Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Out with the Old

Our church is undergoing a massive face lift. Our building and grounds folks have been hard at work evaluating what our needs are and how we need to change to meet those needs. I don't envy them at all--what a difficult task! Recently I had the opportunity to view the rough draft of the blueprints. We're adding bathrooms, classrooms, storage spaces, and lots of other goodies to make the building more user-friendly. Oh, and we're getting a new sanctuary. This part makes me a bit sad. You see, in the "old" (current) sanctuary:

in 1996 I was baptized (having been in a Baptist church as a baby, I did not receive the sacrament of baptism as an infant) and confirmed alongside one of my closest friends and became a church member.

in 1998 I gave the sermon during youth Sunday and began to hear God calling me into ministry of some sort.

in 2001 my husband-to-be was baptized and confirmed and became a church member.

in 2003 I walked down the center aisle and married my best friend.

in 2004 my first son was baptized.

in 2005 my second son was baptized.

in 2008 my third son was baptized.

So, my emotional attachment to the sanctuary is not to the 50s chandeliers or the retro stained glass windows. No, my attachment is purely sentimental. The biggest and most important events of my life have occurred in that room. And, let's be honest here, I really envisioned watching my children get confirmed there, watching my sons marry there, watching my grandchildren receive the sacrament of baptism there.

Now, I'm a realistic person. I know that needing a new sanctuary is a sign of growth. We have simply outgrown our current sanctuary, a wonderful problem (especially considering that many churches in our denomination are struggling just to survive). I know that we cannot continue to use this sanctuary forever because we just won't fit there (or worse, we will). And I also know that a church is not bricks and mortar. The great people in my congregation will all show up to move the hymnals to the new sanctuary, cut a ribbon celebrating our first Sunday there, and worship with renewed energy in a bright new place. That's church. I know this. And I know that everyone to be married in our church for years to come (hopefully my sons included) will benefit from losing the harvest gold pew cushions. Yes, it's for the best. New memories will be made in the new sanctuary, and the old ones will be forever burned in my brain. Oh, but change is so hard.