By BETTY CARLISLE
Special to The Gazette
The recently completed construction of the Medina Church of the Nazarene was â€œa long time in the praying,â€ said congregation member Claudia Skidmore.
Skidmore, who had been transporting materials for her preschool and kindergarten religious education class in a deep, heavy bag every Sunday, is happy that the congregation she describes as â€œa nice, loving familyâ€ has moved into its permanent address at 6901 Wooster Pike.
â€œMy predecessor primed the pump for growth,â€ said the Rev. Peter Ryder, senior pastor of the 75-member church since Dec. 1, 2002. â€œThe former church had been at its location in Medina since 1941.â€
â€œWhen I arrived, the feeling of the congregation was a contagious sense of unity to do something and do it well,â€ Ryder said, recalling the congregation worshipped temporarily at the Seventh Day Adventist Church after selling their property to the Quilting Bee. â€œThe pledge campaign was successful due to our generous, faithful congregation.â€
â€œIâ€™m excited for this church and its great congregation,â€ said the Rev. T. J. McNew, former pastor of the Medina Church of the Nazarene and the current pastor of Fresh Faith Community Church of the Nazarene in Mt. Gilead, who was in attendance to celebrate the May 18 dedication and open house.
â€œIt was obvious that the former building was not user-friendly,â€ McNew said. â€œIt was landlocked and the building was a hindrance to our handicapped members because it was not accessible to them.â€
â€œWeâ€™re moving in the right direction,â€ Ryder said. â€œWe built on a little under six acres of land located south of Medina in an area of growth. The building is not huge, but itâ€™s adequate and has room for expansion. The sanctuary now seats 180, but it could be expanded by pushing out the walls. We could add another wing on the other side of the building.â€
Roger and Stella Nicolai are expressing an even greater sense of appreciation for their new church facility.
â€œRoger spent the past year and a half unable to attend worship services due to his wheelchair,â€ said Stella. â€œItâ€™s wonderful to have this open area that is wheelchair accessible.â€
â€œThis is my first time attending church in a long time,â€ agreed Grace Slimbarski, who is aided by a walker.
The congregation shows no sign of resting complacently amidst the beauty of their new surroundings.
â€œItâ€™s now time to move forward and grow the church,â€ McNew said.
â€œWe want to impact the community,â€ Ryder said. â€œWe want to connect with God in worship, connect with people as members of the family of God and connect to the needs of the church and community through a ministry blend that has a healthy growing relationship with God.â€
Carlisle may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.