The congregation cheered and applauded this past Sunday morning when the Rector announced:
“Only eight Sundays until we’re back in the nave!”
Yes, the finish line is in sight, and we are down to the wire. The nave presently still is surrounded with chain-link fencing and is inaccessible. When walking the halls of the parish house, we frequently hear jackhammering and beeping equipment coming from behind its locked interior doors.
However, on the outside of the nave, we see a new roof and huge new palladian windows. Inside we see a new slate tile floor on the surrounding hallways.
Palm Sunday will be a triumphant day in the life of this parish. When all is said and done, every inch of interior space will have been remodeled, reconfigured, or constructed anew, except for only the chapel and nave balcony.
After returning to the nave, only four projects will remain, which will be completed by July: Cheney Parish Hall refurbishment, new nave pews, front lawn restoration, and outside signage.
Indeed, we are getting all new pews, to be installed in May, which means that on Palm Sunday and Easter Day we will be using stackable and/or folding chairs.
Folding chairs have played a significant part in the history of this parish, and the congregation has played along as troopers.
In January 1950 when the nave was first opened, there were folding chairs; the pews arrived some weeks later. In June 2019, the old pews were removed while we were still in the nave, and we had “Folding Chairs Sunday,” which was a major photo op!
In our parish archives, we have the folding chairs photos from 1950 and 2019, and we will have others from 2020 Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter.
There are so many memories in these buildings, and the parish history is illustrious. In year eighteen for me, I cannot believe that I have witnessed history in this place, as I still think of myself as “the new guy.”
When I am greeting appointments outside our new parish office suite, I take great delight in showing four of the eight windows in the large upstairs hallway and gathering space, saying, “These four windows used to be in the Choir Room.”
In early July, the construction crews will depart a completed church and school campus after 26 months of work, which is difficult to believe, and we will valiantly move forward in ministry.
“Only eight Sundays.”