Looking up

When you walk into our fellowship hall, you can’t help but look up.  And when you do, please notice the innovative new ceiling system, one of the first of its kind installed by our contractors.  The system features two-by-ten-foot acoustical panels that will prevent the sound from rebounding when groups of us are talking, singing, eating, or performing.  The ceiling holds our state of the art projector and screen, both of which lower when we want to use them and disappear otherwise.  The speakers for our AV system are also in the ceiling, along with special can lights.

Ceilings are being installed all over the new building, now that we have passed inspections on the above-ceiling systems: electrical, telecom, sprinkler, and fire alarms.  The sweet smell of sheetrock mud and paint — sweet because they signal completion — compete with the more acrid smells and flying sparks of bandsaws cutting through metal.

The heavy duty rubber linoleum floor in the kitchen is down and the new stove, refrigerator, food warmer, pot racks, and stainless steel sinks and counters have arrived.  The new equipment will be joined by our old ice maker, dishwasher, freezers, and butcher block counters.  Workers are installing wood cabinetry in the classrooms, kitchen, and bathrooms, and adding wood trim everywhere.

We are finally making perceivable progress on the site, with brick walls, stone walls, concrete ramps, and pavers sprouting suddenly like wildflowers after a rain.  Bobcats are carving the shape of the parking lot out of the dirt; it won’t be long until it’s paved.  Inside, the concrete is getting drier.

Things are looking up.  Thank you for all you are doing to help with this final push. We continue to rely on your prompt or accelerated payment of pledges, your new or additional contributions, and your prayers and moral support.  Any cash advances now reduce what we have to borrow, resulting in lower interest payments down the road.  Click here to make an additional contribution, new gift or pledge payment to the capital campaign.  And plan to join Bishop Curry for the building dedication October 5 at 6 pm!

If you are returning to town after summer vacation, remember your annual fund pledge!.  The annual fund supports our programming, outreach ministry, building upkeep, and staff.  Click here to support the annual fund and the work of the church at the Chapel of the Cross.

Walker Mabe

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Do not remove

Raleigh Times columnist Dennis Rogers used to say that the North Carolina state motto, Esse Quam Videri, was Latin for “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”

As we approach the last weeks of the project, the humidity has thrown us a real curve ball:  the concrete floors of the building are taking a very long time to dry out.  We have acres of floor tile to lay down (only a  slight exaggeration) and the adhesive coating requires that the concrete have a specific moisture content for it to stick.  The last thing we want is for tiles to start popping up because the bond has failed.

So, we’ve brought big blue dehumidifiers for each floor.  Fans are running around the clock.  And sprinkled around the concrete are little orange buttons that say “Do not remove.” Each button covers a hole that houses a computer chip that measures the moisture content of the five-inch-thick floor.  The floor coating requires 80 percent or lower moisture content and we are measuring in the 90s.  With the rain we are currently having, it could take into next week to dry the floors out.  Once we meet the required level of dryness, it will take two full weeks to lay the tile.

So, we are readjusting our expectations for the dedication and parish barbecue and trying to stay flexible as we schedule events and the opening of the building.  We’ve moved back moving day, again.

There is no rushing the end of a project, particularly where our beautiful and fine finishes are concerned.  In just a month or so, we will be where we only dreamed of being just a year ago.

To be, rather than to seem. Just as our timeline is lengthening, unforeseen costs are increasing, especially for work that we desperately needed to do in the old part of the building.  We continue to rely on your prompt or accelerated payment of pledges, your new or additional contributions, and your prayers and moral support.  Any cash advances now reduce what he have to borrow, resulting in lower interest payments down the road.  Click here to make an additional contribution, new gift or pledge payment to the capital campaign.
Walker Mabe

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Count the ways

What’s been happening on site this week?  Let me count the trades:

  • Drywall crews are working on all four floors
  • Electricians are hanging lights
  • Ceiling tiles are being installed in the Yates hallways
  • HVAC and controls engineers are bringing all the air conditioning units on line
  • Painters are plying their rollers and brushes everywhere
  • Robert Hooke is installing the bookshelves he built for the new library (the front half of the old dining room)
  •  Gutter fabricators are handcrafting gorgeous copper gutters and hanging them
  • The FRP (fiberglass resin panels) in the new kitchen is installed along with the hood
  • The old kitchen is being disassembled and former pass-throughs walled up
  • The playground builders are routing, staining, and assembling the playground structure and sandbox
  • Bathroom fixtures are going into place
  • Telecom guys are wiring for phones and computers and installing wireless access points
  • All the interior doors are hung
  • Civil site work is proceeding
  • The roofers are beginning work on the little house
  • Inspections are occurring routinely and almost continuously
  • Masons are washing the brick and trim crews are putting the final touches on wood trim
  • On Monday, we will take delivery of floor tiles for the building, stone countertops will be installed in the bathrooms, and work begins on the front retaining walls, steps, and wheelchair ramps.
  • The architect and the contractor are solving puzzles, putting out fires, and clarifying the drawings

