West Chelmsford United Methodist Church
Sunday, October 22, 2017

 What a Day it Was! Last Sunday, September 24, we celebrated the completion of our Accessibility Building Project with a very full church, new vertical lifts to use, and lots of thanks to express. It was truly a wonderful day for our congregation as we brought to a conclusion this three-year project to make our buildings accessible to all.
During the worship service we took time to tell the story of how we came to do this important work. Angela McAlister and Kathy Lawless, who co-chaired the capital campaign (The Love Lifts Us Up Campaign for Access), and Peter Orford, who co-chairs the Accessibility Building Committee, told the story of deciding to do the project in January of 2015, raising the money and then designing and doing the construction work. Along the way we thanked the countless people from this congregation who helped in ways large and small. Chris Hoff, the other co-chair of the building committee, gave a financial summary and update. (Those who were present on Sunday will remember Chris as the guy who stood up on his pew to speak so we could hear him better!) Chris reported that because of the faithful giving of the congregation we were able to add a few extra features to the project, while still remaining near our budget goal. He reported that the final cost will be around
$433,000. Our pledges and gifts are actually more than that, currently at $437,453, and $409,637 of that has already been contributed! In order to avoid taking out a loan (and the associated costs of that) we will temporarily fund the difference between the final cost and what we have received toward the project out of our savings. Chris emphasized that we all need to continue paying our pledges so that the money from savings can be replaced and used for other needs. But overall the financial part of this project has gone amazingly well, thanks to your faithful giving.  We ended our morning in a moving way by officially dedicating the two new lifts. These lifts were each donated by individual generous families. We went outside the church building to the new lift door, and dedicated that lift, given by the Buretta family, in memory of Chris Buretta. Then we went into the Educational Building to dedicate the other lift. It was given by one of our families who want to remain anonymous, but they surprised Peter Orford by dedicating that lift to him, for his untiring work to make this building project a reality.  As we come to the end of this long and challenging project, we know it is also a kind of beginning as well.  We now have a building that is mostly handicap-accessible; what does that mean for our church’s ministry? What things can we do as a church that we could not do before? Whom can we better serve now? The answers to those questions will tell us what we have truly accomplished with this work.
Reverend Mack