When we go to our regular schedule on January 14, the 9 a.m. liturgy will be close to what the Holy Innocents’ liturgy has been, and the 11 a.m. liturgy will be similar to what St. Nicholas has done. In the months ahead, I will tweak both liturgies some, to make them even stronger vehicles for worship and especially to make them even more inviting to visitors. The 9 a.m. tweaking will be minor – singing the psalm and one or two more of the responses to the Eucharistic prayer. The 11 a.m. tweaking
will be more significant. With its later start, I think it is important that we shorten and simplify it. I also would like to try new texts and see if we can develop a more contemplative feel to it. I’m personally very excited because I like being able to do both a “high church” and a more “experimental” liturgy. In that sense, I’m a peculiar priest, but there are worse things to be.
I hope that people will try both liturgies, finding the style that is more comfortable for them, and the time that fits better with their schedule. It will be important that we not have two congregations in one building, with everyone just doing what they were doing. Try both liturgies and see what speaks to you.
This is a quote from the current newsletter from what will be known as "St Nicholas with the Holy Innocents Episcopal Church." I'm feeling pretty optimistic about what we're going to be able to do in the new space, with new people who are welcoming us with open arms. We will have a music director for the first time in a very long time starting in February, and plans are afoot to procure a digital organ, as St Nick's has always made do with various inexpensive electronic keyboards, and our current Frankenstein's Monster of a pipe organ can't be moved.
There are mutterings from people I've talked to at various events who don't think this organ thing is going to happen, but they're the same people who mutter darkly whenever we're waiting on a decision of the Diocese. And they mutter darkly about anything hopeful or positive, so I'll remain cautiously optimistic, because frankly negativity is partly what got us where we are today.
I feel pretty good about the music plans, and my concerns about what the liturgy is going to be like have been answered via private email, although I still think that our first couple of Sundays are going to be a bit rough until we feel more comfortable with an unfamiliar space. Some of the Altar Guild are really going to struggle, but they don't seem to want much outside input. Which may be part of what got us here, too – but perhaps being forced to adapt will eventually be a good thing for some of them, if they can make the leap of faith.
I don't feel very comfortable with some other things, though. I'm still working on being "okay." I've been a little concerned about what happens to the blog, since I put so much work (and psychic energy) into the Holy Innocents website. Actually, the upheaval seen here recently in the change from Movable Type to WordPress was due to the fact that Holy Innocents and St Nicholas were going to have to merge, and I was hoping to continue as webmistress for the new site, with input from one or two of the St Nick's people who had done their former website.
I gave up on Front Page in frustration years ago, about the time I started blogging with MT, and that's when I got the idea to re-create the Holy Innocents site as a Movable Type blog, with main-index and other pages maintained via MT's templates. After it became clear that we were closing/merging/combining with St Nick's, I thought that if I wanted to be involved with the new website, and invite the others to give blogging a try, I'd better find something a little less complicated than MT to teach to them. My husband David kept telling me how easy WordPress was – well, setting it up was easy for him, but I couldn't have done it. However, the usage is much easier, as you can easily create either a "blog post" or a static "web page," and page maintainance (for example, the main index page for Holy Innocents) is a SNAP, because you use the same RTF editor you do for posts, rather than a edit raw template in HTML as in MT.
So, with David's help, I took the content from the Holy Innocents MT blog/website, and created a WordPress blog/website, and then made it a fairly close match to the then-current St Nicholas site – same color scheme, using the St Nicholas icon and some of their background images, just as proof of concept. I did try to "sell" it.
However, the St Nicholas webperson had the assistance of someone who designs websites for a living, so it was clear that my participation in creating and maintaining the new site was not really needed. I began to feel as if my presence at the meeting was a waste of everybody's time, as was the hours and hours of effort I'd put into creating and designing the WordPress version of the Holy Innocents website (not to mention bugging David for all his help).
But then, the vicar also <del>shot down the other team's design</del> wanted something radically different from both former sites, and he did want my input as to what it could look like… and he also wanted for there to be a blog piece, because of the way I'd been posting the weekly "One Bread" newsletters. We all became rather excited about the concept: Fr. Steve wanted it to exemplify four important concepts, laid out in four quadrants so that the cross is implicit in the design, and I mentioned that it would be relatively easy for this to be done with a combination of HTML and CSS. The other team seemed to have the expertise to do this, and they also seemed to think it possible to have the blog be integrated into the site as a subdomain. Great, great, this seemed like an exciting beginning. I decided to revert to my previous site design for the moment, and make the site match as much as possible the new "One Bread" design when they got it done.
I did a complete redesign on the WordPress version, to make it look as much as possible like the "old" MT version, and then cut over from Movable Type to WordPress for good. Then I did the same thing with Blogula Rasa. I had enjoyed working with WP, and also was loving the lack of horrific porn spam, which was plaguing both this blog and the church site. I screwed up the feed and lost some readers because of it, but most of the "hits" I was getting were spammers, anyway.
I contacted the St Nick web guy a while back to send him a link to a site whose logo was similar in feel to the idea of the quadrilateral background graphic, and asked if he wanted me to mess with making graphics in Photoshop or figure out how to do it with CSS and colored backgrounds (each quadrant is a link to a page, based on the four concepts Steve gave us). The answer I got back was kind of "interesting, but no thanks, we're working on it," so I pretty much dropped the subject and awaited developments.
A week or so before Christmas we were emailing back and forth about pictures and things to be used, and I asked if I could see an advance version of the new design so I see what I'd need to do to the blog site to make it compatible looking – same color scheme, font, etc.
