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Tuesday, March 23 2021

Dear Friends:

Welcome to our March issue of The Chronicle. It has been an incredibly busy month at St. John’s | San Juan! We’ve completed our asbestos abatement, moved worship back into the church (which has required setting up all the audio/video equipment again), and have spent the month preparing to resume in-person worship on Palm Sunday, which is March 28. A lot going on!

We’ve also been preparing for the start of the public phase of our capital campaign, “Sing to the Lord a New Song,” which will launch publicly on Easter Day, April 4. The leadership team for the campaign has been working incredibly hard in the last few months to get us to this point, and we are all blessed to have them working on behalf of our community! Thank you to Bob LeRoy, our campaign chair; to Lou MacMillan, chair of the Renovation Committee; to Anne Hall, who has been our administrative support for the campaign; and to Michael Clifthorne, Fawn Hacker, and Andrew & Caitlin Bird, who have been meeting with parishioners and preparing for the big day on Easter; and to Jerry Campbell, who has been our consultant and mentor in preparing our team for their tasks. None of this would be possible without the efforts of each of them.

This is an exciting time to be at St. John’s | San Juan, and I am eagerly looking forward to welcoming folks back to worship in-person this Holy Week. While it won’t be exactly like it was before the pandemic, it will be a stop on the way back to being normal again. I’m looking forward to seeing you all again soon!

Faithfully,

RC

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Tuesday, March 23 2021

Greetings!

I hope this issue of the St. John’s | San Juan Chronicle finds you safe and well.

I’m very excited about returning to the sanctuary and in-person worship beginning on Palm Sunday. And the reason I’m jazzed is that I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccination last week Sunday and I will be fully protected (almost) by Palm Sunday. Of course, I plan to continue masking and to practice social distancing, but attending church services is very high on my list of things I really want to do. I’m looking forward to being able to get registered once the new database is fully operational. Look for information about Realm!

During the Parish Health Committee meeting held a few days before the Vestry meeting, those on the team recommitted ourselves to the goals of building trust, transparency, openness, accountability, and social connections.

The St. John’s | San Juan Vestry met on Thursday evening, March 18, 2021. We spent some time doing small group breakouts to meet and greet and thereby get to know one another better. Everyone agreed that it was 15 minutes well spent at the beginning of the meeting. And, we did a “test run” of this Friday’s upcoming social connection, the “Heavenly Happy Hour” where this month we will do a Show & Tell event. There’s more information in other articles in this edition of The Chronicle! Please join us for this social time. We’re going to have a so much fun. Find your most interesting “thing” and be ready to show and tell about it. There are links to the event in all St. John’s | San Juan communications! I look forward to seeing you there.

I think the Vestry meeting went well. The new class learned a lot about what they have volunteered to do for the next three years (and I learned more about what a Senior Warden does). There is so much going on at St. John’s | San Juan, and it will be so for many months, as we move forward with the Capital Campaign, the re-roofing adventure, and figuring out how to sustain all of our programs and missions! Please read the Treasurer’s Report for more information on our finances. Other contributors to this edition will have lots to say about what’s happening at the church. I believe, with your continued support, the Vestry will do amazing work this year.

In addition to this Friday evening’s Zoom Show & Tell gathering, other offerings from the church include: book/Bible study on Thursday afternoons and a new program for Holy Week. We will read The Last Week by Marcus J. Borg & John Dominic Crossan which deals with Jesus’s last week, from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday. Beginning on Palm Sunday at 9:00 am, those interested will meet via Zoom for 30-45 minutes to discuss the chapter for the day. I’m in! Of course, there will be all the actual Holy Week events to consider – live streaming and in-person. More information will be available in this Friday’s edition of The Messenger coming out later this week.

The Capital Campaign will be officially kicked off on Easter Sunday and run through Pentecost. Please be thinking about what St. John’s | San Juan means to you and how you can help reach the goal of a dry, seismically stable sanctuary along with new, more inviting and useful space where we will be able to gather for many years to come. We must complete this work for us as well as our future members! Won’t it be amazing to not see rainwater running down the columns?!

