By: Marc Ridenour (Vol 11)
Do you know what is awesome? I know it may seem hard to come up with something right about now. The world is changing daily and there is so much uncertainty while we are bombarded by the anticipation of calamity.
Where do we turn? To the Lord, our God, of course! God says he will protect His people. We know from our own experiences and from church history that this is true. We have to walk in confidence now, more than ever. While we wait for God to take control of this pandemic, we will share with the rest of the world what we have known all along, that there is a loving God that is with us, and for us, ALWAYS.
Most of our church family is at home now, trying to avoid contact with the virus. There are a few of us FUMC employees who are unable to do our work from home, so we have been sheltering during the day in the quiet and empty buildings of the church. We ARE getting a lot done, behind the scenes, to keep the church operating and improved for the day when we re-open. Bathrooms are being deep cleaned, stalls painted, and caulked. We are trying to get a few more invasive projects done while there is less traffic in and around the downtown building. In spite of our limited funding at this time, we are still making some great progress and can’t wait for the day when you all return to see what we’ve done.
If you have driven by our Historic downtown building, you may have noticed that the sidewalks are closed and fenced off with two large lifts sitting on the street. There is also scaffolding set up on the bell tower platform. No, we are not putting up the bell yet (that has been postponed until travel restrictions are lifted) but rather, we have started the masonry restoration work on the two towers and the upper section of the west side. This project includes the removal of failed surface mortar, grinding the joints between the stones down to the original mortar, and repointing each stone with the historically accurate mix and color of sand mortar to match the original. Some of the more deteriorated stones will be replaced as well. This is a tedious, yet necessary process, which will preserve the quality and longevity of the limestone for generations to come. This project will also help stop the deterioration of the stone edges that have been literally falling off the building the last five years or so.
We have started at the top of the Bell tower, inside and out, so that once the Bell is reinstalled, all of the work around its nesting place will be done. Once again, it will freely and joyfully ring every Sunday and other moments of celebration for our City. The masonry restoration work will need to be done for the remainder of the older stone building. It would be nice to carry this momentum forward now, but with the uncertainty of this public health crisis, the donations for our restoration work may be less than what we had originally planned. At some point in the future the entire exterior will be restored and preserved for another 50-100 years of service to our community and our families.
As soon as this phase of the masonry work is complete, I will paint the ceiling of the bell platform, complete the wood work repairs, have the bell reinstalled, iron railings restored (in progress) and reinstalled. We can reassess our progress then and determine if we move forward with more masonry repairs or rest for a bit.
Remember that our God multiplies our gifts and talents when used for his purpose and his house. I love sheltering at our church and knowing that with your support, my work here will make our experience and our place of worship a sanctuary for generations to come. God has a blueprint for each of our lives and I believe we will all soon realize what that loving plan is, despite any evidence we see to the contrary. Be safe.
Blessings to all,