Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Do again

Unusually late arising this morning from watching a movie really late last night -- my workday is usually over by half by the time I got up today -- so everything else got pushed back too (lunch at 3 PM). End result was Kathy was quite late getting to Evensong at 4 PM this afternoon, with a new toolbox for the church in hand.

Just after it was over Mark, one of our visitors on Christmas Eve, showed up, thinking Evensong was at 5PM (when it's usually held). Fr. Daniel offered to say Evensong again, in part because he loves that service. Mark hesitated, but Kathy remarked that she had been late the first time around and offered to join them for "Second Evensong." And so it came to pass that "Second Evensong" was joyfully sung at St. Bartholomew's on St. Stephen's, Anno Domini 2006.

Update: The website was the probable cause of confusion over time. Hopefully that's fixed now.

Monday, December 25, 2006

"It's just like..."

Well, all my worries were for naught. Things calmed down and the lights stayed on, though as Fr. Daniel notes on his blog, Douglas Firs, High Winds & Power Lines: Do Not Mix. Things were so bad that on the way home Christmas Eve I saw a power crew out in the dark working to restore power, and Sunday I saw trucks from Alaska ("Arctic Power") and Pennsylvania(!!) in our area. Say a prayer for those who gave up their Christmas to bring an, um, brighter Christmas to many others.

In any event, one big feature of last night's services was "all the visitors!" People invited friends, others found us through the website, and one soul called trying to find an REC (Reformed Episcopal) church in the area. I am pretty sure the church he was looking for is gone; one of its members has been worshipping with us for... months? A year? We finally figured out that St. Bartholomew's was not the church he'd visited last Christmas, but we fit the bill as far as being a church that uses the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. If this fellow came last night I hope he wasn't disappointed; our service is not as "protestant" as my understanding of the REC suggests, though it is solidly 1928 BCP.

Interestingly, it appears we had a couple of visitors at Midnight Mass who are REC. (One of them I know is not the aforementioned fellow, but I didn't have a chance to talk with the other.)

Beyond that we had three persons/families make the drive up from Kent, WA. It's a bit of a drive from Kent to get here, even on a Sunday morning, though we've had members come from further and we have faithful regulars driving down a similar or greater distance from Marysville.

But above all that were the utterances "It's just like..." we heard last evening.

One such came from a member of a group who attended the 11 P.M. service. I am told they group looked a little surprised at first, then a little teary (or maybe just very jet-lagged), but they quickly got into the program. For example, the response to "The Lord be with you" is not the modern "And also with you" but the more Cranmerian "And with thy spirit"; I am told only one used the former, and that only once. Asked after the service, this member of the group said, "It's just like our church at home." "And where is home?" "England." Your tradition lives on, even here in the strange land called the Pacific Northwest...

Another came from an Episcopalian visiting from the Dakotas. She remarked, "It's just like it used to be," referring to our 1928 BCP service. Many of us who grew up with the 1928 BCP and then used the Episcopal 1979 book stumble when we first re-encounter the 1928, but then it brings back old memories and some of us become aware that the two books are not the same at all. And as regards the beauty of the service, I remember two visitors from Pennsylvania last Christmas Eve: one had visited the previous week, and she told her friend, "Didn't I tell you? It's just like the service used to be."

The final "It's just like..." surprised me, but chalk this up to my ignorance. One of our parishioners brought a boarder to the service. I wasn't sure sure what it was, but his face was beaming by the end of the service. Somebody was told he is Syrian and he reportedly said It's a lot like our liturgy," referring to the service. Maybe somebody who knows more can comment.

For my part I will say Fr. Daniel arranged a splendid series of four services within 24 hours, and anyone who missed out on any one of these missed out on a lot. We've had other wonderful and memorable Christmases in the past but this one, it's nothing like them.

Thank you, Fr. Daniel, and please take some well-deserved rest!

Other thanks go to Josephine for the excellent organ (and this morning's service's postlude fireworks -- WOW!!) and to Kathy for the gentle harp.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christingles and Choir Moms

It was a dark and stormy night... well, actually it still is but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The day started out calm enough and dry enough that I left the old Eddie Bauer rain shell (a necessity here in the Pacific Northwet) at home. During the morning service the rain set in, and wind. I don't remember the lights flickering at all, but some do. Anyway, by the time we left the church it was raining fairly hard, and on the way home I saw the winds were picking up again. This was odd because I hadn't seen it in the weather forecasts, but there it was... bits of trees flying out.

I wasn't the only one to find this ominous. Shortly after I got home and turned on the computer, preparing to post some pictures to the blog (and relax a bit), Fr. Daniel called and said the lights were flickering -- could we do something about the generator? I'd had an idea, so I shut down the computer and headed into town. Home Depot, as I feared, had been cleaned out of everything related to emergency power; after some discussions with the clerk we were on to Plan B --lights, organ and no heat-- in case the power went out again. So I headed back to the house (watching the tall trees so common here wave in the wind), got some extension cords and a few other items and headed back to the church, buying a couple of items including a work light on the way.

