Vestry Corner
Church of the Holy Comforter, Vienna, VA
April 24, 2023
Nearly all of us know the maintenance and upkeep—and the unexpected repairs—associated with owning a home. As you might imagine, the same maintenance and repairs are required at Church of the Holy Comforter. In many ways, the task is even more challenging, when one considers Holy Comforter’s size. We are located on 14 acres, and we have a large lawn, a playground, a wooded area, a pond, dedicated trees, walking paths, and a large parking lot. Add to that, Holy Comforter has 42,000 square feet of building floor area, including the Sanctuary, the Chapel, the Ministry Center, McGill Hall, Rodman House, classrooms, offices, mechanical and storage rooms. Fortunately, we are blessed to have Tom Gadell, Holy Comforter’s Facilities Manager, and Victor Hernandes, our sexton, who work to keep our building and grounds maintained. We also have a Building & Grounds (B&G) Committee that is focused on the maintenance and condition of Holy Comforter’s facilities and property and identifies and prioritizes needed replacements and repairs. Brian Land is the Vestry member Chair of the B&G Committee, serving with other Committee members including Margaret Bain, Peter Eareckson, Tom Gadell, Chris Jones, Linda Khan, Randy McGuire, and Chris Spielmann.
What is the B&G Committee working on currently? The B&G Committee is working on some large, longer-term projects, as well as smaller, routine repairs and improvements. Many of you may be aware of the large projects, including the effort to install solar panels to help Holy Comforter work toward a goal of net carbon neutrality in our operations. The Committee is also monitoring the project to modify a room on the third floor of McGill Hall to become Holy Comforter’s new music and choir room. The B&G Committee recently recommended that the Vestry approve the installation of a new air conditioning system for the Sanctuary, and to replace our existing aging (and noisy) air conditioner. Smaller, but vital projects include rebuilding the clogged piscina (special sink for disposing of consecrated water and wine) that serves the Chapel, placing numbers on all exterior doors to facilitate faster action by first responders in case of an emergency, and placing the hex key for the front door on a retractable cord, so we no longer have to ask, “where is it?” The Committee is also planning to install more interior signs to help visitors find our Ministry Center, Chapel, and McGill Hall.
Outdoors, the Committee is working to continue tree planting on the church grounds, to expand the walking trails at the rear of the parking lot, and to remove non-native plants and plant native plants and trees. Native plants and trees are beneficial because they require less water and do not need fertilizers or pesticides. They also support native birds and insects, which are important for our ecosystem. Holy Comforter’s Creation Care Committee, along with the B&G Committee, planned events for Earth Day this year. The B&G Committee has restored the Holy Comforter sign at the corner of Beulah Road and Maple Avenue and is also working to install new handicap and visitor parking lot signs, and paint arrows on the lower lot to improve safety and vehicle flow.
If you have suggestions for the Building & Grounds Committee, feel free to reach out to Brian Land.
Rebuilt Piscina for the Chapel
Numbers on Exterior Doors
Expanded Walking Trails
Restored Corner Sign and Added Native Plants and Trees