Friday, April 13, 2012

Just in Time for Holy Week... Again.

Our Mission found a new place.  Of course, nothing is "turn key" for an "Orthodox space", but in the grand scheme of stuff we have looked at over the past 7 years it wasn't overwhelming.  I started the demolition on a Sunday afternoon. 
(clikon'em to embiggen'em)

We had to remove a couple walls that opened up 3 spaces into one long space for the sanctuary.

The problem was, the electrical panel was in one of the walls and had to be moved.  No matter how we designed around it, it would block too much view of the altar. Fortunately the ceilings of the two rooms were laid out on the same grid and at the same height so I could eventually join the two ceilings together after the center room was removed.
We bought a lot of stuff at Stardust, the Habitat for Humanity construction thrift store.  We got these two 8 foot french doors for 150.00.  It took a day to fabricate the jambs and hang them, but it gave us a "dramatic entrance" into the sanctuary area.  Much nicer than an office door.
The panel took the electrician 3 days to move and re-wire.  This is "panel artistry".

Once the panel was moved I could repair the drywall and paint. We built the platform for the altar area then some of the members came in during the week and installed the "Pergo floor". I took "Western Good Friday" off and finished repairing the ceilings and started on the iconostasis. The one from our old building fit almost perfectly across the room with very little tweaking.
On Lazarus Saturday, the choir moved all of their stuff from the old building, we found all of our icons, we finished assembling and painting the iconostasis and pre-painted all the baseboard.  We were about at this stage when Fr. John Erickson, our visiting priest, showed up for his weekend with us.  I had just finished cutting the new top for the altar. He and our altar servers started putting the altar area together while we continued to work on the nave.
At about 5:00 we installed baseboards, icons, moved tools and materials out, swept the floors, the choir set up their area in the back.  We assembled an Ikea cabinet for the chanter's area and located the hanging lampadas for the iconostasis. The altar servers found all of the necessary cups, plates, oils and supplies for Lity and Vigil.

At 5:45 we had a functional Church building for the Vigil of Palm Sunday and Holy Week.

This is our first Sunday communion.

Our congregation seated during the homily of Palm Sunday.
Outside of the entry doors we still don't have a narthex because the entire fellowship area is still under construction.

We didn't have an extra icon stand so we put St. John on the Ladder for people to venerate as they entered.  He's been around this kind of thing a lot with this group....

This Lazarus Saturday was the 13th anniversary of our reception into the Orthodox Church. It was a good way to spend the day.  I've always really enjoyed the "down to the wire" Church buildings I've been involved in over the years. Even Fr. John commented on how exhilarating and amazing it was to see all this come together even in the hour and a half he was there while everyone was doing the finishing touches.  As Silouan said, "Instant Church, just add sweat." 

Then, I ended up with a "cough" on Sunday night during Bridegroom Matins. I never get sick and my pain threshold is really high, but by Monday night I felt like someone had beaten me with two by fours.  I was hoping it was a 24 hour thing, but I've spent the last 4 days in bed and finally went to urgent care today.  3 scrips, rest, plenty of non-alcoholic liquids (but codeine and beer are SO good together and my wife won't let me drive the bulldozer in our bedroom anymore anyway....)

I wish I could say that I at least spent the time I've been sick meditating on the nature of suffering, pain and resurrection of the body or something really "spiritual" but I was too busy coughing, blowing my nose and eating and drinking massive quantities of over the counter drugs to try to get some sleep.  I didn't even try to pretend  to convince myself I was "suffering with Jesus".  I was too miserable to even want to pretend to be enduring anything nobly or quietly.  If someone offered to martyr me on the spot I might have taken them up on it Wednesday night. Sigh.  Even a quick death can be self serving.

Well.  I intended to make good for at least Holy Week but I guess God had other plans.  As my friend Joe used to say, "How come every time God works in a mysterious way I get kicked in the ass?"

Maybe it is the fitting end to this Lent.

No matter what, Pascha is tomorrow. 


Sean+ said...

Please to remember that your part was the work. That was your offering. Now it is up to God.

And on the other hand: WOW! I can't tell you now impressed I am. I think our Lord will be delighted to be greeted with a paschal shout in such a place.

Sean+ said...

I can't tell in the photo. Is it St. John of the Ladder?

s-p said...

No, St. John the Evangelist on a Ladder. :)

Babushka Joanna said...

The new church is wonderful. I hope you are much, much better soon.

Larry Anderson said...

Your parish's new home looks great. You do nice work. If I'm ever in the area, I'll come visit. :-)

I hope you feel better soon. I'll put your name on the prayer list at my parish, and of course you have my prayers in any case.

David Dickens said...

This post today reminds me of how much me and my family owe to those who have worked so hard (and still do) on our parish. There's a debt there, that I can't repay, except maybe to show up. I suppose that's the only real gift I can give to my older brothers and sisters in the be there. And soup, they seem to like my soup.

Tomorrow is the day.

Anonymous said...

"instant church" but great faith!!
Congratulations to all of you from Greece!
I hope you get better soon, to enjoy Pascha in your new, wonderful church!!

Anonymous said...

Kalo Pashcha!

Many Years!

discourse said...

Beautiful work. Sorry to hear you were sick. I've been told many times that never being "in" church as a mother of many is my prayer. I think you have your own version of this to live.
I hope you feel completely better soon.

J.D. said...


All I can say is, "some kind of awesome" to see that sacred space come to life.

Ian Climacus said...

Christ is Risen!

Happy 13th anniversary!; and what a beautiful church -- and all done so quickly. May God continue to bless you all.

And I hope and pray you are feeling much better.

Drewster2000 said...


Forgive me but I've gotten confused on your church history. Am I right in thinking that you were with a different mission church a couple years ago, found a building, lost a buildng - and now you're with a new mission church and found a building - but are only helping them get set up?

If it's not too much trouble, can you confirm that for me?

Anonymous said...

Drewster, same mission. We've just moved a lot over the years. S-p.

rebeccaam said...

Lovely and amazing!

Fr. John is an old friend, your mission is lucky. Did you have a priest for Holy Week and Pascha?

s-p said...

Rebecca, Our Mission is BLESSED! We have Fr. John and a retired Greek priest who served his 50th Holy Week and Pascha with us. They both have been such a stabilizing and positive model of the Faith for us.