Summer 9:00 Outdoor Liturgy:

Protection from the Sun!

As many are aware, a major storm in the summer of 2011 blew off several large branches on the mature tree in the Rectory backyard that provided the majority of the shade over the columbarium cloister where we hold our 9:00 outdoor Eucharists in the summer. Because of this change to the tree, over the past three summers, we have tried to divine the optimal ways to choreograph the outdoor liturgy in order to provide the best experience for all involved. It has been an interesting, at times frustrating, and at times amusing challenge, occasionally resulting in the congregation getting squeezed into the one quadrant of the cloister that was protected from the sun, and the altar party constantly jostling and jockeying to get under the one cafe umbrella we were able to put up.

This spring, alas, that mature tree has been further pared down in an effort to restore it to greater health. As a result-and after exploring a multitude of different options-we are going to install a retractable mesh screen that will run from the covered cloister walkway toward the office-classroom wing. The screen will start at about nine feet above the ground on the west, and rise as it stretches toward the stone altar and the main building. It will be white, and will allow both fresh air and significant sunlight into the cloister, so we will still have the feel of being outside. We will be much more protected from the sun, however, and will be able to use a physical arrangement that will provide a better worship experience all around. And for those who enjoy sitting in the sun, there should still be patches of direct sunlight available. On overcast or cool days, we will not use the screen.

This new arrangement will likely take some getting used to, so please enter the 9:00 summer Eucharist with a sense of flexibility, adventure, and patience. But also know, in advance, that we should be rather more comfortable this summer than we have been for some time!