Going up

We can safely say we are in the final phases of our big project.  Parishioners, staff, designers, inspectors, contractors, and subcontractors are working hand in hand to bring everything to a conclusion.

  • A row of cedars and holly bushes lines the pavement beside the Morehead parking lot.  Rich turf surrounds the entrance and the historic marker beside the chapel.  Cyclists can park their steeds at handsome bike racks.  The playground awaits.
  • The new elevator has been commissioned and staff trained in all its various functions.  The slate floor matches the floor in the entrance hall and the walls are wooden paneling with stainless steel accents. We all look forward to going up together!
  • A cohort of workers has been beneath the parking lot, via the manholes, checking on the storm trap to see how it’s been performing over the past six weeks.  They will be back to check again in a couple of months.
  • The HVAC contractors and control system designers have been fine-tuning and tweaking the HVAC, including the old systems in the church and chapel, which are not new but are governed by new controls.  This Sunday you may see signs that our system is being watched!
  • The beautiful reception desk and library shelves — built from red oak from the trees we cut down a year ago — are ready to be put into service.
  • The transition committee is preparing for the move from temporary quarters into the new building, set to occur at this writing next week.

It’s happening!  As we begin a new era of worship and ministry, watch for ways to get oriented physically and grounded spiritually in our new home.  We are preparing maps and signs, planning gatherings large and small, and highlighting the involvement of diverse and varied parishioners in the work of the Chapel of the Cross.

Plan to attend the Outreach and Engagement Fair with Dinner on the Grounds on September 28. Celebrate the dedication of the building on October 5, followed by a potluck and a special congregational meeting.  Begin to discern how you will be present at the Chapel of the Cross and what your gifts will be as we live into our legacy.

This fall we will also open the 2015 annual fund campaign, You Are Here.  The annual fund supports our programming, outreach ministry, building upkeep, and staff.  Just a few weeks remain in 2014 — is your Spirit at Work pledge up to date?

Walker Mabe

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August Vestry Actions

At its meeting on August 28, the Vestry:

  • Approved the recommendation of the Outreach Ministry Committee for disbursal of a one-time grant of $1000 to Our Children’s Place for their advocacy programs on behalf of the children of incarcerated parents
  • Approved the revised By-Laws of the Chapel of the Cross to be presented to the parish for approval at a called Parish Meeting on Sunday, October 5
  • Designated a previously parish-approved by-law as a Vestry By-Law
  • Authorized the Finance Committee to issue a request for proposals in the process of engaging a new auditor.

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Doubling of community

Sometimes we don’t even know we are waiting for a sign until one shows up.  The latter days  of a construction project are filled with delays, disappointments, misinterpretations, petty squabbles, inexplicable paperwork, tempests in a teapot, and minor crises.  Those of us working in the building had reached — and passed — our equilibrium point about three weeks ago.  Then the bees showed up.

Sometime during the holiday weekend, construction workers noticed a swarm of bees “bearding” on a bright yellow scrubbing mop upended in  a trash can near the new entrance.  By Tuesday, the bees — following their queen — were converged on the dirt patch in front of the new brick entrance sidewalk.

We reached Chris Richmond, a member of the Orange County Beekeepers Association, as he was heading out to a hive he keeps in Hillsborough.  He immediately turned around, fetched his bee gathering equipment, and came to pick up the swarm.  “Bees are too important right now to delay,” he told us.

According to Mr. Richmond, our swarm was fairly small — about 5,000 bees.  He speculated that they had come from the community garden off Battle Lane.  We knew that bees represent royalty, industry, teamwork, and fertility.  We asked Mr. Richmond, a 1992 graduate of UNC-CH, what he thought it meant, these bees landing in front of our new door.

“It’s a doubling of community,” he said.  “where there was one hive, now there are two.  The old hive outgrew their space and they sent out scouts to find a new home.”

The beekeeper set to work enticing the queen inside the wooden hive box.  The rest of the bees began walking in through the narrow entrance, like churchgoers on a Sunday morning — purposeful, orderly, eager, intent.  To speed up the process the beekeeper rigged up a vacuum to lightly suction some of them into another box.  He donned a hood for the vacuuming operation, but he noted that swarming bees are generally not aggressive — they have other things on their minds.

And so we were reminded why we are doing all this.  We knew instinctively that it was time to double our community — to increase our membership, strengthen our outreach, broaden our programming, change our way of connecting and communicating. Soon we will be living into our new hive, together.

You are here.  As we begin a new era of worship and ministry, watch for ways to get oriented physically and grounded spiritually in our new home.  We are preparing maps and signs, planning gatherings large and small, and highlighting the involvement of diverse and varied parishioners in the work of the Chapel of the Cross.

Come to one of the five services on September 7,  participate in the Outreach and Engagement Fair on September 28, and celebrate the dedication of the building on October 5.  Begin to discern how you will be present at the Chapel of the Cross and what your gifts will be as we live into our legacy.

