July 1, 2007

Big Weekend

A few years ago our church burned. I was home with Sean and Luke, Stan was downtown with Seth at boyscouts and I heard sirens, smelled smoke and my sister called to say our church was on fire when she drove by it. Wha?

This church was the very beginnings of our town. Our town was a tabernacle town, a summer place for church-going folks, in the very beginning.

Then they built this brick church, added on to it, here and there. My son really wanted to go down to see the fire, but I didn't want to go. I didn't think it was bad, I couldn't really imagine the truth of it. Then I happened to turn on the television and there it was in a small corner of the screen, burning, flames high. I grabbed one kid, stuck him on my hip, let the other one run beside me, and we took off downtown. The smoke got thicker and thicker the closer we got. I tried to go down one narrow street, but the smoke was so thick that we had to turn back. Finally, we were able to nestle into the crowd just a block away and watch, surrounded by the church family. It was truly surreal. It was hard to leave, when do you turn and walk away after witnessing such horrifying destruction? I went home, blocks and blocks away and even my house smelled of smoke. The fire permeated everything. For at least a year, every time we passed the burnt shell of our church, Sean would announce, "The chawch bawned!"

Turns out it was an electrical fire. No one was in the building at the time, which never ever happens. A boyscout, who was arriving at the church for his weekly meeting smelled smoke and reported it. There were amazing stained glass windows in the old church. Many of them were destroyed in the fire, but when the firemen realized the church was a total loss, they made sure to aim their hoses away from the remaining ones, even the largest one that was behind the alter, and we now have them incorporated into the new church. Unbelievably wonderful and breathtaking. So for the past few years we've been rebuilding.

This weekend we had our first services in the new church. I still can't believe we're there. We've been in a school, a theater, a hardware store and a bank in the past years. An actual deluxe building is simply amazing. My oldest played guitar in the very first service of the church on Saturday night. My youngest ended up sleeping during the very first service in the new church. After it began, the preacher said to greet one another. She walked over to Sean and he said something in her ear and she said something back. He said, "I asked her where my 'Children's Church' is and she told me not to worry, someone would take me there." Children's Church won't be held till next week, but I guess he had to wonder how he fit into all this new stuff... I sang in the choir this morning. Wow, a new organ, new piano, new choir loft...It was quite a weekend.

This evening Seth played in the actual tabernacle for a community service. The new church's sanctuary is designed to be a replica of the old tabernacle. A little bit of old and a lot new.


chocolatechic said...

That is a wonderful thing that the firemen did to save the windows.

The church that I was married in, and my oldest boy was dedicated in burned a few years ago. It is a very sad thing....very sad.

God is so faithful!

Jennie said...

That was the church we were married in too. Neat story - the choir director's daughter will be the first wedding in this church this Sat and her great grandmother was the first wedding in the old church. :)

Pearl said...

Glad the firefighters saved some of the windows. It'll be such a luxury to have a constant place of worship again.

Lea said...

Its beautiful Jen, and sometimes God shakes us up with the leadership thing.... It sometimes keeps us from being dependent on the leadership and put our focus on our true leader and to worship with true worship....
....The church building is really awesome though!

rosemary said...

What a lovely church...the windows are stunning. God blessed.

Paul said...

Well, praise the Lord!