It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do.  For many months, various members of the property committee have been carefully planning several interrelated projects to freshen up parts of our building.  I want to thank everyone who has generously given of their time to make this happen. Phase I of these projects took place this past week. Two old heater vents that were not connected to our current heating system were taken out of the hallway by the offices, and then plastered over.  New trac lighting was installed along with a picture hanging system, and some wiring for our alarm system was moved out of the way, and then the whole hallway got some fresh paint. The new plaster will be getting some more paint soon.    

Next weekend, the carpet in the hallway will be replaced with vinyl tile and new baseboards will be installed.  The old tile in the parish hall is also being replaced next weekend, which is a huge and much needed project. This involves removing tile from the 1950s (which is underneath the current tile), and that tile has some asbestos in it.  To do it right, we’ve hired a professional asbestos remediation company who will seal everything off, remove the tile, and dispose of it properly. An industrial safety technician will come and test the air when they’re done to make sure there is no asbestos floating around, and then the flooring installation team will come and install new tile.  It is quite a job! As fascinating as their work process no doubt is, none of us want to be around for it.    

So, next Sunday, we’re going to worship with Holy Apostles and the Mediator.  As most of you know, Holy Apostles and the Mediator (affectionately abbreviated as HAM) is the historic parish that founded our Holy Apostles as an extension of their parish in 1950.  For 18 years, HAM sustained CHA financially and spiritually before we became an independent parish in 1968. With the proceeds of the sale of their original building, HAM built our current building, and filled it with treasures from the old church: altar, font, and pulpit.  For many years after we became a parish, the two parishes did not have much contact, but recently we have begun to develop a new relationship of mutual affection with HAM.    

HAM is in the process of calling a new priest.  The church is led by some extraordinary and inspiring lay leaders.  Those of you who were at CHA in October when HAM visited us will have met some of the warm, generous folks of HAM.  For the service on the 19th, they have invited our choir to join theirs for some special music.  They would also like a reader and an acolyte from CHA to help make this service a true collaborative work of praise and thanksgiving to God.  I will be preaching and celebrating the Eucharist.  

I know this sort of thing removes us from our comfort zone a little bit, and I know that it might be tempting to stay home rather than have our routine upset in this way.   But I want to encourage and implore everyone who is able to make this trip next Sunday. This is a very special and worthwhile opportunity. This is what the Gospel, what the Kingdom of God is all about.  On one level a joint service with HAM is pretty simple. But, think about it for a minute. There is a lot of division and disunity in our world, our country, and our community. We see it in the news every day.  It is all totally overwhelming and hard to know what any of us can do about it. Next Sunday is an extraordinary opportunity to do something about it. This simple church service is actual pretty radical. It is not very often that any two congregations can agree to come together and have a joint service, much less a suburban parish and a city parish, a parish that is predominantly white and a parish that is predominantly African-American.  In our fractured society, there are not many opportunities at all when people can meet each other across difference and recognize each other as fellow beloved children of God. This service is unique, and it is exactly the sort of thing that God tends to bless in a special way. Jesus said, “The world will know you are my disciples by your love for each other.” This is it. This is one of our golden opportunities to show the world who we are, and Whose we are.  Don’t miss it!

We are planning to leave the church at 9:15AM on January 19. Parking is difficult near HAM, so we are renting a “mini” charter bus.  HAM is also working on getting a nearby parking lot open for our use. I will be sending a special email next week with an update on our travel plans.

In Christ,

James+

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