The Parish of the Good Shepherd

Episcopal Church of Waban in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Mass.

1671 Beacon St, Waban, MA 02468
Architectural Drawing
Angels Ascending and Descending: Handicapped Accessibility at Good Shepherd

This is the Parish of the Good Shepherd, Waban.

Architectural Art

A beautiful nineteenth-century English Country church in Late Victorian Gothic style with historical beauty, spiritual grounding, and simple elegance at the crossroads of Waban.

An excellent music tradition that leads the worship of Almighty God while inspiring and celebrating the best of the Anglican musical tradition.

A place of sacred liturgy, High Church practice and reverent devotion, thoughtful and challenging preaching, attentiveness to Scripture and sacraments alike.

Newly-renovated children’s classrooms that educate the children of the parish each Sunday, and now used during the week for a Spanish-language Montessori program.

Outreach ministries that take the good news of Christ into the world, allowing us to be the hands and feet of the Risen Lord in our own world.

Yet for over a century, our parish has struggled to welcome parishioners, friends, and neighbors into this sacred space.

Vestry minutes from 1917 document that even 103 years ago the parish was already dealing with the ramifications of a church that was not easily accessible to its members and community.

Through the years, various resolutions have been suggested and attempted, though they have failed for several reasons: they were not the correct solution for this parish, its space usage needs, costs (approximately $1 million in recent memory), and ramifications for the historic church. But now Wellesley Architect Jan Gleysteen offers us a new solution that solves the problem of handicapped accessibility without threatening the existing space of our parish, and at a cost that does not threaten the long-term financial viability of the parish. Mr. Gleysteen is an Episcopalian and well-trained in preserving historic and sacred space, skills and talents he is donating pro bono.

“Angels Ascending and Descending,”

“Angels Ascending and Descending,” a name taken from the story of Jacob’s Ladder in the Book of Genesis, offers an opportunity for us to rectify this century-old problem. In Genesis, Jacob finds himself in an unknown and frightening place, but during the night he has a dream in which he sees a ladder going up into heaven, with angels ascending and descending. It is there that he discovers enduringly that God is with him, and because of this vision he finds the courage and spiritual resolve to move forward in faith.

“Angels Ascending and Descending” offers us a similar opportunity. It brings those separated from the full offerings of our parish into our midst, allowing everyone access to 100% of the parish, and it strengthens our own journey of faith, reaffirming our commitment to welcome and care for all in need of divine embrace and assurance.

Architectural Drawing

The solution offered relies on the development of a small piece of land on the back side of the church. The space is currently undeveloped, and it allows the perfect place to build a tasteful, Late Victorian Gothic-style portico, without disturbing the church or the Memorial Garden. By building an entrance that matches the elegance and using this entrance does not feel sub-par or second-best, thus honoring the lives and circumstances of those who will rely on it. If ever there were a Good Shepherd way of offering accessibility, this is it.

Imagine yourself on the plaza of the new Angier School, walking toward the church. As you begin down the church’s driveway, not yet coming to the existing rear entrance, there is a covered entry on the righthand side welcoming people to the church through a handicapped entryway. The portico is built next to the historic church, in Late Victorian Gothic style, but intentionally it does not abut the historical church or obstruct any windows.

Architectural Drawing

Through this portico, we enter an enclosed, heated structure that leads directly to an elevator. The portico and enclosed lobby are built on unused land, while the elevator is inside the current building. From ground level, the elevator ascends to the church and descends to the Common Room. Upstairs, we will use part of one of the two Atrium rooms (the smaller room located on the front corner of the existing building), and renovate the second Atrium room to create a single, larger classroom. Downstairs, we will renovate the Boiler Room so half Renovated Mechanical Room can be repurposed to house the elevator and a hallway connecting the elevator to the Common Room.

Architectural Drawing

At a total cost of $500,000, this proposal offers a practical and compassionate solution to accessibility at a price half of the last efforts. If successful, the regathering of Good Shepherd after the pandemic will include welcoming parishioners into a space that is 100% accessible.

Consider making a one- time gift or make a multi- year commitment. The Vestry has made provisions for pledges to be paid over time. Gifts of stock make ideal gifts. The parish receives the full value of the donation; you receive the full value for tax purposes.

Your Vestry stands ready to achieve this goal in the near term so inaccessibility no longer plagues us. While the present realities challenge us, they offer an opportunity to renovate space while it is not used, to employ contractors when they are not working, and to prepare for ministry when we may safely gather again.

God willing, we might look back on this pandemic as a time we righted this wrong together... with God’s help.

Architectural Drawing
Architectural Drawing