Gideon Grove UMC Consecrates New Building

June 29, 2015

Picture4In December 2012, an arsonist set fire to Gideon Grove UMC in Stokesdale, NC.  It destroyed a beautiful, old sanctuary with stained glass windows, a new office addition and half of their fellowship hall. Since then, they worshiped with their sister church on the charge, Palestine UMC.  They were finally able to occupy the new building last week. Because of their insurance settlement and the generosity of churches and individuals across the Conference, they entered a new building debt free.  It was consecrated and dedicated on Sunday, June 28, 2015 with the Rev. Dr. Nancy Rankin leading the service.  People from across the Northern Piedmont District and Conference were welcomed to the celebration. This small, but dedicated congregation witnessed to the world their attitude of love and forgiveness through the process.  Rev. Wanda Lancaster pleaded for mercy for the young arsonist at his trial and he was not given prison time. A catch phrase was adopted shortly after the fire and was a constant refrain: “Our building was destroyed but our church is still here.” Their choir director composed a song, “Out of the Ashes,” and they have sung it often to rally them through the ordeal of grieving and rebuilding. Picture8Their new building is beautiful, practical and energy efficient.  The sanctuary space can expand directly into their fellowship hall and the kitchen space doubles their capacity to seat people. The floors are polished concrete.  It is a multi-use space with movable chairs.  Flat screens are mounted on the sanctuary walls and were used in the dedication service.  Though the congregation misses their old sanctuary, they built this one with a mind toward their future and the needs of their community. In further witness to the community, Rev. Lancaster and her Lay Leader, Laura Harrell, served as the local Missional Network leaders through this ordeal.   During the past 18 months, neither asked to be replaced as leaders but, instead, lead their Network to provide the Backpack Food Ministry to Huntsville Elementary which needed that ministry.  They have faithfully gathered food from their Network churches to supply 75 families per week.  Next year they plan to expand to 100 families. Other photos of Gideon Grove UMC Information and photos provided by Dr. Nancy Rankin, Northern Piedmont District Superintendent