The answer I got back was "it's not ready for prime time." Oh, okay. Clearly, I wasn't part of the process, other than offering access to all my digital photos via Flickr.
A few days ago, I tried the www.onebreadonebody.org URL to see if the placeholder was still up. To my surprise, the new design was there, although not all the pages had been uploaded. And I was a little disappointed…the design is not what had been discussed in that meeting, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
There may be technical difficulties, but we had discussed a much, much simpler and modern-looking design on a white background, with mayb a few "head shots" of parishioners scattered on the field, with group photos not to contain more than 3 people in order to not look too busy.
However, I did like the header graphic, and it inspired me to go ahead with another minor redesign of the Holy Innocents site, which took all of about 15 minutes: to simplify it, increase the amount of whitespace, and add part of the banner graphic and adapt it to use with the built-in blog title and description text. I just now did some more tweaking, and after deciding the Flash-enabled Flickr badge was too distracting to the eye, removed it and fixed some minor errors. For the moment, the main page even HTML-Kit.
So far, I've got 4 differently sized, differently colored quadrants that form a cross with the whitespace between them, but I know I'm doing something horribly wrong and bad with positioning. And I can't get the footer element to fall to the bottom, or perhaps it is that my primitive attempts at absolute positioning are messing it up.
UPDATE: Got it working. Could possibly make it pretty with images. Not gonna. See below.
I know it would be easier to do it with tables. It may be easier to do this with background images (I'm pretty sure that's why the other team used background images so much for their nav elements). I'm trying to see if it can be done just with HTML and CSS. However, images may be more elegant, as I'd have the ability to use shapes and so forth with Photoshop, to form a nicer looking cross in the whitespace. We'll see.
The colors correspond to the four concepts Steve left us to mull over, and also are more or less the liturgical ones. Purple and gold were easy enough to pick up from the new banner, and I picked a red and green color to harmonize with them.
I've kind of been pulling my hair out on this and yet I am satisfied with the way the One Bread site looks, at least for the first few months. As the St Nick's people like to say, we'll live into it and see what emerges. We're not sure if we'll be able to combine the two sites via a subdomain, so I may have to content myself with plain old links for now.
UPDATE: As it turns out, the design of the OneBreadOneBody.org site came about because the original design we all got so excited about was "too cartoony" when they actually put it together, and they worked out the current design amongst themselves. So yes, I was overclocking on the whole "they didn't want my input" angsty fraught-fest, and I will get over it. Plus, I learned a lot today reading through the W3Schools reference pages. And David found the technical help page for adding the blog as a subdomain:
President George Bush, accustomed to criticism from Republicans of his fathers generation, suffered a rebuke from beyond the grave from the late president Gerald Ford yesterday in published comments calling the war on Iraq a mistake.
In an interview with the Washington Posts Bob Woodward, granted on condition that it be published only after Mr Fords death, the late president said he strongly disagreed with Mr Bushs stated justification for the war – that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. He also suggested Mr Bush had departed from his overriding duty as president to act in Americas national interest.
"I dont think I would have gone to war," Mr Ford told Woodward in an interview at his Colorado home in July 2004. "I would have maximised our effort through sanctions, through restrictions, whatever to find another answer."
The criticism from Mr Ford extended to the architects of the war – the former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and the vice-president, Dick Cheney – an inclusion that must have been especially wounding for both men, who served in the Ford administration and considered the former president a lifelong friend.
As it says, Bush the Less is accustomed to hearing criticism from Republicans of his dad's generation. And the implication is that he's accustomed to ignoring them. As he ignores his own dad, because he listens only to his higher Father, I suppose.
Given that, I'm not certain that this opinion of Ford's would have changed anything had it been made public before we sallied off to Iraq with our flags flying, all puffed up with our zeal to bring the Gospel of Democracy to the unbeliever. I am certain, however, that we're getting our under-armored asses handed to us, and we can thank Bush the Less and his enablers for that.
NEW YORK Reuters – Israels No. 2 carrier, Israir Airlines, is permanently installing a handwritten Torah scroll on board one of its aircraft, marking the first "Sky Torah" in aviation history, the airline said on Wednesday.
The scroll, which was created for the airline in Aventura, Florida, will begin its journey to Israel on Thursday with a ceremony at New Yorks John F. Kennedy International Airport. At the ceremony, the Torah will be carried under a traditional chuppah, or canopy.
Israir expects the Sky Torah, as the carrier calls it, to be a welcome service for orthodox Jewish passengers on its flights between New York and Tel Aviv, a spokesman said. The Torah will be housed in a compartment on the plane and will be accessible through a flight attendant.
A Torah scroll, made up of the Five Books of Moses, is the holiest book of Judaism. It takes about one year for a scribe to write a Torah scroll, the company said.
The airline, which operates four flights a week between New York and Tel Aviv, said the onboard Torah will enhance the prayers of its passengers at a time they are closer to God.
I ran this story by my husband David, who maintains a consistent "orthodox agnostic" stance, as he very firmly does not know one way or the other, and shows more inclination towards science and logic than towards any semblance of faith or belief.
We both think it's nuts.
My first thought was "What if the plane goes down? What kind of psychic damage would that do to believers, beyond the tragedy of the crash itself?" Second thought: it's like trailing a big banner behind the aircraft that says "Here I am, baby" to all the small, obscure terror groups looking to increase their cred on the Arab street in one swell foop.
David thinks it's hijack bait. "Here, hijacker hijacker hijacker. Come and get me, hijackers, yeah." He also thinks that last line (in bold) is more like something a Christian fundamentalist would say. Come to think of it, some of those Apocalyptonauts would probably get all worked up just thinkin' about getting Raptured up out of that particular plane.