Tuesday, July 17, 2018

From the ugly to the sublime

Today's work involved the picture window on the east side of the building.  It consists of six panes.  Three lights across and two lights high.  In total, 120 inches across and 52 inches tall.

The sill consisted of two 2-by-4s.  Forty years of rain leaking onto them resulted in the wood being the color and texture of stale graham crackers.  I gouged out as much as I dared and tapped a 1-1/4", 6' piece of perforated angle iron across the gouged out region.

I installed the trim board and, by virtue of the perforations, was able to inject expanding, urethane foam into gap behind the angle.
 It made an ugly mess.

While prying off other trim boards that were rotten and needing replacing I encountered some wasps.  That necessitated a trip to Ionia to buy some bug spray.  While driving there I noticed an unusual steeple.

There is a Russian Orthodox church in tiny, Woodbury, Michigan.

The pastor and his wife live kitty-corner from the church (Map).  The pastor's wife was working in the yard and she agreed to accompany me over to the church so I could take pictures.

The church will be adding another row of icons above the existing row, hence the ladder in the frame.  Darla explained how great care was taken to select saints from a wide range of cultures and eras so everybody would feel welcome.

Just a sampling of the gorgeous icons.

Services are at 6:00 PM on Saturdays and 10:00 AM on Sundays.

One thing that was notable about the sanctuary is its small size.  The Russian Orthodox worship standing up.  That accomplishes two things:  It compresses the need for space from 15 square feet per worshiper down to 5 square feet (or less).  It also makes it warmer.  The only parts touching cold surfaces are the soles of your shoes...oh, and it is more crowded also making it warmer.

The bookstore

Like the Catholics, the Russian Orthodox are "big" on blessing everyday items.  Blessing them dedicates them to God's purpose and helps us to remember to use them for God's greater glory and honor rather than for purely selfish reasons.

The visit to the St Herman of Alaska Russian Orthodox church must have inspired me.  My craftsmanship cannot hold a candle to the artistry with paint the paintbrush or the wood carvings in the church but this ended up better than my usual hash.


  1. Looks good, and interesting pics of the church! Beautiful icons is right!!!

  2. A note from the "Pastor" after I offered him the opportunity to correct my screw-ups:

    Thank you, Joe.

    You take good pictures! And thanks for the free publicity!

    Since you asked: a couple of minor things. Protestants use the word "pastor" (from the Latin word for "shepherd") because they don't want to call anyone "father" (except their dads, for reasons which seem unclear to me...). But in the Orthodox Church we speak of priests.

    Also - some Orthodox churches are very large, but still are built without pews. While the practical benefits for a pewless church you outline are true, they are secondary. We stand (or kneel) to honor God, before whom we are consciously present. Just as people stand before the President, whether Obama or Trump, out of respect for the office he holds, so we stand before God. Pews were introduced into Christian worship in the Calvinist churches of the Netherlands, when the sermons started to last for two hours or more.

    Actually, many of the things that western Christians associate with Muslims: fasting, doing prostrations, praying at specific times of day, praying facing a particular direction or place, etc. are really things which the Muslims borrowed/adapted from Orthodox Christianity, but which Catholics and Protestants have for the most part given up in recent centuries.

    It was nice to meet you and your wife. May the Lord bless you!

    in Christ,

    Fr. Michael


Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.