Monthly Archives: July 2013

You are the Rebar

130729-1 The excavation of the construction site continues and is almost completed.  When the entire hole is dug out to the level of subgrade, then the workers will be ready to pour the footers — the foundation of our new building and the shoring supports for our existing buildings.  Surveyors have been on site this week to lay out the control points for the footers, and a big pile of rebar has been delivered.

130729-2Rebar — reinforcing steel bars — will be used in all the concrete footings around the edges of the building as well as in the basement piers that hold up the structure.  Rebar strengthens and reinforces the concrete, enabling it to support the tremendous loads that it will bear once the building is completed.  It helps the concrete to respond well to tension, or tensile loads, in addition to its natural ability to be strong under compaction.  The rebars will be waiting in bundles in the grassy area next to the Chapel.  That area is off-limits for the time being.

130729-3The soil nailing process to stabilize the walls of the hole also continues — moving down as the hole is excavated.  As we learned last week, the soil nails are inserted into the dirt walls and a thin layer of concrete is sprayed on to hold the shear walls in place.  The walls are built from top to bottom as the digging continues.

Once the hole is completed, the workers will construct a long ramp that will enable trucks, equipment, and cranes to get in and out of the hole easily.  The ramp will eat up a few more of our parking spaces, so be ready for that eventuality.  Call us if you are worried about parking; we can give you an up to the minute parking report.

All of this — digging, soil nailing, shoring, footings, piers, and rebar — lays the groundwork for the firm foundation of the building where we will do God’s work in this place.  Your special gifts at this time are the rebar to the concrete of our capital campaign.  Every gift is important. Acceleration of your existing pledge will help us address the cash flow gap — your payment now of a future pledge increases the power of your pledge by 10 percent.  A new pledge or donation or an extension of your pledge will enable the vestry to make financial and building decisions that will benefit us long into the future.  To make a donation or new pledge of any amount, access the Light on a Hill campaign on our website or give us a call at the office.

– Walker Mabe

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Pulverizing Power

A blazing sky beat down on our workers this week as the footprint of the new building began to take shape.  The only moisture in the air was the humidity; but the bandanas came out and work continued.  Progress can be seen in the accompanying photos:

  • As of this writing we are close to reaching the finish sub-grade in the middle of the hole.  The track-hoe in the center is about three and a half feet below the level of our existing basement.  Now the rest of the hole will be dug out to match.
  • The workers have almost completed shoring up the existing building.  They have encountered some rock under where the Battle Building used to be but it is removable; they are using a machine (at right) to pulverize the rock and a track-hoe to scrape the rubble away.  The resulting fine dust has been setting off the fire alarm with some regularity — staff is learning to handle this with equanimity.
  • The hole along the Morehead side of the project is about six feet deep — you can see (click on photo to enlarge) the worker standing beside the wall with the construction trailer in the distance.  As the hole deepens all the way around, the workers will use soil nailing to hold those walls where they belong.  They will insert 10-foot-long soil nails into the dirt walls at regular intervals, in a pattern kind of like a tufted piece of upholstered furniture.  Then they will spray shot-crete over the walls — a thin layer of concrete blown out of a gun to hold everything in place.  They will continue to dig down, soil nail, and then dig down some more and install soil nails until they reach the finish grade for the entire hole.  At that point, workers will pour the footings for our new ground floor!
  • The new waterline in the Morehead parking lot is complete and the hole filled back in.  Technicians have tested the water and the parking lot will be repaved where it was disturbed.

The labor intensive part of the project is just beginning.  Contractors, subcontractors, and Town inspectors all seem to have VERY large trucks filled with tools and equipment that need to be unloaded and reloaded.  The two track-hoes and the pulverizer keep dump trucks coming in and out of our driveway.  The hard working sediment bag in the corner near Franklin Street takes up two parking spaces on its own.  The regular delivery people and maintenance crews who serve the church use the circular drive when they can.  In short, parking is at a premium during the week.

However, our neighbors at the ATO and Lambda Chi houses have opened their parking lots to the construction crews.  Holy Trinity Lutheran has given staff some 16 parking permits for parking during the week days and is making room for some construction traffic.  All the workers are aware when we have funerals or other special events during the week.  Parking is available — there are just times when our lot looks like a Richard Scarry illustration.  Give us a call in the office if you are concerned before you come to see us.  Don’t stay away on account of parking!

