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Completion of new narthex celebrated

The Rushsylvania United Methodist Church, 152 Rush St., will celebrate the completion of its new narthex during a dedication service at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23.

Rushsylvania-UMC

The congregation of the Rushsylvania United Methodist Church will host a dedication service at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, for its new narthex project. (PHOTO | SUBMITTED)

A potluck dinner also is planned for noon to 1 p.m. that day.

The new narthex includes a 400 square-foot gathering space and also a handicapped accessible bathroom. New stairs have been installed, along with an elevator-style lift that provides access to all three levels of the church.

Members of the church raised about $200,000 toward the $260,000 project, with the remaining amount being borrowed for the initiative, Pastor Gene Phelps said.

“We want to say thank you to everyone who has given in any way to make this vision of what could be come true. But mostly, we thank God for calling us to live as a community and live out our faith in our community. It is truly an honor to be a part of Rushsylvania.”

Crews from Thomas & Marker Construction Company began work on the addition in the spring, and the congregation temporarily met at the Rushsylvania Lions Club. Upon completion of the narthex, the congregation was able to move back to its regular facility in mid-August.

Pastor Phelps noted that a slender stained glass window has been installed at the narthex entrance. It was taken from a sanctuary wall that had to be changed to make way for the renovation.

“This symbolizes for us the joining of the past, those who have dreamed and help us realize these changes, and the future, those who are still to come, love and worship in this new updated church. The past, the present and the future will bear witness to what Christ is doing right here in Rushsylvania. These changes offer a new way of gathering to share our stories, our faith, our laughter and love of God.”

He also hopes that the new addition can open opportunities for missions and outreach in the local community and beyond.

“Our hope is that our new face is viewed as an opening through which we can reach beyond our walls and into the neighborhood into which we have been called. At the same time, it is a door of welcome and opportunity for those who seek to further know the love of God.”

“Our desire is to create a space where we can come together and express meaningful worship.”

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