Tuesday, October 17, 2006

And they're off!

One of the joys of embarking upon a massive renovation and building project is being able to give away many items that will no longer be needed in the new church once it is finished. The congregation at Mount Vernon Place has given away air conditioners and kitchenettes, toys and dishes, chairs and Bibles in the last several months. And yesterday, one of the most meaningful contributions was loaded onto a truck in route to Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

One of the buildings about to be demolished at Mount Vernon Place has a lovely chapel in it. The Shure Chapel was dedicated in memory of a long-serving, beloved Minister of Music, Dean Shure. It is a beautiful space with stained-glass windows, pretty pews, and deep blue carpet. The space was used weekly by the Chinese Community Church's Cantonese and mandarin speaking services until August of this year. It was the site of many weddings in the 50s and 60s. It is a beloved space -- so much that many of our members wanted to pick it up and transport it directly into the new building once it is finished in 2009.

This summer, however, the congregation of Mount Vernon Place discerned that there were other congregations that could use the belongings in the chapel right now. Many of these churches are along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, the region that was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. And one of these churches will receive a shipment later this week of pews, a piano, an altar, a baptismal font, kneeling pads, and Bibles.

The things were picked up yesterday by a large Mayflower truck driven by a woman named Elizabeth. Our friends from Federal Moving and Storage donated their time to load the items into the truck -- a task that started at 8:00 yesterday morning and ended at 4:30 yesterday afternoon. And, members of Mount Vernon Place have given generous gifts to pay for the trucking costs.

It is our hope and our prayer that the people of St. James United Methodist Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi will be as excited to receive these items as we are about giving them. It is our hope and our prayer that these items will be another sign of God's presence in the aftermath of a storm.

What a joy it is to give!

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