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Sep 26, 2011 | EDOT Staff

Resurrection, Austin, Completes Phase One of Renovation

The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Austin, recently completed Phase One of a three-phase renovation which began on June 5.


In the oven-hot, dusty days of August, anyone passing near the corner of Justin Lane and Burnet road in Austin noticed that something big was happening to the church on the hill. Every day through most of August and into September, gigantic machines moved tall mounds of dirt and rocks in clouds of dust. For weeks, huge pipes sat atop the dirt. 


But now, Resurrection boasts efficiently designed, spacious new parking-lots inviting more cars to park around the church. Drainage systems are in place. Newly poured sidewalks offer entry points from Justin Lane and lead from the Sanctuary to the Church office.When cooler, and hopefully wetter, weather allows, fresh grasses will cover the lawn and landscaping can begin. 


The planning committee and parishioners put the plans together, took surveys and looked at neighborhood demographics for the next 10, 20, and 30 years as they assembled task forces to plan the renovation. They sought the guidance of the Episcopal Church Foundation, a program that provides resources and a method for a church to examine its mission. The method allowed the planners to systematically explore  the reasons why ECR might want to transform itself. The Planning Committee also answered a series of questions about ECR’s core values formulated by Sue Wilmot, Resurrection's seminarian at that time.


As answers to the questions gradually accumulated, a new vision of ECR’s purpose emerged. It became increasingly clear that the role of the ECR of the future is outreach. The church on the hill can “touch, enhance, improve, provide.” They discovered that Resurrection can be a vital, powerful witness to a way of living in the modern world.


Phases Two and Three will will build a new parish hall and finally end by renovation of the church building.


Jon Ellis, who works alongside Mike Paulsen on the planning executive sub-committee, was not at first an advocate of a campus transformation.


“I was not sure that it was the best use of our limited ECR resources. I was skeptical of the ‘if we build it, they will come’ mindset,” Ellis said.


The sharper vision of ECR’s purpose convinced him. Now, Ellis knows that ECR can play a vital role in the changing, growing neighborhoods in North Austin. 


"As we continue to transform the ECR campus, our doors are open at the church on the hill," said Resurrection's rector, the Rev. Jim Stockton. "In the not too distant future, we will have even more doors to open. Come on in!"