by Welby Lehman
On Sunday, January 13, Church of the Incarnation will hold its first service in their newly renovated sanctuary on North Liberty Street in Harrisonburg. The former Parts Inc. building, is a great example of adaptive reuse in downtown, giving new life to an empty storefront and to a congregation.
Church of the Incarnation has experienced significant growth since its inception, quickly outgrowing their leased space on Market Street. The Church is intentional about fitting into the fabric of its urban setting. They seek to continue the historical role of the church as an active community participant including as a patron of the arts. (Look for art shows and concerts in the near future.)
The building was originally constructed in the 1960s. Fifty years later, the new building owners declared it “the ugliest building in Harrisonburg” and promptly purchased it. We at Blue Ridge Architects saw it a little differently. The rather unadorned facade and simple structural form was an architectural “blank slate”. The opportunity for creative repurposing was there.
The building is not large. Given the size and growth of the congregation, the majority of the space is dedicated to the sanctuary. An exposed ceiling, suspended lighting and accent walls are featured. The focal point is the platform with wood panels overlapping and partly concealing a frosted glass window. The sanctuary doors were made by local craftsman Zeke Trainum. The unifying theme is simple, clean lines with an urban flavor.
So, congratulations to Church of the Incarnation on your new space. We hope it serves you well as you serve the community. Congratulations to the Stratford Companies on constructing a beautiful worship space. Stop in at Church of the Incarnation on a Sunday morning. We hear they have pretty good coffee.