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of the Transfiguration, Dallas, Texas, USA
Worshipper: Preacher's Kid.
of the Transfiguration, Dallas, Texas, USA.
Episcopal Church, Diocese
The information provided by the church is that the style of
building is "modern Gothic." It was completed in 1970, with
additions dating from 1997. Both the exterior and the interior
are a mix of brick and stone. The bell tower was erected to
house cellular telephone communications equipment in a marvelous
example of church and industry working together for the good
of the community. There is space for 27 bells in the tower,
but the present peal consists of nine bells forged by the
John Taylor Bellfounders of Loughborough, England. Topping
the tower is a weathervane executed by William and Charlotte
Hallett, artists of the triptych, altar, font and processional
cross in the church. When you enter the church you step across
a labyrinth patterned after that at Chartres Cathedral in
The congregation began in 1956 with 11 families as a second-generation
mission in north Dallas. A flood in 1964 caused the congregation
to move to its present location at Hillcrest and Spring Valley
Roads. The church serves an affluent neighborhood in North
Dallas. They are engaged in several ministries all well described
on their website. Special mention goes to one: Dallas CASA
(Court Appointed Special Advocates), a non-profit organization
that trains volunteers to represent children who have been
taken into protective custody because of abuse or neglect
(known as guardians ad litem in some jurisdictions).
This is an area of quiet streets with luxuriant foliage
for Texas and home to several large houses of worship:
Greek, Jewish and independent.
The Revd Joy A. Daley, vicar, was the celebrant. She was assisted
by the Revd Jerry D. Godwin, rector, and the Revd Michael
W. Merriman, priest of the parish. The lay chalice bearers
were Francine Hamza-Gillam, Jerry Johnson, and Larry Wilson.
Robert Bugbee, verger, served as the master of ceremonies.
Pam Johnson was the lector; Christian Wyze the thurifer. Joel
Martinson, director of music, presided at the organ. The choir
was under the baton of Kimberley Ahrens, director of children's
The date & time:
The Transfiguration of Our Lord, August 7, 2011, 11.15am.
What was the name of
Holy Eucharist and Baptism.
How full was the building?
About 90 per cent full.
Did anyone welcome you
Yes. I arrived early and the crowd from the prior service
was gathering for coffee. I had the opportunity to hear the
choir rehearse and to get a close look at the organ. The peace
was warmly passed, but it comes at a different place in holy
Was your pew comfortable?
Very comfortable with Marian blue cushions and needlepoint.
How would you describe
the pre-service atmosphere?
Because the was a baptism, there was more hubbub than I would
actually expect on a normal Sunday. Once the family was settled,
things calmed down and the church took on a quiet prayerful
What were the exact
opening words of the service?
"Welcome. This is our title Sunday, the Transfiguration
of Our Lord."
What books did the congregation
use during the service?
The Book of Common Prayer 1979 and the Hymnal
What musical instruments
The organ, a magnificent tracker instrument housed in a beautiful
baroque style case, opus 17 of Richards, Fowkes & Co.
anything distract you?
Baptisms by their very nature are distracting, but at least
there were no cell phones or other intrusive interjections.
The extra children who were along created some commotion from
time to time.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
This one is hard to classify: It was almost Texas high church,
but nowhere near hemorrhage. The procession was led by the
thurifer. At the gospel, the Bible was censed but curiously
not brought down to the people. The altar got a generous censing,
as did the congregants. Everyone stood for the prayers. The
choral service was the Richard Proulx A Community Mass
and the psalm was sung. The children's chapel participants
came in for the baptism, sitting on the floor of the main
aisle with a good view of the font. There was also a short
talk by a teenager who had just returned from a church-sponsored
trip to Scotland.
Exactly how long was
On a scale of 1-10,
how good was the preacher?
7 I've heard better sermons; I've heard worse.
In a nutshell, what
was the sermon about?
Youth Minister Jeb Honeyman told of reading Dr Seuss's "Green Eggs and
Ham" to his four-year-old and how the child totally missed
the point of the story. He then compared "Sam I Am",
the main character of that story, to the apostles who viewed
the Transfiguration and missed the point. Some things require
more than a superficial listening, he said. The Transfiguration
is the embodiment of Christ's mission, and not just an event
worthy of memorialization.
Which part of the service
was like being in heaven?
The organ, the choir, the singing, in that order. Also, the
sound system was unintrusive but effective in short,
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
The celebrant departed from the order printed in the service
leaflet (or was the leaflet in error?). At any rate, confusion
over page numbers resulted, with the necessary "Our service
continues on page ___" breaking the train of worship.
What happened when you
hung around after the service looking lost?
I was asked to sign the guest book and was then introduced
to the clergy.
How would you describe
the after-service coffee?
Someone made an early morning raid on Krispy Kreme. I think
there may have been two dozen of each of the varieties of
donuts they bake. And the coffee was good, hot, and strong!
How would you feel about
making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 =
8 A fine service nicely done, plus sincerely offered
Did the service make
you feel glad to be a Christian?
What one thing will
you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The music, and the organ in particular!
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