Another delay

I dreaded sending the email to our parishioners last week that announced that we would not be able to have our first service at the new building on Easter Day.

We have had so many postponements in moving to our new building that yet another one seemed like just too much. Many people have set their schedules based on our plans to move, and here I was, asking them to reschedule once more. And of course it’s disappointing not to be able to celebrate Easter in our new building.

But facts are facts, and our contractor simply isn’t able to have the building ready for us. The main delays have to do with inspections by the State and the County for the septic system, the fire sprinkler system, and the landscaping.

Fortunately our members have been quite resilient, and everyone has adjusted to the new schedule. When the times comes, we’ll have our first service, and it will be wonderful.

The anticipation of moving into our new building

It’s looking more and more sure that we’ll have our first worship service in our new building on Easter Eve, when we celebrate the Great Vigil of Easter. The next morning, on Easter Day, we’ll celebrate the resurrection of Christ at our regular 8:00 and 10:00 Eucharists for the first time.

After the many delays and disappointments of the past year, I feel almost giddy that we’re so close. The electricians are finishing up the last details; the tile, vinyl, and carpet are almost complete; the parking lot has been paved; and the landscaping has been scheduled. There are many finishing details that remain, but the contractor is hard at work and every day there are many workmen on the job.

Our transition team has met to plan the move from our old building to our new building. There will be many pickup truck loads to transport the mile and a half down Old Frontier Road, and it will be a challenge as we try to decide where to place everything. We’ll probably be living out of boxes for awhile, just like homeowners during a house move.

But thinking of our first service and how wonderful it will be is almost overwhelming. I’m sure we’ll all be thrilled to see the chairs in the nave, find our place, and come to the altar rail for the first time. We’ll hear how the organ sounds for the first time, and we’ll get a feel for the light as it comes though the steeple windows and fills the room. We’ll sense the presence of the congregation as we see our friends around us in a new setting.

I’m sure it will take some time to get used to. At first everything will seem so new and strange. But over time we’ll find our places and smooth out all the wrinkles, and we’ll be at home in our new church.

Bishop’s Visitation January 13, 2109

Well, I have to say we had a wonderful day yesterday when our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, visited us for his once-every-three year visitation.

We had a full church, the confirmation of three fine young people, and a splendid sermon by our bishop. Bishop Greg brought his large and expansive personality coupled with a warm and humorous presence. After he confirmed our young people, he encouraged them to sprinkle the congregation with a fir branch, using the holy water from the font. They were a little hesitant at first, but they got into it after a bit. “Remember your baptism!” they said as they doused us with water. It was a lighthearted moment, a good way to act our the bishop’s message of the importance of our baptism.

After the service, the bishop mingled with folks during coffee hour, then we took him and our other guests from the diocese to the new building where we gave them a tour and sat for a meeting with the Bishop’s Committee. It was a fine and satisfying day.

In his sermon on baptism, Bishop Greg told this story:

A baptist preacher and an Episcopal priest were having an argument about baptism. The Baptist preacher insisted that baptism was only valid if the person was entirely immersed in water, while the Episcopal priest said that sprinkling water on the top of the head would be sufficient.

The Episcopal priest asked the preacher, “What about if a person was immersed to their knees. Would that be enough?”

The preacher said, “No, that’s not enough.”

So the priest said, “How about if the person was submerged to their waist?” “Not enough,” said the preacher. “Their neck?” asked the priest. “No, that’s not enough,” said the preacher.

“What if the person was submerged all the way except the top of their head?” he asked. “Nope, not enough,” said the preacher.

“See?” said the priest. “It’s only the water on top that really counts.”