Hidden room revealed during Emmanuel church renovation

The Rev. Martha Macgill, rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, dedicates the Resurrection Chapel that was discovered during renovation.

CUMBERLAND — Emmanuel Episcopal Church is celebrating an unexpected blessing — a beautiful space that had been hidden for many decades and is now the Resurrection Chapel.

The room had been concealed behind plaster walls for almost 100 years and was rediscovered during repair work in June.

The discovery began with a leak around a chimney that had caused water damage to the plaster in the sanctuary and a room behind it that had been used for storage.

Beyond a makeshift wall in the storage room, which was entered from the sacristy, extra space was discovered, and also a doorway to the main sanctuary that had been hidden behind some floor-to-ceiling drapes.

When the walls were stripped, stonework was discovered. Then, two lead-light windows, which had been covered for more than half a century, were revealed. These bathe the space in light.

Members of the church believe that the room originally served as the space where the organ was pumped by hand or foot by the sexton during services. Mark Steiner, Emmanuel’s organist and director of music, retrieved the organ pipes and is renovating them.

The chapel renovation was completed in October. Mike Clark, Emmanuel’s facilities manager, led the restoration, assisted by the encouragement and financial support of the congregation.

The Rev. Martha Macgill, rector of Emmanuel, thought “Resurrection Chapel” a fitting name, providing an unexpected miracle for the church and the city of Cumberland.

Resurrection Chapel was dedicated by Macgill during a Sunday service on Nov. 3.



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