Sunday, February 9, 2014

Welcoming St. Paul’s

I attended church today with no particular axe to grind, but because of choir rehearsal, I resigned myself to skipping the annual meeting. Besides, it has been many years since any real decisions were left to the parish at large. My main concern for the day was a new composition by Doug Starr that some of us would be singing at communion.

As has become my habit, I tried the automatic door when I entered the church from the parking lot. As usual, it did not work. When I got inside, I noted that the wall switch  that apparently controlls power to the door was stitched off. I turned it on. It made no difference. I later discovered that there is a switch on the door opener over the door that needs to be turned on. Why is this switch not turned on all the time (or at least whenever the church is open)? Have we neglected to train our sextons? Are we saving electricity at the expense of people who might need help entering the church? There are some things about St. Paul’s that I simply fail to understand.

My second encounter with St. Paul’s insensitivity came when I tried to grab some brunch before choir rehearsal. Doug asked the choir to meet in the church at 9:45, but brunch was to start only at 9:30. Some choir members, faced with this situation, simply decided to eat breakfast at home. Others, myself included, tried to make a difficult schedule work. By 9:30, lots of food was out on the table, and several choir members encouraged me to begin filling my plate. They were right behind me, but I was the designated sacrificial lamb chosen to try to get food first. Before I could put any food on my plate, however, Karen Viggiano, who apparently decided to play Food Nazi, insisted that I wait until she had put out two more dishes. I explained that the choir was under time pressure, but that cut no ice with Karen.

After the choir rehearsed, I had to use the bathroom. I’m not used to doing this with my choir robe on. (I got a new perspective of what women deal with.) Anyway, I spent half a minute or more trying to untangle the toilet paper from its complex holder. This was made more difficult than necessary by the extraordinarily thin single-ply tissue the church uses. Wouldn’t it be more welcoming to use double-ply tissue? Would that unbalance the budget?

Whatever my frustrations, the service was satisfying, and I enjoyed the two anthems we sang, both of which were new for the choir. I’d love to know how worshipers felt about the new anthem from Doug. (He probably would, too.)

I left church on a more positive note, in spite of the snow. The automatic door had been turned on and actually worked. I wonder if it will be work the next time I come to church.

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