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G2G Phase 2 unveiled!: Project will address deferred maintenance and renovation needs

By Susan Shinn Turner

On Oct. 17, plans for phase 2 of the Generation to Generation project were unveiled to a packed fellowship hall audience during the annual State of the Church event. The $3.8 million campaign seeks to raise funds for renovation of the nearly 100 year old sanctuary building, as well as additional renovations to the St. John’s Child Development Center.

Over the next several months, we’ll share some stories and memories of the sanctuary building. A few are listed here.

The late Addie Ketner remembers walking into the church for the very first time, in 1927. She was overwhelmed at the building’s beauty and size.

It’s significant that Mrs. Ketner made the first gift to Phase 2 back in 2015, providing a gift that replaced the sanctuary’s front steps. She was proud to attend their dedication on Easter Sunday that year. She died four months later at age 104.

Her son, Glenn, notes that the front steps were facing some structural issues and “needed to be addressed immediately if the front doors of our church were going to stay open.”

And that was important to his mom, he says. “Our family’s connection has been primarily with the main church building. My mom even attended the first worship in the sanctuary,” which was built in 1927. “We have a deep connection to that building, and mom was glad to help address the need.”

Pat Epting taught kindergarten in the back room of the fellowship hall, which was called the “nursery” in those days. She was with Mrs. Wyatt for several years before moving to the current kindergarten space in 1967.

“To tell you the truth, it was hard to have kindergarten down there,” Pat says. “Because of the limited space, Mrs. Wyatt had to be so strict. Not fun like I was!”

“After we moved into the new building, it was a different kindergarten,” she says. “It was wonderful, and I know God had his hand in my choosing that profession.”

Bill Safrit is a lifelong member of St. John’s. He recalls Sunday School in the fellowship hall, the large nursery in the back of the Sanctuary building with the painting of Jesus and the children (it’s still there), and Cub Scout meetings. The building at one time also housed the pastor’s study and church office.

“It was used extensively,” he says.

But the fellowship hall has never been remodeled, Bill notes, although when air conditioning was installed, the ceiling was lowered 2 feet.

In her history of St. John’s, Martha Agner writes that the kitchen was fully remodeled upon the 200th anniversary of the church in 1947. The entire kitchen and wash room was located in the current wash room, and yet a NC Synod publication reported that it was “one of the most modern and complete kitchens in North Carolina.”

“These days, the kitchen is antiquated and small,” Bill adds. “After 70 years, we need space that is more accommodating and efficient. It’s just something we’ve been needing for years.”

Carol Hair grew up in Salisbury and came to St. John’s for Girl Scout meetings. She remembers going with her mom to take food to the fellowship hall for the Men’s Brotherhood state meeting in 1947.

“I remember seeing all those tables end to end.” (see picture on page 1). “It was amazing, and something we’d never be allowed to do today! Wall-to-wall people.”

She says of the current campaign to update the fellowship hall,  “I think we need to make our space more accessible and more presentable. We’re still working with what was done in the 1920s.”

Of note, phase 2 calls for the addition of handicap accessible restrooms on the fellowship hall and sanctuary levels, something that doesn’t currently exist in the building.

Rosalie Adams. As a child in the 1930s, Rosalie remembers being in a Sunday School class with her mother. The children would stand or sit around the large sand table and have their lesson. Things have changed dramatically through the years, she adds.

“When you don’t grow, you’re stagnant,” she says. “The world is changing and we’re changing. We have to keep up with the times so that we can prepare for the future. It’s part of the normal life of a church.”

Phase 2 of the G2G plan seeks to prepare space for future generations of ministry. Of particular importance is to take care of deferred maintenance needs, like the replacement of all the sanctuary’s HVAC units. The 10 units range in age between 25-45 years. Their expected lifespan is 15-20 years.

Next steps:

  1. At the annual meeting on Nov. 10, the congregation will vote whether to pursue a capital campaign for G2G phase 2.
  2. If approved, the campaign would begin in January 2020.
  3. Projects would begin only with cash or pledge in-hand so that they congregation will not incur any long-term debt.

Look out for much more information in the weeks to come!