A Firm Foundation
For those of you who haven’t had the chance to peek behind the “Construction Zone” signs, here is a picture of what the chapel looked like in mid-August. It was a bit of a mess, and a big change from where we were before the work started. The dream, long-talked about, is to remodel the chapel worship space – to help the acoustics, to make it a bit more flexible, and to restore its architecture and liturgical furnishings to its original state—more consistent with our Reformed and Presbyterian tradition. To that end, through the visionary funding of the Imagine Initiative, the pews (all but two that had water damage) all found new homes; the pulpit, lectern and communion table are all being repurposed and refinished; and as you can tell from the photo, the floor is being redone. What was a concrete, partial stone floor, will soon be a lovely new oak floor that will warm the space and echo the rest of this amazing building.
In any building project, the first step is tending to what lies beneath – tending the foundation. Once finished, it is buried and out of sight. Done well, we never think twice about it. Done poorly, the whole structure is at risk. Jesus himself picks up that theme when he asks whether we are building our lives on sand, or on the solid rock of his words. It is a question that keeps us coming back to spaces like our chapel and sanctuary to tend to our foundation.
In the chapel, they worked hard to level the gravel left over from the concrete. A thin layer of low-moisture concrete was laid down – with a really cool laser levelling system – to make sure all is smooth, all is solid and all is level. A firm foundation.
In a larger sense, as October comes, it is the season for tending the foundation for the entire work of our church. Last year, the forward-looking vision of the Imagine Initiative helped turned some of the long-term dreams of our church into reality: an air-conditioned sanctuary, refurbished stained glass, remodeled manses, a well-funded ministry to our children and youth, a new concert series, the Coming Home program… the list goes on! But below those exciting and very visible new programs and improvements lies the quieter, less-visible day-to-day work of the church – the firm foundation of a solid staff team, a well-maintained facility, and funding for all of our ongoing and long-standing ministries. In perhaps less spiritual terms, it is an annual budget of over $1.5 million, and for nearly all of it we are fully reliant on the ongoing generosity of the people of this church.
It is a big foundation. It is one well-tended by the leadership of our church. But to continue to build all that we hope and dream for our church, it must be kept solid and unshakable. It takes all our work and all of our generosity.
Later this month, as pledge cards for 2017 arrive, but more importantly, as we all together seek to build our lives more firmly on God’s foundation, let us consider our many blessings and how our lives and our generosity reflect the great generosity of God. If we do, I have all the confidence in the world that we will not spend time worrying about the church budget. Instead, on a firm foundation, we will continue the great work that God has done here at Rye Presbyterian Church. I look forward to being a part of that work with you.