We gathered in our village church as usual this morning, and then this afternoon Center Baptist Church gathered again at 2 o’clock to dedicate our new fellowship hall. The sparkling white walls and the white flowers arrangements with glowing white candles on the white-covered tables pleased our eyes as we entered. But we were soon happily distracted as former members and pastors entered to join us in this happy occasion. The room was abuzz with greetings and hugs.
Pastor Chris Cutsinger called us to order and soon we were singing “We Have Gathered in this Place to Worship Him.” Sounds of the many voices filled the high-ceiling room with harmony as people rejoiced and thanked God that our long held dream had come to fruition. Our hearts were filled with thanksgiving for this new facility with a large shiny kitchen and accessible rest rooms.
Despite all the good memories and good food served in our basement down through the years, those steps going down were steep and not accessible to many people. We have seen people carried down, and we have set up a special upstairs classroom for eating when needed, but those were poor solutions. Although most of us were not bothered, there were some for whom the basement created allergy problems. Now wide doors, ample space, and first-floor convenience will help everyone not only feel welcome but also comfortable. Alan and Katie Ozment were down from Granite City for our services today, and Alan laughed that he won’t have to duck because of low ceilings any more.
Our previous two pastors and wives, Gordon and Shirley Lantrip and Sam and Pam White were there to enjoy this time with us, and we appreciated all they did to help us reach today’s happiness. After inviting the Lord into our presence with song and prayer, Charles Boling brought a sermon encouraging us to use this room well.
We did just that. Following the worship service, we visited with one another as we passed around tables laden with finger foods and fruit. We gathered at the punch bowl and enjoyed the special cakes brought in for the occasion. We shared joy over the good things in our lives, and we encouraged each other when we listened to problems. We table hopped visiting with old friends who had come to share this time of celebration with us. We renewed our fellowship with them as we remembered times past and caught up with what was going on in their present. We left knowing it had been good to have been in the house of the Lord.
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