St. John Lutheran Church in Charter Oak will celebrate the completion of their new fellowship hall Sunday, December 9, 2012. Rev. Paul Sieveking, President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod's Iowa District West will preach at the 10:00 am worship service.
The theme verse for the building's dedication will be Ephesians 2:19-22, in which St. Paul calls believers themselves become God's temple, with Christ as its cornerstone.
Ephesians 2:19-22 New International Version (NIV)19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers,but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Immediately following worship there will be a dedication ceremony at which the cornerstone to the new building will be laid and a ribbon will be cut. A chicken and ham dinner will be served at noon, catered by Staley's Food Service. A free will offering will be taken for the meal.
An open-house will then be held in the new fellowship hall from 2:00 PM till 4:00 PM. Contractors and Building Committee members will be available to answer questions. Visitors may also take a look at how volunteer workers remodeled the church basement to accommodate St. John's Sunday School.
In addition to the twelve contractors, member volunteers dedicated many hours to these projects, from excavation, cleaning, dry-walling, moving pianos and historical displays, to painting, installing ceiling tiles, and assembling shelving.
The project began in the summer of 2011 when St. John began considering how to replace the school building, built after WWI, which had fallen into disrepair. The church held an auction of the contents of the old Lutheran school, and held a day of prayer dedicated to "Praise, prayer, and progress," before kicking off a fundraising campaign for the building project.
On Father's Day, 2011, the congregation held a "farewell school picnic" for the building, and had it taken down. A memorial to the school, founded in Charter Oak in 1902 now stands on the corner of First Street and Birch Avenue in Charter Oak, across from St. John's, where the school once stood.
Ground breaking ceremonies were held for the new addition on the first Sunday in April, 2012. St. John members have made pledges and gifts to cover much of the costs of the new fellowship hall. Church leaders hoped to avoid borrowing or borrow as little as possible to pay for the building project. Many costs were kept down thanks to donated and volunteer labor. Recently, members gave money to purchase new tables and chairs for the new fellowship hall.
St. John's pastor, Richard Merrill sees a fellowship hall as a means of offering ministry and outreach to the whole community since it will host various receptions for events like funerals and other church events. Ground level entry and convenient parking should make the addition more accessible for the elderly and handicapped.