The brick is back

The first round of stripper has been applied and removed and indications are good that the majority of the old paint is coming off relatively easily.

The stripper is a natural, hydrogen peroxide-based paste — with a consistency sort of like Crisco.  The workers smear it on, cover it with plastic, and let it dwell for a couple of days.  The stripper comes off with water and a scrub brush, bringing the old paint with it.

You can clearly see the brick at the top of the tower. A very old coating of lime wash has virtually soaked into the soft old brick, leaving an excellent surface for the application of a new wash coating.  There will be spots where we have to go back and re-clean to remove paint, but it looks like it will not be necessary to do much, if any, micro-abrasion.

While some of the workers have been at work on the tower, others have been removing the bad tar patch job along the south wall of the roof, abutting the parish house.  They uncovered a place where the mortar had completely dissolved and the brick had broken, disintegrated, or just fallen away.  That area has now been re-mortared and rebuilt.

Next week the workers will fall into a quicker rhythm, removing paint on the rest of the tower.   They will also clear areas on the east and west sides of the chapel where color samples will be applied. We hope to order the new wash for the chapel by the end of the month.

The folks from Waters found some old brick in Durham that matches ours in age, color — and even more important — in compressive strength.  We won’t have to replace very much, but when we do, we have the perfect match.

Walker Mabe

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A bird’s eye view

The workers have completed the scaffolding and provided a protected way through the front door into the chapel.

More importantly, they have built a safe and sturdy structure around the tower that will be with us through most of May.  The crew from Waters Craftsmen immediately began demolition of the tower roof.   They will replace the old, leaky roof and poorly patched flashing with a new copper roof. Then damaged areas of the brick parapets will be repaired, followed by lead cladding and flashing.  Once the tower is done, workers will move to the north (Franklin Street) façade.

We wish we had a bird’s eye view of the work — all we can see now are the brightly colored hard hats of the workers moving around on the tower roof.  In the past, we have had to use a special — and expensive — lift to inspect and maintain the tower.  Waters is adding a secure hatch that can be used to check out the roof and parapets as part of regular facilities management.  The hatch will not be readily accessible to the casual parishioner or student!

The chapel will welcome worshippers through the days of Holy Week and Easter and on into Pentecost.  We do not foresee any interruption in its use as a place of quiet prayer and joyful celebration.  Starting Monday evening, the UNC students who organize the annual 24/7 week of prayer will use the chapel for the evening portions of their event.  We are leaving the light over the front door in place until the week of prayer is concluded; afterwards, we will take it down for safekeeping.

Very careful and thoughtful work is underway to select the new wash color.  Samples will be painted on both the east and west sides of the chapel in order to see them in all lights.  Much more on this later.

– Walker Mabe

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Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross are on display in the Great Hall throughout Holy Week.

11. Jesus is condemned to Death.
As soon as it was morning, the chief priests, with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation; and they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him to Pontius Pilate. They all condemned him and said, “He deserves to die.”

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called the Pavement. He took some water and washed his hands, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Then he handed Jesus over to them to be crucified.

Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, but he sent him to be killed anyway. He tried to make himself feel better by washing his hands and saying that he was innocent.

Think about whether you would be brave enough to speak up for Jesus. Or, would you join the people who testified falsely against Him? Would you be too afraid to speak?

The poster for the first station was made by the Middle School class to represent Mark 15: 6-15

Now at the festival [Pontius Pilate] used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then [Pilate] answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over.  But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

022.  Jesus Takes Up the Cross

Jesus went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called Golgotha (pronounced: GAHLguh- thuh).   The soldiers made fun of Jesus by wrapping him in a purple cloak and putting a crown made of thorns on his head. They spit on him and called him “King of the Jews!”  Through it all, Jesus was silent. He took up the cross and carried it.

The “crown of thorns”  was made by children in 2014.

033. Jesus Falls for the First Time

Jesus, even though he was in the form of God, did not think that being equal to God was the most important thing.  Instead he emptied himself, took the form of a servant, and was born as a human.  And in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.   For that reason, God has highly exalted him, and has given him the name which is above every name.

Sometimes, we feel very weak, or very sad, just as Jesus did after carrying the cross for such a long way. Others times, we feel confused or unsure.  Jesus understands our needs.

