It was a gorgeous Saturday evening as you would expect for early July. Music was in the air. There was plenty of good food. Auction items to be sold and treasured. Just plain good old Christian fellowship enjoyed by those in attendance. All of this for a great cause – new windows and a heating system for our facilities. Then, the news came to us on the grass parking lot. “There is a fire in the Church”!
The town alarm sounded, and soon fire trucks were parked in the middle of South Holliday Street. The blaze was soon extinguished, and praise the Lord no one was injured! Church folks were prepared to move forward. What to do next? How much damage has the Church sustained?
With supplies from Borden Lumber, several teams of Church men organized themselves for the chore of boarding up the broken windows early on Sunday morning, July 3. As that task continued, Church folks prepared for worship out on the grass lawn. Yes, the worship service may have been thrown together, but as God’s people we just had to meet for worship. We are truly thankful for God’s great mercies. And the Church bell rang aloud!
These are some of my impressions regarding the fire nearly a year ago. It is emotional just thinking about it. However, since the fire, we have been blessed as a congregation. We are most thankful for our Strasburg community, and all the area Churches and individuals who have given us their physical support in addition to their prayers, and in some cases financial love gifts. This outpouring of love and support has been a wonderful sign of God’s love to us in Jesus Christ.
You are receiving this letter as a member, friend, or someone we want to acknowledge as being a part of our Church “family.” We want to thank you, too, for your commitment to Strasburg Presbyterian Church. Your prayers, attendance, participation in church events, financial support, calls and cards are all signs of your commitment to us, and a banner of God’s love over our lives. Through the events of the past year, God has demonstrated His love to us in Jesus Christ with grace, mercy, faith, hope, and love. We have now returned to the sanctuary for regular worship. Important events like weddings, baptisms, funerals, and special occasions like the high school Baccalaureate are celebrated. Vacation Bible School was completed just a couple of weeks ago! So, thank you, and we want to recognize that you have been most patient and understanding over the last year, and we trust you will be blessed both in these days and in the future as we forge ahead. Over the next six months, you will see more changes as we begin renovation and expansion of the severely damaged Christian Education building.
We want to assure you that your pastoral care needs will be met. I wonder if you know that old Gospel tune: “There will be showers of blessings”? Well, we have experienced both the mercy drops and the “showers” of God’s great love. It is our prayer that you and those you love would experience God’s best. Do not hesitate to call or contact us if we can be of assistance or encouragement to you in whatever your need, burden, or concern may be. Never forget: “God cares for you.” You are in our thoughts and prayers!
During this difficult time we can take comfort in knowing that those responsible for the safety and security of our beloved place of worship, had the wisdom and vision to purchase an insurance policy that appears to be more than adequate to meet the demands we will face in the months ahead.
As one of the lead contact people, I have had the opportunity to meet with several church members along with those who will be instrumental in the restoration process. I am confident that the Lord has surrounded us with skilled individuals who are more than qualified to complete the task at hand.
Yesterday I met with our long-standing organ contract people from Lewis & Hitchcock Inc., and witnessed the removal of the console, pipe work, and switching system that has experienced extensive smoke damage. This is only one phase of the organ restoration and a second day will be required just to complete. They seem to be taking great care as they go about their work. This is a project in itself!
I also visited our new temporary office at 720 E. Queen Street and want to assure everyone that business goes on as usual. A new copier we delivered and a new computer has just been purchased. Thanks to Sherry and Harry for taking the lead here.
A new electrical line is being run to provide service to our parking lot area, and Kelly Brown along with his electrical contractor were coming yesterday to fill the trench initially dug to run the necessary line.
I know everyone in our church family are left with a lot of questions and concerns, and are probably anxious to see progress being made. The truth is, work is being done while I make these notes, and I am amazed at the progress I have witnessed this early in the process. Reverend Howard and I believe that we should approach the task at hand with patience and prayers, and I personally welcome all prayers that will help guide me in my walk with you.
Yours in Christ,
Special Blessings to all those who have helped/ supported our congregation during this time: * Hope Brim for working on a banner to be displayed at our church, announcing "general" info. as to temporary meeting place and "times" *Harry Propst for preparing a schedule for choir, praise band, session meetings with the Smiths at the Community Center *Borden's Lumberyard for kindly opening up the night of the fire and supplying us with plywood *Mike and Heather Ashley for use of the tent on church lot *Stover Funeral Home for providing folding chairs. *All the financial and spiritual support from those in the community *Notes and words of encouragement from churches throughout our Presbyterian Community and beyond
July 2, 2011: "At around 7:30 this evening, Strasburg Presbyterian Church Christian Education Building was destroyed by fire. Although the outside structure is sound, the inside was gutted. Tomorrow morning's services will be held as usual in the grass parking lot. As Christ built His church on a strong foundation, our church will stand strong spiritually and the physical structure will once again be rebuilt. We ask all for the continued prayer for our congregation during this emotional event."
Strasburg Presbyterian Church * 325 South Holliday Street* Strasburg, VA * 22657 * Phone: (540) 465-3920