Work today including cleaning up from the ceiling removal of the narthex, chapel and work in the fire damaged room and some electrical restoration. The service panel in the hallway outside the room that had the fire is being fixed so that power can resume in the northern portion of the lower level (stage, rooms, hallway). The cross was illuminated for the first time since Dec. 6. A little dim because of soot but it sure looked beautiful! Another beautiful sight was the crown of thorns, which survived the fire! The crew will only be working tomorrow for half a day in observation of the New Year holiday but will resume their important work next week, Tuesday. Hopefully, next week, the ceilings of the Narthex and the Chapel will be replaced but it is a shorten week due to the holiday. We should not have any serious surprise anymore, just a lot of work ahead. I’m told we are still on track to be in the lower level the middle of January. Due to the restoration of power, we should be able to have Sunday school in the rooms in the lower level as it will be some time before we can get to the Sunday school rooms. No real date to return to the nave has been set. The pews still need to be removed which will begin the huge task of cleaning the nave and chancel. Blessed New Year to all and to the congregation of Christ the King!
For me, one of the feelings since the day after the fire has been a sense of the familiar. Eight years ago our big ol’ dairy barn went up in flames on New Years Day. It was a horrible experience but my family and I grew from it. But that's not it. When Greg Easton and I were sharing “sea stories” today, it occurred to us…this feels like a ship in overhaul. What overhaul means is, periodically the US Navy would send a ship into the yards to be thoroughly worked on. Deep needed repairs were done, just about every space (naval speak for rooms) were painted and often got new flooring. The propulsion system was broken down, cleaned and reassembled. The ship’s electronics were updated. There would be temp lighting and cabling and a general feel of industrial work everywhere. The crew was often displaced and often had to work from a building close to the ship.
The widows closest to the pulpit at our church's nave include the image of a ship. For Christians, since the days of the apostles, the ship has been a symbol for the Christian Church. The mast and yardarm form a simple cross (in wood), which stands for Jesus who saved us by giving Himself on a cross that we might be forgiven. The waves symbolize the troubles and difficulties of life on earth. The sails are filled with wind, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, which empowers the Church.
This is not a cruise ship, intended for the crew to kick back and relax, but a battleship. Some dislike any military imagery in reference to the faith. However, according St. Paul we are in a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:10-20). The world, flesh, and the devil besiege us. We are called to engage the battle and by God’s grace to victory. We are equipped for battle by the Word of God and the Sacraments. We cannot win on our own but must work together under the authority of our Captain, Jesus Christ. We are rooted in the wisdom of the Lutheran Confessions, the proper exhibition of God’s Holy Word, to apply that wisdom and our training to these current times. Christ’s ship has endured many storms, yet has never sunk. She is a sure a steady ship on a clear and noble mission to proclaim Christ and Him crucified.
The decision has been made by the Fire Marshal to release the fire-damaged room. As of the time of this writing, I have not heard of the decision on the exact cause of the fire. Immediately today, Service Master started the process of reclaiming the fire damaged room. In the same time, Service Master began the demolition of the ceilings that I posted about earlier. Apparently, the quantity of asbestos in the ceiling was low enough for them to do their work. For just working in the morning they made a huge dent in taking down the ceilings. Service Master will return Tuesday Dec. 26 to continue the demolition, cleaning out the fire-damaged room and to assist Kristy and me to start the process of reclaiming the offices.
Additionally, the grand piano has been moved off site to be cleaned and restored. The organ will have to be removed, to be cleaned and restored, as well. All the pews have been detached from the floor and will soon be removed from the building into storage.
We have been asked to stay out of the building if there are no Service Master vehicles at the church building now that demolition is happening. Plus, the o-zone generators are running overnight and can be harmful to one’s health.
A reminder of the upcoming worship services: 8:30 am Sunday morning worship, 5 pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service with Holy Communion, 11 pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service with Holy Communion and 9:30 am Christmas Day Service of Scripture and Carols with Holy Communion. All services will be at 1st Congregational. Merry Christmas!
I’ve been trying to stay clear of the building as not to distract the workers but when I drove by the church building, I couldn’t help but noticed the carpet in the dumpster so I had to snap a few pictures. The carpet is up from the Nave, Chancel, Narthex and Chapel that I saw. I can’t say if it is pulled up in the rooms upstairs and downstairs as I didn’t ask or checked. However, what a difference! The carpet was directly glued to the tiles and many came up with the carpet so they removed the tiles as well. There was about 20 workers present today and as I was leaving they were all taking a break. On your behalf I told them all that we are so grateful for their work and what they do matters to us! I wished them a Merry Christmas.
Service Master will only be working tomorrow morning as they will have the company Christmas party tomorrow afternoon. They deserve a time to celebrate. Keep the folks in your prayers as they continue to restore our building to it’s former purpose of praising Jesus.
Church tonight at 6:30 pm. Message: We Are Each a Light With a Special Purpose.
