light up ceiling. Add air conditioning. Refinish wood floor. Replace old carpet. Reconfigure altar area to be more open, with fewer steps, and more flexibility for worship and performances (possibly move the altar rail forward). 

C) The issues that can be addressed and communicated right away have been summarized and are in a separate document. 

D) The issues which could be addressed before the campaign begins are: 1) articulating a long-term strategic plan strategy for the parish of St. John’s, 2) conducting an inventory of the facility which includes the condition of the physical plant, and 3) documenting space use for all rooms. 

Some of the building issues which should be investigated first are: 1) the state of the plumbing and lead in the water (all electric is new, except in ceiling of sanctuary), 2) fixing the cracked sewer pipe under the Parish Hall floor, 3) cleaning out and fixing the crack in the catch basin between the church and garage, and 4) addressing the seepage in the basement, particularly in the southeast corner. 

St. John’s Lessons and Carols and Dedication of our new Entrance

On Saturday, December 9, our annual celebration of A Festival of Lessons and Carols will also celebrate our
history and our new beginning.

The front vestibule of the church has been completely rebuilt and now includes a lift providing accessibility
to our Sanctuary and Parish Hall.

The St. John’s Choir, the St. John’s Children’s Choir, and the worship team are preparing beautiful worship and
The Rt. Rev. Bishop Jeffery Lee will be present to bless our donors, our fundraising team, our planning team, our construction team and all those who will use the lift.

The worship is at 5:00 p.m.

A festive dinner follows in the Parish Hall at 6:00 p.m.

Childcare provided. Shhh! St. Nicholas may pay a visit!

Free parking is available on the street. Drop off for accessible access will be reserved at the front entrance
on Kostner Street.

For more information, call the Parish Office at 773.725.9026.

Construction Updates!

Week 10: This is looking real! The roof and shingles are on, the outside is finished, ready for stucco. The electricians are here.






















Week 9: The framing is getting its skin! The two angel windows are cleaned and have new glass storm windows and are back in place. The shape of the front façade is complete. They are working on the 9 curved supports for the arched plaster ceiling inside the vestibule.






Week 8: The framing (with some added support and new support beams) is complete and the next inspection is Tuesday. The drama came on Thursday when Wald cut his fingertip with an electric saw. He got six stiches and came back to work for the afternoon saying, “My blood is in this holy place!”


















Week 7: The framing for the new vestibule began and we can see it taking shape. We encountered some issues balancing the width of the stairs up to the church, which need to accommodate a casket and pall bearers, and the width of the stairs going down to the Parish Hall, which needs to meet code. Thanks to project managers Tom Camell and Bruce Yeager,  our contractor Waldemar Dyjewski, and our architect Michael McAtee, for wrestling with the problem and finding a solution! Future Pall bearers may need to pass a fitness test!

Week 6: This week the architect delivered new drawings for the support beams. Concrete work was done to provide new footings. The outline of the lift location is now visible. The first studs went up and the openings for the lift are in place. This week’s hiccup was discovering that the stair railings are 4 5/8 inches apart; Chicago building code requires no more than 4 inches. Thanks to the architect and lift team for solving this problem so that we can keep the old railings and adjust them to fit the code.

Week 5: Construction Delay.  It was bound to happen, and this week it did. Our contractor discovered a problem! In 1924 when the vestibule was added to the front of the 1888 church structure, the supporting beam under the west wall was cut in two places and moved east, resting on the walls of the closet which we have removed. So in came the architect and the structural engineer and a solution to shore up the beam! This will mean added time (2 weeks) and cost. But we expected surprises, and we are glad to know our foundation will be stronger because of this discovery!

Week 4: The new foundation is poured. We have a new sidewalk, with a slight slope and no stairs! While that sets Wald works on refinishing the front doors. He replaces the rotting wood and strips away 9 layers of red paint.











Meanwhile inside the church: Here is the view from inside the parish hall and the sanctuary. Trying to keep the dust out!







Week 3: The entire vestibule is removed and a ton of dirt is removed. New footings are laid for the new foundation. Lots of dust and dirt! The basement floor has to be dug three inches deeper to make room for the lift mechanics.












Week 2: All the historical details we want to preserve are carefully removed and stored. Then all the stucco comes down. We find two colonies of ants and other creepy crawlies that will have to find new homes. Then the inside plaster comes down. The electricity is turned off, and down come the walls! Finally, a stained glass specialists takes out the two angel windows for restoring.

Week 1: Bushes were removed and three protective coverings were built, on the outside front, inside the Sanctuary, and inside the Parish Hall. The dumpster arrived and the sidewalk and steps were demolished.

Work has begun to modify our vestibule and install a lift for accessibility. Don’t worry, all our historic details will be preserved.