The Vestry is still seeking a Junior Warden. Ricci Weatherman left big shoes to fill! Interestingly enough, Father R.C. mentioned that because we have a volunteer to take care of the building’s issues (along with those others serving on the Renovation Project), our newJunior Warden does not have to be someone willing to climb up onto the roof. And, the Junior Warden may be a member in good standing at St. John’s | San Juan and does not have to be a Vestry member in order to serve the church in this capacity. If you feel a calling to learn about taking care of St. John’s | San Juan’s church building and grounds, please let me know.

As Covid-19 vaccinations continue to be rolled out to every adult who wants one, I look forward to being able to greet folks in person perhaps as early as July. We have each adjusted our lives to staying safe and healthy and I believe we are so close to being able to get back to some semblance of normalcy albeit a different normal. Like everyone, I long to be able to see (in- person) those whom I have missed so much for the past year.

Thank you for reading this far – basically I think I’ve just restated most information that’s already elsewhere in this edition. I am motivated to continue working to making St. John’s | San Juan better than before and especially by everyone on our Vestry and their commitment to being connected and invested in the church. Please remember that if you have any concerns, comments, issues, you may contact me on my cell phone at (360) 259-2933 or my church email, fawn@stjohnsoly.org.

Have a wonderful, blessed Holy Week and Easter! Looking forward to seeing and worshiping with you soon.
FHS…Fawn

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Tuesday, March 23 2021

Build for the Lord a New Roof! Submitted by Michael Clifthorne

“Get thee behind me, Leaky Roof!” Matthew 16:23, Humorously Amended Version

As a thirty-one-year parishioner of St. John’s | San Juan, I can say without a doubt that I am ready to be done with The Leaky Roof. Like the Great Adversary, The Leaky
Roof has acquired a legion of names: Peeler of Paint, Corroder of Ceilings, Worry of Weddings, Seeper on Sermons, Terror of Tarping, Dripper on Deacons, Wrecker of Walls, Bain of Buckets, and more. The Scriptural comparison to Satan may be a little over the top, but you get the idea! And while we are all aware of the obvious damage to the interior esthetics of the sanctuary, and most of us have some sense of how The Secret Life of Water has seriously damaged and threatened aspects of the sanctuary structure itself, the impact of The Leaky Roof reaches far into our community life.

One, it has served as a powerful barrier to needed upgrades and renovation to the interior of the sanctuary for years. How can we direct time, energy, and money to
projects that could be ruined by a heavy rain? Two, The Leaky Roof has been a source of distraction and discord nearly since its construction. Everyone is frustrated with it, but it has been challenging to reach agreement on what to do about it. Three, it has been a drain (no pun intended) on resources needed for other goals of St. John’s | San Juan. The time, talent, and treasure spent on temporary fixes, band aids, bucket brigades, tarps, as well as risk to life and limb of those brave parishioners who have ascended the roof for repairs, is considerable. Finally, we can only ponder how many newcomers couldn’t get past the visual degradation they witnessed in the sanctuary, prompting them to look to other area churches. It’s even rumored that one prospective priest withdrew interest in St. John’s | San Juan on the basis of not wanting to face eventual repairs!

“So give me something new, where ceiling tiles don’t hang askew!” Poet, Renee Oelschlaeger

I recently came across a very short poem by Gary Snyder, haiku-ish in its brevity: “After weeks of watching the roof leak/I fixed it tonight/by moving a single board.” My first thought was, “Gee, we REALLY need to get Gary Snyder to attend St. John’s | San Juan because he’s got a delicate sense of just exactly how to shift things around.” It’s certainly a lesson in how even a slight change in our actions can have an important effect. Unfortunately, we are well beyond “weeks” of leaks, even decades of leaks. Are we aiming for a century? And we know that we are also beyond “moving a single board”, and that Gary Snyder’s efforts would probably pale in comparison to what our own Ric Weatherman and others have dedicated to the effort. Thank you, Ric et al!

