In 2006, Wayne Presbyterian Church, a midsized church in Wooster, Ohio, started looking at how we could make ourselves more inviting for other members of the community. To start, we did a needs survey of the congregation. One of the top five priorities, according to the survey, was to increase accessibility for those with disabilities. The last major renovation, in 1957, had not provided such accessibility to the sanctuary; there were steps at every entrance.
The congregation overwhelmingly voted to go with a major new addition, as it would also accomplish several other goals, including adding more classroom space, an area for youth activities, better kitchen facilities and a larger fellowship area. We then started the first of three capital improvement campaigns to generate the $1.3 million to complete the project. This was before the downturn in the economy, so most members felt confident in their ability to support this endeavor. But even after the downturn, when we had the next two campaigns, members continued their support, though at lesser amounts than the first.
The resulting structure has suited us well, meeting the needs of not only new members and visitors, but also aging existing members. Having the fellowship hall on the same level as the sanctuary has certainly improved the ability of those persons to be involved with social activities. What had previously been the fellowship area in the basement has been converted to a youth center.
We feel that two key components contributed to the project’s success: involving the congregation in all aspects of the project and having clear-cut goals that we could show we’d accomplished. We can’t really say that there has been a down side to any part of the project, as it challenged us to improve and helped us to realize there are some things we can do without, when the purpose is to help others. We are graced to have the caring congregation that we do and graced that they have chosen to glorify God by their support for others.
Ron Becker, member, Wayne Presbyterian Church
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Christ, we thank you for being the Word made flesh. As you ministered to those around you through touch, sight and sound, teach us to make use of our whole selves—body, mind and spirit—to do your work. Give us the courage to take action and the grace to welcome all with a loving spirit. Amen.