Stewards of memory

Our story so far: Our purchase of the old Methodist church to turn into our home created a buzz around town.

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“Old houses,” author Gladys Tabor once wrote, “do not belong to people ever, not really; people belong to them.” The old Methodist church had been a cultural center in our little village for more than a century. It had been such a long-time mainstay that members who were baptized there had gotten married there, and their funeral service had been held there when they died.

basement before demo
Many church potlucks were probably served in the basement kitchen. Here’s how it looked when we purchased the church, before demo.

Every room in the old church belonged to people from all over the region. Families were formed when couples married beneath those rafters and baptized the children they raised together. Performers found an audience and worshipped God singing in the choir loft. The seeds of faith found soil when little children learned about Jesus in the Sunday school rooms. Women earned reputations for their seven-layer salad and pie crust in the basement kitchen where many meals had been served and fellowship enjoyed. Unlike most homes—even long-standing ones—that possessed the memories of a few families, ours carried with it the feelings of generations of people.

We owned the building now, but we were only stewards of the memories the place held. I felt responsible for honoring those who came before us, and both Tyler and I wanted to be true to at least some elements of the historical architecture even as we transformed what had been a church into a family home.

To a person, everyone who chatted with us about our project was complimentary and supportive. If a former church member was upset that we were changing the building into a private home, they didn’t share that disappointment with us.

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Tomorrow: A correction and a story of discovery. Read about it here.

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4 thoughts on “Stewards of memory

  1. This was wonderfully written. I’m saving these and forwarding your blog address to many friends. There is a site on FB called “You’re from Genoa City if….” where many of your pictures bring back memories for many of us.

    Liked by 1 person

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