Blessed Sacrament Church In Queenstown Reopens, Known For Folded Slate Roof In Shape Of A Tent
Catholics who live in the Queenstown area might know that an iconic church in the estate has been under renovation for some time.
Churchgoers would’ve had to bear with the works as they worshipped in a building within the compound.
Finally though, after more than two years, Blessed Sacrament Church has finally reopened to worshippers.
One of the things that has changed is its roof has been restored to its original grey colour.
Blessed Sacrament Church is 60 years old
Blessed Sacrament Church, a recognisable landmark at the junction of Queensway and Commonwealth Drive, is 60 years old, having first opened in 1963.
The most striking feature of the main church building is its slate roof, which resembles the shape of a tent.
Perhaps partly due to this, the building was gazetted for conservation in 2005.
Queenstown church reopens after closing for renovation in 2021
In September 2021, the church closed for renovations.
Over the past two years, its parishioners would’ve had to attend worship services and take part in community activities at Damien Centre, a building within its compound.
Happily, that’s now over as the church reopened to the public on 31 Oct, according to a media release from the church.
Roof restored to original grey colour, design preserved
Part of the focus of the facelift was to preserve the original design of the roof, which was designed by architect Y G Dowsett of Van Sitteren and Partners.
To that end, the roof, which was previously repainted blue, has now been restored to its original grey colour.
The structure also used to contain asbestos fibres, deemed as a health hazard. The use of asbestos in building materials has been banned in Singapore since 1989, according to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA).
Thus, the renovation replaced the asbestos with lightweight metal tiles that still recreated the texture of the previous cement tiles.
The roof’s design is significant for Catholics — it symbolises the “tent of meeting” in the Bible’s Old Testament.
As befits the purpose of the church, the “tent of meeting” is a meeting place between God and His people.
Some other changes to the church
Some other changes to the church include those done to its coloured glass windows and skylights.
They were replaced with Low-Emissivity (Low-E) glass for better energy efficiency.
After cleaning and restoration, the circular patterns on the colourful naco windows with horizontal panes can now be more clearly seen. Wrought iron screens were reinstated at certain windows.
Some of the panels in the timber ceiling, which were damaged, were replaced with lightweight metal panels that look like timber. Acoustic felts have also been installed on selected panels to reduce reverberation.
The brick walls have been cleared of salt and mould and washed. Together, the ceiling and walls create a warm atmosphere of solidity and strength, the church said.
The doors have been also cleaned and restored to reflect the solidity of the original timber doors.
The air-conditioning, which used to be via split-system units, has been replaced. Now it’s a “hybrid system”, meaning a central air-con is complemented by air vents and floor-mounted condensers.
Externally, a new pedestrian entrance with a wheelchair-friendly ramp provides easier access from bus stops nearby.
Queenstown church plans celebration as it reopens
As the church’s reopening coincides with its 60th anniversary and the 65th anniversary of the missionary congregation that serves the parish, they are having a “Threefold Celebration” from 18-25 Nov.
The eight days of festivities will begin with the distribution of free meals to about 200 residents in the area on 18 Nov. There will also be a pasar malam on the same day.
The celebration will culminate in a Church Reopening Mass on 25 Nov attended by Cardinal Willam Goh, Archbishop of Singapore, and a parish dinner.
Those who want to join the celebration may find out more from the church’s website.
Congrats to church on their reopening
Its parish priest, Father Johan Wongso, welcomed everybody to the church, saying they’re hopeful that more people will come as it reopens.
Mrs Joyce Soo, 47, a parishioner, welcomed the new pedestrian gate near the traffic light as it represented “another… gesture to welcome people”.
Another parishioner, Mr Peter Wang, 54, said though there have been “big changes” in Queenstown in recent years, the church has been a constant.
Congrats to Blessed Sacrament Church on their reopening and restoring the glory of a landmark that even non-Catholic Queenstown residents can be proud of.
Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image courtesy of Blessed Sacrament Church.
Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.