Sunday, October 18, 2009

What He opens no one can shut

Visitors, neighbors, family, friends and church members surged through the brand-new doors of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church Saturday to be welcomed by friends and by loved ones, and then given informal tours of our new and rebuilt facilities.

The steady stream of visitors got a steady stream of cookies, cakes and breads, plus various refreshments. The kitchen pass-through featured a thank-you poster to St. Brendan Catholic Church for its gracious hospitality to us nearly every Sunday morning for the past year.

Bob J. played the piano in the sanctuary for several hours, providing a pleasant soundtrack to the buzz of conversation that filled the narthex, the hallway and the preschool rooms. Liz's display showed off Music Ministries. Another display reminded us of the upcoming "Help a Child to Hear" Mission Concert in memory of Doris Frederick. The concert will help gather contributions to support Dr. Lori Mercer's trip to provide hearing aids for children in Guatemala.

Mission and Outreach attracted attention to its many ministries with a display of coffee, tea and chocolate for sale.

Parents and children admired the four rooms in the new Matthews Education Wing. Signs on the doorways pointed out the multiple uses each room is supporting from preschool classrooms to church groups to community meeting places. Visitors could build a house for bats (more than a dozen) or fashion a set of custom-beaded earrings (dozens).

Sydney, Hank and Paul inflated, tied and strung dozens of colorful helium-filled balloons all day long. At one point, several youth decided that it would be awesome to hook up a string of them across the front lawn. Awesome, indeed. Until a string slipped somehow. Suddenly, one of Emmanuel's leafless trees was bearing yellow, green, red, purple and orange fruit. Sydney says visitors increased soon afterward.

Phyllis helped longtime members and former members find themselves or their children or buddies of yesteryear in several old photo albums.

Afternoon thunderstorms and cloudbursts, which strained the capabilities of the still unfinished front awning, didn't dampen a euphoric feeling that Emmanuel had finally moved in and taken possession of its new home.

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