A Wonderful Celelbration

South Haven Drum Lone

Celebrating and Rededicating.   That was what took place on Sunday, September 20th at First Congregational Church in South Haven.

For more than a year, our church has been undergoing a major renovation project.   The project is completed.   The result is a fully handicap set of buildings that are also significantly more energy efficient.

Our goal in going into this project more than two years ago was to remake our building so that it was open to everyone and anyone who wanted to be here.  To overcome the barriers of buildings built in different stages and at different levels.   We have accomplished that goal with wider doors and some that are automated.  We have a new exterior ramp as well as an interior ramp.    These are helpful, but the biggest addition is a full size elevator.   This was a significant and costly project, but it has been well received and used extensively in the past 8 months.  The elevator has allowed a large number of people to fully participate in weddings, funerals and social gatherings here at the church.

The second goal was to continue to provide a space for other groups to meet while keeping our costs to do so in line.   The new roof, with six inches of foam insulation under and many new doors will help keep our utility costs down.   Being more energy efficient allows us to be better stewards.

On Sunday, we rededicated our buildings to the glory of God and gave thanks for all who made it possible.     In rededicating this space, our Michigan Conference Minister, Campbell Lovett, offered the sermon at worship.   In that sermon he lifted up a couple of points.   I can’t quote him, but what I heard him say included:

1)    While we thought it was hard to endure over one year of construction, Campbell shared a story of visiting a cathedral in Tuscany, Italy where it took 170 years to build the dome!  Ouch.

2)    Wider doors are good – physically, but also symbolically.   Let more people in!

3)    Renovated the building is good – but don’t let the building keep you inside – take the message outside the walls and into the community.

To that third point, we rededicated ourselves as well.   Worship ended with a reaffirmation of our baptismal vows.   We recommitted ourselves as disciples of Christ to follow in Christ’s footsteps.  To share God’s love and the peace of Christ with those whom we meet.  To work for peace and justice in the world and to humbly with our God.

After worship we gathered outside for a ribbon cutting ceremony.   Mayor Bob Burr brought greetings and read a proclamation for the Michigan Legislature.   Linda Olsen did the honors of cutting the ribbon with the official South Haven Chamber of Commerce Scissors.     300 environmentally friendly balloons were released.

The South Haven High School Drum Line performed while a picnic lunch was held.   Joe Foster played guitar while Sherman’s Ice Cream was served.   Tours were given and Jason from Chicago gave a one hour juggling show and taught us how to make balloon animals.

Members of the church put in a lot of effort to make this celebration a joyous occasion.   What a great day – with beautiful weather.    Many thanks to everyone who made it possible.

Will have photos to share in the coming days.

Thank you and blessings to all

Jeffrey Dick