Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Not just a building....

In 1981 I was dedicated to the Lord as an infant at First Baptist Church of Temple. I attended there until I moved away to college.
I will never forget the tall enchanting stained glass windows. On Sunday mornings the bright sunshine seemed to dance in them! Each Decemeber a simple poinsettia was placed on each window sill to decorate the church in celebration of Jesus' birth. As children my brother Joseph and I always participated in the Hanging of the Green service and would carry either a poinsettia or garland down the aisles with our friends. During this season the walls of the sanctuary were also adorned with huge beautiful banners finely detailed with satin and jewels. A few of them read "Messiah, Lamb of God, King of Kings and Jesus".
I will never forget the Sunday morning when together my brother and I publicly made known our decision to invite Jesus into our hearts. Our parents guided us to the altar to meet with the pastor. I was eight and Joseph was five. Just a few weeks later we were baptized in the FBC baptistry by our maternal grandfather "Papa"....what a wonderful memory!
It was in this sanctuary that I observed countless Lord's suppers and prayed many prayers. I remember one Sunday evening service in particular. Joseph was about four years old and his age childrens choir was performing. The boys greatly outnumbered the girls. He and a couple of other rowdy boys grabbed the microphones off of their stands and pretended to be part of a rock band. Now he is a pastor.
Throughout my childhood I can remember my mother filling the sanctuary with the beautiful sound of the the piano, organ and hand bells. Occasionally I would accompany her to the church to practice on Saturday afternoons. I would position myself on a plush blue cushion in the multitudes of wooden pews and flip through a Hymnal. I can also recall climbing over the pews chasing Joseph up and down the rows (I'm not sure how much practicing my mom got to do!)
In my younger days I sat on the piano side a few rows back with my parents. In my teenage years I sat near the middle of the sanctuary with my friends....usually writing notes back and forth on bulletins.
Our youth choirs ('Sound of Love' and 'Glory bound') performed musicals upon returning from mission trips. It was much different to sit in the choir loft and look out into the people sitting in the pews! It was also in this very sanctuary where my family participated in several Easter pageants. At the very beginning of the performance we would enter from the back and would whisper to the people "Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming!"
It was in this special place that Jarrod and I exchanged vows and made promises to the Lord in front of our friends and family. What a special time.
On Tuesday morning January 19, 2010 a 3-alarm fire swept through and destroyed most of the church. The sanctuary was gone. At one point over 70 local firefighters were battling the blaze and later arson was determined to be the cause. I was extremely saddened to learn of this. I felt so empty inside....I hoped it was just a bad dream.
Our family had not attened FBCT in several years, but a GREAT portion of my childhood was spent within the walls of that church.
It took me awhile to go back and see the damage. When I did I just parked my car as close as I could get and sobbed. Jarrod and I went back last week and there is a lot missing, where once stood lots of memories.
Senior Sunday 2000

Walking down the aisle......notice the windows :)
First photo as a married couple - right outside the sanctuary doors

The kiss :)

This is where the sanctary sat - it was connected to the bldg on the R. The bldg on the L was the church nursery where I spent lots of time as a little girl :)
Here are 3 beautiful trees - scroll back up to the Senior Sunday photo and compare.

God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble.

-Psalm 46

1 comment:

  1. Ditto :) I was right there with you! Beautiful post...