Requiem for the
Church of the
just for the building, not for the congregation
from the Senior Warden
Final Weekend Agenda Feb 25, 26, 27
(Below is full text of Senior Warden letter of Jan. 20, 2011
earlier letter to
congregation of Dec 14, 2011)
The iconic complex
of buildings simply known as "Redeemer" can no longer be safely
used, nor economically brought back to code.
Like any grieving process,
we'll all go through mourning, and all people reading this will
grapple with this news in their own way.
The church has a
group for discussions, click
here to join, post memories & photos, reconnect with
Final Weekend on www.CelebrateTheWhole.net
Dear brothers and
sisters in Christ,
On Tuesday night, Bishop Andy Doyle, Bob Schorr, and Mary MacGregor
came to Redeemer to meet with the Vestry about the results of the
Facility Assessment Report and the options for our future. Bob is the
Coordinator of Congregational Development and Mary is the Director of
Leadership Development for the Diocese. I have attached the
Report to this e-mail,
along with the
Congregational Assessment done in July of 2005. We met for two
hours in the basement, and the Vestry stayed to talk for another hour
after that, while so many of you prayed in the nave for all of us.
“For I know
On Sunday, February 27,
we will hold our last service in this building. It will celebrate the
life and ministry of Redeemer that God has poured out in this place. The
Rev. Canon Ann Normand will be the celebrant. In our conversation with
Bishop Doyle, he reminded us of the influence that Redeemer parish has
had not only upon the Diocese, but much farther. He said that what we
have to do now will be very hard, leaving our building behind, but that
if we are successful in growing and revitalizing our parish as a
community church that reaches out in mission to our neighborhood, we may
serve both our neighborhood and the larger Church. We have a
neighborhood full of need; we can become an example of a church that
successfully reaches out to make less the depth of our world’s grief.
The way is difficult, and we do not yet know the way that we should go,
but there is hope if we continue faithfully
The need to vacate the building comes from the fact that the building is
no longer safe to occupy. According to Tellepsen Construction and Studio
Red Architects, the existing condition of the electrical, mechanical,
and plumbing systems, the chunks of concrete separating and falling from
our buildings (“spalling”), the lack of a fire alarm system, and the
inadequacy of emergency exit signs and lights is more than enough to
revoke our Certificate of Occupancy, if the Fire Marshall inspected the
buildings. The cost of addressing just these issues would be $5 – 7
million. Neither our congregation nor our Diocese can afford that; and
even if all those things were repaired, our congregation can no longer
afford to maintain the building. Nevertheless, the Bishop told us that
“the temptation you must resist is to say that it’s all over now.” It’s
not all over now, unless we choose that, and we have the freedom to
the plans I have for you” declares the LORD,
The Bishop, Bob, and
Mary presented four possible options for the continuing life of our
congregation: (1) mission status, (2) diaspora (dissolve the
congregation and everyone go wherever each one chooses), (3) become a
house church, and (4) lease the vacant building of the Santa Cruz
mission. Most of our conversation regarding the options centered on the
possibility of leasing the building left behind by the
Santa Cruz Mission.
It’s located at
about four miles east of our current location. Bob promised that the
cost would be reasonable and that we could use the location to buy time
to decide what we will ultimately choose to do. The move need not be
permanent. There may also be some possibilities for a temporary location
in our immediate neighborhood, and we plan look into those; but this
Saturday, Bob will give the Vestry a tour of Santa Cruz. Our hope is to
do whatever God wills us to do in this situation. So once again we
appreciate all of your prayers, especially for wisdom, discernment, and
“plans to prosper you
The past is always with us, but in order for us to
prosper as a congregation, we will have to find a way to change from
that past—to throw out the bath water, but keep the baby. And we will
need not only to speak those words, but to act upon them as a body, no
matter how difficult that might be. We must together find a way to
contemporize our tradition and draw from our storehouse both new things
and old, leaving behind what we should, and as Bob encouraged us,
“daring to imagine a different future” and to make it happen for the
good of all concerned. Just as the Bible so many times counsels us to
choose to “take courage” or to “take heart,” I believe we can also “take
hope” and choose a different future.
and not to harm you,
This Sunday, January 23,
we will hold our annual parish meeting: all will receive the annual
ministry reports, and we will elect new Vestry members and our delegates
to the Diocesan Council this February. I know we will also discuss the
attached Facility Assessment, and Bob Schorr will be with us at this
Sunday’s service to answer any questions the Vestry cannot.
Saturday, January 29, Mary MacGregor will return to Redeemer to lead a
congregational workshop for our Vestry and other leaders to help us
begin to formulate both a plan and a vision. Both are crucial to our
future as a congregation. I don’t believe it will be a future as
glorious as we remember our past to have been, but it will be a future
in which we can be good and faithful servants, both to God and to our
neighbors in this community.
plans to give you hope,
At present, there are no plans to sell the triangle
of property where the church is now located. The Bishop couldn’t promise
that won’t happen sometime in the future, but stated that he had no
plans to do so now. After February 27, the property will be secured, and
we will work with the Diocese to inventory records, artifacts, and
archives. Eventually the buildings will be torn down, leaving at least
bell tower due to the contract
with T-Mobile for their
cellular system—until that contract is completed.
hope and a future.”
None of us can see the future, and I don’t know what
the specific will of God is for our congregation. But I know his command
is to follow him. My hope is that we follow him together through all the
struggles we’ve endured to a place where we have what our Bishop named
“the chance to give a gift of re-birth,” not only to those around us,
but also to ourselves. This will be difficult, but it is also a chance
for new life. I think about the LaROCA tapestry in our Parish Hall that
quotes Jeremiah 29:11, but I’ve also been cautioned to read chapter 28
along with 29.
The nature of the plans God has for us, as well
as their timing, is God’s choosing, not ours. Jeremiah cautioned the
exiles to build houses, plant gardens, have children and grandchildren,
to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you” and to “pray to
the LORD on its behalf,” because it would be seventy years before their
grandchildren and great grandchildren would have the opportunity to
return and rebuild. My hope is that it will be possible to return and
rebuild God’s church on that triangle of land; but whether that is God’s
will or not, I don’t know. And if it is, I do not know how he intends to
do that or when, but I wish to keep my heart open to the possibility,
and I hope to live to see it fulfilled. I trust that his command to us
as individuals and as a congregation is to follow him, regardless of
whether that leads to the place we want to go or not. I pray for all of
us to have the wisdom, discernment, and courage to follow well—as
Abraham did, as Moses did, as Jesus did. May we live as good and
faithful servants lending our hands to any good that God offers us the
opportunity of doing—wherever we are.
Daniel Coleman, Senior Warden 2010
Church of the
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the
road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
—Thomas Merton, from Thoughts in Solitude
charts on finances
and membership as
attached to Senior
posted by Bob Andrew
former Junior Warden,
member 1972 to 1982,
then from 2006 - 2009