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‘God Squad’ to create St. Paul’s Communion table

This column has a definite greater Dayton flavor. Occasionally, I can cover performances and events from other cities and even other countries. Rarely do I have the opportunity to focus on the real home “beat” - Oakwood.

Most of my readers know that I am only an “adopted” Oakwood citizen. Alice and I live in the far North of Dayton but I can use the old saw, “Some of my best friends come from Oakwood.”

Oakwood has so many interesting and appealing activities and attributes. I’ve attended the Oakwood Rotary Club meetings, even served as guest speaker.

Thanks to the prodding of life-long friend Dick Cummings, I have helped build all manner of things to help Oakwood projects. Perhaps the most interesting were some elaborate boxes to haul the items for the pancake breakfast in and out of storage at the Oakwood Municipal Building. For that, I am rewarded annually with more pancakes than a normal human can eat.

Among the Oakwood landmarks which I have always admired is St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. An imposing presence on Dixon Avenue, it is a remarkable example of modernized English Gothic architecture. Completed in 1957, the church is stately and beautiful in its simplicity and richly understated details.

I have attended many services, primarily life cycle events, at St. Paul’s. The church building is enhanced by the warmth of the services and clergy. The present Rector, Rev. John Koepke, is known as Jack. His friendly demeanor and ever-present good humor can be felt at activities throughout Dayton.

Recently I received a call from good friend Pam McGinnis announcing a major restoration of St. Paul’s. I was a bit surprised since I considered the church to be pristine as well as beautiful. Pam asked me if St. Paul’s could enlist the “God Squad” to create and donate a Communion table for the restoration.

Many also know that the God Squad is a name given to me and my hearty band of fellow woodworkers. Over nearly two decades, we have created many works which stand in churches, synagogues, schools, symphony halls and lately - an antique beer truck for Carillon Historic Park. We donate all of our works and take great enjoyment from the creative process.

I didn’t even have to ask my fellow God-Squaders - Harold Prigozen and Dick Cummings – the answer was yes. When we consulted with St. Paul’s Administrator and Music Director, John Johns, we learned a great deal about the church and plans for the future.

Sixty years had left its mark on the church. The marks were not scars but a need for updating aspects of the building. Mundane items such as asbestos removal and concrete repair are prominent in the plans. Less mundane but rather normal were installation of new carpeting, better lighting, refreshed painting and accommodation for handicapped access.

What was most remarkable about the plan was the desire to bring the impressive altar and its inspiring features a feeling of greater closeness to the congregation. This reflects a very warm and positive change in our time and in our concept of how personal religion can and should be.

Rev. Koepke has said that the temporary worship space in the Parish Hall has been greeted with enthusiasm by the congregation. It is smaller and closer, more intimate and personal. It is Rev. Koepke’s desire and the mission of the restoration, to beautify and modernize the church and to make its large inspiring space have the personality of today.

Our communion table will be close to the congregational pews. The service will be brought to the worshippers. I know that the architectural inspiration of this magnificent church will be enhanced by the sympathetic attitude of its enlightened leadership.

I report to my dear readers about this for many purposes. First, it is a change in an important Oakwood landmark. Secondly, it will enhance the congregation’s experience. To me, most important is the recognition that what the world needs is more friendliness, more personal involvement, less distance between the individual and his inspiration – and, more inspiration.

Left to right: ‘God Squad’ members Dr. Harold Prigozen, Dr. Richard Cummings and Dr. Burt Saidel in front of their most secular and recent creation, a Model T beer truck.

Butterfly Festival slated Aug. 2

Families are invited to walk, run, drive or flutter down to Ohio’s original native Butterfly House at Cox Arboretum MetroPark for the 10th annual Butterfly Festival. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2. Admission is free to this open-air exhibit, which will display butterflies, moths and caterpillars native to the region. Participants will get an up-close view of the various species in all stages of metamorphosis.

In addition to tours of the Butterfly House, the festival features a variety of activities: • Children’s games and hands-on activities • Live music • Artisan’s gallery • Food merchants • Children’s butterfly ballroom • Butterfly buggy tours.

For more information on the Butterfly Festival, call (937) 434-9005 or visit Cox Arboretum MetroPark is a landscape arboretum that offers gardening, nature and horticulture to visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Featuring 189 acres of specialty gardens, woodlands, prairies and other natural areas, Cox Arboretum offers a unique outdoor learning and recreational experience. Educational programming, centered on plants, trees, wildlife and the conservation sciences, is offered for all ages.

Giving Strings concert Aug. 8

St. Vincent DePaul this year’s recipient

The Giving Strings Orchestra’s annual charity concert is coming up soon again, and this year will be the tenth year of this Oakwood tradition. Over the years, Giving Strings has given to many charities. In the past, they have donated money to the Food Bank, Daybreak, the Martha Fram fund at Dayton Children’s Hospital for cystic fibrosis, Project Read, and various other charities.

This year the money raised will be given to the St. Vincent de Paul District Council, which is an organization that helps homeless and impoverished families in many different ways. Specifically, the money will be given to the Transitional Housing program, which is a facet of St. Vincent’s that provides an educational and residential support program for homeless women and families. Those in this program are drug and alcohol-free and committed to becoming self-sufficient and achieving permanent housing on their own. St. Vincent’s coaches the participants towards reaching these goals. It is a fantastic organization that has helped many people out. Also, there’s been a heavy influx in applicants due to the economy.

The concert will be held on Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at Shafor Park, so please come to enjoy an evening of light classical music and help others by making your contribution.

Attention all Giving Strings Musicians: The Giving Strings music is available for pickup at 158 E. Dixon Ave (one block south of Shafor Park). Anyone wishing to be a part of the orchestra should pick up a part, which is available any time. Some pieces of interest on the program include Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto in D, and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The rehearsal is on Friday, Aug.7 at 7 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, 3440 Shroyer Rd., Kettering, and the concert is on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at Shafor Park in Oakwood.



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July 21, 2009
Volume 18, No. 29

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