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      Church holds first mass after renovation with design centered around Old Mission Peninsula

      After a year of renovation, St. Joseph Church held their first mass Thursday night.

      "The same thing Jesus looked at the vines and the branches, and the creation.....the skies, the beautiful water, all of that's incorporated within our church."

      Rev. Monsignor Edwin A. Thome and St. Joseph Church are surrounded by wineries and scenery alike at the Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City.

      The church had its first mass Thursday night, after a year of renovation.

      This renovation focused on making the design with the Old Mission Peninsula in mind. The dark blue wall behind the altar represents the bays, while the grape vine panels on the alter represent the vineyards of the peninsula.

      Their goal was to preserve some of the old architecture, but also add new additions as well.

      "I wanted people, as they experience the space and the service, that they feel the old and the new," said George Moutsatson, the project's architect.

      Moutsatson said he used a philosophy of legendary architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, called organic architecture.

      "The church perfectly blends the old and the new. (I) think that's very symbolic of also what Jesus says about the wine, we are right in the center of the wine district," Monsignor Thome said.

      St. Joseph was growing in its congregation size and needed a bigger building. That need is now met, with more than $2 million raised in the project overall.