St. James Catholic Church – Hopewell, Virginia
The interior of this church was originally a traditional design, however in the 1980s an addition and renovation reoriented the church 90 degrees off axis. The result was a confusing low space which covered up a number of beautiful windows and turned the focus from the beautiful old high altar and tabernacle.
The renovation proposes in two phases to return the church to its original orientation. The first phase simply reorients most of the pews after removing the 1980s altar and steps. The choir would be relocated to the new addition wing and a new baptismal area in the narthex created. In the second phase a wall is inserted to create a cry room and vestibule and create an ample side aisle on the south side of the nave. The narthex wall, which had closed off floor to ceiling a part of the old nave will be removed and a new narthex will be created below an expanded choir loft.
Miraculously the original high altar and tabernacle were preserved and this will be the focus of the new sanctuary. The sanctuary will be extended with a new altar and step and a relocated crucifix both located under the triumphal arch.