Sunday, July 13, 2008

Coming Back Around

My church has just purchased a new facility (new to us that is). Actually, we've purchased more than that. We've purchased a piece of history. Parts of the building are 97 years old. A church has been meeting there all of those years. Those are prayer soaked, worship filled walls.

Today, we had a first/last service with the members of the congregation we are purchasing it from. They called it a "baton" handing service. It was a bit of an emotional service as they said goodbye to a place filled with memories, hopes, and dreams and we said hello to a new area of ministry. They prayed many years ago for the parking lot to overflow. Today it did. We were forewarned that we would be parking on the street and walking. (It was a lovely day for a short walk.) I know that it looked differently than they anticipated, so that makes it bittersweet.

It will be different for us -- going from a mutlipurpose warehouse with 2 bathrooms (yes, lots of standing in line) to a bigger building with 27 bathrooms, a balcony, lots of beautiful old wood, a wing of classrooms for the kids, . . . The biggest change will probably be being in a neighborhood instead of off the highway going out of town. There are lots of ministry opportunities there.

It was a bit of coming around for me. My parents were not overly religious but we belonged to a United Methodist Church. I was baptized as an infant. While I don't know that my parents were faithful to the promises made that day, I do know that God was. We went on Christmas and Easter and a few other times. The Sunday they were giving third graders Bibles, we "happened" to go. I remember it distinctly as it was the first time I had held a Bible. And since I loved reading, it seemed like a challenge -- a book that had to be read.

Several years later, we were told we needed to go to confirmation class. My parents took my twin and I and dropped us off. Over a couple of weeks, we found we enjoyed the nursery and soon we were going to youth group as well. One night after a Sunday school lesson earlier that day had talked about giving your life to Christ, I prayed and did just that.

While I've gong to various denominations since, I guess my roots are United Methodist. While we are not a United Methodist congregation, it is interesting to find myself back in a building with those roots as well.

We officially have the keys, but won't have a grand reopening until September. There is lots of work to be done until then.

I'm thankful for all the faithful people who have been in that building before us. As that old Steve Green song says, "May all who come behind us find us faithful."

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ThreeGirlyGirls said...

Oh How exciting! But I'm sure that was a sad day for the old members. Are they moving to a new church building?

I too love that song!!

Amy L Brooke said...

It is exciting for us.
Unfortunately, the building was for sale becuase it is an aging congregation. That is always sad.