Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cleaning the church

Yesterday was my day to clean the church. Every week the members take turns coming in to give the church area a surface cleaning. Because the pastor and his wife live on the grounds, usually they come and give a hand but yesterday I just showed up on my own schedule (and with my own key). The pastor and his wife were out and I enjoyed cleaning and meditating (and taking pictures!) by myself.

Here is the entryway to our church. Again, members take turns manning the desk, passing out the Order of Service, and checking off who has arrived. Yes! In the Japanese churches (all that I've ever been to!) role is taken! Some churches have you write your name as you come in, some churches have a members' list that one checks off each week. It would seem that since there are so few members anyway that at a glance the pastor knows who has been there and who hasn't but maybe for the church records?

The Bible quilt in the church entryway is not mine! It is my friend, Kaoru-san's. She is a sometime quilter... but quilting is not a great love of hers. Kaoru-san worked many, many months on this quilt, coming to my house for patterns and fabric, borrowing needles and thread and quilting hoop. It is the only large quilt that she has ever made yet she immediately offered it as a symbol of her love, to the church.

Walking a bit farther into the church (a whole 5 steps) there are "family " pictures on the wall that we try to take every New Years. The open door is the sanctuary.

Across from the sanctuary door there are two bathrooms and sink area. I don't know why buildings in Japan often have the bathroom as the first thing one sees but it is true of churches and even houses. (I really like my own little house because the bathroom is hidden away at the back of the house, not next to the front door!)

The kitchen has a window (on the left, the bright window there faces the outside) looking into the sanctuary and here the children will play during services or the pastor's wife will hold a Sunday School class. Not too much cooking goes on here.

The sanctuary itself is small but bright. When the church was built 10 years ago, the builder decided he wanted to try to make curved ceilings (he thought it a very "Christian" type of architecture.) The two small stained glass windows were also made as a labor of love by one of our church members.

And two years ago I made a quilt rendition of our church with "stained glass" quilting techniques. I took a picture of the church, enlarged it in Word, traced over it and then blew it up to "poster" size in Exel. From there I traced onto fabric and then did the easy stained glass applique technique. If you asked me to do it again I don't think I could! (the blowing up part. The applique I can do!) This is up on the sanctuary wall along with the Sunday School artwork.

So this is our little church of 25 people. Cleaning takes about 30 minutes. Swish and swipe in the bathrooms, vacuuming and dry mopping all the other floors, moving the pews back into position, dusting the pews and piano. I did a bit of sorting old papers and flyers yesterday too and gave the outside a sweep with a bamboo broom.

All ready for Sunday morning!

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