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July 2010

Should We Paint the Exterior of Holy Cross Church

Have you noticed that Holy Cross Church needs painting?

Seriously, there seems to be a bit more chatter about getting the church painted recently, so I think it’s important to consider it.

First, be assured that the appearance of Holy Cross Church is as important to me as to you, in some ways more so because I am responsible. I think you need only look at the rest of the campus to make your judgment.  So if someone suggests to you that I don’t care about how the church looks, or don’t love it as much as they do, or I’m letting the church fall apart, please inform them they are wrong.

Let’s look at few things we’ve done to assure the integrity of the church building since I arrived. A full evaluation of the structure of the church was carried out to determine whether the sagging, cracking and twisting beams and tilting steeple are safe. Termite inspection and treatment was begun. The sound system was upgraded, front doors sanded, painted and re-hung, the sanctuary was refurbished, St. Joseph statue was purchased, one of two air conditioning units was replaced, a  new boiler was installed, a new security monitoring system was installed and the old underground oil tank behind the sacristy was removed.

Our church building project is the truest example of Hofstadter’s Law: Projects take longer than you think, even taking Hofstadter’s Law into account.  So while the peeling of our church has gotten worse and gone on for longer than anticipated, the main reason for not painting the church was and still is the expense and the prudence of spending the money for a cosmetic and temporary fix.

While it is true that a few years ago, painting the church might have sent a signal that the building project was abandoned and we would settle back to worship as usual in a newly painted church, I think most of that sentiment has faded away. Several months ago, the Parish Finance Committee discussed the pros and cons of such an expense without specific estimates in hand.

The estimate we would accept if we went to contract is surprisingly low compared to other bids, approximately $20,000. The high bid was $32,000 for a comparable job. This includes scraping and priming the shingles (as opposed to the easiest prep which is power washing), limited caulking and replacing only structural elements of missing or rotted wood. No decorative elements will be restored and the windows will not be touched.

So, all this considered, should we paint the church?


Top Ten Worst Hymns of All Time ?

I can't stand bad church music  In an article sure to spark controversy, Joe Carter at First Thoughts has listed his candidates for top ten worst Catholic hymns of all time, complete with links to mp3 performances. Just reading some of the comments following his post tells the tale.

I'm sure some of our "favorites" are on the list. It's not simply, although it is partly, a matter of liturgical taste. The orthodoxy of the lyrics and ease of congregational singing become important criteria for selecting church music and many argue these have been ignored for decades in favor of musical innovation.

Interesting for its uniqueness is one of the more popular songs of back-in-the-day, "Sons of God." This drinking style frat song has passed out of the repetoire, not such much because of its lack of musical taste, but its fatal use of non-inclusive language. "Persons of God" just doesn't have that tuneful feel!

The "top ten" list is a conversation starter, at least and an open question to everyone: does the simple fact that we know a hymn, or were raised with hearing it justify its continued use in the liturigcal repetoire. That surely does not seem to be a sufficient reason that many of the hymns of the 1940's and 1950's are no longer sung, not to even mention those of the 1400 and 1500's!

Read the list (take a listen) if you don't know the tune by heart and see if you can thoughtfully critique Carter's inclusion of the song on the list.

Top Ten Worst Catholic Hymns of All Time

Music Director at Holy Cross Church Position Available

Christian_012000753 By now you may have read in our bulletin that our Music Director has given notice that he will be leaving Holy Cross at the end of July.

It is unlikely that other arrangements will be made for our summer weddings by then, but in case no music director is in place, he has agreed to play at our summer and fall weddings. So brides and their mothers can be reassured.

The position is approximately 20 hours/week by American Guild of Organists guidelines. We welcome resumes from well-qualified applicants for this position. This is surely a crucial appointment, as the tone and spirit of the liturgy takes so much shape, not only from the Liturgy Committee and the pastor, but the Music Director.

Fourth of July Celebration Fireworks

Aa---4ofjuly2_000127 Many thanks to the Rumson Police Department for their capable management of the parking for the Sea Bright fireworks on July 4th. They kept traffic moving and from our perspective as landlords of the parking lot, orderly and respectful.

Happily we experienced none of the petty vandalism of last year's celebration and the lot was left neat and clean. This year was interesting in that we were unable to offer parking to visitors until the masses were over and there was a police presence on site. Following the police department's suggestion, we made fireworks parking available at 8 PM until approximately midnight.

The skies were clear and still, so crowds experienced a great view of the pyrotechnics!