From the Pastor
If you’ve been around the last few weeks, you know that we’ve been worshiping in the Fellowship Hall on Sunday mornings. The air conditioning system in the sanctuary went kaput a couple of weeks ago, making for a not-so-comfortable worship space, so we moved downstairs, where the A/C is working just fine.
The sanctuary unit isn’t repairable and will need to be replaced. (It’s been pumping cool air into the sanctuary since 1957, so we can hardly complain about getting our money’s worth out of it.) Last week, the board met and approved a proposal from the property team to replace the sanctuary system. You can read about the project in much more detail on page six, but the bottom line is that it’ll be a few weeks before the equipment arrives and it will probably be mid-September before the new system is up and running.
It’s been an irritation to deal with this, but it’s certainly not the end of the world. For one thing, we are incredibly lucky to have two air conditioned spaces that are big enough for us to gather in. What we’ve come to think of as a necessity (We can’t possibly be in the sanctuary with no A/C!) is in actuality a luxury that many people don’t have; going without for awhile just might keep us from taking it for granted. We’re also very fortunate to have the assets on hand to pay for a new system, through some reserve funds set aside by the board for just this sort of occasion. The financial stability of our congregation is due in large part to many thoughtful people who have planned ahead and have given generously over the years. No doubt, this expenditure will put a big dent in our contingency funds, and it will take awhile to build those reserves back up. But again, we’re really very fortunate that we have this building from which we can do ministry in the world.
There have certainly been some quirks about holding worship in the Fellowship Hall. The sound system isn’t the greatest down there, and there’s no good way to record our services, which means the sermons haven’t been posted online. (Melissa’s been posting some other content, though; take a look at the website to read the latest “What’s Brining you Joy?” posts.) Those hard, noisy folding chairs aren’t ideal, either. With pews, you can almost always scoot on over and make room for one more. That’s harder to do with chairs. And some small things: the candle on the makeshift communion table is right below the A/C blower at the front of the room, which makes it hard to keep the candle lit—not exactly the image we’re going for with the light of Christ.
But there have also been some perks about worshiping in a different space. Simply being in a new place makes us think about worship differently. I’ve noticed that several people have been sitting in different places than they do upstairs, giving them a different vantage point. When I’m preaching, I like being closer to all of you; I feel like we can interact more and have more of a conversation than we can when I’m standing up at the pulpit in the sanctuary. The singing has been good—having all our voices together and close to one another, instead of spread out across the sanctuary, has made for some really beautiful hymns.
I’m curious what you’ve noticed—what do you miss about the sanctuary? What do you like about being downstairs? When we move back up, is there anything we’ve learned from our temporary worship space that we should take back with us?
I’m grateful for your flexibility and your presence as we live through this transition, and I’m glad that we can worship together, wherever we are.