Imagine you are walking down Franklin Street on a difficult day.  You are reading the posters tacked to telephone poles and see this.

044. Jesus Meets his Mother

To what can I compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem?

What image can I use to comfort you, O Mary?

For vast as the sea is your ruin. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

 The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall end.

There are times when we feel as sad as we have ever been. Sometimes, we do not even know what is causing us to feel so sad. But Mary knew why she was sad. It is so hard for a mother to watch her child suffer. It is even harder when she knows that her child has done nothing wrong. Can you imagine how Mary must have felt, watching Jesus – Love itself – on this final journey?

The pebbles in this bottle represent tears. If you are mourning or worried or feeling sad, you can add a tear, along with a quiet prayer. Remember that the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall end.

055. The Cross is laid on Simon of Cyrene

As they led Jesus away, they came upon a man of Cyrene, named Simon. They laid the cross on him to carry it behind Jesus. It reminds us of something Jesus had already told his friends. “If anyone would be my follower, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Share my burden with me. You learn from me how to carry a load, and with me the way is easy and the load is light.”

There are a lot of people who are in need, who are lonely or sad or hungry. As Christians, we are called to support those in need. Like Simon of Cyrene, we help carry a heavy load and share a burden.

066. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

Jesus was despised and rejected by men; He was a man of sorrow who knew grief. People would not look at him, but hid their faces.  Veronica, however, wiped Jesus’ face to comfort him. Her actions told him of her love.

The Fourth and Fifth grade class created this prayer station. Write a prayer on the cloth. Let the cloth remind you of Veronica and the kindness and comfort she showed. Place the prayer on the cross, as Veronica placed the cloth on Jesus’ face.

On Easter, these private prayers will be replaced with flowers of hope and joy.

077. Jesus Falls a Second Time

Have you ever been very, very thirsty? Jesus was given no water as he walked on the road towards Golgotha. He was thirsty and tired and he fell for a second time.

Imagine you are on a walk – a long, dry, dusty walk. You are tired and thirsty, and you are so weak that you fall.  Run your fingers through the sand. Know that Jesus understands your fatigue and pain.

088. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Many people followed behind Jesus, and among them were women who cried and screamed for him, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”

Jesus told the women not to worry about him, but to take care of others, especially the children.

099. Jesus Falls for a Third Time

Did you know that Jesus may have been born in a cave and not a stable? The land around Bethlehem was hilly and rocky and had many caves.

Much later in his life – the night before he died, in fact – Jesus went to a garden to pray. Peter, James, and John were with him for company, but they kept falling asleep. Jesus was alone and afraid and very, very sad. Perhaps he leaned against one of the rocks in the garden. Perhaps he knelt down by the rock, or rested his arms on it. Perhaps he laid his head on the rock, and his tears washed over it.

Jesus prayed to God that his burden could be lifted, that ‘the cup could be removed’ from him. But the soldiers came to the garden to arrest Jesus and they took him before the chief priest and elders. He was condemned to death and he walked, barefoot, carrying his cross over stony streets.

The path Jesus walked was rocky. And he fell three times.

What rocky paths have you walked? What hard times have caused your tears? This station was created by middle school students to assure us that we all experience hard and rocky time.

1010. Jesus is Stripped of his Clothes 

When they came to a place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull), they offered him wine to drink, mingled with a bitter and poisonous herb called gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. They divided his garments among themselves by rolling dice for them. This fulfilled the scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them; they cast lots for my clothing.”

The dice were made in 2012 to represent the tenth station.

1111. Jesus is nailed to the Cross

When they came to the place which is called The Skull, they crucified him; and with him they crucified two criminals, one on the right, the other on the left, and Jesus between them. The scripture was fulfilled which says, “He was numbered with the evildoers.”

This cross was created by the middle school church school class. They have left their finger prints on it to remind us that we are all part of this sad story.

1212. Jesus dies on the Cross

When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “He will be your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “She will be your mother!” Then he said, “It is finished!” And crying with a loud voice, he said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” He bowed his head, and handed over his spirit and the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the very last thing that Jesus said was “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Those words are from Psalm 22:1 and might be confusing if you don’t know the whole psalm.

