Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lantern Repaired

I was pleased to see that the lantern at the crossing nearest the font was operating again today. (See earlier story here.) Like a similar lantern in the chancel some time ago, the lantern had to be completely rewired.

A spotlight on a roof truss and a downlight on the ceiling are still not functioning, presumably because the lamps are burned out.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sign Lit Once More

I reported more than a year ago that the south-facing body of our outdoor sign was dark at night. A couple of nights ago, as I drove past the sign, I saw that both sides of the sign are finally illuminated once again. The lettering on the sign is still problematic, and the fluorescent tubes on the two sides have different spectra, but at least the sign, at some level, works.

Below are pictures I took of the sign tonight from the north and from the south.

North face of sign
South face of sign

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lighting Yet Again

LightbulbThe non-functioning lantern in the church has still not been repaired. (See my earlier post here.) Vladimir told me today that he thinks an electrician is going to be called this week.

I asked Vestry member Jeff Dunbar about the lantern. Jeff explained that there was some confusion at the last Vestry meeting as to whether the lantern (or whatever is the problem) had been fixed or not. I don’t quite understand how the junior warden could be confused about such a matter, but the situation is what it is.

I also noticed today that two lamps, a downlight on the ceiling and a spotlight on a roof truss, are out. The spotlight, as well as some other spotlights, have not been used of late because the fixtures are not aimed properly. (One shines in Doug Starr’s eyes when he’s at the organ console, for example.) I hope these problems will be taken care of as well next week, but I don’t have high hopes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Where Are the Railings?

A friend of mine who has mobility problems—she generally uses a walker when out and about—observed that the rebuilt steps to the narthex door do not have railings. I had not really thought about this, but, when she mentioned it, I recalled that the plans for the steps that were posted in the undercroft a year ago—without comment, as it turns out—did indeed specify railings.

The issue is not simply an aesthetic one. My friend, for example, can surmount steps by having someone carry her walker and pulling herself up step-by-step using a railing.

Here is what the Mayfair Drive Narthex entrance looks like now (click on the image for a larger view):

New steps sans railing
Railings matching those seen above can be seen on the front stairs:

Railing at main entrance
and on the stairs near the church office:

Railing at entrance near church office
I don’t know if all the railings were installed at the same time, but they match one another well. Here is a detail of the railing at the lower Mayfair Drive entrance:

Railing detail
Below is a detail of the architectural specifications for the reconstructed steps. (The complete design can be seen here.)

Plan for steps (detail)The question, however, is what happened to the railings that were supposed to be installed on the steps to the Narthex door?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Performance Jazz Camp Recital

Doug Starr sent out the following note tonight:
If you’re free, please come to tomorrow night’s Jazz Camp concert in the church at 7:00 pm. A program is attached.

Always fun to watch these young folks play and improvise!
The attachment included the following information:

Second Annual Performance Jazz Camp Recital

Tuesday, August 2nd at 7:00 p.m.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
1066 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228

Lee Robinson, Camp Director, Saxophone

Douglas Starr, Camp Facilitator, Keyboards
Paul Barker, Camp Facilitator, Bass
Andrew Nolish, Camp Student, Keyboards
Dean Roth, Camp Student, Alto Saxophone
Ryan Socrates, Drums

Performance Jazz Camp Description:
A new, innovative and fun jazz camp for student jazz groups and individuals. The focus is on the group performance of school age students (4th – 12th grades) who are members of (e.g., duos, trios, quartets) small groups or school ensembles. PJC includes Master Class demonstrations and jazz performance coaching daily. It is a great learning experience for young jazz players.

Social Media and the Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church and Monk Development, Inc., have just published a brief paper called “Social Media and the Episcopal Church: A New Way to Tell a 2,000-Year-Old Story.” I have some problems with this document, but it does offer excellent suggestions about how a church should use its Web site, as well take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the like.

First, the bad news. “Social Media and the Episcopal Church” was posted on the Web not on the Episcopal Church site but on that of Monk Development. Moreover, one has to enter personal information to access it. (You don’t have to, however. You can simply view the PDF file here.) If you’re in a cynical mood, you might see the paper as an extended advertisement for a Monk product called Ekklesia360, which is a tool for building church Web sites. That would be a mistake.

Following an executive summary, “Social Media and the Episcopal Church” discusses six “best practices.” I will list them here, but you should really read the paper, which is rather short.
  1. Know thyself
  2. Make your website the crown jewel of your communications strategy — and keep it fresh with constant updates
  3. Make it a two-way conversation
  4. Put someone in charge of your online strategy
  5. Don’t be too controlling
  6. Don’t reinvent the wheel
The paper concludes with a plug for Ekklesia360 and a plea for taking social media seriously that includes the following:
Churches that will flourish in the world of social media are those that understand that these are not just new tools for dumping information or pushing agendas. Social media demands transparency, openness, and a willingness to be part of a conversation.
Except for the shameless self-promotion by Monk Development, I have no quibbles with the content of “Social Media and the Episcopal Church.” Read it for yourself and see if (1) you don’t agree with its contention that the new technologies are important and require deliberate and ongoing attention and (2) that St. Paul’s is doing almost nothing of what is being suggested.