On December 23, 1956, when First Pres members worshiped in their Penn Street sanctuary for the first time, the building sparkled with newness and hope. The windows were resplendent. The pews hadn’t attracted a spot of dust. The steeple shone white and pure above it all, adorned with newly gilded angels, welcoming all who entered the sanctuary below. There are First Pres members who were here that day 61 years ago, and they’ve told me stories about that wonderful event.
Well, six decades have passed. The building has aged nicely, but it has aged. The sanctuary is in dire need of paint. The pews are creaky and close. It’s difficult to hear during worship. The steeple is pockmarked and stained, and the angels, once shiny and bold, have become tarnished and shy.
The Session has long been aware of this, of course, and is even now addressing these realities.
A Sanctuary Improvement Committee is hard at work on the interior, talking with acousticians about improving the intelligibility of the spoken word, making plans to spruce up the room.
As for the exterior, the Property Committee has arranged for the beautiful gold angels to be powder coated again. They should be remounted the week of August 7 and will shine like the day they first greeted worshipers 61 years ago.
The steeple comes down soon and will be replaced, several days later, by an exact replica being fabricated in Kentucky. I’ve included a photo of it, in process. The joke around Texas is that we should name the crane as the state bird because of the many construction cranes in use. Fort Worth is certainly sprinkled with them, and somewhere around August 16 a huge crane will be set up just outside of our building. It will be such fun to see the old steeple lifted up and away only to be replaced by a brand new one. For those who were here on December 23, 1956, you won’t be able to tell the difference.
We remain ever thankful for the resources to keep our building in good shape – resources from those who have passed and from those who generously contribute – so thank you.
I always close my column with the words, “See you in church.” This time, I’ll close with,
I’ll see you in front of the church, the day the crane comes. Until then, peace.