Sunday September 11, 2016, Grace Church Garden
6 p.m. To participate in Georgetown’s second ecumenical ‘Light the City’ walk, I spend thirty minutes filling fifteen luminaria bags with sand and small candles. I place them along the walkway between Wisconsin Avenue and the church door.
6:30 p.m. Lighting the candles was an adventure. After attempting to use the small taper/snuffer that we have for Children’s Chapel and failing (it didn’t fit into the small paper bags), I retrieved wicks from the sacristy and, once lit, gingerly lowered the flame onto the candles. One bag did not make it (I discovered that they’re not completely fireproof).
6:45 p.m. A passerby stops to talk. She compliments the garden and the row of luminaria (though it is still too light outside to really see the candlelight). She comments – approvingly –on real estate values around the neighborhood-not a perspective often heard hereabouts.
6:50 p.m. Two neighborhood dogs and their walkers enjoy the garden but don’t venture into the church.
7 p.m. The first of two intentional visitors, participating in Light the City. They stay inside the church for some time. The intent of the walk is that people feel welcomed in houses of worship around Georgetown. I leave them to their prayers for peace.
7:15 p.m. A wanderer wanders by. Seeing that I have matches, he asks for some. He also asks to use the restroom. I politely put him off both requests. It’s not easy, but I cannot monitor the inside of the building and be a welcoming presence outside at the same time; I also do not promote smoking, his stated reason for needing the matches. My discomfort at these refusals is common to all of us, I suspect.
7:30 p.m. A man stands for a long time outside the church, looking at the façade. I take the opportunity to tell him we’ve just completed a stone restoration project. He looks interested and then comments that he has read the history of Grace on our website and inquires about the family that provided the land. I go on to say, proudly, that though it took years, the congregation raised the entire amount for the stonework from current sources – no endowment. At this, he looks very interested and asks how he might contribute. I direct him to the website and invite him to the next Gala – whenever that may be!
7:45 p.m. Daylight fades and the floodlight switches on to illuminate the front of the church. I have to smile; first there’s too much daylight to see the luminaria; then too much floodlight. But, then, the candlelight does begin to glow – always magical.
A few people arrive to set up for the NA meeting to begin at 8.
7:50 p.m. The door is open.
8 p.m. The lights are on.