2012 Facility Year in Review

Thilo Henkes, Becky Liley, Paul Stiller & Almir Dias – The Board of Trustees

There have been two major Trustee activities in 2012: first, we have made some major investments in a sound and recording system and secondly, we continue to invest in the maintenance and replacement cycle of some physical plant items.

Trustee activities in 2012:

  • Installed new sound system – after reviewing a number of possible solutions to replace the microphones and audio speakers in the church, we opted for a system designed and installed by parishioners and professional audio consultant, Paul Terrasi of Boston Soundworks.  The new sound system consists of:
    • 4 pair of amplified speakers that provide “surround sound” and a consistent audio experience no matter what pew (front / back or left / right) you are sitting in
    • An upgraded speaker in the undercroft’s nursery so that the volume can be controlled from within the nursery
    • New wireless microphones for the lectern and for the Pastors
    • New hand held microphones that are used by the Elders during service announcements and for other events such as Confirmation Class presentations
    • A sound board (neatly located in a cabinet near the organ) that can be used to digitally balance the speakers and microphones depending on the audio requirements (some people speak more softly than others and this can be taken into consideration to make sure every word is heard)
    • A number of “sound system specialists” who are in charge of the sound at each service.  These “specialists” are in many cases Ushers – as always, we need more of these volunteers so please let us know if you are interested in helping!

The sound system has been in place since the summer and has received rave reviews thus far.  Please let us know what you think of it!

  • Installed new recording system – in conjunction with the sound system, we have also installed a recording system that will allow us to make professional, digital audio (and video) recordings at First Lutheran Church.  In addition to a lot of high tech recording gear, specific recording microphones have been put in place to capture the organ and choir voices (some of these microphones are “portable” and can be moved to accommodate other recording locations within the church).

The sound and recording system is a major initiative for our Music Ministry and Balint has been instrumental in getting the system put in place.  Also, many thanks to Almir Dias who used his carpentry skills to build a beautiful but discrete sound cabinet near the organ to house the sound and recording equipment.

  • Upgraded main AC system – in the midst of a warm July we had to replace two cooling fans in the AC condensers in the area well.
  • Integrated new custodian – in conjunction with the Personnel Committee and the Parish Administrator we have updated the custodian’s job description and we have hired a new custodian, Giselle.
  • Replaced broken windows – the past winter was especially unkind to our windows and we had over 17 windows that need their glass replaced.  Paul Stiller and Head Elder, Steven Perko, braved the heights and replaced a number of panes in the window to the right of the altar.  Paul and the Trustees are working with some glass companies to source and install replicas of the original glass in the sizes that we require (believe it or not but the large panes of glass in the original tints are extremely hard to find).
  • Upgraded exterior lighting – we have upgraded lighting systems, including motion controlled sensors in the parking lot and on the Marlborough Street side of the building (where we have issues with homeless people using the church property for unsanitary purposes).  We also updated the timing device used to turn the lights on in the courtyard after dark.
  • Sponsored four work days – the Trustees have sponsored a number of work days earlier this spring, during the summer and also this fall to clean out the boiler room, maintain our yard and provide general upkeep.  We always have a great turn out, which makes the work enjoyable.  Many thanks to all the volunteers!
  • Coordinated wall repair with Marlborough Street neighbor – our neighbor at 30 Marlborough has experienced some water leaks and needed to repair the brick wall separating the church parking lot from his parking spaces.  The work was paid for by our neighbor, with whom we’ve developed a very nice relationship.
  • Fixed the usual hum-drum – there have been the usual minor repairs to broken fax machines, shattered glass, malfunctioning toilets, and lighting that have been taken care of.

Looking ahead to next year we have a number of initiatives that are currently underway or are planned:

  • Magnolia trees – the Back Bay Garden Club, who whom we have a very nice relationship, has donated 4 magnolia trees to First Lutheran.  Come the Spring, we will work with the Garden Club’s professional arborist to plant these trees in FLC’s courtyard and along Marlborough Street
  • Soffit repair – the underside of the main roof is in urgent need of repair and painting.  The soffit could suffer permanent damage if the flashing is not reattached.
  • Fence repair – the fence on the Marlborough Street side has significant rust problems and is close to falling over in some areas.  We believe the fence can be salvaged and just a few posts need to be replaced, but this again is a significant expense that we will have to manage within our budget constraints.
  • Clerestory window replacement – the windows in the church clerestory are all original, single pane glass.  Not only have some of the windows started to separate from their frames, but we lose a significant amount of energy (heating and cooling) as a result of the poor insulation they provide.  The Trustees are starting to explore options for replacing these windows.

As usual, the urgency and frequency of the issues that arose this year would not have been met with the timely focus they deserved if we did not have the incredible help from a large number of people (most notably Chris Muskopf, Don Bartels, Maarten Henkes, Vincent James, Almir Dias).  These and all volunteers ARE true “stewards” as they have demonstrated unfailing willingness to show up at church at a moments notice and at odd times of day to clean up leaking toilets, clear snow, meet contractors, etc. – they do these things because they all believe that our building, the Lord’s house, should be kept clean and safe.  Many thanks to ALL volunteers from the Trustees!

Of course without Becky Liley’s and Paul Stiller’s leadership and able management we would not have accomplished anywhere as near as much as we have this year, and certainly not with as much fun.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and input as we continue to support the mission of the church through the care and stewardship of our facility.

Many thanks!



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