Friday, February 25, 2011

You don't usually get to see pipes like that

The day starts with John reviewing again our financial strategy for the coming year. It is very tight. We may just make it...we need to get partners past the conversation stage and into the commitment stage.
Again, clothes on the steps. And a blanket. Is someone staying here?
My friend Don meets me on the steps. He’s a seminary President emeritus. A rare combination of good preacher an strong administrator. Retired, engaged and active. He served on the Presbyterian Social Witness Council I chair and has known my work for 30 years. And he is a respected elder statesman of the church.  Known for wisdom and balance and not taking sides while still being stalwart in commitment to justice. 
I share with him our vision for the Centre and for the church. It’s important that he see where we want to go. We need more voices in Presbytery that  understand that this is indeed a new vision for what  the church could be and not just another desperate attempt for West-Park to hang on a little longer. 
We really explore what the church could be. Starting from where we are, reaching out to children and families of the international Latin community, including immigrants. A new fellowship of  interfaith families. And intentional outreach to those alienated from the church. Especially younger ones. How we could build on the “community of communities” idea.  Defined groups united in fellowship, especially breaking bread together; witness and service and major liturgical events. 
Don agrees to be an advocate. To look for opportunities for interpretation and also financial support. And to work with us on our centennial campaign. This is the kind of support we need to move forward. 
I leave our clergy study to deal with church issues. The words So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own lingering in my head. We’re pretty much in a birds of the air, lilies of the field kind of situation here.  It’s hard to trust, to not worry.
Today’s worry is keys. Have to wait for a locksmith, run back and forth between  the  church and a meeting with the Presbytery people who are walking with us on this journey. Deacon James stays with the locksmith as I work with my leaders to bring the Presbytery folks up to date. On the one hand, as long as we can stay solvent, we’ll stay ahead of any ecclesiastical problems. On the other, for the first time, I begin to see a glimmer of understanding about what it is we are trying to do and the beginnings of movement  from critique to support. A sign of hope.
Today,on the steps I find  a full set of clothes, including jeans with a belt that look like they’ve just been taken off. OK, is there a naked guy running around the neighborhood? Clothed like the grass of the field? I’d love to know what’s going on here.
A full day. Starts with the fire alarm man. We need new phone line. And probably smoke detectors. The hand pull alarms do no good if no one’s there. Then the plumbers arrive to do a full inspection of the boiler and all the pipes in the building. When they reach Mc Alpin Hall, they look up, amazed and enthralled. Would you look at that, they say. You don’t usually get to see pipes like that. Only in text books. This is great. Late 19th, early 20th century. This is great. Like plumbing archeologists, they check out the pipes on every floor. Because we’ve had steam, they should  be safe. But there is asbestos. (Knew that) And lead paint issues, too. (Knew that, too.) For the first time in a long time, I feel overwhelmed and depressed by the condition of our building.
The plumbers take off. Happy for their adventure.  John comes by to pick up the keys and wait for the Woodshed Theatre folks. They continue to develop their dream, their vision. 
Consider the lilies of the field....

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