All Souls Dedicates New Church
By Betty Ann Weber
Sanford's All Souls Church was 121 years in the making. On August 15th, parishioners honored that past and celebrated their future by dedicated a new church building for the historic parish. History records a trio of churches in Sanford bearing the name of All Souls. The first two were dedicated July 4th in 1887 and 1937, "and we're so pleased," said Father Richard W. Trout, pastor, "that our new church will be dedicated on the Assumption, the feast of Our Lady."
The 6 p.m dedication Mass was celebrated by Bishop Thomas Wenski.
The new structure on west State Road 46 is roughly five miles from the 1937 downtown church, now referred to as the "historic chapel." It was designed by RLF Associates in Winter Park, the same architectural firm honored for its design of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the universe in Orlando. The historic chapel, where Masses will still be celebrated, seats 300. The new church provides room for 1,000.
The original church, a white frame building, burned to the ground in 1931. The cornerstone of that building revealed that Protestant and Jewish members of the community were among All Souls' original benefactors.
The new All souls Church is on a sweep of land with an eye toward expansion, including the imminent construction of a school. "We also have plans for a high school seven or eight years down the road," said FAther Trout.
Inside the long, narrow church, the eye is drawn to the crucifix on the distant wall and the brass tabernacle beneath. Only days before the dedication, a stained-glass window arrived from artist John Hardman of Birmingham, England which was installed over the crucifix.
The pastor considers one of the church's main triumphs to be the all-marble altar.
"We wanted to mimic our 1937 plaster altar, bearing a replica of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper," Father Trout said. "Before we made the final selection, a large parish committee scrutinized a series of artists' renderings, agreeing to add gold, bronze, and copper mosaic tiles to accentuate the depiction." The new altar, made of Carrera marble, was sculpted by artists rounding the ambo and the stand supporting the tabernacle.
King Richard's Religious Art discovered an Internet company that salvages old artifacts from churches that are closing. The Stations of the Cross that line the church walls were ordered through this company. All Souls returned to that company to provide the altar, ambo, and tabernacle stand.
The Artwork creates a new sense of dignity and pride for the parish family filling its pews, according to Father Trout. But, as he also noted, "It was God's work that made it happen. I marvel how good and generous the Lord has been to our parish. That he would allow something like this to be built is so amazing."
Hilary Bornstein, 21, an All Souls parishioner and psychology major at Florida State University in Tallahassee, said about All Souls: "I'm passionate about this parish. Someday when I have children, I want them to grow up in the same community."
"I'm so proud of this church. It took a long time and lots of dinners and other fundraising activities," Bornstein added, "but Father Trouet had a dream for it to be built and he wouldn't give up. Father Trout and the Lord."