The first church I served was a small church, once in a rural setting now yielding to housing subdivisions. About 10 years before I arrived the church had decided to build a new building across the street from the historic wooden original building. It was a single floor church with cinderblock walls with an exterior facing. On top was a 20 foot fiberglass steeple on a box frame.
In my second year there, the steeple developed a crack after a high wind storm. Four men of the church got up on the roof and took it down. One of the men took it to his garage, and was able to patch the fiberglass crack. In 2 weeks, the same 4 men put up the repaired cross.
When I heard that steeple repairs were needed here, I knew that it would take more than 4 guys, a pickup truck and and equipment trailer to fix. So I was glad that even before I got here, WPC was working on a Capital Campaign and that the work started with steeple repair. If you’ve been to church recently, the reduced parking space available due to work equipment indicates the repairs have begun.
The repairs started in faith, because the Capital Campaign has not yet raised all it needs. Members and friends of the church have been getting information on the full scope of the capital improvements to be done and on how to support this.
As glad as I was to know a capital campaign was already in the works before I got here, I was even more glad to see that plans didn’t stop with the steeple. Providing handicapped accessible bathrooms gives our words of welcoming all a practical application. Other proposed improvements will increase WPC’s ability to host mission groups or even as a resource in times of natural disasters. Improvements to the Assembly Hall and Chapel will make them even more usable for fellowship or educational programs by the church or outside groups.
I was encouraged to see this because a church that is only turned inward and only seeks to maintain buildings rather than serving people, is a church that is likely on its way to dying. As those planning the capital improvements to be done have demonstrated, a church can work on retaining life both by keeping up a structure and by seeing how it can then be used in ministry in Christ’s name.
The vision has been cast for the campaign. Initial donations have been generous. Now we are all asked to see how we might serve WPC’s future both through what people decide they can give and through how people here make use of the improvements in continuing ministry in the name of Christ.
Rev. Bill Schram began his ministry with Westminster in March and is the current Interim Minister. Bill attended McCormick seminary in Chicago and met his wife Jenny there. They have served as co-pastors and in separate positions. He has served churches in urban, near suburb, small town, county seat towns in various positions such as pastor, associate pastor, interim pastor, and hospital chaplain. He and Jenny have two natural and one foster daughter. Delightfully, they now have a granddaughter to enjoy.