Tuesday, March 24 2020
All of this is new to us. There are very few people alive today who can remember the Spanish influenza pandemic, and a combination of modern medicine and good fortune have spared us from the sorts of drastic measures that we've all been asked to take in the last few days and weeks. This is also new to all of us who are on staff at church. We're working hard to provide opportunities for worship, Christian formation, and fellowship for the entire St. John • San Juan community. It's been a steep learning curve, and we're still adjusting. As I write this on Tuesday, I don't have a clear picture of what Sunday will look like, for our parish community, or for our community here in the South Sound. Bishop Rickel has confirmed that the churches in our diocese will be closed at least through Easter Sunday, and our observance of Holy Week and Easter will have to move online. I spent time with priests around the church yesterday in a webinar presented by the Virginia Theological Seminary, brainstorming ways to provide meaningful, engaging experiences for individuals and families in your own homes, using the resources of the whole Episcopal Church. As we make plans for Holy Week and Easter, you'll see more about that in your email, or on our social media channels. Things are changing rapidly, and this Easter isn't going to look like one any of us have ever seen before.
Yet even as the building our church worships in at 20th and Capitol Way is closed, the church is still very much open, and thriving. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Willams says "the purpose of the church is to form people into the kinds of people who can receive the gifts that God wants to give." And St. John's • San Juan has formed many of us into the kinds of people who can receive the gifts God wants to give. God calls us into community with each other, and the caring that so many of you have shown to each other in this time of crisis, through calls, visits, reaching out to offer help with grocery shopping and prescription delivery, has been an inspiration. Our Christian formation continues, as we worship together online, reflect on the readings, and begin offering streaming Bible study online. We will be offering fellowship opportunities for everyone who wants to participate in the coming days (watch our Facebook page for more information). The building may be closed, but the church is open, and alive with the love of Jesus Christ.
Now, more than ever, I encourage you to follow our Facebook page (facebook.com/stjohnsolympia), because that will be the easiest way to hear about what is happening at St. John's • San Juan. Our new curate, The Rev. Michael Beaton, starts his work with us officially today, and we will both be posting updates online (on Facebook and our website) as the week continues. Let us know how you are doing. If you need anything, reach out to any of us on staff. We have resources to help individuals, and we can connect you to resources in the community as well.
Many blessings to each of you as you settle into your homes for the next few weeks. Know that we are praying for you each day, we look forward to worshiping with you online, and we can't wait to celebrate together again in our sanctuary. In the meantime, we will be the church where we are, and we will continue to love and care for each other at a reasonable social distance, for the sake of everyone.
Tuesday, March 24 2020
After such a rich Concert Season thus far, all concerts at St. John’s had to be postponed or cancelled. All rehearsals were canceled, the Parish Choir, the Compline Choir, and the Jubilate Choir. Our OCO Brass Choir + preparing for the Gabrieli Brass and Organ Concert as well as for our Easter Celebrations had to be cancelled.
Suddenly, there were no church services, no Eucharist or Compline. No gatherings. A maximum of nine were allowed to create an online Morning Prayer over streaming platforms such as our website, Facebook, and Youtube. Father R.C. and the vestry were forced suddenly into finding and creating the technological solutions needed to send out to our congregation meaningful worship experiences.
Thus, sung Morning Prayer, well known to R. C. from his days at seminary as cantor and celebrant, was created for last Sunday’s streamed service. We chose music that could be sung be a quartet with organ, hymns, anthems, psalms, and prayers. Remember, this service was to have no more than nine people at the church per order of the governor! We hope you found the service as satisfying as we did to participate.
Going forward, Easter is our focus, whenever that happens! I am choosing music that St. John’s Parish Choirs and congregants can sing with confidence and joy accompanied by brass and organ. That music is being prepared for email blast as pdf files with accompanying sound files.
We will CELEBRATE EASTER!
Presently, we are experimenting with music videos and sound files to be shared with you all on our website and FB page, sooner than later!
Our concert series will be reconstituted as soon as we see our way clear to move forward safely.
All these experiences through which we now pass serve to make us stronger and more appreciative of all the blessings we enjoy, the Word, the music, the fellowship, our common musical experiences, and most of all one another.
Blessings to you all,
Tuesday, March 24 2020
State law requires a “good faith inspection” for asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), lead-based paint, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and mold prior to any demolition or remodeling work. We know some of these materials are present, just not their extent or condition. Because our current project budget excludes abatement costs, this information is vital to fully scoping and costing the work to be done in Part I.
While not quite complete, we’ve made progress on the hazmat issue. Advance Environmental (AE), a local environmental consultant, conducted a hazmat inspection of the Sanctuary last month. We received their survey report on March 2nd. The survey results were mixed; no lead paint or PCBs were found, but friable ACMs are in the wall texture, and there are elevated mold spore counts. We’ve asked AE to further clarify some of its findings, better estimate the quantities to be abated, and also test the putty around stained glass windows for asbestos. As of this writing, we’re waiting for their response to that request.
Once we have that updated information, we can obtain an estimate from an abatement contractor, and in conjunction with FORMA Construction, determine the most cost-effective approach to hazmat abatement and its impact on the overall project budget. I hope to have that information for the April Chronicle, if not sooner.
In light of Governor Inslee’s stay at home order, the project team is now working from home and communicating by email and phone. We remain on track to apply for the Part I building permit in June, before the new, more stringent building code goes into effect.
Tuesday, March 24 2020
Chlorine bleach feels like an old friend these days, supplemented by Betco Dual PH 7 disinfecting cleaner. (Health hint: NEVER mix them.) And as you might imagine, the maintenance is endless at St. John's.
