Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stained Glass Repair – 1

I dropped by St. Paul’s today to observe the process of re-installing stained glass windows. Williams Stained Glass Studio had removed the clerestory windows on the south side of the building weeks ago for rehabilitation, and two workman were putting the restored windows back in place. At the time of my visit, all but one of the windows had been replaced.

I was told that the windows being re-installed were much in need of repair, being very distorted. For some reason, the windows on the opposite side of the nave are in better shape. A stained glass window needs to be repaired every 80–100 years, apparently. St. Paul’s seems to be right on schedule.

Re-installing the clerestory windows requires a lift inside and one outside. Outside access is probably easier. Inside access involves moving pews and positioning a scissor lift. Moving pews is not, in principle, difficult. I was told that screwing the pews back down often encounteres holes that do not readily hold a screw. (I have personally encountered this problem in the church.)

Next week, the lower windows on the same side of the building will be removed.

The pictures below will give you a sense of the work Williams is doing at the church. Click on a picture to see a larger image.

Williams Stained Glass Studio truck
Williams Stained Glass Studio truck parked on Mayfair Drive

Window in truck ready to be installed
Window in Williams truck ready for installation

Outdoor lift
Outdoor lift

View of the nave
View of the nave. The window closest to Washington Road remains to be installed.

Scissor lift
Scissor lift

St. Luke window
St. Luke window

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back at St. Paul’s

It was good to be back at St. Paul’s and singing in the choir today. I had picked up a respiratory infection at General Convention, and it resulted in lingering voice problems. After singing today without difficulty, I’m going to declare myself officially recovered.

I was surprised—well, sort of—to see that we had a baptism today. I have complained to the rector more than once about our scheduling baptisms for the convenience of the family, seemingly without any encouragement to wait for one of the traditional occasions:
Holy Baptism is especially appropriate at the Easter Vigil, on the Day of Pentecost, on All Saints’ Day or the Sunday after All Saints’ Day, and on the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord (the First Sunday after the Epiphany). It is recommended that, as far as possible, Baptisms be reserved for these occasions or when a bishop is present. [BCP, p. 312]
I spent several minutes reading the bulletin trying to figure out just who was being baptized. Only in the prayer list following the order of service and the schedule for the coming week did I find the name of Henry Jay Trau. It is unfortunate that this information was buried in such an unlikely place. The baptism of a child is a significant event in the life of a family, and most families would like to take home a bulletin (or two or three) as a keepsake. We owe it to them to make a bigger deal of the ceremony. The names of people being baptized should always be prominently displayed in the bulletin, and it is a nice touch to work them into the sermon as well.

Completely missing from the bulletin was the formerly standard notice of the prohibition of flash photography during the service. I had not noticed its absence until a flash went off right in my face. The photographer, the font, and my chair in the choir were pretty much in a straight line, and I’m sure I jerked conspicuously when the picture was taken. That picture was only the first of several.

Michelle Boomgaard neglected to ask the congregation to stand for the Baptismal Covenant. People remained seated at first, but eventually stood up. Curiously, there is no rubric in the prayer book instructing the people to stand, which is perhaps an oversight. Michelle has likely done few baptisms and can be excused the oversight.

Less excusable was her sermon, which, for me, was virtually inaudible. Michelle was wearing a microphone and wireless transmitter, but the microphone was too far from her mouth or the gain on the amplifier was too low or she simply did not speak loudly enough. Her dismissal was easy to hear, so there was nothing wrong with the audio equipment.

I do wish preachers would use the pulpit, which is designed for the purpose. Not only does it make the preacher easier to see, but the microphone can be moved closer or farther from the speaker as required. If people are going to use wireless microphones, they really should perform a sound check before the service.

I was delighted that Michelle neglected to announce at least one of the hymns. (I have always considered such announcements unnecessary, if not insulting.) I noticed that we managed to sing the hymn anyway.

We really can roll with the punches. The final hymn had seven verses, but Doug only played five. No one began singing verse six. (Of course, that we were only singing the first five verses should have been noted in the bulletin, but wasn’t.)

My final observation on the service is that five spotlights on the ceiling or rafters are burned out. These bulbs are extraordinarily difficult to replace, and we seem never to have developed a standard way of performing the task. With so many lamps defective, however, I think it’s time to consider how we’re going to do the job next time.