Jackie reminds me that I have served the Woodburn church for seven years come this September. She knows this because we came when Hannah started first grade and this fall Hannah will begin her 8th grade year. Put another way, we have seen Hannah play in church the ¼ size cello, the ½ cello, the ¾ cello and now the full cello. That to me is hard to believe.
We have done amazing things in these seven years. More than I have accomplished in any of my other six churches. There are two reasons we were able to accomplish so much.
The first reason I was able to do so much is because the church ‘allowed’ me to do it. I mean, what congregation would say to a pastor in his first year, “Yes, you can paint our sanctuary, sand and refinish the floors in the chancel area, by yourself!” And, while you are at it, why don’t we buy a grand piano, reconfigure the choir loft and move the organ and piano to the same side and put in a new carpet and remodel the bathrooms. What other congregation would replace the front doors with handicap access doors, upgrade the lighting to LEDs to become more green and replace the furnaces with an energy efficient heating and cooling system in this span of time. We didn’t stop there. We also painted the outside of the church.
What congregation would give the go ahead to take an acre of land, lay irrigation pipe and ask people in the community to plant a garden and give the food to the food bank? What congregation would let three women, Kim, Julie, and Marcy cut down trees and layout a labyrinth and path through the woods. What congregation takes the risk and asks the brother of the organist to paint a mural with no assurance it would be placed on an outside wall until the city approved the mural. Not too many congregations are so bold in their faith.
The second reason we were able to do all these things was because money was available. We never did a capital funds drive because the funds had already been given to the church by generous people in the past. The Burlinghams were very generous and we were able to have new doors and new furnaces and lighting made available because of their contributions. We also applied for and received funds from the Presbytery through an opening doors grant and a Barnabus fund. It is nice to be part of a connectional church and the Presbytery came through with grants for these projects. But it was the donations over the years and invested in the Presbyterian Foundation and the Synod that allowed us to do so much. One other source of income is rent from people using your facilities. It takes a special congregation to “let” other people use their space.
We have done many things to upgrade the physical plant, but It is this gracious hospitality you have shown to me, my family, the tenants and the 29 others who have joined the church and the many friends who come because they enjoy our fellowship, that makes this church unique and the memory I will take with me.
Newsletter PDF: June 2014 web