1313. The body of Jesus is placed in the arms of his mother.

Mary says, “All who pass me, behold and see if there is any sorrow as bad as my sorrow. My eyes are exhausted with weeping; my soul is confused; my heart is poured out in grief. Do not call me Naomi (which means Pleasant), call me Mara (which means Bitter); for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”

This moment, sometimes called The Lamentation, has often been depicted in great works of art. One of the most famous is the Pieta by Michelangelo, which is in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. The sculpture is made of marble and it is the only piece of his art that Michelangelo ever signed.

Feel a piece of smooth marble and imagine how Michelangelo felt, a chisel in his hand, as he worked for two years to create is beautiful but sad masterpiece. Listen to the music as you feel the marble. It is Gioachino Rossini’s Stabat Mater, which is a hymn to Mary in her sorrow.

1414. Jesus is laid in the tomb

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea (pronounced ehr-uh-muh-THEE-uh), named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb.

The stations end here, with Jesus laid in the tomb. It is a hard ending, as hard as the stone of the tomb. But we know that it is not the end of the story. We know that Easter is coming and we know that the great mystery of Easter is how Jesus came alive again and is with us in all times and all places…

This station reminds us that the story is not over, that the best part is still to come.

The first grade class used Legos to build the cave that served as Jesus’ tomb. When we teach our children the story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, we also teach a story of Love and Hope.

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Our architectural jewel

All week long the scaffolding has risen around the tower and across the north face of the chapel.  Carefully harnessed and moving with skill and caution, workers have built the structure that will enable the restoration and repair to go forward.

A foreman from Waters Craftsmen removed some pieces of slate on the roof and laid down a snow and ice shield to protect from the weather at the spots where the feet of the scaffold meet the roof.

There is bracing across the front entrance of the Chapel, but we stress that this is temporary and will be removed once the scaffolding is secure.  The caution tape and scaffolding materials in the grass and in the circle will also disappear when this part of the job is complete.

Next week, work will begin on two project stages at once: the demolition of the tower roof and the removal of the coating on the tower brickwork.  The team will complete its work on the tower in May and then move on to the east and west sides of the chapel.  They will leave the scaffolding up for a short while longer for the painters to use while repainting the wooden quatrefoil trim and the window louvers on the tower.

Everyone involved in this work is acutely aware that Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday this weekend.  Workers and materials will be out of the way well before the first service of Holy Week begins on Maundy Thursday.

Our chapel‘s personality shines out through the scaffolding’s embrace.  Somehow the silvery grid highlights the way a church tower points towards heaven.  One is reminded of the construction of the great cathedrals, or the rebuilding of the City of London after the Great Fire or the Blitz.  The chapel restoration will be brief compared to those years-long projects.  It feels good to polish up our architectural jewel.

– Walker Mabe

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Looking Towards Jerusalem: Holy Week at the Chapel of the Cross

March 29-April 5, 2015

Through Jesus Christ our Lord; who for our sins was lifted high upon the cross, that he might draw the whole world to himself; who by his suffering and death became the author of eternal salvation for all who put their trust in him. – Preface of Holy Week, BCP

March 29

Palm Sunday, the Sunday of the Passion

Stations of the Cross at 10:15 am in the Great Hall (to remain throughout Holy Week)

Growing up in a “low” Episcopal church, we did not walk the Stations of the Cross. (We did not genuflect, cross ourselves or particularly welcome the “new” prayer book either.) Although there must have been a Good Friday service, my family did not attend. So as a child, I had only a vague idea of what happened between Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and Easter morning.

This was probably true for most children, even at the Chapel of the Cross.   A few years ago, however, we decided to offer a “Way of the Cross” that families (and others) could walk together on Palm Sunday.   Fourteen stations were created by church school classes and EYC groups during the early weeks of Lent, and then set up throughout the building for just a few hours at the start of Holy Week.

The next year, we left the “Way of the Cross” standing through Good Friday and continue to do so. At any time during Holy Week, people can walk a pilgrim’s path from the moment Jesus was condemned by Pontius Pilate until He was laid in the tomb. Though the stations are powerful reminders of Jesus’ last hours, they are appropriate for any age.   Some — when Simon helps carry the cross or Veronica wipes Jesus’ face — encourage us, that we too, can help others. Other stations — when Jesus repeatedly falls — assure us that He knows our pain of being human.

