Dozens of congregants gathered Sunday night for the consecration of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Riverside.
Father Austin Goggans’ church grew out of a small fellowship that started gathering in 2009 in the basement of Don McDonald’s office building in downtown Rome. Today, there are 52 official members and any number of Sunday visitors.
“And for a small parish, we have a lot of youth,” McDonald said.
On Sunday, Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church in North America, came to bless their new house.
Beach said the ACNA has grown during the same period to about 1,000 parishes, spurred by “several denominations leaving their Biblical roots.” St. Andrews is a mission church, offering traditional worship using a modern-language version of the Book of Common Prayer.
“A lot of these people grew up in churches where the people up front did it all, but Anglican is a participatory service,” Beach said. “A lot of people are drawn to it because they participate in the prayers, the readings. It’s not a spectator service.”
St. Andrew’s members also participated in the months-long remodeling of the former St. Luke United Methodist Church, which had been turned into a commercial wedding chapel in 2014.
McDonald said they were using space at South Broad UMC — “They were unbelievably gracious hosts” — when he ran into Mark Brewster last fall and asked if he’d consider selling the building.
“He didn’t hesitate,” McDonald said. “He said ‘if you’re going to turn it back into a church, I’ll let you have it for what I’ve got into it.’”
They sealed the deal on the 6,000-square-foot newly refurbished building on four lots for $250,000.
The structure had been remodeled, however, to accommodate wedding parties, so there was still work to be done.
Architect Robert Noble, the church’s junior warden, drew up most of the plans to restore the nave, chancel, sacristy and other areas such as the choir rooms, nursery and storage rooms. Other members — including the kids — pitched in to paint, rebuild the pews, and to refinish and stain the floors and ceiling.
McDonald said the consecration and celebratory reception capped seven years of striving and set the stage for the parish’s future.
“We’ve been lucky,” he said. “So many members contributed so much of their money, time and special skills to St. Andrew’s.”