Cleanliness and godliness

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Doing the Lord’s work took on a new meaning as a massive antique chandelier at Park Slope’s Old First Reformed Church was given a good scrubbing for the first time in 12 years.

On Monday, more than 60 college-aged volunteers came from the Gibbsville Reformed Church in Wisconsin began the dirty job.

“It’s good to be doing what God wants us to do,” said Teirdra Miller, a freshman at Northern Wisconsin Technical College.

The volunteers scrubbed away 12 years of oxidization from the 30-foot, 116-year-old brass chandelier.

“They had the smallest girls of the group at the top of the scaffolding cleaning because nobody else could fit,” said Rev. Daniel Meeter, the Old First pastor.

The fixture’s four rings of lights were replaced with long-lasting, energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs — or “Bloomberg bulbs,” as the green-minded Meeter calls them.

“They may look tacky, but we’ll get used to them eventually — it’s both an ethical decision as well as aesthetic.”

The group — which called itself “the Transformers” — broke up into two groups: skilled workers and “hands,” according to Luke Schouten, the group’s organizer. “They help accomplish those tasks.”

The Transformers did some repairs in the church, too — climbing into the bell tower to seal off an area overrun with pigeons, and building a stairway to a balcony to be used as a pastor study or Sunday school.

Three years ago, the same group completed a similar project, replacing the roof of a Bedford-Stuyvesant church. Both times, the group paid its own travel expenses.

Now that the work is done, Meeter has a gleaming chandelier — and a symbol of faith.

“The chandelier brings life to the light — and light helps the expression of God,” he said.

Updated 4:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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