Of course I still check the doors, because occasionally one doesn't quite latch. The big red doors in the sanctuary are the worst offenders, although recently I found one of the side doors to Capitol Way ajar. Now when I leave the building, I take a moment to give the door a pull, just to be sure it really did lock behind me.
In the six months I've been working for the parish I've become accustomed to a bustling community with four services on Sundays, heartfelt fellowship, and lots of meetings, groups, and ministries. On top of that there are events large and small and wonderful, wonderful music--not to mention a lively bunch of school kids upstairs. And during that time I've had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with the good souls who make it all work.
But now, suddenly, it's so quiet....
While it's far too quiet for my taste, I accept the need to close the building, and I have faith that we will be back. In the meantime I will press on with my to do list as the Governor allows, looking forward to the day when once again I will grab a twist of red licorice in the office and see Mary at her desk, or chat with Alberta as her shift begins, or catch up with the rest of the people who animate St. John's and make it a living, breathing force in our lives.
Signing off for now,
Monday, March 23 2020
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Treasurer’s Report for The Chronicle
March 23, 2020
Our Current Financial Condition
Bank Balances as of March 19, 2020
Use of Endowment Funds
As of February 29, 2020, the balance in our General (Unrestricted) Account with the Diocese of Olympia Master Trust was $325,247.96. To-date, we’ve withdrawn $120,000.00—$40,000 in December 2019 and $80,000 in January 2020—and applied to our architects’, contractors’, and consultant’s fees and expenses to-date for their work to replace our sanctuary roof, undertake related structural repairs, and prepare for our upcoming capital campaign in the fall of this year. Since January 1, 2018, those expenses total $179,897.37.
Since the balance in the Capital Campaign Account is only $13,246.79, the last payment to KMB Architects, in the amount of $35,917.50, was made from the Designated Account.
At last Thursday’s meeting, the Vestry approved a withdrawal of $40,000 from the General Account and the reclassification of $35,917.50 in Capital Campaign expenses paid to KMB Architects from the Designated Account. As with the earlier withdrawals, we intend to reimburse the General Account with interest from funds raised in our capital campaign.
Our Budget Year-to-Date
Statements of Activities and Financial Position as of February 29, 2020 can be viewed by clicking on the embedded links or by going to our Vestry page on our website and scrolling to the bottom of the page. Our year-to-date operating deficit is -$38,113.37, which will be supplemented by $40,000.00 upon receipt of the withdrawal from our General Account.
Although total pledges for 2020 have increased to $265,892.00—including $11,532.00 in supplemental pledges—pledges received year-to-date are below budget by -$9,831.20 (20.2%).
Thanks so much for your pledges to support and sustain our work and our ministries in 2020. Your generosity lifts us up and brings us together in these challenging times. Please do your best to honor your commitments and make your pledge payments in a timely manner, either online or by mail. They are our lifelines.
Our projected Diocesan Assessment for 2020 is $56,346.00. The January and February 2020 payments have been made. The March payment will be mailed this week.
If you have any questions or would like additional information regarding our budget or financial condition, please contact Cynthia Knapp, our Bookkeeper, at email@example.com or me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
…Bob Le Roy, Treasurer
Monday, March 23 2020
At this most difficult time, I hope this finds you healthy and safe.
Your Vestry moved from meeting in the Guild Room to a Zoom meeting taking place in our homes, be they permanent or temporary. I worked from Lin's sewing/craft room with a background including an ironing board and shelving containing her quilting fabric stash (just one visible part) and boxes of my tapestry yarn. I started to try to learn to weave VERY basic tapestry projects a little over a year ago. I'm certainly glad I started doing that. It gives me something to do during this time of nunwanted, yet necessary, social distancing.
New members Troy Atwell, Ted Focke, Bob Le Roy and Fawn Hacker were finally able to participate in a Vestry meeting. Ordinarily their first meeting would have taken place during the annual retreat, but this is proving not to be an ordinary year. As you may recall, the retreat was cancelled due to the current medical crisis. Welcome Troy, Ted, Bob and Fawn!
As we began, we learned of the personal impact of this pandemic on Vestry members. If I remember correctly, there were two members whose immediate families have been directly affected by this outbreak. I know we all send prayers to everyone being forced to deal with the reality of this crisis.
Rather than repeating information on other agenda items, I will refer you to Fr. R.C.'s weekly letter in The Messenger and Treasurer Bob LeRoy's report included in this edition of The Chronicle.
On a typical Sunday as we conclude our services, we always share celebrations and express our thanks for the gifts that have been bestowed upon us. Continuing in that spirit, I want to take this opportunity to celebrate the life of our beloved little dog, Tiny, our faithful and devoted friend for the past 7+ years. Tiny was 16 years and 10 months old, and we knew him since he was a puppy. We lost him last Friday.
In celebration of his life and the joy he gave us, I've mailed a donation to St. John's | San Juan, and want to encourage you to continue to do so when there is someone or something you want to celebrate. These opportunities for celebration and thanksgiving may become even more essential as the days pass. The same would be true of your pledge or other financial contribution you typically make. We do need to try to continue to maintain some degree of normalcy and routine as best we can, and we need to remember bills must still be paid.
A few final thoughts--I subscribe to the Episcopal Church Foundation's (ECF) publication "Vital Practices." It has proven to be a wonderful source of information and ideas addressing issues common to churches. This most recent edition contained a wonderful letter from ECF President Donald V. Romanik dedicated to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. He opened his writing with the following scripture from Isaiah 41:10, and I will use it to close mine:
Do not fear, for I am with you,