The Stations of the Cross have become an important part of my Holy Week experience because they make it more whole. They allow me to travel from Palm Sunday to Easter in a new and deeper way.

-Boykin Bell

March 29

Palm Sunday, the Sunday of the Passion

Holy Eucharist at 7:30 am, 9 am, 11:15 am, and 5:15 pm

Perhaps no other liturgy in Holy Week has such rich emotional resonance as Palm Sunday and requires such complex and dissonant responses from the believer. The structure of the service itself requires this of us: first we acclaim the Lord as Messiah, throw him a jubilant political demonstration, and sing triumphant hymns of praise in parade. Then we turn against him: we deny him, we assent to his torture, we crucify him. The mood and action turn on a dime. Through a beautiful 4th century chant (the “Passion Tone”) we follow every step to Calvary, confront a wide range of characters (what would we have done if we had been there), until finally through the voice of a Roman military officer — a hated foreigner — we confront the Truth: Truly this man was the Son of God. Powerful words, beautiful music, moral dilemma, and the pure love of God. “Here might I stay and sing, no story so divine…”

-Van Quinn

April 2

Maundy Thursday

Holy Eucharist 5:15 pm; Holy Eucharist and Foot Washing, 7:30 pm

Maundy Thursday is a service of solemnity and quiet as the liturgy draws us into the events of Jesus’ last night with his disciples.  We enter the church and the lights are dimmed, and on the altar we see white flowers, for the first time since Lent began.  The choir and clergy process as the Gloria in Excelsis is solemnly chanted.  We hear the story of the first Passover and the sacrifice of the Pascal lamb, Paul’s account of the Institution of the Last Supper, and John’s story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.  We then have the opportunity to reenact that moment, when we humble ourselves: both to receive the ministrations of others and to wash the feet of others.  During the foot washing, the choir chants beautifully moving anthems, such as the Ubi Caritas — “where charity and love are, there is God.”  The liturgy proceeds to the celebration of communion.  Then after all have received, we watch in silence as the altar is stripped of every symbol of Jesus’s presence.  Darkness falls as we spiritually go with Jesus to Gethsemane.

Maundy Thursday is a night of great poignancy and tenderness.  It invites humility and gratitude as we reflect upon what Christ has given for us.

-Vicky Jamieson-Drake

April 3

Good Friday

The Three Hours, noon to 3 pm

The Stations of the Cross, 7 pm

To me, one of the most powerful moments in Holy Week is when the large, wooden cross is processed down the aisle of the church during the Good Friday liturgy. The rugged, wooden, almost life-sized cross, which stands in stark contrast to our beautiful crosses in precious metals and stained glass, reminds us that the cross was an instrument of shameful, state-sanctioned murder. And yet, the emphasis of this ancient procession is not death but love that endures death, not failure but victory that assimilates failure, not powerlessness but strength made perfect in weakness.  All this stirs the soul as the choir sings Vittoria’s setting of the Trisagion: “Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy upon us” in Greek and in Latin. The music is doleful, but more than that it inspires supplication, longing, and awe. In this climactic moment in Holy Week, God reconciles all opposites and beckons all humankind to himself.

-David Frazelle

April 4

Holy Saturday

Liturgy of the Word, 9 am

Easter Vigil, 9 pm

Easter Vigil – the holiest night and oldest night of the year.

-Bill Joyner

I love the whole rhythm of Holy Week because it catapults us into Kairos instead of Chronos. God’s time instead of human time.  The service that has always appealed most to me, however, is the Easter Vigil. To light the first fire of Easter, hear the story of salvation while sitting in candlelight, proclaim the Easter proclamation, absorb the powerful lessons of Resurrection and break the Alleluia fast is to participate more fully in the story of God’s saving grace. The paschal candle lit from the first fire shines at every funeral and baptism we do from that moment forward, reminding us that the only death that matters  is the one we die in baptism.

