The Work of this Generation

Breaking Radio Silence

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Well, as we would say in the Navy, “Intend to break radio silence to provide a sitrep report on the restoration.”  

This thought occurred to me  early yesterday morning  as I was reading a very good new book, Nimitz at War, by Craig Symonds, a former faculty member at the Naval Academy and then the Naval War College.  If you want to give someone a great gift, his earlier book, World War II at Sea is excellent.

So, between the time the US ships left ports until the great sea battles in the Pacific in WWII began, there was no radio communication back to Nimitz or his staff to prevent giving away the ships positions or intended target.  He thus had to trust his subordinate admirals, Spruance, Halsey, Fletcher and others, while he waited anxiously.

So as the rain has been falling the last two days, I do not want anyone to feel anxious about the progress of the restoration of the church, or whether our new pews are getting wet as they are transported into the church. A great deal of good fortune and news about the progress of the restoration has taken place this past week, since my last report, so I want to share to avoid any anxiety.

This is a picture collage of the interior of the church as it stood this past Thursday night, October 13, 2022. 

It is indeed remarkable how the interior came together in the past week.  One of Nimitz’s leadership strengths was his ability to select good people and then stand back while trusting them to do a good job enacting his carefully articulated orders.  Perhaps, one of the reasons this project has gone so well, is the outstanding people who worked on the restoration of the historic church and their professional dedication.   But as well, it is also the remarkable trust that the rector, vestry and generously giving St. Mary’s church community had in our ability to complete this project on time and under budget. Completing the restoration in a manner that is transcendent and simply elegant, words giving for direction at the beginning of this restoration.

Last weekend, while many enjoyed a time away from work, Denis Leonti and his floor crew worked throughout the weekend to complete the oak floor finish.  It had to be finished by Tuesday morning when the finished pews and altar were to arrive on site.  Trucks and workers were ready to move on Tuesday.  After a new buffing and a third coat of poly on Monday afternoon to correct a slight imperfection in the finish, the floor was ready Tuesday morning for the big move back into the church.  

We also had a cleaning crew working as well to remove any dust from the sanding of the floors which remained on walls, ceilings and radiator covers, even though we used vacuums with the sanders and had plastic sheeting over the walls.  This integration of jobs and responsibility created quite an orchestral performance of talents and locations for work as one might imagine.

 We do certainly hope you agree that the stain color does look very good with the pews and the altar, maybe the word is beautiful without trying to be excessively enthusiastic.  Jokingly, I asked Jennifer  if we might consider a shoe rack so that everyone could take off their shoes entering church, in Asian fashion, to avoid marring the new floor.  But we both agreed after a laugh, that the church needs to be open and fully operational for everyone. 

 And the sun was out and a beautiful day began on Tuesday for the “big move.” 

Do you remember my expressed concern that the supply chain disruptions may mean we sat on hard pews till the cushions arrived?  Well they arrived on Tuesday as well and are in place for a comfortable seating as noted on the first picture.

While the pews were being set in place, we met with Bill Ruggieri, our carpet installer;  Patti Watson, our interior designer; Tripp Burman, our construction manager; and Jennifer to lay out exactly how the new blue carpet will be installed on this beautiful new floor.  Beginning Monday morning the carpet will start to be installed as a runner up the center of the aisle and across to the baptistry font.  If all goes according to plan the carpet should be fully installed sometime during the last week of October with the new organ following as the last item in the restoration to complete.

And then, again in Navy terminology, the restored St. Mary’s historic church will have a “shakedown cruise” to ensure that everything is operationally ready for the official church opening service on November 13.  

This will be a special time for a return to what has served the St. Mary’s community so well for 175 years, the historic church, created by Sarah Gibbs and designed by Richard Upjohn.  A place where important spiritual and family memories have been created in the past and where important spiritual moments and memories will be created in the future.

Again, thank all who have supported this project with prayers, generous giving and support.  We are almost ready for show time!  

P.S. Oh, it is Friday afternoon and the rain just stopped in time, as we just heard  the new choir chairs will be delivered this afternoon. Another unexpected blessing.  The choir must be praying!  So, all ends well this week.

Posted by Ron Machtley with