Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church in Monongalia County (MonValley District) held a consecration service for their newly remodeled church on Sunday, September 16. The service was filled with music and testimony, and comes at the end of a journey.
Remodeling began around November when it was discovered drains had collapsed, causing extensive water damage. As time went on, further damage was found and over half the church was gutted in order to repair it. It was then a decision was made.
“We decided we were going to pull the trigger on it and just totally renovate the whole inside of the church,” said Church Council Chair Bud Hall.
Church leaders say Hall had a vision for the church, which included a larger stage and handicap accessible features.
With $30,000 in savings, the church initially had to get to $70,000 for the complete remodel. In February, Pastor Lynda Masters knew what had to be done.
“I said ‘Ok. By Easter, we’ll have $40,000.’ They just thought I was crazy, and then I started to think I was crazy,” said Masters. “But we did. God was so, so, so good.”
In the end, the remodel cost around $130,000. Masters said whenever they needed the money, it came, with donations coming, in part, from community members not affiliated with Mt. Pleasant as well as from a grant from West Virginia Conference Disaster Response. The church worked with Disaster Response Coordinator, Rev. Dan Lowther, to secure the grant.
“When people cooperate with the Holy Spirit….that’s what it’s about.”
As work was being done, the church continued to be active. They held Sunday worship in their fellowship hall, and Vacation Bible School in an old school.
Life-long church member and lay leader Kathy Dalton worked to save as much as she could from the damp rooms before the remodel, laying out historical documents in her home to dry and copy. She said coming to the church in the middle of the remodel was bittersweet.
“I told myself, ‘Within these walls, there has been so much going on’,” she said. ”That’s when it really touched me that the beauty of what has gone on in these walls will live on forever.”
Dalton’s testimony became the theme of the consecration service, a celebration of all the church has been and all it will be.
With the remodel done without debt and the 2018 apportionments paid in full for the year, the church plans to continue to grow their ministry to their community.
“Next week, we’re going to have a buckwheat cakes and sausage dinner. The next weekend, we’re going to do a gospel sing…” said Hall.
“I think sometimes churches feel like they can’t do things, but this is such an example of…you can” said District Superintendent Amy Shanholtzer. “Even the crazy, you can dream it and God can make it happen. I mean, this is really, really wonderful.”