So what makes the “something new” different this time? Personally, I am deeply impressed with the incredible preparation, assessments, and planning that lie at the foundation of this capital campaign. There have been a couple of forays into such campaigns in the past, but nothing compares to the careful, thorough, professional preparations that have characterized this campaign since discussion began three years ago. This project will rely on a team of professionals who’ve done extensive assessments of our building and put forth an expert plan for remediation and repair. I feel a confidence in this undertaking that is refreshing and inspiring, one that allows me to envision a truly leak-free roof, necessary safety-orientated seismic repairs, and the ensuing, uplifting remodel of our sanctuary space. In a nutshell, this capital campaign is something that my wife Lucy and I can step up to in a way that goes beyond the usual limits of giving. While it is a gift to ourselves and our church home, it is also a gift to those in our faith community who will follow us, long after we depart. St. John’s | San Juan’s sanctuary is a unique expression of our love for and faith in the Lord. That sanctuary needs our help in a significant way at this time. Lucy and I hope that you, too, will consider boldly stepping up to getting that darn Leaky Roof and its attendant problems behind us - once and for all. Let’s claim a new beginning! Please join us as we “Sing to the Lord a New Song, and Build for the Lord a New Roof.”

As you can tell by now, I’m prone to poetry, which I believe helps us capture essences of life. I leave you with this final excerpt from Joyce Kilmer’s poem about the wandering and homeless entitled “Roofs”. It spoke to me; it may you as well.

"They say that life is a highway and its milestones are the years,
And now and then there's a toll-gate where you buy your way with tears.
It's a rough road and a steep road and it stretches broad and far,
But at last it leads to a golden Town where golden Houses are.”

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Tuesday, March 23 2021

St. John’s Episcopal Church Treasurer’s March Report (March 23, 2021)

Finance and Audit Committees

The regular monthly meeting of the Finance Committee was held on March 16. Joining me were members Andrew Bird, Fawn Hacker, R.C. Laird, and Christian MacMillan. We reviewed our current financial condition and plans to address our operating deficit and generate additional revenue. We still need to stand up a small Audit Committee, ideally comprised of three members with a background in finance, which would meet only twice a year, before and after the annual audit in June. Pat Le Roy and Lou MacMillan have agreed to serve. If anyone from the congregation is willing and able to join them, please contact me (bobleroy05@gmail.com).

Our Current Financial Condition

Our Budget Report for February 2021 may be found by clicking here or by going to our website, www.stjohnsoly.org, clicking on “About Us”, then clicking on “Our Vestry” and scrolling to the bottom of the page. The Net Income year-to-date of $89,390.74 includes the receipt of $115,000.00 from our unrestricted account with the Diocese of Olympia Master Trust, withdrawn to pay for the asbestos abatement work recently completed in the sanctuary. Payment for the work in the amount of $112,682.00 was made earlier this month. Income from Pledges year-to-date is over budget by $5,084.78 (13.4%).

We have received, signed, and returned documents from Bessemer Trust in New York City regarding a $10,000.00 unrestricted cash bequest and hope to receive the funds in early April. We have four additional sources of funds for operating expenses:

  • Congregational Grant for Parish Health Work (approved but not disbursed) = $21,300.00
  • Diocese of Olympia Master Trust General (Unrestricted) Account = $46,600.00
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Account at Edward Jones = $140,011.11
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Round 2, Account = $63,367.00

We have the following payables due as soon as possible:

  • Church Pension Group = $29,429.00        
  • Diocese of Olympia (14.5% of $60,000.00 withdrawn from the DIF and applied to operating expenses) = $8,700.00        
  • Diocese of Olympia (14.5% of $54,577.00 in Round 1 PPP Funds applied to operating expenses) = $7,913.67        
  • Diocese of Olympia (14.5% of $72,000.00 in EIDL Funds applied to operating expenses) = $10,440.00
  • Total = $56,482.67

At its meeting on March 18, the Vestry approved the withdrawal of $57,000 from our EIDL Account to pay these bills in full.

