BUILDING NEARS FRUITION
By Kathy Perrine
The Marietta Times
Newport—It’s been several years since the dream of a new addition began at
Newport United Methodist Church.
It’s been one year since the congregation approved plans for the new
addition. It’s been seven months since the rear wall of the church
collapsed during the digging of the basement for the new addition.
It’s taken a lot of work and dedication by a lot of people to get to the near
completion of the sanctuary and the new fellowship and education hall.
The target date is Sunday, October 20, 1991 for worship services to return to
the church and, possibly, to hold Sunday school classes in the new addition.
Kurt Landerholm, minister at the church, said members are volunteering their
time to help finish the building.
“Just about every evening through the week and Saturdays for the last month
there have been volunteers there painting.”
One is Roger Dye, a chairperson on the building committee. He said it’s
wonderful to see the building nearing completion, and he is proud to know his
grandchildren can grow up and say, “My grandpa did this.”
“We’ve become friends, really; I didn’t really know the guys I went to church
with until I worked with them.”
Landerholm said all of the chapel furniture and other wooden fixtures that were
damaged or destroyed in the collapse are being repaired, rebuilt or replaced by
church member and building committee chairperson Walter Lauer and his son Gale.
“It makes me feel good to begin to see what we were working for,” Walter Lauer
said, “to see things shaping up after all the hardship and heartaches.”
Lauer has been overseeing the project since its beginning.
Landerholm said: “The contractor has done a great job with the church.
It’s going to be very beautiful.”
“Fifty years from now somebody is going to look at this and say, ‘You know how
that scratch got there? That happened when the church collapsed.’”
The congregation held services in the Newport School gymnasium following the
collapse until it began using the Newport Baptist Church in June.
Landerholm said that was a very good experience and the hospitality was
appreciated, but because the Baptist church has revival starting this Sunday,
Newport United Methodist will use the school again until the sanctuary is
ready. Both churches will resume their regular church hours starting this
Sunday with Sunday school at 10: a.m. and worship services at 11: a.m.
Landerholm said that in an effort to display appreciation to the Baptist
congregation, members have invited them to a dinner in the new fellowship hall
on Sunday, November 24. It will be held prior to the traditional
community Thanksgiving service.
It was recently discovered, while Newport Baptist’s records were being retyped,
that in 1902 the Baptist church was undergoing roof repairs and could not use
its building for some services so the Methodist Church offered its
building. Landerholm said he hadn’t been aware of the coincidence but
said he wasn’t surprised because the two churches had such a good working
Landerholm said that the first Sunday in Newport United Methodist’s
long-awaited church and fellowship hall will be a very emotional and exciting
time. “We are looking forward to it.”
Long-time church member Libby Lauer said, “I think we are all going to be so
overwhelmed and so glad when we get in there that you just can’t describe what
it’s going to be like.”