Sunday, July 10, 2011

And again

And again. This time my old friend and longtime member Chuck arrives as I am getting my bucket and mop out. He helps me carry the water and as I mop the steps. He sweeps up the broken glass and the rest of the steps. His being there makes the work go faster.
As we’re finishing, I hear a voice. It’s long time Presbyter Marge Santos. I know money’s money but you can’ t get a sextant? she says. Actually, no, I respond.  I bring her inside to see the historic display. Before we enter the sanctuary, she pauses to look at the plaques from the former West and Park churches about the cornerstones. Wants to know if we know what’s in them. (We don’t.) 
We go in and  I show her  Norm’s archival exhibit. Seeing Bob Davidson’s picture, she gets quite emotional remembering how he had prepared her to become Presbytery moderator even as he waselected to elad the national Presbyterian Church. She looks at Jan Orr-Harter’s picture and says that Presybtery lost someome irreplaceable when Jan moved away. Best thing? She feels we can get a grant from the Presbyterian Foundation to pay for our  archival work. I leave her with Chuck as I go back to finish my scrubbing and mopping. 
I pick up some coffee at Barney’s and Chuck and I go to the backyard to sit and talk. It’s sunny and pleasant, great to have the space to use again. We talk about the church and missd opportunities over the years. Our Men’s Writing and Spirituality Group. What we learned there. What it’s like to have one last chance to make visions, dreams come true. And that leads to talk of the Centre. And Chuck’s dream to bring the 29th Street Rep back to life. At West-Park. It’s good to talk there, together.
A dumpster arrives and the Woodshed people are hard at work carting out garbage and filling it up. Sometimes I have to decide what to keep, what to get rid of. We’re one dumpster closer to the empty and openness I want to feel. I head up to Starbuck’s to meet Jane and talk about what we’ll be doing Sunday and our Wednesday evening service idea.   She’s inspiring my creativity again. And we talk to about reconnecting  with the neighborhood, a bigger challenge  than it might seem. The narrative still to be reclaimed.  

I look outside and see the Prophet in the middle of Amsterdam Avenue, sun shining down on him.  His flowing robes. Today he's wearing a small conical sombrero. He faces the church, eyes looking up. Then he raises his plate with lunch skyward three times as he bows his head in a ritual only he understands. Then he comes to the south doorway, spreads out his blanket and sits down to eat. When I come back out again later, there's not a sign that he has been there. 

John brings in a young seminarian. Micah, just like my son. Been student at New York Theological Seminary, transferring to Union. We talk about the difference between the two; NYTS grass roots and evangelical, sometimes unsympathetic to other faith traditions; Union more intellectual, identity theology, less connected to actual congregational life. Micah has been running the arts program at Judson.  Could he help us at the Center?

A middle aged couple from Belgium has come in to look at this beautiful church. I can tell by the accent they're from the Dutch part of Belgium. 
Still plenty to keep me busy until closing time. The dumpster is still being filled.

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