This fall we will also open the 2015 annual fund campaign, You Are Here.  The annual fund supports our programming, outreach ministry, building upkeep, and staff.  Just a few weeks remain in 2014 — is your Spirit at Work pledge up to date?

Walker Mabe

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Like it’s always been here

Everyone is talking about it: the construction fencing is down and here we are!  A stroll down Franklin Street reveals a lovingly designed and carefully constructed addition that fulfills our growing needs and enhances our historic worship spaces.  Church, chapel, and parish hall are gracefully set back to embrace the site and welcome all who approach.

Hartman-Cox architects designed the new building to reflect our long history, to last for another 150 years, and to defer to the church and the chapel.  The attention to detail is spectacular; the refurbishment of tired old spaces most welcome. The result is a building that looks like it’s always been here.

Without question, this building will enable us to initiate a new era through the goals of the original and visionary master plan:

  • Create an ambience of gracious welcome that conveys hospitality, a sense of place, and a spiritual home
  • Maintain a strong connection to the campus and the community
  • Provide a physical plant that is safe and secure, with clear circulation and functional organization
  • Foster our stewardship of our extraordinary buildings

The human scale of the new parish hall goes back to the very human scale of our parish.  We’ve always been here.  And we look forward to being here for a long time to come.

You are here.  As autumn begins and we return to our full service schedule, open our new building, and begin a new era of worship and ministry, watch for ways to get oriented physically and grounded spiritually in our new home.  We are preparing maps and signs, planning gatherings large and small, and highlighting the involvement of diverse and varied parishioners in the work of the Chapel of the Cross.

Come to one of the five services on September 7,  participate in the Outreach and Engagement Fair on September 28, and celebrate the dedication of the building on October 5.  Begin to discern how you will be present at the Chapel of the Cross and what your gifts will be as we live into our legacy.

This fall we will also open the 2015 annual fund campaign, You Are Here.  The annual fund supports our programming, outreach ministry, building upkeep, and staff.  Just a few weeks remain in 2014 — is your Spirit at Work pledge up to date?

Walker Mabe

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Getting Close

The approach to any public building is almost as important as the building itself.  Our hardscape is taking shape — the brick walls around the handicap access ramp, topped by limestone, and the broad expanse of brick pavers leading to our “open door.” 

 

The parking lot is at long last almost ready for paving.  The civil site work has included layers of one-inch by one-inch mesh “fabric” alternated with eight-inch layers of dark gray ABC stone.  (ABC refers to the three differing sizes of stone used in the mix, although I think “already been crushed” fits too.)

 

The fabric adheres to the substrate but the mesh is small enough that it will not flex.  The workers put water on each layer, and the stone hardens into a kind of crust.  In this way we remediate the unsuitable soils — too much organic matter — that have troubled our parking lot in the past.

 

We will all be glad to see the pavement once it goes down, but patience is still in order: the asphalt will need time to cure to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. The gates will be closed and locked until the pavement is ready to hold us — even foot traffic.

 

Next week we are promised a convergence of trades as we focus on completing work to pass final inspections.  Each day as I walk around the building, different workers offer up the same comment, “It’s getting close.”  We all hope so!

 

We are getting close to our goals for the capital campaign. Our focus now is lowering the amount we have to borrow, because everything we borrow now has to be paid back with interest later.  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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Final Finishes

The concrete is dry enough to apply the final finishes — at least on the first, second, and third floors.  The weather and a bunch of dehumidifiers combined have made it  possible to paint, lay tile, add wooden cabinetry, and install carpet.  The workers are beginning on the third floor and working their way down.  The photo at right is the newly tiled youth room on the third floor.  Meanwhile, all seven dehumidifiers have been moved to the ground floor so that we can proceed to that area as soon as possible.

 Outside, final finish work is underway as well.  Brick pavers have been laid on the terrace overlooking the arboretum, where the original stone wall has been reconstructed using the old stone and historically appropriate dry stack methods.  New stone walls have been erected elsewhere to match, albeit with newer, mortared-in rocks.  Brick pavers are also being used to create a gracious and welcoming entrance leading to the main doors.

Sleek and handsome curbs and gutters have been installed all around the parking lot and on the inner loop of the circle driveway.  This removes the lurking stone wall that had been hit by so many parishioner  and visitor vehicles  and widens the driveway for better maneuverability.  The wall was retained around the rose beds; the memorial plaque will be affixed to the wall elsewhere.  We will adjust the landscaping on the garden side of the curb and gutter and repave the circle to even out the landscape there.  In the meantime, watch out as you walk in that area!

Workers are applying the rubber finish to the playground in two layers: a two-inch thick section followed by a one-inch thick top coat.  Both layers are bouncy and flexible and allow for water to drain through to the drainage system below.  The thickness of the surface is directly calculated to the height of the playground equipment to protect little clamberers

With excellent cooperation from the University, we were able to bury the communications cable that runs alongside Spencer dorm to serve our building, before the official student move-in day.  Our own student residents should be able to take possession of their new quarters in the next week or so. 

We are coming to the final finish of our capital campaign, and there is still time. 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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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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