At the church, I found I had to assemble the work light. No big deal, really, but if your preparations for Christmas include anything like this photo, something is wrong! Then I had to figure out how to run extension cords to power things without having people trip over them... and then to put everything away out of sight but situated so we could pull it all out and hook it up in a minute or two.

So far it's not been needed. The 5:30 Evensong service went splendidly, with fine performances by the Girls' Choir. joined by the Choir Moms for "Away in a Manger." A full house, and not one flicker of light.

Then the Christingles (a tradition at St. Bartholomew's for several years now) were passed out to the children, followed by more carols.

It's back off to the church in a couple of hours for Midnight Mass. Because it's continuing to be a very dark and stormy night, I just pray the lights will stay on.

If not, it'll still be a step up from our very first service in this building. That took place on Christmas Eve, 1986; we sat on folding chairs amidst the plaster dust, wearing heavy coats because it was bitter cold and we had neither electricity nor heat. (And at 3PM because the fire marshal would not let us use candles.)

Merry Christmas, all!

(Update: Generator! I forgot to mention the generator!! Thanks to one parishioner who obtained one "out of the box" from his employer, contributions of funds by several parishioners, and a transfer switch from another parishioner, we'll soon have a generator installed -- without a penny from the church's budget. Such gifts!)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"Matins and Holy Communion"

Looking at the schedule of services for the coming week (or so) I noted that for Christmas Morning the schedule notes: "10:00 Matins and Holy Communion."

There has been a bit of an ongoing (or perhaps I should say "repeated") discussion about Morning Prayer, particularly among those who grew up familiar with it. It's a lovely service, especially when sung, but our canons require Mass when a priest or deacon is present so it's only read Sundays when both Fr. Daniel and Deacon Ed are absent.

But some of us recall starting with Morning Prayer and transitioning to Holy Communion. We haven't done that yet (that I recall), but it looks like we will in a couple of days. The only sad part is that it will be on Christmas Morning when attendance will likely be pretty low.

I hope some of those who've been talking about Morning Prayer pick up on this and attend!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Searching for a Generator

The second part of the e-mail talked about the need for a generator:
During the wind storm, Woodinville was one of the hardest-hit places in King County, and particularly the area east of Cottage Lake near the Church. The PSE website says that power-restoration efforts will continue in the area of the Church throughout the weekend, so we may be without heat or lights at the Church on Sunday and Christmas Day. I am putting the word out to anyone who has a generator that they could loan to the Church for Sunday and Christmas Day to power the organ, a few floodlights and a couple of electric heaters. 5,000 watts would likely be sufficient. It would be much appreciated.
It would be really nice if the generator could somehow power the furnace, which I think is a gas furnace. That would make it much more comfortable.

Update: Power came back on 12/21, a generator is being purchased thanks to gifts from parishioners, and wiring will be installed soon. Although this was an unusually long time without power, we hopefully won't have to go through anything like this again.

Cancellations and the Greening of the Church

I was afraid it was going to come to this. A few minutes ago Fr. Daniel sent out a note to the parish:
Greening of the Church ... and Search for a Generator

Due to lack of electricity in the area of the Church:

-This evening’s Advent Class is CANCELLED
-December 21, Feast of St. Thomas is CANCELLED
-Greening of the Church will take place at 10:00 am on Thursday (Dec. 21), PLEASE DRESS VERY WARMLY
-Christmas Services as advertised in the local paper (before the storm hit) are as follows:
  Sunday Evening
    5:30 Evensong and Carol Service
    11:00 Midnight Mass

    10:00 Matins & Holy Communion
    4:00 Evensong

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Home: power! : ) Church: powerless : (

That's the text message I received a few minutes ago. I believe it was from Fr. Daniel, but because I was online through the laptop/cellphone combo (I'm on the living room floor in front of the woodstove that's supplying the only heat we have right now, trying to warm this place up), I couldn't check the phone directly.

This is happy news for Fr. Daniel & family! Roughing it is a bit easier when you don't have small children. I'm sure they'll sleep well tonight.

The church, though... it's only a couple of miles up the road from Fr. Daniel but as we saw Sunday on the way home, tracing the power lines along the road, it's fed from a different substation. And the newspaper indicates there are continuing problems with the lines feeding that particular substation.

I will only note: the church is really only powerless if it lets loose of its real source of power -- and that source is not Puget Sound Energy. We may continue to be numbered among (brrr) the Frozen Chosen for a few more days, but that's only a thermal issue.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cold comfort

In what seems like an eternity ago (but only about 80 hours hours), I wrote: "it'll be a surprise if we don't lose power." Boy, was that ever an understatement!

