We had a beautiful Wednesday here in Kentucky. Monday it was chilly and breezy, a sort of March day, but they say by Friday we’ll think it’s June and everybody will be putting their convertible tops down and wearing shorts and flip flops. That’s okay with me. A little variety is good, especially if it means changing the weather to be more like June.
We want the good weather to hang around for the weekend because we have a big day planned at church Sunday. We’re having a note-burning. A couple of years ago our little church stepped out in faith and decided to build a fellowship hall next door to our church building that was built in 1875. Sunday school rooms were added on in the 1940s. We put in bathrooms in the 1990s. Before that we had a path. Some of you old timers know what that means. And there for a while after we added the bathrooms I wasn’t too sure the church was going to make it and that we might have to tell the last one out to flush the john and turn out the lights.
When we got down to fewer than twenty faithful souls, we had a good, caring preacher, Jim Moon, who grew up a missionary’s kid in Brazil. Br. Jim said he could help us whichever way we decided to go – keep the doors open or close the doors for good after almost two hundred years. The church was established in 1812. I suppose the Lord wasn’t ready to let us close the doors because He blessed us with a few new families and the spirit of the church grew. Br. Jim, who had been attending seminary in Louisville while he pastored our church, graduated and decided to go back to Brazil.
Once again the Lord had a plan for us, and we called Br. Fred back as pastor. Br. Fred had been there the seven years prior to Br. Jim but had to resign for a number of family reasons. But once we got him back, we haven’t turned him loose and he’s still preaching for us, heading into his twenty-second year bringing us good old-fashioned Bible sermons. Br. Fred has a running joke about how forgetful he is – and he is – except about Bible things. He knows his Bible and because he does and because the Lord has blessed him with preaching talent and teaching talent, all of us at Goshen know a lot about the Bible now too.
So to get back to our big day Sunday, we decided to build a fellowship hall that would be easily accessible to all our members, old and young. The steps down into our cramped little basement were steep and hard for many to navigate. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. We’re not a rich church with a lot of endowment funds or money in the bank. We don’t have that many active members. We think we have a crowd when fifty people show up. The church at the end of my road just completed a new sanctuary that will seat eight hundred and they will probably fill those seats. But you know, the Lord loves little churches and He loves middle-sized churches and big churches and mega-churches. Where two or more are gathered in my name – wasn’t that what He said?
So we decided that if the Lord wanted us to build, He would help us find a way. And He did. Not only did He help us find a way, He helped us accomplish a near miracle by paying off our loan in under two years. We owe a great deal of gratitude to many who have roots in our church but have gone on to serve in other churches, but they prayed for us and sent money. Then in September before our building was finished, we lost one of our most loved members to a heart attack. Mike believed in our building program so much that he had written a new will leaving part of his estate to the church. His loving gift is making our celebration this Sunday possible. How often sadness and joy mix in life! But he’s up at the big celebration dinner in heaven now where “Paid in Full” can be stamped on all our debts.
We named the building after Br. Fred – the Fred Knickerbocker Fellowship Hall. Br. Fred was an electronics teacher for many years and his students all called him Mr. K. We’ve adopted that and call our new building K Hall. And this Sunday we’ll be thanking the Lord and glad we stepped out in faith two years ago when we had no idea how we could accomplish such a feat, but now we know. Only with God. Think about us Sunday as we burn our note with a paid by date of 2034. We’ll be doing some happy dancing. Well, maybe not real dancing. After all we’re Baptists. Not Shakers. The Shakers are the ones I’m writing about. I’ll have to try to keep that straight. ;o)
Talk to you again on Sunday.