Moving to the church campus after a long absence is yet another change in our worship plans. If anything, these times have tested our creativity and flexibility. This is a good thing. Our ability to adapt in the face of anything is an important skill to foster particularly in these unpredictable days. Worshipping outside is something that I got used to in the summers before I came to SSPC. The camp in North Carolina that I worked for at that time had a very special place on the side of the mountain. We would hike up there silently on Sunday mornings in our “whites (shorts and shirt) and ties” with our portable seating to an area that we called “The Green Cathedral.” The tall trees arched over the area that was a clearing and had a permanent stone altar and cross. The choir sat on fallen logs in the front. There, we would have church. The acoustics were very good despite being outside. It’s still cold and misty on mornings in the mountains in the summer, but that never deterred us. It did rain at times and we opted for the outdoor gym. At SSPC, the space in front of one of our beautiful, giant magnolia trees on the Ashantilly side of the church has a canopy and provides lots of room for you to sit. Perhaps this is our “Green Sanctuary.” The choir will not have to sit on fallen logs, though. I’m sure that they are relieved to know that.
The completion of our fifth octave of bells is well on its way with the purchase of another large bell - D3. We are all so grateful to Ellen Kuehm and her sister Jane Kuehm Rolfes, daughters of the late Mary Lou Kuehm, who gave this bell and its case in memory of dear family friends and church members John and Jo Ann Eichner. Bells that are needed to complete the fifth octave include C#3, D#3, E3, and F#3 and another case to house them. Give either Suzanne or myself a call to purchase them in memory or honor of someone. For rehearsal, ringers are gathering (masked) in the social hall and ring from individual tables spread out in the room. This Sunday, our Chancel Ringers under the direction of Suzanne Morrison will play two pieces that will comfort us at the start of the Lenten season. Beside Still Waters by Howard F. Starks and Quiet Waters by Susan E. Geschke will be featured as Introit and Anthem. The hymn for Sunday is 12 Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise.
The organ installation looks like it slows down at this point due to lots of electrical work as some of the pipes are installed with the controls to each one connected to the console by an ethernet cord. Don’t be fooled by that – a lot is going on behind the scenes. It’s a fascinating process of wiring, allowing the wind to be produced to be blown through each pipe on demand by pressing the keys on the console. It is evident to anyone that has been to see the process that this is quality workmanship.
The Island Concert Association’s February Festival is now coming to a close as of Tuesday, February 23. I’m happy to report that this year’s programming was fully funded by our patrons, many of them from this congregation. We go on faith each year that this will happen and are grateful that our goal has been met, allowing many more to enjoy the music that is provided. The last concert is the Arkai Duo with Percussion. “ARKAI channels the diversity of the world through genre-bending music, forging new possibilities for what a violin and cello can be. Graduates of the The Juilliard School, their past engagements have included performances at The MET Breuer, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the 92nd Street Y. Their electronic debut composition, “Letters from COVID”, was recently featured at TEC@PMI for a global audience of over 30,000 people from 182 countries. ARKAI creates programs in pursuit of a world in which the arts are inseparable from community. Their newest initiative, SupportNYC, is designed to revitalize small businesses and organizations that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 through fundraising performances across NYC. Beyond the proceeds raised through these events, SupportNYC amplifies the diverse stories of their partners, spreading hope and healing to communities through the power of the arts.”
Don’t miss this exciting concert. You didn’t miss anything from the series because all of the concerts will be online by next Tuesday and will stay online through March. Thanks for supporting the arts at SSPC!
Love & Gratitude,