Architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
"When they built the third church on the same site, they said they were building a church that was big enough and strong enough that they wouldn't have to rebuild again," said Earl Hayes, a lifetime church member in an interview with The Hutchinson News several years ago.
But, after 90 years, the front steps were crumbling. Rain water leaked into the cracks and into the church basement. It was again time for church members to respond to a need.
Lifelong church member Ruth Teichman shared some of her memories of growing up in the church. As she talked, members responded with laughter as she remembered traversing the perimeter of the church on the narrow ledge. I asked Randy later: Yes, he did it, too. And, later that evening at a Sunday School party, the next generation of daredevils appeared to have been inspired by her words. Since I was one of the adults responsible for their well-being, I was thinking she should have shared less "active" memories.
As she talked, I thought about so many of the familiar faces who filled the pews and did the work of the church before they passed from this life to the next. I couldn't help but look up to the west balcony and remember my in-laws, Melvin and Marie, who sat there week after week.
It reminded me of the song, "Cloud of Witnesses," by Christian recording artist, Mark Schultz. (I love his music and his voice, but I also love that he's a Kansas native and a K-State graduate.)
The song says, in part:
We watched them runnin' down the aisles,
Children's time, Sunday morning.
The preacher asked them who they loved,
They all smiled and started pointing
To their mom, their dad, teacher from the kindergarten class
Each and every one had just become
A cloud of witnesses.
A cloud of witnesses that would see them through the years
Cheer them with a smile
And pray them through the tears
A cloud of witnesses that would see them to the end
Shower them with love that never ends
A cloud of witnesses.
- Randy has worshiped there his entire life, and it's been my church home for the past 34 years. Our children were the fourth generation of the family to worship there.
- It's where we gather with our best friends for worship and fellowship each week.
- It's where our children were baptized and were taught and nurtured by a whole congregation.
- It's where we said goodbye to Randy's parents.
- It's where our daughter was married. (It's also where Randy's parents married.)
- It's where we share a portion of our time and talents through service, resources and committee work.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12: 1-3