Originally printed in the monthly Explorer, July 2014

Worshippers who arrive at the entrance to our sanctuary cross a semi-circle of brick pavers which we call the Plaza.

The Plaza is an attractive space that has many uses. It is a parking space for the bus that brings people to church, a drop-off and pick-up spot for those who are unable to walk from our North or South parking lots, a venue for picnics on Fall or Spring Sunday evenings. Delivery trucks use it during the week, as do members who stop by the office to conduct church business.

Next week the Plaza is closing for repairs.

Over time the mortar that binds the bricks has suffered deterioration. Grass is growing up through the chipped mortar. Some of the bricks are cracked or have become uneven. This also has happened to the brick sidewalks from the Plaza to the Fellowship Hall entrance, the brick path to the Columbarium and a few other places in front of the church.

Summer is the best time to make these repairs. Fewer events are scheduled during July and August, which should place less demand on the space. Mortar will set up better in July heat than in January cold.

Our Building and Property Council has had this project on their priority list for several years, and our Endowment Fund has been gracious to allot funds to complete the project.

I write this to inform you about the necessity of closing the Plaza to vehicular traffic for July and August. Please do not plan to park or drive on the Plaza until that project can be completed. You may want to use the porte cochere, the covered entrance at the back of the sanctuary, to drop off your family members or guests who cannot negotiate the long trek from our parking lots. From there an elevator can lift them directly to the sanctuary door by the lectern.

While the Plaza is closed, services are not. Vesper services will take place on Tuesday evenings in July and August at 7 p.m. in the Chapel. Food trucks will be in the South parking lot each Tuesday evening from 5:30 to 8:30. Sunday school and worship will meet at the regular times each Sunday. The Catacombs Lectures will meet each Sunday morning in August at 9:45 a.m. Mission opportunities abound and, when we meet on Sunday, September 7 for Celebration Sunday, you will be greeted by a new Plaza that will make River Road Church look ever fresh, ever new.

Let us continue to rejoice and give thanks.