News for the Church, 7/21/23

Good Day to you Church!

Looks like we will be getting some big rain again this afternoon and into the night. Here’s to praying we don’t have major flooding that takes roads out again. 

Today’s newsletter is going to mainly be dedicated to discussion around the sanctuary renovation project. But first, the news.

Community Supper Next Thursday

Our next Community Supper will be held Thursday, July 27th. If you’d like to help out, contact Sharon Pickard. 

Jeff Mitchell to Preach Sunday, July 30th

I will be away at my family reunion next weekend and I’m grateful that we have an in-house preacher. Thank you Jeff for your service!

Sanctuary Renovations

Last week I reported to you about where Session was at with the sanctuary renovation plan, and explained that scaffolding has fallen out of favor with both insurance companies and contractors alike because scissor lifts are so much more economical. 

I also explained that because of using a scissor lift, the pews would have to be taken out, and because they were cheaply made, it’s not going to be possible to put them back in again once they’re taken out. (Did I mention that when we took out the back two pews to make the “kid corner” a few years ago, in the process of taking them out as carefully as possible, the seats–which are made of rough cut pine–splintered into pieces?) 

Because of this, our insurance company has given us extra money to replace the pews, and up until last week, Session had been leaning towards replacing the pews with comfortable padded chairs. 

A number of you were distraught at the idea of getting rid of our pews however, and so this week at our Session meeting, we circled back to looking at different options. 

Here’s where Session is at this week: 

1. We are looking harder at what it would actually cost to have a contractor use scaffolding. I’ve made phone calls to other churches around who have had their sanctuaries painted in the last 10-15 years, and it looks like the main contractor people use, who is willing to use scaffolding, is based out of Connecticut (because no one locally will do it with scaffolding). From what I’m hearing, he’s quite expensive, but I don’t know what this means exactly. I’m working to find out exactly how much more scaffolding would cost. Once we know the cost difference, we can decide if it’s worth the extra money to be able to keep the pews we already have. 

2. We’re looking at the possibility of having the Amish build us new pews. In our dream world, we’d like to keep the end caps on our existing pews and have them used to make new pews. 

3. We’re also looking at purchasing used pews from other churches and having them shipped here. (We priced out having brand new pews made from a company that builds them and it was going to cost $34,000 for what is equivalent to 5 of our current rows of seating. We have 17 rows at the moment, so you can see that this is not a viable option.) 

Session is eager to make sure that whatever we end up choosing (in the case of new seating), that it be movable.  Last week I mentioned that this will give us versatility in the sanctuary, but I forgot to mention another very important reason for selecting movable seating. If and when we can no longer afford to stay in our building, choosing seating that is not nailed down to the floor means that we can take it with us when we move. This will save us big money in the long run, and will give us some of the “comforts of home” when everything else will be new and different. 

Friends, that said, I know that no matter what decision Session makes about the seating, someone is not going to be happy. I want to assure you however, that Session cares deeply about our sanctuary. We’re doing our best to weigh options, take in the big picture, make sure we’re being good stewards of the money we have been given, honor the historic beauty of the building, and keep in mind both our present and future situations. 

This week we received the (free) sample chair that the chair company sent to us to look at. It’s currently in the sanctuary for people to both sit on and examine. Even if you’re dead-set on us keeping pews, I hope that you will at least sit in the chair out and try to imagine what it would look like to have chairs in the sanctuary.  Being able to see things from a different perspective is an important skill for all of us to practice (even if we’re going to do our best to make pews happen).

Once we have as much useful information together as possible, we plan to have a meeting after church at coffee hour some Sunday to make sure you are up-to-date on where things are at, can give us your thoughts, and walk through this process with us. 

What’s YOUR Favorite Hymn

The other day I got an email from Heidi Jamieson. She was reaching out to request that we sing her favorite hymn some Sunday. Having her send in this request made a lightbulb go off in my brain. 

I’d love to learn what your favorite hymns are and incorporate them into our worship services when they fit thematically with a particular Sunday’s scripture reading.  So…. lay it on me! Email me back and tell me what songs you love best (and even why, if you’d like to explain.) 

There are so many beautiful hymns in our hymnal, but they’re extra special when they mean something to us. 

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Katrina