All energies are focused on finishing and passing inspection in time to move in and take occupancy in a month!  Some 65 people are on the site at any one time, not including staff and volunteers serenely going about their daily activities. 

We can count the ways you are all helping: the acceleration of remaining payments when possible, increases to your pledge, new contributions, or legacy gifts. For every $100,000 we avoid  borrowing now, we save $69,000 in interest costs over the life of the  loan.  Click here to make an additional contribution, new gift or pledge payment to the capital campaign .

The work of the church continues in these summer construction months.  Your annual fund pledge or pledge payment for 2014 supports our programming, outreach ministry, building upkeep, and staff.  Click here to support the annual fund and the work of the church at the Chapel of the Cross.

 

Walker Mabe

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Mothers of Young Children Bible Study: An Invitation

momsgroup2“No one else [but another mother] quite gets what you’re going through or the struggles you may be having,” one member of the weekly Bible Study for Mothers of Young Children said recently.  “There are other big groups out there, but this one is small and we’re all coming from a similar place of Christian community, love and acceptance.”

This small group – usually about six mothers with their infants and toddlers -gathers each Wednesday at 10:00 AM.  The group generally meets in the Yates nursery but during these last weeks of construction, it is meeting in various members’ homes.   The group – though united in Christian community – is quite diverse.  Some mothers work full time, some part-time; others “stay home” with their children.  (One benefit of the Bible Study, a mom points out, is that it “gets you out with your children and into an environment where no one cares if the kids are loud or crabby or singing or whatever…”)   Some in the group became mothers though their own pregnancies; others became mothers through adoption.   There are those who breastfeed and those who do not.  There are single mothers and mothers parenting with a partner.

There is never any required reading or preparation.  All that is required is a willingness to support and encourage the other members and to consider one’s parenting through a Christian lens (most often the upcoming Sunday’s Gospel reading).

All mothers of infants and young children are invited, as are their children.  For more information, contact Boykin Bell at bbell@thechapelofthecross.org or Julie Hammer at julie.hammer@yahoo.com .​

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Along the west side

The little house on the west side — “cute” is our project superintendent’s term for it — is a small replica of our larger building.  Lovely brickwork, a slate roof, and old world details conceal its prosaic purpose: it is the home of the building’s backflow preventer in one half and storage for trashcans and outdoor equipment in the other.  Its location just off the kitchen stoop also makes it a great place to stash rental equipment following large parties and wedding receptions.

 

The view from the back corner also takes in the playground under construction.  The posts of the structure have been placed and the elaborate drainage system has been laid in preparation for the rubber playground surface to be poured.  The playground will feature two roofed platforms connected by an arched bridge, numerous climbing opportunities, a slide, and a playhouse under the bridge.  The roofed sandbox area also includes a wall of magnetic paint and a Lexan painting wall.  And of course there will be a tire swing.  All the wood is beautifully routed, sanded and stained; the tin roofs and gutters are antique bronze.

 

The photo of the playground and the little house also includes the front chimney.  Cranes working from the Morehead lot in the predawn hours placed the final caps on the chimneys early this morning.  The two chimneys echo the two towers and add charm and character — something we seem to have plenty of!

 

It’s taken charm, character, fortitude and persistence to get this far — thank you for lending a hand.  We have begun drawing on the bank loan to make our payments to the contractor, and are working overtime to anticipate and handle unforeseen expenses.  Everything we are doing will make this a better building in the end.  We very much appreciate the acceleration of remaining payments when possible, increases to your pledge, new contributions, or legacy gifts. For every $100,000 we avoid borrowing now, we save $69,000 in interest costs over the life of the loan.  Click here to make an additional contribution, new gift or pledge payment to the capital campaign.

