We toured the historic building last week with Bishop Schol, the bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. It is amazing to see all of the work taking place inside the building. While the sanctuary is still recognizable, it is hard to discern what was in every other space prior to the start of the restoration work. We are 9 months away from a grand celebration. We are 9 months away from the time in which we will return to our church home. In the meantime, take a look at how things appear today:
The site of our future chapel. We can imagine many people coming inside this open door off of K Street for 7:00 a.m. services of morning prayer, noontime services of praise and celebration and evening vespers. We can imagine all kinds of people walking in these doors - the people who work in hotels nearby, the individuals who are employed by law firms across the street, our neighbors who live on the lawns nearby, and the people who live and work in the buildings all around us.
These steps have caused the church problems for decades. The water sealant was stripped long ago, creating a great deal of water damage underneath. The steps are being stripped so that everything can be resealed again. It is a long, tedious process and the final solution has not been found yet.
The window restoration has been a subject of intense emotion and debate in the congregation. Bids for the work ranged from less than $200,000 to more than $700,000. We selected Lynchburg Stained Glass for the work after scrutinizing the proposals of several other artists and workers. When the sanctuary was first built, almost every window was made of stained glass. The windows are stunning, telling the stories of Jesus to people coming inside and out.
Bobby, one of our neighbors on the lawn, took this photo of the four of us who toured the building last week. Nathan, one of our interns from Wesley is on the far left, followed by Bishop Schol, myself and Don Graham. Bishop Schol has been supportive of the project from the beginning and has become a valuable mentor. Don Graham is the chairperson of our steering committee. He has given hours of time to the project, and we have learned so much together.
It is a blessing to be at the National Music Center for now. But we can hardly wait to get home again!