Back in 2007, < when I bought the property, this is what “the old barn” looked like. The wood was so rotten you could easily push a pencil from one side of any board clear through to the other side, with very little effort. We were going to just tear it down but I kept hearing “Don’t do that. There’s something you can do with this.” So we left it while the house got renovated and I waited for further instructions. Eventually, it became clear that we should renovate the barn in similar ‘Carolina siding’ to the house, put in electricity, sky lights, a tin roof, plenty of windows and a cement floor. There couldn’t be a bathroom because the barn is too close to the stream, so we put in a composting toilet. The barn became The Work Room and got filled up with scraps of wood and tools. But there wasn’t any time to do woodworking projects so it became The Art Studio and got filled up with scraps of almost everything lying around and art supplies. It turned out that there wasn’t any time to do artwork either, so pretty soon it became The Chapel and got emptied out of everything but an altar, some director’s chairs and a few icons. This is apparently what we needed because The Chapel stayed The Chapel for several years. Retreats met there for closing Eucharist’s. Jody and Thea and I met there every morning at 7:30 am to do Morning Prayer. (We installed a dog door so all three of our dogs could join us.) It became the place for spiritual direction and meditation. And through daily use, it became a sanctified space – simple and calm and quiet, but for the gurgling of the stream nearby and the rustle of leaves overhead. By the time we were doing Morning Prayer at 8:00 am, the forest on the other side of the stream had been cleared and the Barn construction had begun there. Through a wonderful handyman/recycler friend, John McCurry, we acquired Grace, a four foot cement statue of an angel. She was placed on the mound of earth outside The Chapel, overlooking the stream and the garden and anchoring the small Memorial Garden we began to plan around her. By the time we were doing Morning Prayer at 8:30 am, our beloved Deacon Jody and one of their dogs – Cassie - had died. Some of both of their ashes were interred side by side, next to Grace, in the Memorial Garden. And the Barn had been completed, with a “bump out” space off of the main floor for a Chapel. The altar and the icons and the Ethopian ceremonial silver cross were moved across the stream to their new home in the Barn. But we didn’t have the heart to take the cross off of the outside eaves of’ the old Chapel building’. It’s still hanging there. Sometimes we even slip and call the building The Chapel. Gradually, the two round wood tables (one from my house and one from Jody and Thea’s house migrated from the Barn to ‘the old Chapel building’, along with two comfortable couches from our friends Fred and Regan Burnham. The Chapel had become The Meeting Room, and it got filled up with magazines on spirituality and healing and books on Spiritual Direction and Mysticism. We went back to doing Morning Prayer there because it felt like home. Then we moved the massage table from The Guest House and settled it into the back room with the essential oils, incense and candles. By the time we were doing Morning Prayer at 9 am, The Meeting Room had also filled up with a lot of bookshelves, which had filled up with a lot of books and tapes, CD’s and magazines. It had turned itself into The Library and as such has quickly become a repository for information on theology, spirituality, mysticism, spiritual exercises and disciplines, religion, ethics, ecology, prayer, religious art and music, liturgy, rites and sacraments, forgiveness and reconciliation, the Labyrinth, God, Jesus, the Bible, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and the works of many of the foremost writers on these topics. We still use The Library for small meetings, for spiritual direction and for Morning Prayer. And it is still a place of peace and quiet. Sometimes people join us there for Morning Prayer. (We love to have company and we are deeply committed to praying for an increasingly large group of people in very specific ways, every day but Sunday. It may be some of the most important work we do here. Just so you know, the Episcopal rite of Morning Prayer that we have adapted for our use takes about half an hour. Then we pray for folks for another half an hour and finish with about half an hour of meditation.) Now we are doing Morning Prayer in The Library at 9:30 am every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and at 11:00 am every Wednesday and Friday (when there is a Yoga class from 9 to 10:15 in the Barn). Energy healing and massage are done in The Healing Room next door, as the need arises. When we have topical retreats or speakers on particular subjects, the relevant books are pulled out and left on the tables in The Library for people to look at during breaks. Molly Pace, who is one of us, helps identify good new books for us. She works with local book sellers to make particular books available for sale at Tigg’s Pond when the author or topic is featured in our programs. See What We’re Reading Now for some interesting books we’re all reading that you might like to look into.
Here are some photos of before renovation and after.