In recent days and months, we have found reason to have considerable discussion on the subject of Epworth Hall and what it means to us in order to determine how flexible or inflexible our capabilities for change may be.
In the midst of the potential destruction of the Cathedral today, many of those who were profoundly affected by the news of its potential total loss to be able to hear that the structure was in tact and the French President was able to announce that they would rebuild it, came as rejuvenating news.
Epworth Hall has, on more than one occasion, been in a state of disrepair or deterioration--a much slower process than fire but nevertheless a process of loss. The old Methodist Manor is a sad testimony to the reality of this type of loss.
Shedding a tear or ignoring the potential answers to the prevailing problem(s) is a waste of time. The work of repair or rebuilding should always replace the ignoring of the problem or the simple refusing to do something about it. Procrastinating has been historically tried, and proven to be equally destructive.
The current generation of leaders in the Silver Lake Institute are very active in the area of maintenance, upkeep, and a look toward the future. Epworth Hall will be receiving more than just a new roof, but will also be getting some of the other essential repairs and upgrades that the architects have said need to be accomplished. This will make us better prepared for the future than at other points in Epworth's history.
Even so, no human-made building will ever be free of maintenance and upgrade needs. We, and our society, are forever building and rebuilding all of our useful buildings. That's why buildings need funds in their annual budgets for repairs and upgrades.
We must also be wise stewards of our buildings. They are not nearly as old as the Cathedral, but each contain what is considered to be "old wood." Adjustments in our programming along with strong safety practices are once again being talked about for the well being of our buildings. We are currently looking at the alternatives to the open flames of candles. This might be the incorporation of LED candles and other creative ideas such as the use of lake water in a ritual-like exercise that would zero-in to the life giving and life healing qualities of water.
I believe there is an old saying at the Lake that goes something like this ... Dip a child's toe(s) in the water of the lake and the child will always return to the lake. The use of a very small amount of lake water could be used in supportive, loving closure to the on-going spiritual life and memory of each loved one. This will be further fleshed-out in upcoming weeks.
We believe we can create a beautiful and supportive Memorial Service or Celebration of Life Service without traditional names for God or other use of Christian terminology. The readings will, however, allow for easy interpretation for the individual to locate the source of their internal strength and help them to draw on it in a way that will promote healing and support. These are truly exciting and productive days!