Given current levels of giving and operating expenses, particularly personnel costs, we continue to project a significant budget deficit for 2021, -$140,637.34 as of February 28. Our recent receipt of $63,367.00 in Round 2 PPP Funds reduces the projected deficit to -$77,270.34. We propose to address the deficit by taking the following steps:

  • Placing the Music Ministry on hiatus effective June 1 until such time as we can raise sufficient funds to restore and sustain it.
  • Initiate a series of concerts to generate revenue for the Music Ministry and engage the broader community.
  • Following completion of the upcoming forensic audit and selection of a new Treasurer (hopefully, no later than June 1), I will transition to a new role focusing on stewardship and development for both the St. John’s and San Juan communities.
  • Establish a Patrons’ Society for the Concert Series and the Music Ministry.
  • Establish a Planned Giving Society.
  • With the return of in-person worship and activities at St. John / San Juan, set a goal of returning Individual Contributions (Pledges, Contributions, and Loose Plate Offerings) to 2018 levels by December 31. This ambitious goal, if achieved, would increase our revenue by over $111,000.

Respectfully submitted…

…Bob Le Roy, Treasurer

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Tuesday, March 23 2021

Renovation Committee March Update

The Sanctuary is Asbestos-Free
Michael Clifthorne, in his piece "Build for the Lord a New Roof!", writes: “I am ready to be done with The Leaky Roof.” He might have added, '…and The Toxic Walls.' Our Sanctuary has long been plagued by both maladies, the already asbestos- laden walls made even more toxic by water damage and resulting mold growth caused by – you guessed it – The Leaky Roof!

Well, at long last, we can shout, “We’re done with The Toxic Walls!” Advance Environmental finished asbestos abatement earlier this month, on time and under budget. Aside from one broken thermostat (since replaced with a brand-spanking new one), the work went off without a hitch. Below are two panoramic views showing “The Clean Walls,” – rougher and lighter in color due to abatement – but finally asbestos-free and non-toxic.

You’ve seen short videos and photos of this work as it progressed – construction of the containment, the huge plastic “curtain wall” that sealed off the chancel, workers perched in swaying lift baskets 40+ feet up – and now these two pictures. What you didn’t see (because I couldn’t shoot inside the enclosure) were pictures of the extraordinary measures required to protect the workers – and ultimately all of us – from the asbestos itself. Five negative pressure air handlers fitted with HEPA filters ran continuously, exchanging half a million cubic feet of air every hour. Workers in protective suits and full-face air-purifying respirators entered and left the enclosure through an airlock that contained a decontamination shower. All disposable protective gear and removed material was bagged, sealed and stored in a locked shipping container until removed from the site. It was a Herculean task, a kind of bunny-suited-aerial-act high above the Sanctuary floor – and it’s finished!

When we get back in the Sanctuary, take note of the newly exposed window frames and gaps around some of the stained-glass windows on the east and west walls. All those window recesses had asbestos-containing texture at the edges, so workers gingerly removed over 200 windows to scrape away that material, then re-installed the windows. As an extra precaution, they taped over the windows, applied a “fiber lock” spray to the walls to capture any stray asbestos fibers they might have missed, then carefully removed the tape.

You’ll notice too we elected not to expose the bare concrete along the column edges yet, for fear doing so might compromise the stability of windows nearest the columns. Rather than risk damage to the stained-glass, we will have general contractor FORMA perform this work later, as part of the seismic upgrades.

Deleting that work reduced the asbestos removal cost to $112,682. It’s a lot of money, but a good price in today’s dollars to detox our Sanctuary. Four members of our San Juan community – brothers Armando, Juan, and Gabriel Camargo, and Carlos Guzman – worked on this project and were featured in The Messenger on March 14th. Watch for more on them and the entire Guzman family in an upcoming Facebook video post for the capital campaign.

