I am in the middle of two very full, very wonderful weeks. Two weeks ago. I peached a message on the call to ministry and five people from our congregation were touched by the call.
I have had the wonderful privilege of meeting with each of them personally and affirming the call and speaking with them about next steps.
I made reference last week to the fact that the Vicarage project had met its first snag. The outside budget was outstripping the inside project and it was looking like the inside project may not happen at all.
So Brenda and I asked a few questions and our contractors, wonderful men of God, got back to us with the answers and a detailed budget with the cost overruns included. Brenda and I took a night to pray about it and then had a Zoom conversation about what we were sensing from the Lord.
To us it made no sense to tackle the inside if the outside of the building was just going to fall down around our ears. Here is what I wrote to our contractors…
Good Afternoon Gentlemen,
Brenda and I met this morning by Messenger Call. After a night of prayer we have come to
* Honestly we cannot go above the $205,000.00 quotes at this time. That is our all in
budget so the price of 234,000.00 is out of our reach.
* Getting a new kitchen and a new downstairs bathroom while not fixing the leaks in the
upstairs bathroom is counterproductive (It would only destroy the new work).
* Redoing the inside of the house but not addressing the structural issues on the outside
is also counterproductive.
* We realize that the pricing for the outside projects absolutely needs "Uh-Oh"
money and that the quoted $68,000.00 may not actually be enough.
* So we have agreed that while all of the issues need addressing eventually and sooner
rather than later we need to prioritize now.
* We feel we need to fix the outside to keep the house from falling down. So we would
like to do the structural repairs and siding at this point.
Since then things have moved pretty quickly. It looks like the outside project will start next week and be done within the month of October. The port-a-potty arrived today (for the work crew).LAte this afternoon I signed the application for the construction permit.
I said yesterday that there was a lot of news to share about the Vicarage. To do that I am going take part in another challenge hosted by Cee. This is the CMMC CHALLENGE (CEE’S MIDWEEK MADNESS CHALLENGE). THIS PHOTO CHALLENGE REQUIRES ME TO POST PICTURES AROUND MY STORY THAT HAVE THE LETTER “O” IN THE MIDDLE.
The project at the Vicarage has hit its first snag. The cost of supplies has driven the price of the project beyond our budget, and so we are looking at what we can cut out.
We know that while all the work is important, keeping the house from falling down is the first priority. So we are going to focus on the outside and then see what we have left to give to the inside projects. I don’t know if this closet will ever become the new doorway to the kitchen. I don’t know if we will have money to refinish the bathrooms. By faith though, I am preparing these spaces for the work. I am emptying and cleaning these space to get ready for…something to happen.
But the Vicarage is not the only place where projects are happening. We just had an annual church clean up day out at Cornerstone. Amanda, Jody, Joe (pictured here), Ken and I lugged logs from trees our maintenance man, John, cut down in front of the church. Meanwhile others tended the garden beds which had not really been tended since last year.
We got a lot done in the three hours we had. But there is much more to do; So John is compiling a list of jobs and will farm that out to our DLT (Doing Life Together) groups to see if we can’t get some help with these jobs before winter sets in.
Tonight we have a ZOOM meeting to make some plans for the altar space repairs inside the church we are hoping to do in November.
Life is full! And I am finding that cleaning things out is clearing my head.
The dogs woke me up at four A.M. The morning coffee was brewing by 5 and I was already deeply engrossed in my morning reading and writing by 6 A.M.
I like the early mornings. Once I get that first cuppa in me I feel like I can take on the world….at least for a few hours.
I had coffee with a friends and mentor at 8 and then I was back home by 9:30 and back into the prayer space.
There is so much to pray about just now not the least of which prayers is just about me keeping my nose out of places it doesn’t belong. Have you noticed the world is full of opinions? Have you noticed that the world is constantly trying to prod you into giving your opinion just so it has something to disagree with?
One of my biggest requests is an echo of the prayer of St. Francis.
The world needs channels through which God can flow, and to my mind that is the church’s job. We have such a high calling and one of my greatest fears is that by my opinion of things in the world I will somehow be distracted by those very opinions and thereby disqualify myself from that true calling. Even worse I am afraid that by inserting my opinion where it does not belong I will distract someone else and they will miss out on the flow of God they could have otherwise brought into the world.
I know we say everyone is entitled to their opinion I am just really struggling with whether that is true or not.
Yesterday I was back at my usual job for a Sunday morning, as on-line pastor. I am really enjoying this new work. My job starts at about 9:15 A.M. I open my computer and start “inviting people to church”. Mostly that just involves a check in on Facebook Messenger.
I sign onto the church livestream when it comes on, and then from my little perch in the church cafe I begin to engage with people attending the on-line service: I comment as the sermon goes along; I “like” and comment on what other people are saying; Sometimes I move to a private message format so I can go a little deeper with people who are popping up on my feed or sometimes even just in my head.
Who I don’t see walking through the church door in the morning or on-line is just as important as who does come to our service in physical form or through the internet. When someone is missing for a bit I use service time to try and find them virtually. Yesterday I missed several people so I sent messages to them during service.
Yesterday I also used the time to launch a remote fellowship campaign with our artist’s group. In two weeks time we will be starting an artist version of chopped.
One of our artists is donating boxes full of art supplies and so we will make up boxes for all the participating artists and each artist will have a month to create a work of art using all the implements in the box. At the end of the month we will do on-line reveals for the whole artistic community.
Church is definitely different now. People of God are having to find new and creative ways to connect around the Word of God, fellowship and prayer. I don’t know when or if it will go back to what it used to be. Honestly, I am having fun facing these new challenges. I am not sure I want it to go back.
Well, I have blathered on long enough. It is time to sign off for the night.