Friday, August 19, 2011

St. Paul's Building Renovation Update: August 19

Greetings, everyone

The work of the renovation continues slowly but significantly.

This last Monday a group of about twenty-five of us gathered in the Chancel area with Bishop Cabby Tennis for a liturgy of the secularization of our marble and bronze altar. The liturgy, which I have included at the end of this posting, allowed each of us to speak about what the altar has meant to us, to kiss or touch or reverence the altar as we chose, and to pray for our community as it continues to send us out as food for the life of the world.

The next morning the altar was removed and placed into storage as we try to find an appropriate placement for it with another church.

In the meantime, the ceiling in the entryway and the ceiling in the portion of the nave below the choir loft have been removed as well as the cement wall on the right as one enters the entryway.

The children of the parish, ages 3-8, were able to see all of this as well as the bareness of the nave when they were with me in the space on Sunday during my time with them between our 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM Sunday services. You cannot imagine how much they care about what's happening! They quickly noticed what had changed in the space, with one child even taking notes so that she could tell her father exactly what was going on.

Offsite, the crafter of the framework for the new windows is working on how the frame will fit in the space (not easy) while Julie Speidel continues work on the new font and begins work on the new altar.

Please continue to pray for this project and for the many people who are working on it. Special thanks this week to Daryl Schlick, Prue Kluckhohn, Mark Taylor, and Bishop Cabby Tennis for all the work they did and to the children of St. Paul's who inspired me in their connection to our space, even in its bareness!

In Christ,



The following liturgy was written by The Rev. Melissa Skelton, drawing on the Book of Common Prayer and the Book of Occasional Services. Special thanks to Gary James for his good comments on the draft and the Rev. Morrie Hauge for his suggestion--now added--within the liturgy, itself!) 

The Secularization of the Altar at St. Paul's Episcopal Church

All gather around the Altar, with the Bishop, Rector and Bishop's Chaplain standing behind the Altar.

When all are ready, the Bishop says the following:

Peace be to this house, and to all who enter here: In the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Bishop continues

Through the ages, Almighty God has moved his people to build houses of prayer and praise, and to set apart places for the ministry of holy Word and Sacraments. With gratitude for the history and witness of St. Paul's, we are here to give thanks for the community that has gathered here in this church and to acknowledge that this Altar will no longer serve as the Holy Table for this parish.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, you have made us in your image and knit us into one body. We give you thanks for the breaking of bread and the sharing of wine at this Altar and for those who have been sent forth from this place as food for the life of the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

A Reading from the Gospel: Mark 6:30-44

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat." But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?" And he said to them, "How many loaves have you? Go and see." When they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish." Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.

Lector: The Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

The Rector invites the people to share remembrances of the Altar, after which those wanting to reverence the Altar are invited to do so.

The Bishop then says:

Let us pray.

We praise you, Almighty and eternal God, that for us and for our salvation, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to be born among us, that through him we might become your children.

People: Blessed be your Name, Lord God.

We praise you for his life on earth, and for his death upon the cross, through which he offered himself as a perfect sacrifice.

People: Blessed be your Name, Lord God.

We praise you for raising him from the dead, and for exalting him to be our great High Priest.

People: Blessed be your Name, Lord God.

We praise you for sending your Holy Spirit to make us holy, and to unite us in your holy Church.

People: Blessed be your Name, Lord God.

The Rector removes the relic from the Altar. The Bishop then lays a hand upon the Table, and continues:

Almighty God, we thank you for this Altar: Table of renewal, place of pardon, Altar of the sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ, sign of that heavenly banquet where your saints and angels praise you forever. Though no longer set apart for your service, may this Table and the remembrances we have shared enliven us to be your Body in the world; through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things that were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

All: Blessed be your Name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; now and for endless ages. Amen.

Rector: Let us go forth in the name of Christ.

People: Thanks be to God

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