Faith Stories: For Which We are Thankful
As Lane suggested in her sermon, we would like to share some of our history and the things for which we are thankful.
When we first joined St. John’s more than 45 years ago, the sanctuary building was already here because of the faith and generosity of its early members. You may not know that there used to be walls between the posts on each side. This formed Sunday School classrooms and offices for the minister and secretary and there was a small kitchen back there. We felt the need for a preschool for the community so the St. John’s Children’s Center was formed in 1966. We worshiped in the small sanctuary on folding chairs. We would rearrange them and add tables for covered dish dinners and other events.
A pipe organ was given for the sanctuary, and much later pews replaced the folding chairs. We continued to grow and more space was needed. We purchased a white wooden building from University Presbyterian for one dollar and had it moved to our campus behind our sanctuary. This added space enabled us to sponsor Boy and Girl Scout troops, have more Sunday School rooms, and of course a nicer place, with a kitchen, for covered-dish dinners and Boy Scout Courts of Honor.
Because of the faith and generosity of St. John’s members, we were able to build the gym behind the white building in 1980. This opened up more opportunities for mission. The preschool expanded, we had basketball games, exercise classes, boy and girl scout troops, and more classroom especially for our growing number of adult Sunday School classes, and a much larger area for covered dish dinners.
The white building was removed and the Education Building was built in 1987. Its new office space allowed the minister and secretary to move out of the small offices in the back of the sanctuary. We had more space for our growing Sunday School classes, Bible Studies and community events. The beautiful parlor was designed so we could hold small meetings and receptions with food, of course. The gym with its classrooms was still important to our mission efforts.
Eventually the preschool was closed, and God sent us a new mission. He called Theresa Sandifer to “feed my sheep.” That led to St. John’s opening The Shepherd’s Market food pantry in 2012. We even provide meals for the pantry clients as they await their turn — just another way we feed people.
Because St. John’s family was willing to “walk by faith and not by sight,” the gym was transformed into a Family Life Center. As soon as it was completed, God called us to open it after the 2016 flood to survivors and then disaster relief workers. The Shepherd’s Market, scouts, AA, and many other groups continue to use the FLC. If you visited the Mission Fair this past Sunday, you could see how many mission projects we are involved in. And of course, the Family Life Center gives us a nicer place for shared meals, like the breakfast yesterday to celebrate the completion of The Walk campaign.
We worshiped in the Family Life Center during the construction of the narthex, bell tower and covered walkway. The renovation of the sanctuary makes this an even more beautiful place in which to worship.
We believe St. John’s is fulfilling our vision; we are known for feeding people both spiritually and physically because we are willing to walk by faith and not by sight.
Joyce & Bill Perry