Storms with high winds are not unusual this time of year, but most of the we don't lose power for long, if at all. This one, as you've seen in the news, was a completely different matter and it appears that St. Bartholomew's was right in one of the heaviest hit areas.

Trees came down everywhere (except St. Bartholomew's!) Thursday night. Power went out through much of the region, and remains out even now. (Power came on at the office yesterday, but won't reach my house for days yet.)

So things were a little bit chill and dark in the church for Derek's funeral Saturday. It was also slow going to the cemetery because all the traffic lights were out. (And I confess I felt a little uneasy there when a slight wind came up and threatened to blow a flower arrangement over.)

And it was even chillier this morning; when Deacon Ed was reading the Gospel I could see his breath. A few brave souls dodged the wires and downed trees to atten Mass, knowing it was going to be cold and dark. But at least it was noticeably warmer downstairs in the Parish Hall, and the presence of a campstove to heat hot water for coffee and tea improved matters further.

Some pictures of the damage just a few miles from St. Bartholomew's are posted online here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

"Josephine Rocks!"

The two appliance deliverymen who brought and installed the appliances this morning were offered some of Josephine's quiche, made for a meeting conducted in the Parish Hall this morning. One of them accepted and lit up when he tasted it, saying, "This is the best quiche I've ever had! You should sell it! Jason, you try some!!"

At first Jason demurred, saying, "I'll just have a doughnut."

But then he relented, tried some and exclaimed, "Josephine rocks!"

Windstorms and Whirlpools

Sunday's Vestry meeting included discussions of the dishwasher, which has never worked quite right (the detergent lid has never worked) but which is now also leaking a bit. It was suggested we create a "church wish list," but somebody cautioned that all too often in that situation some well-meaning person will donate something that's pretty worn out. He noted this is a frequent problem in many churches. It was suggested then that we make the wish for a new dishwasher known to the parish.

The question of price came up. Kathy noted that there are some good deals to be had right now on dishwasher+refrigerator combos, and that our refrigerator is also pretty old and, if it were to need more Freon, not rechargeable. She was asked to look into it and come up with a dollar figure for the parish.

It never got that far. One member of the parish offered the cover the cost of purchasing both the dishwasher and refrigerator -- and now they are due to be delivered this morning, sometime from about a half an hour ago until noon. (Don't know if they're Whirlpool, but it sounded good in the title...)

I don't know what features appliances come with these days, but if either has a clock in it (I'm not sure why a refrigerator would, but a dishwasher might have one for timing the wash during electric utility off-peak hours), Fr. Daniel or samebody might want to keep the manual out tonight.

We had quite a windstorm yesterday; I got home to find a tree from my property down and blocking the road. Unusually for us, we had no power outage though many others in the area did.

However, they're forecasting a much more powerful windstorm later today until Friday and it'll be a surprise if we don't lose power. Which means, of course, that the clocks in all sorts of appliances will need to be reset when the power comes back on, and thuis the need for keeping the manual out. If only we had Internet-capable appliances all with NTP (Network Time Protocol) clients... but never mind.

But it's not only the appliances that will be a problem. I don't think the dead (NiCad) batteries in the church organ have been replaced, so Josephine will probably have to reprogram all the stop settings tomorrow, in advance of Saturday's service for Derek.

10:00 AM Update: Appliances are in.
10:20 AM Update: Not Whirlpool, but much quieter than the old dishwasher.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"Let's GO to the Dead Sea!"

A new notice appeared in the Parish Hall this weekend. Nancy is making arrangements for a parish outing on Sunday, Dec 7th, to see the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit. That will be the last day for the exhibit in Seattle.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Red doors

During lunch earlier this week, Fr. Daniel mentioned something about painting the front doors red, as is commonly done by Anglican churches. This surprised me because I hadn't noted that, and thinking back I could only remember one church whose front door might have been a dark red.

But Fr. Daniel is right -- there is a tradition! I did a little Google search and found this:

Many Anglican (Episcopal) churches boast red doors for theological reasons. This goes back to the Middle Ages, when the north, south and east doors were painted red, symbolizing the Blood of Christ, to indicate that churches were designated Sanctuary, where anyone was safe from danger. Some other mainline Protestant churches, such as Lutheran churches, have red doors as Wittenberg Cathedral, where Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses, had red doors, and by tradition, this marks such churches as Reformed churches. (Another school of thought holds that church doors are painted red to indicate the mortgage has been paid off!)
Hmmm.... our doors are probably WNW, but the mortgage has been paid off...