Moving Back for In-Person Worship
Volunteers have reinstalled the speakers, audio-visual equipment, and pews in preparations for resuming in-person worship starting Palm Sunday, March 28th. Thanks to Father R.C., Jim French, sexton Dan Kapsner, Caitlin Bird, the “Pew Crew” (Tom Loranger, Andrew Bird, Ric Weatherman, Tim Tayne, Ray Willard, me) – plus some folks I’m sure I’ve left out – for their hard work to ready the Sanctuary for both in-person and live-streamed worship. Thank you, volunteers!

Preparing for Part I Construction
FORMA staff – project manager Lonny Mason, construction superintendent Mike Hartwig, a safety advisor, cost estimator, and scaffolding sub-contractor – have been on site recently to get a clearer picture of how to translate 2D construction drawings into 3D building reality. Here’s what we know so far.

The first thing they’ll build is an enormous 40-foot high indoor scaffold filling the southern (red doors) end of the Sanctuary. They’ll lay one large plywood deck at the top level so workers can reach the timber purlins and car decking with chain- saws. Roof waste will be brought down in two trash chutes. (We’re checking the possibility of recycling any reusable lumber.) Additional decking along the scaffold perimeter will give workers access to the full height of the columns for exposing the bare concrete and bolting seismic clips spaced two feet apart.

Once the southern half is done, FORMA will take down and rebuild the scaffold on the northern end, in a somewhat different configuration to best access the chancel area. Filling the space between the two organ towers and topped by aluminum I-beams spanning from wall-to-wall above the towers, it will resemble a massive capital T. Heavy plywood decking will provide both a platform for the workers and protection for the organ pipes.

Based on FORMA’s plans, it’s clear we have a lot of work to do after the last of the spring music concerts. We will remove everything from the nave and chancel that isn’t nailed down: pews, chancel furniture, altar table, etc. What can’t be moved will need to be protected-in-place from damage and dust. One big job will be removing the old organ from the east chancel so that FORMA can replace that roof area. A volunteer work party will be needed to dismantle the wooden screens and organ pipes. We’d hoped another church in town that earlier expressed interest might still want the organ (and do most of the work!), but they’ve indicated they’re no longer interested. We’ve yet to determine the final disposition of the organ, but packing and storing it indefinitely seem out of the question.

We expect FORMA to start seismic work in June, first installing the X-braces, new concrete columns and in-fill walls, then replacing the roof in July or August to ensure the driest possible weather for opening up the building. Re-roofing will be done one bay at a time – a bay being the space between any two concrete ceiling beams – to simplify weather protection measures. We expect re-roofing to take about four weeks, with completion by September, before the fall rains arrive.

One related impact will be the loss of some parking stalls, likely just on the north side of the building, due to construction activity. More meetings with FORMA are planned soon, so we’ll pass on more details and impacts as we learn them.

Solar Power Array
We’ve formed a Solar Work Group to study and advise on converting our facilities to sustainable solar power. This effort is motivated by spiritual and financial concerns – the desire to care for creation and seek climate justice, and the need to reduce facility operating costs.

Members of this work group are George and Karen Bray, Dennis Cooper, Bill Van Hook, Anne Hall, and Tom Loranger. They’re vetting the options, including Collective Sun, a nationwide nonprofit that helps churches and other tax exempts purchase and install solar systems at discounted prices and on favorable terms using a range of different funding models. This work group will hold its first meeting on March 31, and report its findings and recommendations to the Renovation Committee and the Vestry sometime in the future.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the renovation.
And please prayerfully consider how you can support the capital campaign, which officially kicks off Easter Sunday.
Sing to the Lord a New Song! Build for the Lord a New Roof!

Faithfully,
Lou MacMillan, Chair
Sanctuary Renovation Committee

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