Sunday, August 31, 2008

Today at Parroquia San Cristóbal

Today we had our (kinda) Mid-year Parish Meeting. We had a single bilingual service at 7:30 am, and went straight into the meeting after the post-communion prayer. I presented our new Parish Administrator, Mrs. Choroland McQueen. We were to hold elections for delegates to Diocesan Convention (which takes place in January or February), but the congregation voted unanimously to keep the same delegates as last year, so that saved some time. The Vestry and I presented our project for a new Community Center.

Our main outreach program are the classes we teach to members of the community. These classes teach employable skills: cooking, sewing, beautician stuff, how to make Christmas decorations, catering, and cake baking and decorating. The classes are well attended, and some folks have even been able to start their own small businesses as a result.

For many years we had a building next to the church we called Casa Amarilla. We held all our classes in that building, as it was also used by the people of the neighborhood for Wakes, Wedding receptions, and other celebrations. It was an old, wooden building, and two years ago became structurally unsound. We had to close it down before it fell down! Then it became an attractive nuisance, and the last thing one wants next door to the church is a Crack House, so we tore it down. We've been holding classes on the patio and using the former rectory kitchen for the cooking classes. The kitchen is way too small for the classes. We need room for our classes, we need more classrooms for the Sunday School, and we need meeting places for the Parish guilds and organizations. We need a Community Center.

This morning the Vestry and I presented drawings and plans for converting the former rectory into a two-story Community Center. Costs are estimated at $300,000.00. It will be a challenge to raise these funds but we believe that we can do it. We'll be setting up a website with information on the project and giving everyone an opportunity to participate in the project. Our plans are for a two-story building, with the teaching kitchen, Sunday School classrooms, and two bathrooms on the first floor and a parish hall (with two bathrooms) on the second floor. We are hoping to hold events such as Prayer Breakfasts and luncheons in this building and have our cooking and catering students cater the events. This gives them an opportunity to put those skills into practice.

The congregation had a very open conversation about this project, and many ideas were offered. But it was a long conversation, and people were getting hungry. I suggested that I give the benediction and we take a break for breakfast, but folks didn't want to stop, so, I gave the benediction and members of the ECW and Men's Fellowship served breakfast to us as we sat in the church. I was very happy with the conversation: No one questioned the need for such a building, but they had different ideas of how to approach the problem. I am looking forward to getting this project moving.

The Lovely Mona took some photos:

The Choir

Ricky Staples is back behind the drums!

Padre presents the Project

Norma Blackman talks about the Project

Patricia Lewis talks about the Project



susan s. said...

Ooh! you had real drawings. Good idea, Padre. Oh, I cant see what's going on there, but judging from the age of some of your congregants, I hope you are planning an elevator to the second floor. I look forward to the website dealy.

David |Däˈvēd| said...

I hope you are planning an elevator to the second floor

Oh, God love & bless you Susan! Spoken as a true Estadounidense sister.

Perhaps you have not priced an elevator recently. My cousin, the residential architect, reports US$20 - 40K per floor for a low rise, one door model.

Perhaps the Lord could lead you in chairing the US campaign to help the good Padre raise the funds.

susan s. said...

It was only a question, David. If the new building were in the US, it would be required to have an elevator, due to what is named "The Americans with Disabilities Act."

I speak as an old woman, not an Estadounidense person. Making older women (or men) walk up stairs is often not a good thing. I have noticed that at least one of Padre Mickey's flock(I cannot recall her name now) is in a wheel chair. Would you volunteer to be the one who takes her up the stairs?

Padre Mickey said...

Hey, you two! Don't make me pull this car over and come back there!

No, we won't have an elevator (although we do plan a dumbwaiter from the kitchen to upstairs) but we will have ramps for wheelchairs and walkers. Don't worry, Mrs. Doyle will not be left downstairs.

susan s. said...

Thanks, Padre. I am chastened.

David |Däˈvēd| said...

Susan, I was not trying to pick on you, honest to God. You are my sister. I sincerely tried to write in a purposefully non-snarky way. Forgive my failure on that part, for you obviously felt attacked.

I was trying to let you and other folks know that often our reality is far different from your own. And what you all take as an every day fact of life through the blessings of God, is but merely a far off dream that most of us cannot even afford to allow into our minds.

I have carried and assisted many a person to a second and third floor.

I think that the construction methods in Panama are similar to here in Mexico, although we do not have old wooden buildings. Our homes and smaller two to six floor buildings are usually uninsulated concrete and cinderblock with stucco.

They are hot in the summer and, here in N. Mexico at least, often cold in the winter. Heat and air conditioning passes right through the wall, and so would be very expensive. Something like an elevator would require a more heavy-duty construction to support the function.

Building codes? I am sure that we have them somewhere.

susan s. said...

Well, David, you are forgiven. Yes, I am your sister, and glad to be.

Personally I try never to refer to a person's country of origin in my comments because in my mind that can be misconstrued as a slur, and labeling people is a bad thing, eh?

Mike can tell you that at the church I attend, which is in essence the church you attend also, we pray each Sunday in the Prayers of the People, for "an end to all prejudice and wrongful discrimination based on race, color, age, nationality, political affiliation, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class or creed." It makes for a pretty long list, but it's there for a reason, I guess.

Anyway, I am glad to know you are willing to help people up the stairs! I might need that help some day.

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