You have the power to pulverize our debt!  Thanks from the bottom of the muddy construction pit to those of you who have found a way to make a new pledge, to advance or extend your existing pledge, or to make a one-time special donation.  Every gift is important.  Acceleration of your existing pledge will help us address the cash flow gap — your payment now of a future pledge increases the power of your pledge by 10 percent.  A new pledge or donation or an extension of your pledge will enable the vestry to make financial and building decisions that will benefit us long into the future.  To make a donation or new pledge of any amount, access the Light on a Hill  campaign on our website or give us a call at the office

– Walker Mabe

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Vacation Church School – Friday Webcard

Our Vacation Church School adventure is over and we are on our way home!   We had such a great week, thanks to the volunteers who shepherded us through centers, taught us science and crafts, prepared our snacks, played with us on the playground, told us stories and nursed our bloody noses.  (We had FOUR nose bleeds this week.)

Our bags are a little heavier than when we left.  They are filled with things like playdough germs, wind chimes, Holy Spirit necklaces and Red Sea waves.  We have lots of souvenirs to remind us of the stories we heard and the lessons we learned.

VCS-5.1One thing we learned today is how dirty our hands sometimes are.  We rubbed our unwashed hands with a special gel and then held them under an ultraviolet light.  Yikes!  All the dirt glowed.  You can see a picture of our hands (after we washed them with soap and water) in this card.

While we were learning about water in both scripture and our daily lives, we were also collecting money so that children in a Nicaraguan village can have access to clean drinking and cooking water.  Today, we reached our goal of raising enough money so that the AMOS Health and Hope Fund can install a water purification system and train residents to use it.  You can read more about AMOS here: http://globemed.org/hope-and-health-in-nicaragua/ .

VCS-5.2We celebrated with handmade Hibiscus and Cherry-Lime popsicles from Locopops.  Thank you, Locopops!

We can’t wait to see you all on Sunday,

The Vacation Church Schoolers

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Vacation Church School – Thursday Webcard

VCS-4.2VCS-4.1It’s the fourth day of Vacation Church School and we feel like we’ve been away from our church home for so long!  We’re having a great time at Binkley but we miss everyone at Chapel of the Cross – especially the clergy and staff who usually act out our morning skits.  In the picture here, teen helpers meet “backstage” to prepare for their parts in the (only) performance of “Jesus and John the Baptist.”  The teenagers did a fabulous job.  Also pictured are some members of the audience who are clearly enjoying the show.

Our snacks today were fresh berries (like John the Baptist might have eaten in the wilderness), hold the locusts.  Instead of munching on bugs, we ate watermelon (and spit some seeds).  Everyone agreed it was a better choice.

See you soon!

The Vacation Church Schoolers

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Vacation Church School – Wednesday Webcard

VCS-3.2VCS-3.1While our elementary students are traveling through centers all day, our pre-school and pre-K children spend most of the Vacation Church School mornings learning and creating in their classrooms.  That doesn’t mean they’re not on the move!  Pictured in this card is a group of children preparing to “cross the Red Sea.”   Also pictured is pre-K teacher Sophie Worthy, who explained the healing of Naaman by dipping a sponge painted with dots into the “River Jordan.”  After seven dips, Namaan was cured of his leprosy!

Our snacks today came from Cane Creek Farms, where the rain produced a bounty of vegetables.  We had so many tomatoes and cucumbers that most children – after gobbling up a hearty portion at snack – took more home for supper. We hope the children remember that the vegetables were grown with the water that fell (and fell and fell) right here near Chapel Hill.

More tomorrow!

The Vacation Church Schoolers

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Vacation Church School – Tuesday Webcard

Today we traveled to the edge of the Red Sea and imagined Moses parting the water and leading the Israelites to the other shore.  Too bad we didn’t collect water samples!  In the Science Center, Liz Stabenow from the Eno River Association taught us how to analyze water and test the pH balance.  We learned that our Chapel Hill drinking water has a neutral pH of 7, as does the water from the Eno before it is filtered for the people of Durham and Hillsborough.   

Vinegar water, however, is very acidic.  Fish would not want to swim in that! We wonder what the pH of the Red Sea might be?

 VCS-2In the Crafts Center, children painted backpacks and imagined what they would pack if they were going to cross the desert, guided by a column of cloud in the day and a column of fire at night.  In the picture here, volunteer Suzanne Sauter prepares paint for the Vacation Church School artists.

 Our fresh green beans and peppers (which we ate with hummus and Mediterranean Deli pita) came from 4M Farm in Roxboro.  4M was a tobacco farm that has transitioned to growing  vegetables.  They also raise rabbits and laying hens.  Vegetables, rabbits and hens all need clean water!

 Tomorrow, we’ll hear a story from 2 Kings in which water is used to help heal a man named Naaman.  We’ll send more news then!