-Tammy Lee

April 5

Easter Sunday

Holy Eucharist 7:30 am, 9 am, 11:15 am, 5:15 pm

I love Easter morning! The eager, standing-room only congregations proclaim that it is in only being with each other and celebrating this great Christian feast together that we are able with God’s grace to grow into Easter people. Easter is not a mystery that you can absorb the deep meaning of all by yourself. Some people say that they can pray better when they are out by themselves in nature where they can more directly sense the dynamic and overflowing presence of God. And on a given day, that may be true — especially if by “nature” they are referring to something more natural and rustic than a golf course!

But there is something about Easter that compels us to celebrate it by coming together in joyful communal worship of God. We all know that!   That is why we come!! That is why we do not just go for a solitary walk that day or simply get together with a few close friends. Easter pulls us in and makes us glad to be together and raises our spirits beyond whatever is dragging us down. Alleluia!

-Stephen Elkins-Williams

Join us for Holy Week. To contribute to Easter flowers on the altar, click here.

To make a donation or pay towards your annual pledge, click here.

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Vestry Actions

At its meeting on March 19, the Vestry:

  • Was reminded of a 2008 agreement that the Johnson Service Corps will be forwarded $30,000 from a gift to the parish when an annuity (secured by an irrevocable trust) that is tied to this agreement is received by the parish;
  • Reflected on the recent Annual Meeting and the new process for election of Vestry members, addressing concerns of parishioners about the scheduled time for the meeting, some misunderstandings about the qualifications for voting, and different options for submitting a ballot.

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Our chapel’s fine old face

Starting next week, workers will erect scaffolding around the tower and along the front of the chapel, and our chapel restoration project will be underway.

You will still be able to use the front doors, and worshippers will be protected as they enter and exit.  There may be brief periods when you will need to use the side door in the cloister, but generally all will go forward as usual in our daily rounds of evening prayer and Holy Eucharist.  While the circle may be blocked temporarily as equipment arrives and trucks unload, traffic and parking in the circle, as well as preschool drop-off and pick-up, will not be affected.  The workers will park trailers in two of the parking spaces in our lot for the duration of the project.

Once the tower scaffolding is up, work will begin to repair the brick tower parapets,  the slanted front wing walls, and the tower roof and flashing.  The harmful tar will be removed and any damaged brick patched or replaced.  Throughout the project the workers will use locally sourced, historic brick that matches the original brick in size, color, and compressive strength.  They do not foresee that many bricks will need replacing.

The old tower roof will be taken away and replaced with a new 16-ounce, flat-seam copper roof.  All the seams will be sweated and soldered as befits a proper copper roof.  The workers will add a new hatch so that we can access the roof safely and easily in the future for maintenance and inspections.

The parapets present a special problem and we can’t get them spiffed up fast enough!  All the tar, sealant, and loose mortar will go away.  The parge coating — a thin layer of mortar similar to stucco and made of dry sand and aged lime putty — will be cleaned, prepped, and patched.  Each parapet will be clad in lead and covered with a 16-ounce copper capstone cover.  The flashing at the base of the parapets will be replaced and tied in with the new roof.  (Most of this work will take place behind the parapets and inside the crenellations — where water has gathered and wicked into the walls for many years.)

At the joint where the vertical parapet wall meets the horizontal roof, the workers will install reglets — L-shaped flashing strips that keep moisture from entering at the joint. The reglets will be set with lead and repointed with mortar.

Once the tower and front wing walls are complete, our painters will use the scaffolding to access the tower and finish painting the trim to match the windows.

Then the scaffolding will come down in front and be moved to the east and west sides where the process will be repeated.  The south wall that adjoins the rest of the parish house will be the final section of parapet repairs.

The second phase of our project will involve using a gentle, peroxide-based stripper to remove the old yellow latex paint.  The peroxide solution will be applied, covered in plastic, and allowed to “dwell.”  If needed, the workers will use a micro-abrasive system that combines water and very fine, powdered glass to smooth it all out — dermabrasion for our chapel‘s fine old face.

We are in good hands here.  David Black of Hager Smith (right) and Collin Waters of Waters Craftsmen (left), along with project foremen Frank and Ben Camden and Mark Clay have worked on projects just like ours for many years.  They know the rhythms of the liturgical year and the special relationship parishes have with their worship spaces.  They will be with us for five or six months.

Let the transformation begin!

– Walker Mabe

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