Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Another Video from Bishop McConnell

Bishop Dorsey McConnell has released another video. This one is titled “The Iron City Bishop Reflects on the ‘Fault in Our Stars’ Movie About Cancer.” He reveals that he is a cancer survivor, something I don’t think is widely known in the diocese.

Monday, June 23, 2014


St. Paul’s worshipers were greeted by new and repaired sidewalks Sunday. The photos below illustrate the improvements. Our sidewalks are now in very good shape. The same cannot be said for our parking lot, however, which continues to deteriorate. (Click on the photos below for larger images.)

Sidewalk outside automatic door
The sidewalk immediately adjacent to the parking lot and in front of our new automatic door was in very bad shape. This posed a serious problem for people in wheelchairs. The offending slab has been replaced.

Joint between old and new sidewalk
The new sidewalk matches the existing paving quite nicely. The joint between new and existing paving is shown here. The new sidewalk is at the upper right.

New sidewalk to playground
New sidewalk has been laid to allow children to walk from the Nursery School to the playground without walking on the parking lot.

Repaired sidewalk along Mayfair Drive
For many weeks, the sidewalk along Mayfair Drive was torn up for some water-related repair. The sidewalk has now been fixed. Again, the new sidewalk matches the existing sidewalk well. The sidewalk along the side of the church is still a bit uneven and cracked in places, however.

Repaired sidewalk at front entrance
When I passed by the church on Thursday, I noticed that the sidewalk in front of the front steps of the church was torn up. This is how it looked Sunday morning. Again, the new sidewalk matches the existing paving quite well.

Damaged lawn
The front lawn was showing the effect of heavy equipment needed to replace the sidewalk in front of the church. We were told in church that this damage will be repaired soon. Under the circumstances, the damage to the lawn is minimal.

Front steps
Unfortunately, the new sidewalk has not completely repaired the church’s front entrance. There are significant gaps between the limestone blocks that make up the front steps. Most obvious are the gaps between the lower steps and the sidewalk. Notice that the steps are level, but the sidewalk slopes. It is not clear how the steps are supported. Also, the limestone is cracked where railings are installed. (I assume that the railings are not original.) I do hope these problems do not provide an excuse somewhere down the line to replace our stone steps with concrete steps, as was done at the front Mayfair Drive entrance.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Meet the Bishop

On Monday, June 16, 2014, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh will be hosting Bishop Dorsey McConnell at a meeting at Calvary Church. The bishop will be speaking on the state of the diocese and will answer questions from the audience. This is a great opportunity to meet Bishop McConnell and to explore his vision for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. All are welcome.

Details of the event are in the graphic below. You can obtain a PDF version of this flyer by clicking here, or click on the image below for a larger view.

Update, 6/21/2014. I reported on the event on Lionel Deimel’s Web Log. You can read that report here. Bishop McConnell  explained how the diocese is trying to figure out exactly what it needs to do to allow for same-sex marriages in Pittsburgh churches.

Red Carpet Gala Pictures

Pictures from the Red Carpet Gala for The Fault in Our Stars have been posted on the church’s Facebook page here. You need not need to be a Facebook member to view the photos.

Lisa Brown at Gala
Lisa Brown at The Fault in Our Stars Red Carpet Gala

Monday, June 9, 2014

An Insightful Review of The Fault in Our Stars

David Edelstein has produced a particularly helpful review of The Fault in Our Stars. I highly recommend reading or hearing it. You can find it here on the NPR Web site.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pentecost 2014

St. Paul’s celebrated Pentecost today, and Doug offered a musical spectacular, albeit one for which choir members were a bit uncertain about what was supposed to happen until it actually did. Everything seemed to go off well, however.

I complained recently—see “Lights Going Out”—about burned out light bulbs in the church. The situation has become particularly burdensome for choir members seated behind the organ console, and singers were complaining this morning about the difficulty they were having reading their music. (The other side of the chancel, at least for now, is better lit.) I don’t know how dark the church has to get before we realize that light bulbs really have to be replaced.

Perhaps we cannot deal with church lighting until the rector is around to tell us to do so. After all, when I suggested to Michelle that we try not announcing hymn numbers, which is the practice in virtually all the Episcopal churches I have visited over the years, she told me that Lou is her boss, and she cannot alter the way Lou does things. Apparently, Michelle has responsibility but no authority, not really a good training regimen for a young priest. Nevertheless, Michelle made a point last week of using a birthday prayer different from the one Lou always uses. Go figure.

One final item: Having complained a few weeks ago to a Vestry member about the automatic door to the parking lot not working—see “Various Updates”—I had harbored some small hope that the door might be functioning today. Of course, it wasn’t, so I flipped the toggle switch on the door opener and used the hex key hanging next to the door to lock open the door latch. (Both operations are needed if the automatic door is to operate properly.) As I was leaving the building, I noticed that no one tried to use the door opener, probably because they have learned through experience that it never works.

Welcome to the most welcoming congregation in the South Hills for all generations.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Reaction to the Movie

I attended the gala showing of The Fault in Our Stars at the Galleria Thursday. I wrote about it on my main blog here for anyone who’s interested.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

John Green Again

John Green seems to be getting as much publicity as the movie The Fault in Our Stars, which brings his bestselling young adult novel of the same name to the silver screen. (See my previous post “John Green in Time.”) In fact, he has become something of a rock star. He was the subject of an NPR report on Morning Edition today. You can read and listen to the story here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

John Green in Time

Movie poster
The Fault in Our Stars, the movie filmed in Pittsburgh (and at St. Paul’s) is receiving an enormous amount of publicity. Time has published a story in the current issue about John Green’s being on the set as the movie was filmed. Unfortunately, the full piece is available on the Web only to subscribers. It begins on page 48 of the June 9 issue.

The movie enters general release on Friday. St. Paul’s’ Red Carpet Gala showing of the movie takes place at the Carmike Galleria Cinemas tomorrow night.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Fair Trade

I have had qualms about any connection with Uganda. Both the government and the leaders of the Church of Uganda have supported the anti-gay law that has been denounced by our State Department and my many other Western governments.

Among other things, St. Paul’s has been selling “fair trade” coffee from Uganda. Personally, I would rather have us sell coffee from elsewhere. That aside, however, I heard an interesting report today on the public radio program Here & Now. A recent report from the University of London, it seems, concludes that wages for seasonal workers in the production of fair trade goods are lower than in non-fair trade production. Fair trade products are instead intended to support small farmer, the “job creators,” as it were, not the lowest workers in society.

I don’t know quite what to make of this information, and I don’t know what to think about coffee sales by St. Paul’s. The radio segment was thought-provoking, however. You can find more information here.

Coffee being sold in the undercroft

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Lights Going Out

While at church today, I made a quick inventory of light bulbs in the church proper that were burned out. I counted at least 11. If we don’t get serious about maintenance soon, we will be worshiping in the dark. My survey was done hurriedly. I probably missed a few bulbs.

Burned out light bulb