We started as a Sunday school mission of a neighboring church and quickly grew into a worshiping community. Within a few years we were incorporated as a congregation, built a parsonage and called our first full-time pastor, trusting we could raise enough money to pay his salary.
When we out grew our small, traditional, wood framed building on Jefferson Street, we built “the fish church”, a magnificent, award winning, stunningly contemporary sanctuary on Route 25a. A few years later, seeking to meet the needs of our growing Sunday school and other programs, a parish hall was built. The extra space provided a home for our newly established Nursery School, for a food pantry, a hot meal program and for countless meetings, bible studies, fellowship opportunities and community events. When even more space was needed, a beautiful office, meeting and fellowship facility was constructed, our sanctuary was remodeled to provide more seating and the parking lot was expanded.
Through it all, our members have continually told others about our faith community, telling so many, in fact, that we have once again been summoned by God to do something new -- to restore, rebuild and renew!
Restoring, Rebuilding, Renewing, the theme of our Capital Appeal, invites us to once again respond to God’s ever expanding vision for our congregation. It’s an exciting and challenging vision, a vision which will not only enhance our current ministry, but better prepare us for ministry in the future.
When my colleague Pastor Bruce Kaifler and I envision the project, and it truly is a project of restoring, rebuilding and renewing, we do not primarily think of a larger, nicer, building, but rather of the ministry that will take place inside of it. We see children learning the Christian faith. We see adults meeting to plan events. We see people in prayer groups, support groups, and bible studies. We see an expanded food pantry and hot meal program. We see teenagers gathered in a safe and healthy environment. We see civic organizations coming together to make our community a better place. We see more and more people becoming connected to one another and to Christ.
The expansion and renovation of our parish hall represents for us a movement of faith that has been characteristic of our congregation from the very beginning. For years we have been inviting people to be a part of our wonderful church. Now God invites us to embark on the next phase of the journey.
As with every worthy endeavor, we trust that God will guide and bless our work. We are encouraged and strengthened by a promise of scripture first spoken to a community considering a restoring, rebuilding, renewing project much greater than ours -- the reconstruction of Jerusalem! “Do not fear,” wrote the prophet Zephaniah, “The Lord, your God, is in your midst . . . he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love.” (Zep. 3:17)