Important project well done

Published 8:57 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Not a single current member of Main Street United Methodist Church who remembers the renovation the church has been undergoing the last five months will be alive 100 years from now.

But it’s their goal to preserve the 100-year-old building for just as long as the congregation has already enjoyed it.

“We’re preserving this for future generations,” congregational care coordinator Barbara McPhail said Monday.

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The congregation will return to its sanctuary this Sunday after holding services in the atrium for five months. The sanctuary has undergone a floor-to-ceiling renovation that required pews to be removed and refurbished and scaffolding to be constructed that filled the room.

Nearly every part of the building, which was constructed in 1914-1916, has been repaired, replaced or refurbished. Roof repairs and refinishing the floors, as well as everything in between, have taken place.

It is the third building belonging to the 215-year-old congregation, and they seem determined to make the most of it.

The building is modeled after the Durham Cathedral in England, where Judge and Mrs. James L. McLemore traveled to gather inspiration in 1912 when the congregation needed a new building.

After so long a life, it’s not a surprise the building was in need of work. Church members gave faithfully to contribute to the $1.1-million cost of the project, even though few of them can expect to live to see the end of the building’s useful life.

Canadian farmer Nelson Henderson is credited with the quote, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” That is what current church members are doing — planting a tree for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as new generations of transplants to Suffolk, who will find a worship community at Main Street United Methodist Church.

Of course, the church is the people, not the building. But the building is a tool that can be used by the people to shelter them from the elements as they worship God and to minister to the needy in our community in the name of Jesus Christ.

We congratulate the members of the church on an important and forward-looking project well done.