This fall, the Offices of the Diocese will move to 23 E. Airy Street, next to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Norristown. We are looking forward to sharing a campus with St. John’s, which reopened in 2017 and has a thriving soup kitchen and hospitality program that ministers to the poor and homeless living in this rapidly changing and diverse community.
We wanted to give a quick update on the move and changes to the building that will increase access and utility for everyone.
- Offices for St. John’s parish staff were created in the back of the current parish hall. This places the staff closer to the church itself, allowing for easy coordination and outreach. Renovations have also been made to house The Church Foundation in an area near the current parish hall. The hall will continue to be a place of gathering for both the church and the diocese, allowing for groups of 125 people to meet.
- In addition to the 20 parking spots in the back of the church, the parish also owns two nearby street parking lots. The Church Street lot has 35 parking spots and the Marshall Street lot has 25 parking spots. Plans are being developed to install fencing and automated gates for staff and guest access.
- Air conditioning was installed in the basement cafeteria where the soup kitchen operates. Each week, 600 people come through these doors for food. There are plans to add air conditioning to the church itself in the fall.
- Bathrooms in the parish hall were updated and there will be an ADA compliant restroom for visitors in the diocesan office space. In addition, a new ADA compliant ramp will be constructed for the office entrance along with multiple handicap parking spots with appropriate signage directing guests.
- We removed old fixtures and radiators in the rectory, where diocesan staff will reside, and are currently upgrading the electric to standard requirements. In the process of renovating this space we uncovered the original stairway handrail and banister behind paneling. Unbelievably, everything was in good condition.
On October 31, we will host a Halloween Open House for all in the diocese and surrounding community. (Details will be released before September.) We expect all diocesan staff to be in the new space by 11/1, barring any unforeseen issues.
As we work towards the move we do not anticipate any disruption in serving our churches or parishioners. We are working with experts in construction and office relocation to help ease any inconveniences. In addition to our main space in Norristown, we are updating an office space inside St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia where we will also maintain a consistent staff presence.