[quote="pilots13, post:13, topic:265910"]
OK, Lets see if I can respond to all these posts (thanks to everyone who's replied)
. . .
Lastly, lastly, here's a link to how the sanctuary looks right now. Also, is a link to a website I try to keep up with the past few years of designs. I have photos dating back to the early 70's, just haven't had the time to get them all uploaded yet. I always welcome the 3 C's (comments, complaints, and questions) on my designs.
Looks like you are making the most of it with limited resources and a fairly brutal space to deal with -- that faded carpet and those huge blank areas of motley brown brick can't be very easy to dress up. How is it that the church got this pointless abstract stained glass, while the banquet hall got actual pictorial stained glass? Whoever made decisions like that sure left you with a tough row to hoe. Anyway, a few random suggestions:
*]Enough with the off-center runners over the altar. If you could find, or have made, maybe two or three decent altar frontals in key liturgical colors, that would be your best bet for making the altar a visual center. But off-center things tend to be jarring and disconcerting.
]A handsome frontal of some sort would also stop you from having to put busy-looking arrangements right in front of the altar to mask its overall unappealing affect when bare. Likewise, since you have a very large sanctuary -- too large, really, so that it seems hard to find a happy medium between making it busy to fill it up or leaving it gaping and empty -- there is no reason to do things like this. The washing can be set up over in front of the baptismal font, or between the altar and the ambo. (And what's with the yellow flowers on Holy Thursday, to say nothing of the harvest-themed runner, which is off-center of course?) Moreoever, I think you occasionally miss the mark on what should be your goal of *emphasizing and honoring the altar with things like flowers, and instead wind up distracting from and diminishing the altar when you set up strongly competing visual elements like a creche right in front of it. The altar should not have to compete for attention in this manner. Besides which, a creche should be off in a corner somewhere so that people can go and admire it without having to plant themselves in the smack in front of the altar to do it.
*]I really like the stone that is in the central portion of the sanctuary wall, where the crucifix is. (You don't have more of it laying around waiting to be used, do you?) Long-term, you may want to think of ways to deal with those big blank areas of wall to either side. They might look better whitewashed; that brown is really unfortunate and contributes to the overall darkness of the place. In the meantime, though, are these wreaths on Palm Sunday?
]Another point to make is that it would be better to expend your money on a smaller number of high-quality things than a larger number of low-quality things. Items like this just *look cheap, and that is depressing. This looks nice enough, but cheap fabric treated with no artistry actually makes the space look even worse than if it were not there at all. I read your statement to the effect that you refuse ever to repeat anything, but is that so necessary? I don't think very many people come to church and leave with the complaint "It wasn't new enough." When something is high-quality, people will want to see it again. We're not talking about wearing the same dress to the Academy Awards two years in a row: for most Catholics, a year will be too long for them to remember; and for those who do remember, it can be comforting and provide a sense of constancy and stability to see the same things reappear like clockwork. Once more, nobody says "A Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center again?!" Obviously there is room for innovation, but I think the anti-sameness manifesto is working against you.
*]Start saving your money to get rid of that awful carpet! It will also improve the acoustics.
Your church is definitely lucky to have somebody who cares as much as you do working on this. It seems like it would be a really dismal space if nobody were putting in the effort to bring some human touches and a bit of brightness in.