Monday, July 23, 2018

Fr. Chuck's Column, July 22, 2018

Well, here we are in July, still waiting for our renovation project to finish. I am trying to learn patience.
Hopefully, by the time you read this, the sidewalk in front of our new lobby and the entrance to the church will be all repaired. The delay was caused by differences with the City of Austin (COA) building department over interpretations of the building code. We want to repair existing conditions, they want the entire sidewalk re-conformed to meet building codes enacted long after the sidewalk was built. Since almost all of the sidewalk is COA property (our property line ends about a foot in front of our center steps) we believe that is on them to change the sidewalk. We just want to repair existing conditions. I am trying to learn patience.
Meanwhile the last parts of the renovation project are coming together, and slowly it is being finished. In any case we WILL give thanks to God and celebrate our renovation on Sun., Sept. 2. Following the 8:45 a.m. Mass, at about 9:30 a.m., we will have a little program with a few speakers, cut the ribbon, and officially open the new entrance lobby.
That will continue until we have the 11:30 a.m. Mass, which will be a more religious celebration of the dedication, with full choir, a brass quartet, and ending with a Blessing of the whole project. There will also be refreshments, perhaps food trucks on the blacktop, exhibits, and it should be a fun time of community building. We have much to celebrate! Please plan to spend some time with us that Sun. morning, Sept. 2.
Beyond that we are looking at the possibility of doing some renovation work in the interior of the church. Now that the outside is so lovely, the inside requires a little TLC. You may have noticed some small monitors on the altar and pillars a few weeks ago. They were placed by the HVAC consultant to measure temperature and humidity. We are investigating the possibility of revamping our A/C system. Often the people in the choir loft are broiling, the ministers on the altar in their robes are sweating, and the people in the pews are freezing. We hope to find some low-cost solutions that will even out the temperature in the church when we use air-conditioning, to make everyone more comfortable.
Our sound system is antiquated and becoming ever more “wonky.” It is long past the time that it should be replaced. We are getting a proposal to see what could be done and how much it would cost to replace and upgrade the system. It is not cheap, but it is becoming necessary.
I am meeting with a lighting consultant on the 24th of this month to look at what it would take to re-lamp the church. It could be a lot brighter. Sometimes I have difficulty reading the prayers when at the altar. And we may save money in the long run by changing to LED lighting.
I also have a concern about the condition of the wiring in the church. What we discovered during the exterior renovation about the wiring causes me want to have our wiring checked out. We above all want it to be safe.
And there is also some desire to have more women represented in the artwork of the church. 
All of these projects would enhance our worship experience, and help maintain our worship space for the next generation. Regardless of anything we do with the mixed use development of our campus, these improvements to the interior of our church would be of lasting benefit. I hope you will be hearing more about this soon.  God bless!

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