Friday, July 07, 2006

Holy Trinity Update

Holy Trinity has now, metaphorically speaking, buried its dead and is entirely focused on the future. On June 5 the church site was deconsecrated and on the 16th asbestos decontamination began, followed by demolition. The tear-down process should be finished within 60 days.

'Insurance would probably pay for most of the demolition and rebuilding "if we wanted only what we had,"' the rector told the Juneau Empire. 'But what the church had, was a 110-year-old building and nearly 60-year addition. The congregation is looking to reconfigure it for the 21st century and beyond.' (18 June, 2006)

In the meantime, church members have been organizing themselves to prepare for the task of building anew. A priest/architect, Eliza Linley, 'spent a weekend with the building committee and vestry leading two workshops on the process of building a parish "program document" for use by an architect, and reviewing the timeline and options for an architect's involvement in the design and building process.' (private communication)

And the task of fundraising continues, with a goal, including insurance contributions, of 2.5 million dollars. The parish is grateful for the fundraiser that was held by All Pilgrims in Seattle on May 7, and on Midsummer Day, June 24, Holy Trinity itself held a Summer Solstice Tea, Garden Tour and Plant sale. Holy Trinity Youth created a float for the 4th of July parade with the theme 'Thank You, Juneau', and 'on June 30 Holy Trinity hosted at St Brendan's a Hawaiian choir of youth and adults from the Kahikolu Congregational Church of Kona, Hawaii. A powerful night of praise, music and dance, the event raised the spirits of all who attended, and raised several hundreds of dollars towards the rebuilding of Holy Trinity.' (ibid.)

'We have been humbled by circumstances, certainly,' the rector writes in a personal circular letter, 'but even more so humbled with gratitude by the need to receive—we who have so much in material wealth—from God. Far more than we could have imagined, expected, or had the faith to pray for, we have received prayers and gifts from across the country, from parishes large and small, from individuals, past parishioners and friends. Some obviously a widow's mite, given in faith in God and the hope in what we may become...'

Grateful, too, for the help of other churches. 'Maundy Thursday we were with the Lutherans, Good Friday with the Presbyterians, Holy Saturday we hosted the Great Vigil in the local Methodist church.... Trinity Sunday, the 111th year since our dedication, we received the gift of an icon of the Holy Trinity from our neighbor, the Orthodox (Russian) Church of St Nicholas.'

The Roman Catholic cathedral continues to offer hospitality for Sunday services in its parish hall. The parish is looking forward to the resumption of a joint Sunday School in the autumn and the two congregations meet every Sunday for joint coffee hour/fellowship.

The parish expects rebuilding to take a minimum of two years.


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