Last evening Fr. Daniel e-mailed some announcements to the parish. Included was this:
Sunday, December 10 – Support our Girl’s Choir at the 10:00 Holy Communion Service, as they present service music by Sir Edward Bairstow and an Anthem by Peter Warlock.
I am looking forward to this! Fr. Daniel and the Girls' Choir have been putting in a lot of time and effort, and it shows.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Movie: The Nativity Story

Just got back from seeing "The Nativity Story." Well done overall, worth seeing, will add the DVD to our collection when it comes out.

Partway through I was thinking, "Why didn't we arrange a parish outing to see this?" (partly because the two of us were the only ones in the theater, but then a 2 PM showing on a weekday is likely to have low attendance). This would have been nice, but we're so wide spread around an urban area with bad traffic it would be difficult.

(Box Office Mojo rates it #4 right now, so that's not so bad.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

An Ancient Hymn for Advent

The latest Earth and Altar (our parish newsletter, for which I still have not come up with a good graphic despite my intentions) is now out.

In amongst the announcements, the schedule of services and other activities, a message from Fr. Daniel about the Incarnation and much more (do take a look!), is a hymn under the above heading.

Reading through the music (as it was presented to the Schola Cantorum last? Sunday), it was with a small shock that I realized I recognized this hymn! Back in the mid-70s I had bought an LP, "A Medieval Christmas" by the Boston Camerata. It became the favorite of all my Christmas albums, to the point where it was too far gone -- too many scratches, pops and other noise to listen to anymore.

Some years ago I started searching for it again, and after two or three years hit paydirt. I cannot fully express the delight I had at learning it was now on CD! Such a delight to listen to one of my old favorites, track #5, Conditer alme siderum again.

But never, ever did I think it might be in our Hymnal (1940). I thought I knew all the Advent hymns, but this one got by me. Until now.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Seminarian Care Package

On Sunday Fr. Daniel announced our Advent Care Package for the seminarians at the St. Joseph of Arimathea Anglican Theological College. Food and treat items will be collected in the Parish Hall up until December 17th, and then sent down to the seminary in Berkeley, CA.

Space Noodles We like particularly to send items with a Pacific Northwest aspect to them (salmon, coffee, etc.). Last time somebody came up with a package of "Space Noodles": noodles shaped like the Space Needle! I'm sure that got a few laughs when the care package was opened.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Angels -- hot from the oven

(Somewhere between leaving church and now my notes went walkabout, so I'm having to wing this. Apologies if I get little details wrong.)

This is the third year our Sunday School has participated in the Giving Tree program. In this program the tree (cut on our property) is set up in the Parish Hall and paper tags are hung on it. Each tag indicates an age range, a type of present, and perhaps gender of a needy child. People in the church take the tags, purchase and leave the presents beneath the tree. Already the tree has a number of presents beneath it -- which attracted the attention of many of the children this morning.

One parishioner remarked on last year's program. She'd had her daughter pick out the gift to be placed under the Giving Tree; during the middle of unwrapping gifts Christmas morning, he daughter suddenly stopped and said, "I wonder if the girl who got that present is opening it now?"

In additional support for the program, Rhonda had some of the Sunday School chidren make angel ornaments to be placed on the tree. These can be taken and gifts of money left (where? oops, that detail is still to be worked out) in order to purchase gifts for older children/teens, a CD player and the like, that are a bit more expensive.

I was fortunate to be on hand, camera in hand, when the angels were brought out still hot from the oven.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Low week, but building

It's been a bit of a low week at St. Bartholomew's. First we had the snowstorm at the beginning of the week as already noted; the snow, ice and slush on the roads seemed to keep a number of people home for a few days. (It kept me from getting my little 4WD -- temporarily now 2WD due to a front hub failure -- up the road to the house until last night.)

Then we had the threat of a second snowstorm coming in Wednesday night. In a quarter-century here I don't recall any such back-to-back storms before. But in any case, the end result was that there were only three, Patrick, Fr. Daniel and Josephine, present for Wednesday evening's Evensong, Supper, Study and Compline.

I don't know how bad the evening's weather was elsewhere in the area, but by Thursday morning it was cold occasional rain and slowly-melting slush. Kathy joined Fr. Daniel and Josephine for 10 AM Mass on St. Andrew's Day, and lunch following.

I gathered from Fr. Daniel that it's been a bit of a quiet week, but I think it may be the calm before the storm. Sunday, of course, is the First Sunday in Advent, not to mention the first Sunday of the month. We'll be saying the Litany, for one thing.

I don't know if the Girls' Choir will sing this Sunday, but the Schola Cantorum has been asked about practices with an eye to singing for the service for Derek in a couple of weeks, on Rose Sunday and Christmas Eve.

(On a personal note, I learned this afternoon that another old friend has now passed away. His memorial service will be held the 9th; his absence here will be felt.)

But St. Bartholomew's also has a special and happy occasion ahead. Christmas Eve will be the 20th anniversary of our very first service in this building, which you can read a little about here.