By Shirley Lindahl
Edited by Jerry Rutherford
The alternate building committee report was given February 4, 1962 with the decision making meeting set for one week later. Plans drawn for this design showed the existing sanctuary remaining with continued use of Fellowship Hall for education. Additional space would be achieved by construction of a two-story education wing with a basement for a cost of $50,000 less than the original design.
Sensing the importance of the decision to be made, Reverend Helliwell wrote, "The year 1962 has seen the Kirkland Congregational Church to a place of turning, arrived at through the successful building fund raising of last year... a place of decision which will have to do with the direction of the church for many years to come. Aware of the division of feeling he continued, "We are clearly on trial for the measure of graciousness of our words and actions...our readiness to accept with grace the prevailing mind of the church, whatever that mind may prove to be."
The secret ballot revealed 106 members favored the original plan, 56 for the alternate plan and 4 voted against both plans. It was not a unanimous decision but clearly a majority. Some of the 56 voting against the sanctuary plan felt so strongly about the issue that they subsequently left the church.
Following the vote came a motion to authorize the trustees to "activate firm financing, working drawings and a call for bids... approve necessary committees and act as construction committee to work with architects toward finalizing the building plans."
Planning section committees were formed to work out he details with Ron Richardson as general chairman. Areas to be finalized by these groups were Worship (sanctuary), Fellowship (lounge and Fellowship Hall), Education (classrooms), Music (choir left and practice room), Arts and Grounds. Members of these key committees visited other churches, gleaning ideas, worked diligently with the architects and listened to their fellow members to gain input for their area of concern.
The spring of 1962 saw great excitement in the church not only for the new building, but for the upcoming Seattle Worlds Fair (Century 21). In April, just before the opening of the six month event, the congregation voted to donate $100 to help set up the Christian Witness Pavilion.
By July a time table was evolving that indicated construction could begin in January, 1963 when half of the total cost would have been guaranteed. At that time the H. G. Wells Co. would consider the loan application for the balance. Plans called for building the sanctuary first, then remodeling the existing building during the summer with all work to be completed by the fall.
Section reports were completed in September. The Education committee which included Barbara Thomas, Phyllis Dieckmann, Avonelle Johnson, Jean Jayne, Anita Watson, and Mary Ann Radcliffe reported that the results would be not only satisfactory for the present time but elastic in that redivisions might be made as need dictated or as education methods may changed.
The Fellowship Committee which included Ernie Thormahlen, Phyllis Dieckmann, Herb and Florence Wilkinson, Elinor Hammond and Eleanor Helliwell felt that the lounge would be useful for coffee hours, meetings or older youth Sunday School class and Fellowship Hall with a new fireplace will serve many social purposes.
Seating for 350 was achieved by the Worship Committee which included Ed and Margaret Hjorth, Bill and Marian Elgin, Jerry and Donna Marsh, Marion Kidder, John and Gertrude Gates and Norine Neyland. They reported that the general perspective of the sanctuary as previously presented has been radically changed with abandonment of the controversial roof line. They further stated that the result is a plan which the committee has received with unanimous enthusiasm.
The Music Committee who included Alice Kinyon, choir director, Mary Ann
Radcliffe, Marcia Lutterman, Florence Gildow, Jerry Rutherford and Margaret
Hjorth decided that during the services the choir would occupy a balcony, a
needed choir rehearsal room will be provided (this room later became the
Helliwell Room). They also reported that provisions had been made for
relocating the pipe organ in the sanctuary balcony.