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Apr. 22nd, 2007 @ 04:27 pm (no subject)
Current Music: "I'll Never Break Your Heart" -- BSB

I’ve visited a few churches in my lifetime, from London’s Westminster Abbey to Edmonds’ Westgate Chapel, from Marysville’s Turning Point Community Church to Portugal’s Monasterio de Batalha. I’ve lit candles and explored hidden spaces in cathedrals in Oxford, Edinburgh, York, and Salamanca.

But only one church, one local church with a history so intertwined with my own that I barely know where its ends and mine begins, has three hidden spaces of its own that I have yet to see anywhere else. That church is this church, Bethany Presbyterian in Seattle, and those hidden rooms are a children’s library, a darkroom, and a prayer room.

Abbie Berry created the Bethany darkroom ten years ago, under former Bethany pastor Bruce Murphy’s leadership. Her vision transformed a former men’s bathroom (and later a storage room) into a photographer’s heaven, as she enlisted Paul Steenstra to help with lumber and shelving, and Gary Kyle for pro bono electrical work. The two men quickly became her “helpmates” as the darkroom project began to take shape. Donations came in after an announcement was published in the bulletin, and soon Berry was able to offer periodic classes on darkroom techniques and developing film and prints in the summer. Berry says, “Paul and Gary were instrumental, as were the people in authority that let me do things” to get the darkroom up and running.

Though interest dwindled after the darkroom was finished, Berry plans to reopen it and offer some summer classes this year. She is especially proud of the darkroom, as it was her first architectural design opportunity – she is currently going to school to study architecture.

About six years ago, an anonymous donor gave Bethany a sum of money for the express purpose of creating a children’s library, located just off the upstairs bathrooms. Jill Bell had the “delightful job” of finding books, music, and movies to supply families with media and literature “that couldn’t be found elsewhere, [particularly things with] a faith emphasis,” she says. Bell worked with Delene Deforest-Dale to clean and paint the room, and Deforest-Dale donated furniture to help make the new library more welcoming. A screen was also set in place to protect the furnace from little hands.

The library now sees a wide variety of people pass through its doors, whether it be the half-dozen challenged children with their Buddies, Children’s Ministries volunteers with little ones in need of quiet space, parents, parents-to-be, and even grandparents with their grandchildren. Middle-school students are also known to come and read, or simply enjoy the many resources available. A wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, parenting resources, and children’s movies (including Veggie Tales and the Donut Man series) are available to be checked out on an honor system or enjoyed in-house.
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Date:April 23rd, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
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Those sound like some pretty special rooms to find in a church. I like how you describe them. {Smile}

I have one nit-picky observation: in more formal writing, starting a sentence - let alone a paragraph - with the word "But" is not so good. Fortunately, the second paragraph works just as well if you take it out. {Smile}

Cutting down your word count shouldn't be too hard. That isn't the only place where you can take something out without removing substance. For instance, you could remove a few by changing those "from" and "to" pairs at the beginning into a list. {SMILE} But mostly I'd say worry about cutting it down after you finish it. Then we have a better idea of how much it needs to be cut down. {SMILE}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin
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Date:April 23rd, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the lovely comment, Anne! This is hugely helpful!

Ahh, darned "but"! ;) I'll take it out.

Yes, I will definitely wait till I'm done to cut down. Thankfully trimming isn't too difficult! Well ... it can be, but hopefully it won't be! ;)
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Date:April 23rd, 2007 05:10 am (UTC)
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You earned it. {BIG SMILE}

You said you have about 460 now, and need between 500 and 520? I predict that shouldn't be too hard, unless your last section and conclusion get way longer than the earlier sections. {SMILE}

If you need help, I had a lot of practice cutting and padding both in school. {SMILE} However, I suspect you had similar practice back in school yourself. {BIG SMILE, wink, REALLY BIG GRIN}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin