Monday, December 19, 2005

The Church in Exile

Here are some pictures taken at Trinity Episcopal Church in Seattle. The cameras were out yesterday because Sunday was the final day of worship in the parish hall. On Christmas Eve the congregation will return to the historic sanctuary that has been undergoing restoration due to damages incurred in the Nasquale earthquake five years ago. For a church of a couple of hundred active members to raise six million dollars to repair this old church is quite a feat. Interestingly enough, a sizable portion of the money comes from the government in the form of a FEMA grant, and the rationale for the grant includes the proportion of the church budget that can be designated social services. In a church where there were mostly dour faces after the re-election of George W. Bush, there are now people who don't want to mention the Republican Faith Based Initiative, which made possible federal funding of churches that subsidize social services the government would otherwise have to support.

This picture was taken during the final cadence of an anthem celebrating the annunciation. Conductor Martin Olson has persisted for more than twenty years at this urban church. Choir and conductor have survived the various jurisdictions imposed by bishops, priests, and priestesses. The earthquake was a minor shock compared to some of the clerical administrations the choir has outlasted. The exile of the faithful to the parish hall, as was sermonized yesterday, can be considered the work of an angel of mercy. The foundation under historic Trinity, laid in the nineteenth century, was discovered during repairs to have been a disaster waiting to happen, and a large and failing steam pipe that was still conducting heat to the sanctuary five years ago could have blown away half the parishioners at any time.

Photos by Paul Hannah


Michael Dodaro said...

Dicovered a Gregorian Chant advocate this morning at:
I think I'm gonna Cry

scribe said...

Just skimming his article on Gregorian chant, I saw this:

"We have undervalued the Christian people’s ability to learn; we have almost forced them to forget the Gregorian melodies that they knew, instead of expanding and deepening their knowledge, including through proper instruction on the meaning of the texts. And instead, we have stuffed them full of banalities."

Amen to that.

Hey, Mike, ask him over. Let's gather all these conservative forces and make a movement! Chanters of the world unite!!!

Michael Dodaro said...

Here's another good one by Matt Reiner in Australia:
Towards a Theology of Inspiration

Ray said...

So Mike, just to turn up the seriousness of this particular post, are you the guy with the shiny head in the second picture?

It's ironic, at my church, most people would support faith based initiatives if managed fairly. But, I'd be shocked if they would ever consider accepting any kind of government money, FEMA or otherwise, even to rebuild after a disaster.

Michael Dodaro said...

I'm not yet that bald nor that grey. I was standing next to the photographer, so I didn't get into the picture.

Ray said...

Well, at least Martin has the proper facial hair style for a serious musician.

Have I hijacked this thread?