A “Beacon on the hill” is what architect Bill Heyer, Father Bakle, and members of Sacred Hearts Church hopes their new church building will become for the community.
An early morning Thanksgiving Day, 2013 fire destroyed the former building that Sacred Hearts Catholic Church parish members attended.
Prior to the fire, church members had planned to build on to the structure to include a social hall for church activities. They were in their first year of a five year capital fundraising campaign to raise funds for the addition. The fire drastically altered those plans.
A building commission met more than seven times over the past several months to discuss the rebuilding effort. Voting members of the commission included Chairman Dale Hadaad, Vice Chairman Pat Drouhard, Greg Goers, Chris Grabelicik, Kim Janick, Phil Petitti, Will Schindley and Allen Wagner. Consulting members included Father Bakle, architect Bill Heyer, Bill Davis Finance Director, Diocese of Columbus, Steve Berezansk, Joanne Bower, James Bush, Tammy Dieter, Cheryl Jason, Mauri Jason, Chuck Large, Mary McGill, Ron Meier, Doyle Rogers, Kevin Tebbe and Andy Ware.
Hadaad explained the process the commission went through to get to this point. “The first thing we did was put together a commission of parishioners tasked to do the following, find an architect, develop a design, finance it, and see the project to completion.”
Architect Bill Heyer is familiar with Morrow County, having helped complete the new courtroom at the Morrow County Courthouse. He was recommended to the commission by the Catholic diocese. Heyer has a unique understanding of sacred architecture and teaches sacred architecture at the Josephinum. The diocese is the project manager overseeing the process and handling the contractual aspects. The commission interviewed three architectural firms before selecting Heyer. Through a series of meetings, he listened to the needs and wants of the commission and, trying to work within the budget constraints of a small parish, developed the design. Heyer taught the commission the theological reasons behind certain elements of church design.
“The main focus for me is this balance between the economy, the beauty, and the strength,” said Heyer. These are the three triumvirate of sacred architecture. “It can be a struggle to keep that balance when you have a small budget.” Included in the design is a social hall. It is more cost effective to build the social hall during initial construction than it is to add on at a later date.
“We have a set amount of money,” explained Ware. We have asked Bill (Heyer) to show us an image of what we would very much like to have. Insurance covered the old wood building at its present day value, but does not cover reconstruction costs.
What that number is (to rebuild) and what we have, well, there is some distance there. We are still working on numbers. The plans are not final at this point. It is an expression of what the parish would like to have tempered by reality but the cost is above the number we have. The images are inspiring and we hope that people will be inspired to donate.
Heyer noted, “The old structure was a wood clapboard building and did not have the durability that the church hopes to have in this brick structure. They are building not only for themselves but for future generations.
Heyer’s conceptual drawings for the rebuilding of the church were revealed to parishioners Monday, March 24, 2014 at the Cardington Middle School, where members of Sacred Hearts Church have been gathering to worship since the fire.
Father Bakle opened the meeting with a prayer and explained that the design was not a final plan but a work in progress, with comments and ideas from the parish being solicited to develop final plans.
Vice Chairman Pat Drouhard explained that the commission is “consultants to Bishop Campbell” and that the bishop will make final approval on the parish. The diocese owns the land and the building therefore the bishop has final approval. Drouhard introduced architect Bill Heyer “It is an honor to be serving you in the redesign of your church here in Cardington,” Said Heyer.
Heyer presented his initial design concepts showing the congregation elements that can be built now or added on to at a later point and time.
“This is a gift to God, because we love him, we celebrate him every Sunday and during the week,” he said. “Primarily this is a gift to God himself, and then it is a gift to your children and your family and future generations. From that you will gain all of these blessings. God showers his graces on those who give back to him. “Prayer is incredibly important for any campaign, so I encourage you to start a prayer patrol. There has to be ongoing prayer no matter what the size gift you are giving to God.”
The next phase will be moving into actual construction drawings. The hope is to break ground by July first. A capital fund drive will start June first after the bishop’s annual appeal. The church will need help from the diocese on the construction costs and will need to raise funds of their own to complete the structure they plan to have last for many generations to come.