It has been quite some time since our last building update and most of the summer has passed us by as we busied ourselves with vacations and camping trips and barbecues and fireworks. My hope is the summer has been a good one for all of you.
Construction work has continued at St. Paul’s but most of it has been out-of-sight from those who wander by on our sidewalks. Full asbestos abatement in the undercroft has been completed and filled with cement. The sanctuary floor has been fortified beyond belief with three new steel beams, five new steel piers and new framing around each pillar. Any and all who wish to crawl into the undercroft are welcome to view the steel and concrete. The floor is now wonderfully braced and will not come down in our lifetimes nor in our children’s or their children’s.
The interior wall is complete and the new limestone window frame for the Te Deum window is in place. Next week they will stain the exterior brick to age it to match the existing brick and also stain the interior brick so it matches the other walls. At the end of the week, steel tubing will be inserted in the Te Deum window buck (frame) to hold the stained glass aluminum frame when it arrives.
Therein lies the bad news — we were informed this week that the aluminum frame will not be available for an additional 15-17 weeks. Once that is completed, the frame and stained glass will be sent to us for installation. Due to the various delays (which are not the fault of our general contractor — but due to the stained glass company in New Jersey) it seems now that we will not be able to return to worship in the sanctuary until mid-Lent or Easter. I know, I know. It is not what we were promised, wanted or hoped for. But it is what it is. Fortunately, God is not too specific about where we worship but more importantly about what we worship and that we worship.
In the meantime, we have plenty of other building projects happening. Vestry has approved new lighting in the sanctuary and I will be meeting with the lighting specialists next week. Vestry will also be asked to approve roof repairs over the chapel area; the addition of gutters in certain areas to assist in water dispersal; repairs to the Robson window; removal and repairs of the stained glass window in the northwest corner of the altar area (the frame has rotted); removal of the Rose window (the frame has rotted) and filling the hole left by the window. (I wonder how many of us even know where the Rose window is located?) We are awaiting a proposal to install a new drainage system in the Memorial Garden which will require some digging; removal of concrete walkways, etc. — but not removal of any urns or ashes. We have also received a proposal to tear up and rebuild our parking lot early next spring as it is 80 years old and sinking in numerous areas — this will cost over $175,000.
Which means as we prepare to kick off our Capital Campaign — SP21Restore — St. Paul’s 21st Century Restoration Project — it is even more important to raise the funds so that St. Paul’s has the facilities necessary to continue God’s work in this corner of God’s kingdom.
This is a long journey — longer than any one of us had anticipated — but then again, if we look to our history — it took the Israelites 40 years to cross a very small patch of desert. As I like to say, it takes as long as it needs to take to accomplish the job. So I ask that we all continue our prayers; continue our caring for each other; continue to invite those who have no church home to visit this one; continue to remember that all of this is not about us, not about a building, but about ministering in God’s name to God’s people. I know we can do this and we shall with all of your support and care.
When I know more, I’ll share with all of you the information. In the meantime, be good to yourselves and each other.