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Longboat Key Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 2 weeks ago

All Angels Episcopal Church adds ramps

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Renovations meant to make outdoor activities easier.
by: Nat Kaemmerer Staff Writer

Construction is under way at All Angels Episcopal Church on three ramps at the church’s two doors and to a terrace facing Bay Isles Road. 

In addition to making it easier for people in wheelchairs to get into the church, Father Dave Marshall wants to connect the church with its outdoor space. The Spaeth Terrace facing Bay Isles Road is only accessible through a door in the church. 

“It was part of initiation for the Flower Guild (who arrange altar flowers) to lock themselves out  here,” Marshall said. “The joke was that everybody locks themselves out and would have to jump down (into the garden below).” 

A ramp sloping through the garden will offer a way for worshippers to come up or Marshall to come down, which aids in his plans to periodically hold worship outside. He imagines people in lawn chairs attending outdoor service or listening to the drive-up church via outdoor speakers, an easier way to give communion during the pandemic and a way for people to come up and be close to the church for prayer whenever they need. 

Father Dave Marshall at the site of the ramp at the back of the church.

“The terrace is designed to enter, rest and pray, but there’s no way to enter except through a door that gets you locked out,” Marshall said. 

At the church’s door facing its parking lot, part of the stairs are being knocked out to make way for another ramp, and a ramp is being added at the back of the church. The existing ramp is steep and has a wall at the bottom that’s difficult to navigate. Hopefully, the work will be done by All Saints’ Sunday on Nov. 1. 

When it’s up and running, Marshall is considering holding outdoor coffee hours and maybe in the future, other outdoor activities. Indoor events are still off the table for now. 

“We just don’t know when everybody will be comfortable coming inside to worship,” Marshall said. “We would like to get the outdoor space done for Christmas and Easter. That’s the plan we’ve got.”

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