   – the Vacation Church Schoolers

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ABC Sale Proceeds Awarded to 15 Organizations

The outreach ministry committee of the Chapel of the Cross has determined the organizations that will receive funding from the proceeds of the 2013 ABC Sale.

Perri Kersh, ABC disbursement subcommittee chair, enjoys every aspect of the ABC Sale, but she finds the most rewarding part to be the disbursement of funds to local charitable organizations.  “I really enjoy learning about the numerous groups doing good work in our community, the camaraderie of working with a team to make the funding decisions, and the joy of knowing our parish is really making a difference in the lives of those in need around us,” she said.

The 51st ABC Sale was held at St. Thomas More Church due to construction at the Chapel of the Cross.

“ABC Sale Week is a great time for fellowship, hard work, and lots of laughter,” said 2013 sale co-chair Mary Sullivan. “The best part of the sale is knowing that all the proceeds go to local non-profit organizations that serve families in need.”

The committee awarded grants to 13 organizations in Orange, Chatham and Durham counties, as well as two North Carolina-based Episcopal charities:

Chapel of the Cross will sponsor the 52nd annual sale on April 26, 2014, once again at St. Thomas More Catholic Church.

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Vacation Church School – Monday Webcard

Greetings from Vacation Church School!  While the first day felt a little like jumping on a moving bus, we arrived safely at our destination and were greeted warmly by members of Binkley Baptist Church.  We saw some familiar folks, too – like Vicky Jamieson- Drake!  Vicky taught us a song she learned from children at the Kwasa School in South Africa.  We’ll sing it for you when we get back home!

VCS-1We are also learning about clean water this week.  Wendy Smith from the Town of Chapel Hill’s Stormwater Management Dept. taught us all about water run-off with her interactive “enviroscape.”  The Chapel of the Cross children said they knew ALL ABOUT water run-off but – as you can see from the picture on this card – they loved learning more.

Our snacks this week will be provided by Farmer FoodShare’s POP Market.  All the food is locally grown and the farmers have had to battle the heavy rains just as we have.  The melons from Cane Creek Farms were delicious, however, as was the farmer’s cheese from Chapel Hill Creamery.  The children were delighted to learn that Chapel Hill Creamery cheese is served in some of the best restaurants in town. We have some very gourmet tastes in the bunch.

Because we are learning about how important clean water is – to our food supply and to our health – we are collecting offerings in the mornings to give to the AMOS Health and Hope Fund.  AMOS helps provide clean water in parts of the world that otherwise lack this vital resource.  Please consider sending a few dollars for the collection plate.

More later!

Boykin, the VCS volunteers, and all the children

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Water and dirt

Everything happening this week seemed to be about water and dirt.  We need to tap into the water main on Franklin Street to support the volume of water that will be required by the new building and its sprinkler system.  Cooperation and coordination ruled the day as OWASA, the University, the Town and others worked out a plan to increase water for both the Chapel of the Cross and the Morehead Planetarium.  The plans include the addition of a fire hydrant on the Morehead side — easily reachable by fire trucks to the benefit of both our buildings.

Workers erected a fence around part of the Morehead parking lot next to us and dug a bore pit — 33 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 12 feet deep — to run a sleeve out to the water main under Franklin Street.  This Sunday night starting at 7 pm one lane of Franklin Street will be closed and the water will be turned off between Henderson Street and Hillsborough Road while workers install a dry tap.  The digging in the Morehead lot revealed that the lot is built on unsuitable soils — “gravel and mush”  in the words of one worker.  Trucks hauled off those soils and Chapel of the Cross is sending its excellent dirt over to fill in the hole.  Continue reading

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Sabbatical Update #2

Betsy and I have now finished the portion of our sabbatical allotted to Emerald Isle.  During June we continued to absorb the timeless rhythms of the ocean, some of the time by ourselves, some with our family, and, for a week, with a Jesuit friend I have known for fifty years, Tom Colgan.  It was great to catch up with him again and to hear about his work in campus ministry at Canisius University, in Buffalo, NY.  Here you see us enjoying shucking local corn for our summer dinner.  Incidentally, Tom was the drummer in “The Soul Concern”, our Jesuit rock group I talked about in a sermon two years ago entitled, “To An Unknown God.”

We returned to town several times for significant events, including the inspiring ordination of our new Bishop Suffragan, Anne Hodges-Copple, in Duke Chapel. The Chapel of the Cross sponsored Anne for ordination in the mid-80’s and ordained her a transitional deacon here in 1987; so it was a very gratifying service for me.  Tom vested and processed in with me and other participating clergy, and as a Roman Catholic priest, was moved to tears by the number and quality of the women clergy there, including the Presiding Bishop and the ordinand herself! It was quite a first for him. Continue reading

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