New church opens in Lansing - Catholic Courier

New church opens in Lansing

The faithful of All Saints Parish in Lansing have seen the light, and it’s shining brightly throughout their long-awaited new church building.

A historic moment occurred on Sunday, June 3, when congregants began Mass in the 74-year-old church and then processed next door. There, the joyful liturgy concluded in All Saints’ new home — almost one year to the day after groundbreaking had begun.

Some of the building’s details still await completion, such as installation of stained-glass windows and the baptismal font. But by and large, the church should be done in time for the dedication Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Matthew H. Clark on Sunday, Sept. 30.

"We’re looking forward to the big event," said Dave Lippert, parish administrative assistant.

The new church seats 425 people, and little time was wasted putting that space to use; it was filled nearly to capacity when 19 children made their first Communion on June 10. This was a far better outcome than if the service had taken place in the existing church, which seats about 200.

"We moved from a very crowded church, to where everybody could kind of spread out and feel much more comfortable in a worship environment — not that we didn’t love our old church," said Jerry Hass, the building committee’s cochair.

The project’s construction firm is McPherson Builders and the designer is Schickel Architecture; both are in Ithaca. Local artisans have been responsible for design and construction of such items as the baptismal font, stained-glass windows, altar furniture and banners. In addition, all landscaping has been done by parishioners.

Lippert noted such new wrinkles as a flowing-water baptismal font that replaces the portable aluminum font, and a choir space that is now located in the church’s main body. For the most part, however, the design is fairly uncomplicated.

"It’s a really nice space — pretty simple, not terribly ornate. But that is kind of keeping with the down-to-earth people of All Saints," said Father Scott Kubinski, pastor. "Comments have been really quite positive. It feels good to be in there."

Dan Dwyer, the other building committee cochair, added that many parishioners wished to "maintain some of the feeling of the small country church and close community that attracted many of us to All Saints in the first place."

"It was in some ways very difficult to walk out of the old church. I was thinking about people in their 80s and 90s, and that it was the only church they knew," Lippert said. "But we were overwhelmed when we walked into the new place."

"The overwhelming majority are very positive and very appreciative," Hass added.

Much praise has been directed toward the considerable natural lighting that provides a stark contrast to the existing church.

"One of the things you notice is, wow, this is really bright," Father Kubinski remarked.

Final cost of the new church will be approximately $1.2 million, with another $300,000 for furnishings. The project also includes conversion of All Saints’ existing church into a chapel — mainly for weekday Masses — as well as a classroom/office facility.

Construction plans were originally set to begin by the end of 2004, but fundraising and the process of obtaining diocesan and civic approvals pushed groundbreaking back to June 2006. Lippert, who oversees many of All Saints’ day-to-day operations, said the project is staying within budget and that there was a good response to the original capital campaign and follow-up drive.

Hass and Dwyer said many parishioners took part in the decision-making process that included town-hall style meetings, information-gathering sessions, building subcommittees and a survey. Father Kubinski added that the effort involved "lots of time and effort from lots of people to make this happen."

Masses were first held in the Lansing area in 1910, with the first chapel going up in 1913 and the church opening 20 years later. Steady growth in recent years has seen All Saints move from its "mission" status and open a new parish center in 1995.

Dwyer observed that Lansing is the fastest-growing community in Tompkins County, and a new church was part of the master plan when the parish center was built more than a decade ago. The growth in Lansing is expected to continue; Father Kubinski said the number of All Saints families has gone from 190 to 265 over just a six-year period, with many of the new families containing young children. To accommodate this future growth, the new All Saints has been built so walls can be easily knocked out for expansion.

In 2005 All Saints became clustered with Holy Cross in Dryden and St. Anthony in Groton, with Father Kubinski assuming the pastorate of all three churches as a result of the ongoing priest shortage in the Rochester Diocese. This development saw All Saints drop from two weekend Masses to one, causing standing-room-only situations in the old church that even forced worshipers to be turned away.

"We’re opening a new church, and at the same time we’re consolidating. That almost sounds like an oxymoron," Hass acknowledged.

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