By Tom Jones
We began in February 2020 with the first brainstorming session in the yearly board meeting of the Chapel of St. Philip, Inc. We were all pumped! What was the next step? How could we refine and fund this vision to restore The Chapel to its former glory and place of service to the community?
We were chomping at the bit. And then…Covid-19.
For the past year our initial efforts lay fallow in the field while we all rearranged our lives, goals and priorities. Programming in the chapel was essentially out. A few attempts at socially distant choir groups and musical recording/live streaming sessions were attempted. Some of the essentials such as NA meetings and private gallery showings continued despite the rigorous need to “Mask Up” for all occasions.
We hosted a wedding albeit a 6-person family only affair (celebrating my dear partner Ann and my life commitment).
I patched the leaks with roofing cement and continued quietly surveying, measuring and drawing the existing conditions for future reference.
In the summer Bob Eiden and I hung a “Justice for All” banner in honor of Breonna Taylor from the bell tower.
And lastly we defied the cold with a couple of outdoor fire pit gatherings in front of the church.
And now there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The snow has melted and the 6-foot-long icicles have fallen from the cornice. Slowly we are getting our vaccines and planning for the post pandemic world.
We are about to begin a dream-defining and fact-seeking journey to elaborate and prioritize our mission to repair, restore and enhance the old church building and rectory for the generations to come.
We have connected with neighborhood associations and met with our sixth district councilperson David James to discuss community participation and funding.
As new members of the Center for Non Profit Excellence we will be learning how to hone our organizational and fundraising skills.
To inaugurate the new vision, we are beginning an overall planning process for the chapel.
I climbed the rafters of St. Philip last year and found the signature of Joe the Carpenter on one of the beams. He must have scrawled it there in the late 1890’s as he put the finishing touches on St. Philips. May he continue to guide our work as we care for his.