Architectural and Furnishing Notes
Planned as a flexible worship space in the neo-Gothic style, the new church building is unique in that it was designed and constructed with the cooperation of acoustical engineers, organ builders, and a liturgical architect, as well as the architects and contractors. The 55-foot ceiling and double drywalls were constructed to accommodate the sound and vibrations of the organ, and there is a five-second reverberation. Seating is for 400.
The nave and transepts create a cruciform shape for the church with the altar area as the focus. The floors are Carolina blue stone, and the interior columns are made of brick. The ambulatory, the space between the walls and the interior columns, can be used for extra seating or to display works of art.
The brick on the exterior was chosen to blend with that of the 1930 church next door, and the buttresses match those on the 1930 chapel.
The baptismal font, made in Italy in 1850 for a Presbyterian church in Pennsylvania, was purchased by St. Paul's and restored with a marble tile interior and a drain to the ground. Symbolizing entrance into the church through baptism, the font is stationary.
In the floor near the altar table, two stones of a different color mark the future burial sites for the Rev. C. Thomas Midyette III and for the Rev. L.P. Houston, Jr.
The ambo, or pulpit, is the raised desk from which the lessons are read and the sermon is delivered.
The bishop's chair is in the center seating area, behind the altar table.
A simple credence table on the side holds the elements for the Eucharist or Holy Communion.
The altar table, central to worship, can be moved.
The cathedral chairs also are moveable to reconfigure the space for different services, concerts, dramas, or other activities.
St. Paul's banner with our mission statement "To Know Christ and to Make Him Known" was designed by the Artists' Guild and quilted by a parishioner.
Commemorating Christ's path as He carried the cross from His condemnation to His crucifixion, the Stations of the Cross on the walls behind the arches were designed and created by Charles Chamberlain, Professor Emeritus in the School of Art and Design at East Carolina University and member of the parish.
On the columns on each side of the altar area are two stones. The stone on the right as you face the altar is from Canterbury Cathedral. Carved by Canterbury stone masons, it was given by the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral on a visit to St. Paul's in 1997 as a symbol of the church's relationship with the Anglican Communion.
The stone on the left, from Washington National cathedral, was given by a parishioner as a symbol of the church's relationship with the national Episcopal Church.
The hanging cross behind the altar displays on each arm a symbol depicting one of the four gospels. The cross and the candlesticks on the altar table were designed for the worship space by the architects.
Needlepoint kneelers, the gift of a parish member, were lovingly stitched by many parishioners.
The aumbry or tabernacle holds the reserved sacrament.
A display case contains the Book of Remembrance where individual gifts and memorials are listed.
The Sanctus bell is used to call attention to certain parts of the service.
At the back entrance is a Jacobean chest or bench, and near the vesting rooms is a cross made by a blacksmith in The Plains, Virginia.
Colors and symbols appropriate to the liturgical seasons appear in a variety of altar covers, crosses, paraments, kites, banners, artworks, and floral arrangements.
The Perkins Stained Glass Windows
The windows, designed and made by Brenda Belfield, an artisan from Alexandria, Virginia, were a gift from the late Mamie (Mrs. J.J.) Perkins.
The center rose window, so named because of its stylized resemblance of a flower, appears over the altar. Representing Christ, it is centered with the Star of David and expands into a Bethlehem star and outwards into a cross. At the ends of the cross are medallions representing all the elements of creation that Jesus used in His ministry.
The east transept window represents God the Father and depicts the creation coming out of light.
The west transept window represents the Holy Spirit. At the ends of each quatrefoil are the tongue of fire reminiscent of the day of Pentecost.
The small triangular window at the front of the church above the organ bay represents the Trinity. It draws all three rose windows together -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The 16 clerestory (upper) windows repeat the star designs and the colors used in the rose windows.
The stained glass in the entrance door between the outside fountain and the baptismal font includes a design of water to represent the River Jordan.
The gathering space outside the church serves as a connection to the chapel, church offices, education building, parish hall, and Quatrefoil Gift Shop.
The fountain in the center of the garth is in line with the baptismal font inside and can also be used for baptisms.
The columbarium, from columba, or dove, evokes peace and serves as a final earthly resting place for parishioners.
The lantern over the doorway was made by an ironmonger in Tennesse who also built the railings on the ramp in the back of the altar area.
The cross to the left of the front door near the cornerstone is from an artisan in The Plains, Virginia.
Two lanterns on the side of the church were made by the maker of the Atlanta Olympic torch and were a gift to the church.
The garden was planted as a memorial to and in honor of the service of the women of the church.
Landscaping of the church grounds was designed to suggest a church campus atmosphere, to provide seasonal color, and to include plantings that could be cut and used by the Flower Guild for decorating the church.
The Perkins and Wells Memorial Organ, C.B. Fisk, Opus 126, was dedicated in 2005. The organ has 3 manuals and 58 ranks. Its principal function is supporting congregational song and choral acco…
The Stations of the Cross are an ancient form of prayer. They are based on a path of several holy sites (or "stations") of pilgrimage in the city of Jerusalem. Pilgrims would travel through th…