Monday, October 19, 2009

Come to the sanctuary,
which he has consecrated

On Consecration Sunday, the sanctuary was filled to overflowing with old friends and new families. The folding rear wall was opened so that all could be seated. Pastor Steve welcomed the congregation to the future of Emmanuel.

Deb and Liz reported on the highly successful open house the previous day. Corey Schlosser-Hall, executive presbyter of North Puget Sound Presbytery, gave an energetic welcome and invocation, presenting Emmanuel with a painting from a San Antonio artist that imbued Christian and Presbyterian symbols with color and vitality.

After the call to worship from Sally Hanson, we sang an original Dedication Hymn with words by member Lee S. to the tune of Danny Boy. Later, Florence sang a solo rendition of "Save Us, O Lord," as the congregation joined in on the refrain. Liz led the choir in "How Firm a Foundation." Christina joined Stephen on the piano accompaniment.

Steve M., who was head of both the Stewardship and Finance Committee and the Building Committee for the planning, financing and construction of the project, summarized the steps we had gone through. Then, Warren, construction supervisor, outlined how crucial Steve's leadership had been throughout the long, winding, sometimes frustrating process of design, permitting and financing.

Pastor Steve welcomed back several charter members of Emmanuel who had bought the property and gathered and constructed the three buildings that served the church for most of its history. He also recognized other long-time members. He especially welcomed the Rev. Floyd Cronkite, who as the church's founding pastor served some 30 years, starting in 1963, and his wife, Sherry, who was essential to the church's music ministry, among other things.

Sydney led the younger church in a stewardship lesson and helped them explain the "Welcoming the Future" posters they had drawn for this year's combined capital stewardship campaign. After Pastor Steve's message, "Unless the Lord Build the House," Liz led the Youth Choir in "God Is Building a House," self-accompanied with hand chimes.

Then, the youth brought forward baskets of items emblematic of the many ministries and missions of Emmanuel, which Pastor Steve proceeded to consecrate in dedicating our rebuilt structure to God's work.

As the ushers collected the offering, Dave, Pamm and Haley sang "The Blessing" as the offertory.

The fellowship area was soon filled with a roar of conversation as new, old and potential members made friends over coffee and cookies and wondered at what God hath wrought.

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