Cleaning Up the Church After the Earthquake

Sally Archambault Community Corner

Napa Methodist Church Pews After Earthquake

Napa Methodist Church pews following the earthquake.

The Church Board of Trustees scheduled three clean-up days in the last six weeks, and I was able to attend two of them. Not being particularly handy with screwdrivers and saws, I found myself on the pew-cleaning crew. This job involved diluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, disposable latex gloves, and lots of rags. While the people with tool belts fastened the pews back to the floor in the sanctuary, we dusted plaster dust off the pews and then wiped them down with the Oil Soap. The first time I did this, each cleaner chose a section of the pews and worked his or her way from front to back, wiping off the pews, removing tape residue, and noting anything like a splinter or nail head that needed attention from the carpenters. Sometimes when I paused to get a clean bucket of cleaning solution, I would lose track of what I had already cleaned. I suspect some of those pews got cleaned more than once!

Napa Methodist Church Pews After Earthquake

Napa Methodist Church pews covered in plaster following the earthquake. Photo Credit: Amy Herzog

The second time I showed up for cleaning (we have a lot of pews), I teamed up with another cleaner and we cleaned each pew together, one taking the front and the other taking the back. That was quite a bit more companionable, as we chatted around the noise of the cordless screwdrivers and vacuum cleaners being used by other workers.

Both times lunch was provided. While we ate lunch, there was a large sense of satisfaction about restoring the sanctuary and Fellowship Hall for use. As one person also remarked, the wood in the sanctuary pews is beautiful, and we appreciate those pews in a whole new way after having helped clean them. 

Clean up continues. On October 31, a large group of choir singers is tackling the choir rooms upstairs over the office. I suspect the Trustees have some other cleaning projects in mind, too. I’m looking forward to getting that space in order. It is rewarding after our long absence to be able to make a difference.

-Submitted by Pat Hitchcock

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