On July 29, 2018 we celebrated the “Groundbreaking” or “Start of Construction” for our Sanctuary Up-do! We left worship singing “10000 Reasons(!)” (Matt Redman), climbed the hill and donned bright yellow hard hats. Children hammered one piece of wallboard while covenant partners wrote scripture and signed another piece (this one to be used) – all to celebrate the upgrading of the sanctuary! Why? To welcome the future! One father of two daughters offered this poignant testimony:
“When elected as an elder, the final part of the examination is to share your faith story with the other elders. The first time I was elected to serve, I told the session there was nothing I could tell them that they didn’t already know. You see, I have known no other church. I have attended Albemarle Road Presbyterian Church since my birth. Every Christmas as I decorate our tree at home, I proudly hang the felt Christmas Tree decorated with sequins I made in Mrs. Killough’s and Mrs. Chappelear’s three-year-old Sunday School class. I still have the Bible I earned in first grade for memorizing scripture. I have displayed at work the laminated ”Footprints” poem and wooden cross Mrs. Berryhill gave me when graduating from her Sunday School class and I am still being mentored by Dan and Lee Shearer, my High School advisors. I cannot decorate the Family Life Center for Easter Sunrise breakfast without thinking of Ms. Lucy, and I cannot enter this Sanctuary without hearing Shirley Henry singing the descant part of Holy, Holy, Holy or experiencing the emotion of Christmas Eve Candlelight services of the past.
Many of you know the story of my parent’s wedding. My parent’s, forty-two years ago this week, July 31, 1976 was the first worship service in the Sanctuary. My parents were raised by this church and brought me here to be raised as well. I love this church. I was baptized here. I met and married Maggie here. Our girls were baptized here. The people of this church and the lessons they taught me have molded me. This church is my past. This church is my present. And I plan on this church being my future.
Today, in a public way, we are acknowledging that we have work to do here at 6740 Albemarle Road. We are saying that our best days are yet to come. We will carry forward the foundations of faith made here in this worship space and build a new space to meet the worshiping needs of this community. My hope is that some 40 years from now, my daughters – serving on a ministry team with Jude, Isaac, Cooper, Madi, Savannah, Madeline, Eleanor, Justice, Phoebe, Natalie, Jake, Brylie, Colton and all the others – are planning a similar service to further renovate this space to meet the changing needs of the community. My prayer is that we honor God, fill this campus with our worship, and that this space becomes the faith center for this community.”
You can see that ARPC is reaching for the future! We are reaching up to Jesus in worship, reaching horizontally to support our covenant partners (members) and reaching out to the community with the love of Christ. Come worship and grow with us – and engage with us in serving the community!
Blessings and grace,