The progress continues but it is in significantly smaller steps. Service Master is running their large o-zone generators over-night and it seems to be making a difference in improving the air quality within the building. They are also getting the Fellowship Hall looking presentable for us. It looks like the middle of January will be a realistic return for us.
The big catch is the ceilings over the Narthex (the gathering space immediately outside the Nave), the ceiling below the balcony and the lower ceiling in the east entrance before the Chapel. Above these areas there is a void intended to be a cold air return to the furnaces and unfortunately the void is lined with soot. So...the ceilings need to be removed and reconstructed. A sample was obtained to test the percentage of asbestos in the textured ceilings. If there is too much asbestos, then an abatement team will have to be called in to remove the ceiling materials. Once the demolition of the ceilings are done they can be rebuilt with drywall, taped and prepped for primer and paint.
We are still waiting for a call from the Fire Marshal until then the office wing is on hold. Service Master will also be leading the demolition of the room where the fire was, hallway and the offices. Dumpsters have been placed near the building in anticipation of demolition. Containers have been placed on the west side of the parking lot for temporary storage of items that have been cleaned and need to be placed somewhere as not to be recontaminated with soot.
We will continue to worship at the 1st Congregational church for our last Advent Midweek service, Sunday morning, Christmas Eve Candle Light Services (5pm and 11pm) and Christmas Day’s service. We will also continue to worship on Sundays in January at 8:30 until we can safely more to our building. Last Sunday, I loitered around and thanked personally anyone from 1st Congregational that I ran into. They are gracious hosts and I'm open to any ideas how we can express our gratitude to these wonderful people once we have returned to our building.
Finally, thanks to those who have dropped off sweets and comfort food for the cleaning crew. They have been greatly appreciated! Even while displaced, we continue to show hospitality!
Sunday School Christmas program was part of our worship today! Thanks to Karen Wilker and Sarah Eichen Payne and Sunday school teachers for making this happen! To God be the glory!
From Barb Buker: Sarah Payne and Karen Wilker did an excellent job teaching the Kids of Christ the King to put on a worship service for all of the Adults today. THE Kids DID A Fantastic Job Singing and saying their parts of telling the Christmas Story of how our Savior was born !
Found this in devotions today..."When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." Isaiah 43:2
Gayle O’Regan and I was asked to give an account of the events leading up to the fire to the insurance adjuster. Nothing to be concerned about, just protocol. Still no word from the Fire Marshal.
Cleaning is going well and we have reason to believe we will be holding our next Mid-week Advent worship in the lower level. However, the 3 rooms, the youth room, and the 2 quilters room do not have power as they are fed by the upstairs circuit panel which has been isolated. So, they have yet to be cleaned and may have to wait until later.
As more and more things are found, they may slow down progress and prolong the restoration. Just need to be patient.
The congregation is strong. Tonight’s worship was very well attended. Next Sunday we will have our children tell us the wonderful account of Jesus’ birth. Can’t wait!
The building was bustling with workers today! The Nave was being vacuumed out, as well as the Fellowship Hall and Kitchen with a force of workers. There was even a cleaner going through each pigeon hole of the congregation’s large mail box. The duct cleaners had arrived and I could hear them cleaning through the duct work. A lot of the electronic devices have been cleaned as well!
Pillar Construction out of the Cities is the contractor for the rebuild portion of the restoration and was in to measure the damage, collect room dimensions and assess what was in each office room in terms of shelving and cabinetry. They said they were up to the challenge to match the custom work that was once used. The door that goes from the chancel space on the lectern side into the hallway will need to be replaced. It is damaged from the heat and smoke. Pillar Construction noted that the replacement door will need to be a particular grain of oak to match the panels of the chancel. I like that attention to detail.
The East entrance is about done for its first cleaning. The picture below: left was taken on last Wednesday and the right is today! The thick dark soot has been removed but it still smells smoky. A team of cleaners should be on site tomorrow to start going through the fellowship hall, kitchen and adjoining rooms. Also, the pews will be wiped down and hymnals and pew Bibles will be collected, as they are cleanable!
One of the interesting things that is going to happen is that the women/family bathroom off the Narthex will be converted to an “O-Zone room”. Things that are slightly smoky will be placed in the room and a commercial O-zone generator machine will be used. Apparently, ozone is very effective in odor removal from most buildings and spaces because it attacks smoke and other odors at their source. When this is set up, the room will be strictly off limits with the proper signage.
No word today about the Fire Marshal’s decision. I will let you know immediately when we know something.
Wanda Garcia sent me a very special text this evening: “This is a translation of the message I got from the church in Panama that we work with. It is in response to a message I sent about your fire. ‘Holy God, our sister, we will be praying for our Lutheran brothers at Christ the King so that the Lord may glorify in a very special way in their lives and in their church, in the name of Jesus.’”.
Holy Jesus, glorify your name through the work of those cleaning our church building, the prayers of our brothers and sister in Waseca and Panama and how this congregation will move into the future with our eyes fixed on you! In Your holy name. Amen.