The Saint Patrick Church of Merna was established in Bloomington in 1875 and has a storied history of serving the rural farming communities around Bloomington and, more recently, those living in the urban community as well. Interestingly, the church also has seen more than its fair share of adversity in the form of tornadoes. The original church was constructed in 1891 and suffered severe tornado damage in 1902. Repairs were made but another tornado in 1982 completely destroyed the church. The church was rebuilt but with eyes toward the construction of a church of the future. That future was realized with the opening of a new church in 2006.
The lighting of the new church needed to serve the needs of a growing parish population with varying ages. The architecture of the chancel, nave and narthex offered the challenges associated with a ceiling constructed of mostly wood with minimal opportunity for concealment of lighting equipment. Light sources for functional needs and the highlighting of the chancel were recessed where possible or concealed behind structural members.
Custom chandeliers were designed to provide light as decoration and to provide scale in the voluminous space. The chandeliers also incorporated downlight sources and concealed uplight to illuminate the central spine leading from the narthex to the chancel.
The church continues to serve the needs of its parish which grows yearly.