 

The work of the church continues in these summer construction months.  Your annual fund pledge or pledge payment for 2014 supports our programming, outreach ministry, building upkeep, and staff.  Click here to support the annual fund and the work of the church at the Chapel of the Cross.
Walker Mabe

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Working straight through

Copper, slate, wood, brick, limestone.  These beautiful, natural finishes — and the way they are designed into the structure — are the details that will set our building apart, now and for many decades into the future.  The limestone has been going in this week and what a pop of character it brings.  The limestone was carved in Indiana and installed by a specialist from North Carolina.  You can see its effect already around the big bay window near the main entrance, at the top of the chimney, and on the bands across the large gothic windows.  The old cross that is now on the Arboretum side of the building is also limestone.

Despite being stone, limestone is not load-bearing and is more like a skin that is attached just for its beauty.  The fasteners for the limestone are engineered and attached two ways depending on where they are: horizontally for weight and vertically for wind load.

The architects gets the same effect as limestone, and a lot more strength, with use of cast stone details.  You can see that in the pediments atop the brick pilasters and coins, and insets around the windows.

Sitework continues on the substrate for the brick pavers on sidewalks and the terrace, on the parking lot infrastructure, on the drainage system beneath the playground, and on the outbuilding on the west side of the site.  Inside, workers have completed the sheetrock detail around the fellowship hall windows and are nearing completion of the new HVAC system and controls.  There are dozens of different trades on site, all working together in controlled chaos.  They plan to work straight through the weekend, Fourth of July and Sunday included.

Thank you for working straight through with us and bearing up under the last weeks of disarray and inconvenience.  We have made it this far into the project using the development funds that you have already paid in.  Now we are beginning to draw upon our bank loan.  We very much appreciate the acceleration of remaining payments when possible, increases to your pledge, new contributions, or legacy gifts. For every $100,000 we avoid borrowing now, we save $69,000 in interest costs over the life of the loan.  Click here to make an additional contribution, new gift or pledge payment to the capital campaign.

 

Walker Mabe

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Outreach Ministry Committee awards 16 Community Partnership Grants

The Outreach Ministry Committee has awarded its first round of Community Partnership Grants for 2014. Chapel of the Cross Community Partners represent those in our community who fulfill our mission to serve God by showing Christ’s ever-present love, justice, and mercy to the world.

Chapel of the Cross makes a three-year year funding commitment to Community Partners. Grant renewals are reviewed annually by the committee and are dependent upon continued parishioner involvement, continued good financial standing as a non-profit, and submission of an annual report stating how funds were used.

The committee focused on making more significant contributions to Community Partners as well as increasing funding to partners moving forward in their missions.

“We looked at five years of data to determine which organizations really did need more funding and which organizations would benefit from a stronger financial commitment on our part,” said Mary Beth Grealey, vestry liaison to the Outreach and Social Justice Commission.

The committee also is looking at ways to link funding with Chapel of the Cross volunteers—encouraging parishioners to volunteer with our community partners. Each partner organization has a liaison on the Outreach Ministry committee who makes frequent contract with their organization’s executive director to stay abreast of challenges and opportunities for the partner.

Mary Beth encouraged parishioners to attend the Outreach and Engagement Fair on August 24, which will be held in conjunction with Dinner on the Grounds. Members of all ages and abilities will be able to learn about and volunteer for service—both in-reach and outreach—in our parish and community.

“The fair is an excellent time to renew your commitment to the parish, not with money but by getting involved,” said Mary Beth.

The Outreach Ministry Committee also plans to host an event for Community Partner staff and board members to promote collaborations among organizations, help them make connections, educate them about the resources available across the community, and share ideas, funds or volunteers when appropriate.

Here are the grants recommended by outreach and approved by the vestry at its June meeting:

  • Freedom House – 6,000
  • Orange Alamance Prison Ministry – 4,500
  • Family Violence & Rape Crisis, Chatham – 4,000
  • Habitat for Humanity, UNC Partnership – 4,000
  • Club Nova – 4,000
  • CCH Meals on Wheels – 3,000
  • El Futuro – 2,000
  • A Helping Hand – 2,000
  • Community Empowerment Fund – 2,000
  • Justice United – 2,000
  • MLK, Jr Scholarship Fund – 2,000
  • Habitat for Humanity – A Brush with Kindness – 1,500
  • Iglesia El Buen Pastor – 1,500
  • Chapel of the Cross Preschool – 1,000
  • Orange County Rape Crisis Center – 1,000
  • Faith Connections on Mental Health – 500

The Outreach Ministry Committee also recommended increasing the Community Partnership Grant for the InterFaith Council (IFC) from $21,000 to $22,000, as well as a one-time grant to the CORA (Chatham Outreach Alliance) food pantry of $1000.

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