Reredos Update

Reredos Update

We’d only really had one snafu with the renovation so far – hiring an initial contractor whose price was good but whose workmanship was not. 

In the end, I think we worked that mistake out well enough, or at least without losing our shirt over money already paid to that contractor. But there was a lot of worry and heartache (poor Janice!). And we lost time. But it’s what got Reuben, Janice’s husband, involved – making sure the framing for the new attic entrance was done right. He’s stuck with us since. 

Now we’ve had another difficulty, church. The Monday after our glorious Anniversary Sunday celebration, Colin, the painter, showed up at the office door as he was leaving for the day. He wanted to check to see if we had any suggestions about the order in which he should finish his work; he’s getting to the end. Then he added, “I just primed the reredos.” 

I’m not sure Devan and I said anything in response, so much as ran to the Sanctuary. He did, in fact, prime the area with the gothic window frame and open bible. That which was a 1967 replica of an 19th century design. 

He covered them with a coat of primer to get ready to put a new top or finish coat over them. 

…But we weren’t ready to paint that space – because we had not yet decided as a congregation how to proceed. 

Colin was horribly apologetic, explaining that he’d always thought it was part of the job. It was, because we knew it needed attention. When he started at the beginning of August, we had said something like ‘we know we are going to have to do something with the reredos, but we don’t know what yet.’ I would have given the same instructions on Monday. But in his mind, it was just one of the last things he needed to get painted.  

The Elders at the congregational meeting coming up this Sunday were going to propose that we had now been in the renewed Sanctuary long enough to make a decision. As our painter was almost done, the Elders were going to recommend that  we repair the plaster and paint over the 1967 decoration as our next step. 

When SEAC heard that, some members felt we should be preserving the 1967 decoration, even though it is a replica.  I had always thought the primary concern was with the “open bible” represented there. But since Monday, I have heard that some were fond of the gothic arches. 

We can, of course, if the congregation decides, replicate what was there, or some modified version. Or we could instead use a completely different design. But the 1967 replica is gone. And since primed, we will have put on a finish coat. You will arrive to see a freshly painted “blank slate” on Sunday. 

And in the weeks or months coming, the congregation can choose what to do – to leave it as is, or bring in a decorative painter for a design of our choice.  

So, this unexpected painting messed up the process we’d outlined for the congregation: 

  1. The congregation did decide earlier “to bring the Bible down off the wall.” It is now open on the communion table each week. (When our sound system is hooked up, the lectors will turn it towards them to read and then turn it back towards the congregation when they are done.) 
  2. We have had since the first Sunday in July to get used to the redesigned space. Perhaps that was enough time to make some decisions? But we haven’t yet seen the front of the church with the TV monitors installed and working. 
  3. This Sunday’s congregational meeting was when, the Elders hoped, we could decide together what next steps to take. 

The premature priming jumped a few steps, eliminating the possibility of preserving the 1967 replica. It leaves us with the “blank slate.”  We are terribly sorry for how this has worked out, but, I guess, we go on from here.  

We will answer any questions you have at the meeting on Sunday. And later, SEAC will suggest a process for determining how the congregation wants to finish the decoration.