Saturday, April 23, 2016

Taize Field Trip

Last Wednesday, nine of us made the trip to St. Alban's in Cleveland Heights to participate in their Taizé Compline service.
(Full Disclosure Note: We also used this as an excuse to have dinner together at a restaurant which features all sorts of sandwiches and melted cheese creations.)
The TaizĂ© community in France is an ecumenical monastic community which has become known for its simple songs and chants. Here is an example of their singing. (We were fewer than a dozen, and we didn't have musical instruments, so we didn't sound much like the YouTube version here.)

Compline (which is an evening service similar to Vespers or Evening Prayer) is an excellent setting for this sort of meditative music. St. Alban's has enormous windows to look out on the gathering evening, and all of us agreed that the prayer service was really profound.

The point of all this is to learn whether we should incorporate this kind of music at St. Matthew's. Thursday Evening Prayer seems like the place we would see it first.
(OK—here's another advertisement: Singing at Evening Prayer will go a lot better if we have a few more voices. We generally meet every Thursday at 5 p.m. for about half an hour. It's a great way to close out a work day.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Landscape Plans

Brandon Nardo, who has been doing our mowing, and who owns Nardo's Landscaping Solutions, presented a complete landscape plan to the Vestry last Sunday. He wants to get rid of dead and overgrown plants, freshen things up, and give the church exterior a colorful display that will change with the seasons but never really go dead.

To tell the truth, we need it. Many of the plants were put in a very long time ago and the general look is sort of withered and dying. Maybe a lot of thought went into the original plantings, but that was in the 1970s, so it's time for some freshness.

Is this a frivolous waste of money? I don't think so. For one thing, the face we would like to present to the community is a welcoming, lively face, and dead plants do not help that image. For another, we worship a God who loves beauty and freshness, and it would be really appropriate for our worship place to reflect God's character. If a third reason is needed, the "Prayers of the People," which we pray each Sunday, includes prayers that we would be mindful of God's created world and take care of it. Yes, we recycle plastic, aluminum, and paper, but "caring for God's creation" should also include planting things and caring for them.

Brandon is set to begin as soon as the weather clears and the soil dries a bit, so if you see trucks and heavy equipment moving earth, it's probably him.

Hosta appeal

Part of the new plan includes hosta plants. (They bloom nicely and require little care.) If you have hostas, any color, they can find a new home in the church flower beds.

Money note

The landscaping and the new floor in the Parish Hall were not part of the original Capital Campaign proposal, but replacing the organ was—though it was a "pie in the sky" kind of proposal. Now that Mike McKinley has stepped forward to generously give the organ to the church, we have Capital Campaign money available for other projects. Note that this means we do have to keep up with the pledges we made to the campaign.