We’ve been a part of a few different churches over the years, from Fourth Presbyterian Church, where we met, to Calvary Fellowship in Juneau, Alaska. We’ve gone to a couple Evangelical Free Churches and a non-denominational church for a little while. We’re currently involved in our second church plant, both of which have been Presbyterian (first EPC and now PCA). There’s something special about a church plant, although to be honest, the facilities aren’t always as comfortable as many would prefer. Today was our fourth and final meeting at this county school facility over the last four months. Generally we meet at the Rockville Senior Center, which is a much nicer facility (although not necessarily the easiest to find without GPS). The first time we met here, in October, it was swelteringly hot and humid. The next two times it was chilly. Today, the heat was on so most people were comfortable (and I was only a little warm). Next week, back to our regularly scheduled location.
Tagged With: Church
I believe I’ve said before that this is one of my favorite events of the year. Oh, I enjoy Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, and other holidays and special occasions. But none quite compare to Easter. We talked about ‘morning people’ this morning. I am one. Cathy, not so much. But we set the alarm for 5:00 AM and left by 5:30, getting to Fourth Presbyterian in time for the 6:00 AM sunrise service. Actually, the sun didn’t rise until after 6:50, when the service was over. It was pretty overcast, in any case, so you couldn’t really tell. We went inside for a lovely breakfast and then went to the regular 8:00 AM service, complete with orchestra and choir. As I write this, I can smell the leg of lamb that’s roasting and shortly will have potatoes in the oven to get crispy. So, I’m looking forward to one of my favorite meals. Happy Easter to all. He is risen!
I had a dentist appointment today so I was up north of Gaithersburg this morning. After I was done there, I cut trough the woods on Game Preserve Road to Clopper Road. I stopped briefly at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and took some photos in their graveyard, including this one of cross shaped markers seen here against the white of the church building. This is the older part of the graveyard and includes members of the Clopper family, after whom the road was named. This road, although not in West Virginia, is reputed to be the inspiration for Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert who wrote Take Me Home, Country Roads and then finished it with John Denver, who recorded it in 1971.
The ensemble played at church this morning and we really enjoyed the music. A few instruments are nice but there’s nothing that really compares to the depth and richness of an orchestra. Of course this doesn’t qualify as an orchestra, but it’s as close as a church this size is likely to get. It’s worth it. In addition to the saxiphone, trumpets, flutes, oboe, baritone, euphonium, and viola seen here, there is a trombone on the far right and another sax, a few clarinets, and more flutes on the left. On stage is a piano and drums. All in all, a very nice sound.
We got up early and made our way to Bethesda for the Easter Sunrise Service this morning. The date for Easter is based on a lunar calendar, so it moves between March 21 and April 25 (in the Western, Gregorian, calendar). This year it fell on April 21, putting it towards the end of that period. Consequently, it was light enough at the 6:00, just before the service started, for me to get a few photographs. Last year, when it was 20 days earlier, it was still pretty dark at that point and a picture similar to this was taken over half way through the service. I really enjoy this tradition and also the music at the regular service, with brass and timpani adding a strong accent.
Our church’s annual fall picnic was today and we couldn’t have asked for much nicer weather. I suppose a few degrees cooler wouldn’t have hurt, but it was very, very nice. We ate a great picnic lunch with burgers, hot dogs, and smoked pork shoulder (thanks, Ben!) as well as a wider variety of side dishes than I’ve seen in a long time. After the meal, we had our “regular” church service. Well, it was a bit different because we were outdoors. But otherwise, it was pretty much what we’re used to. It was great to see an old friend (she’s not all that old, but we’ve known her for a while) and I think a good time was had by all, or certainly most.
In mid-March, like most churches, our church began broadcasting its services electronically, through Facebook and with BoxCast. Even when they started having outdoor services in the parking lot, we decided to stay home because we’re a somewhat high-risk household. We continued to watch the services on BoxCast through a Roku device attached through a few adapters into our 1986 console television. Nevertheless, we missed seeing people and of course, the service, especially the music, isn’t really the same when watched on TV.
This week the church leadership decided to celebrate communion and Cathy and I decided we would attend in person. We sat in the shade of a small maple tree along with others scattered around the parking lot, some in the sun, some in shade. It was a gloriously beautiful day and we’re really glad we went. We still couldn’t really great people the way we would have and talking with masks is always a bit annoying, but it was very nice to see people in 3D.
We had some free time this afternoon so we drove to downtown Rockville and wondered around the St. Mary’s Church graveyard for a while. I took a picture of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s grave marker (and their daughter, Francis Scott Fitzgerald Smith). It’s a pretty little graveyard, if you like that sort of thing. We do. I took some pictures of the church reflected in the mostly glass building at Jefferson Plaza across the pike. I also took some general views of the graveyard. I figured for my post, however, I’d use this one, showing both the older church building—now known as the Chapel of Our Lady—and the new domed building, dating from the 1960s. The parish was established in 1813 with the land being bought for $300 and the initial church building costing about $4,000. It has obviously seen a few changes over the years. The old church building was scheduled for demolition but was saved and became the chapel that it is today. I’m glad it was saved, as it’s a pretty, little church.
We started going to church in person today. We went twice last year, when the services were outdoors and with the weather being so nice, we started again today. We plan on making it a regular thing. Although we’ve become a bit accustomed to our stay-at-home Sunday routine, we felt we needed to get out with people a bit more. It was a lovely day and there were a pair of hawks circling the church for a while. I had my camera with me and after the service, I took a few pictures, mostly of the rhododendrons blooming in the woods to the south of the church. With the flowers in the shade and the steeple in the sun, it was a little tricky to get this picture, but I think it turned out pretty well. On the way home from church we stopped at Lake Needwood and I took more pictures of our native Piedmont or mountain azaleas (Rhododendron canescens) in the woods there.
We went to the evening service at Fourth Presbyterian today. There were a few reasons we wanted to go. First, Dorothy was singing in the service. Second, David Frerichs was preaching. And third, this was to be the last service in the sanctuary before renovations begin, first thing tomorrow. We came a little early and I took a few photos of the sanctuary as a set of “before” pictures. There are others, taken over the years, including our wedding photos, which were taken almost 38 years ago but in which the room looks very much like it does here. I don’t know many details of the plans for the renovation except that the stained glass windows is being replaced. I believe the existing window will be installed somewhere else in the building, but I don’t know where. Anyway, it’s going to be a while before services are back in this room.
I happened to have my camera with me at church this morning and I thought the view through the circular window at the front of the sanctuary was really nice today. We normally sit on the left side of the sanctuary but we were late getting to church and attendance was up a bit so we had to go over to the right side to find seats. I was happy that we did because the view was so nice. There are dogwoods on the hillside outside the church, below the upper parking lot. These dogwoods are in bloom and the sun was on them. I purposefully exposed this for the light levels outside, so the nearly white interior walls show up as very dark here. The small amount of green in amongst the white flowers sets them off very nicely. The beautiful weather encouraged us to go outdoors for a while after church, as well, so the next post is from the same day.