The Altar Platform



The altar stands on a platform which reflects the shape of the church itself. This is not simply a design feature. The wooden flooring around the platform was intended to be an 'ambulatory' or 'walkway' for the congregation to come and gather around the altar to receive communion. The space was intended to be as empty as possible - although the plans show choir stalls with curved ends to reflect the movement of the people around them.


Because the platform for the clergy chairs was apparently never constructed the chairs were moved (rather precariously) onto the altar platform (and joined by tables and candlesticks). The result was that it could no longer be used as intended for the giving of communion. The apsidal east end of the platform has become meaningless and rather dangerous looking.



In fact the platform was never so used because the open sanctuary which would have united clergy and people was 'fenced off' by an altar rail which separated them.



The altar rail was never intended and in fact subverts the entire conception of the church. Instead of being a single 'eucharistic room' it has become two rooms: one for the clergy and one for the people. The people cannot move forward to gather around their altar but must kneel at the entrance to to be served by the clergy. The space around the altar has become redundant and its meaning puzzling to those who do not understand its intended purpose. It has become almost a store for various items which - despite their use and importance - inevitably look out of scale and out of place. The church itself looks larger than it really is because the movement it was created for has been eliminated.


The ambulatory around the platform has lost its purpose.