The Sanctuary at St. Marks is a bright light filled space for worshiping our Lord Jesus.
Each wall and the balcony end wall have beautiful stained glass windows depecting the ministry of Christ, as well as silhouettes of the contemporay ministry of the United Church.
For music we have a Casavant pipe organ and a grand piano equiped with a disklavier. These instuments, joined with our choirs, fill the sanctuary with joyful music.
The sanctuary can seat 450 and the balcony can seat an additional 140 persons. Also, the sanctuary is wheelchair accessable with four dedicated spaces.
It is truly a beautiful sight to be part of our Christmas Eve family service when this entire space is lit by individual candles as we sing to honour the newborn Christ.
St. Mark’s has a beautiful chapel that is ideal for small private services, weddings and baptisms. The chapel can seat 60 people and has an electric organ for music.
There are stained glass windows on both sides of the corner at the alter depicting contemporary themes of Christian life. Also, there are three stained glass windows along the wall that originally were part of South Bay United Church and relocated to St. Mark’s when the former church closed.
Sanctuary Pipe Organ
The pipe organ in our Sanctuary was originally installed in our former church on Church Avenue in the 1930’s. The organ was built by Casavant Frères of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec; then shipped to Saint John and reassembled on site. At Church Avenue some of the larger pipes were visible in the Sanctuary, however the modern (for 1960) minimalistic architectural design of our current church dictated that the pipes be hidden.
The organ has two manuals comprised of 40 white and 25 black keys each. In addition to keeping her hands moving on the two manuals our organist, Norma Blanchet, must also manipulate 32 pedals on the pedalboard with her feet. Talk about patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time!
There are 13 stops for the manuals, and 4 stops for the pedalboard, plus couplers which “couple” or add a “stop” which can be used to either add to the sound (volume) or to change the character of the sound which is being produced. When a stop is engaged, it allows air to pass from the windchest to the pipe and thus produces its own distinct sound. Our organ also has five preset pistons which when used activate specific stops in sequence.
Behind the screen at the Alter there are a total 1097 pipes made of either metal or wood that produce the notes when the keys and pedals are depressed. The smallest pipes are 3/16″ diameter and 6-1/2″ long, while the largest pipes are 5-1/2″ diameter and over 10′ long. The wind to ‘blow’ the pipes is produced by an electric fan located in the boiler room and feed through distribution ducts to the the windchest and then to the individual pipes.
The organ is tuned once a year, usually in December, so we can listen to all the wonderful Christmas music in near-perfect harmony.