For part 1 of this story, please click here.
I remember thinking, what in the world have we done? We were the proud owners of our very own…nightclub. Sure, it had once been a church, but almost 90 years had passed since God’s praises had been sung in this building. Looking at it, I was reminded of those pictures you see on the Internet of famous people who had once been quite stunning, but years of drug abuse had taken a toll and left them a shell of their former selves. Could we recapture that beauty? Could we transform this building back into a church? We knew we had a long road ahead of us.
It was July 26, 2011. Our lease was quickly coming to an end on our previous space, and we needed to be ready to worship in this new building in 2 weeks. The task seemed impossible. We decided to pick one room and start there. We decided on the large room at the front of the building. It would eventually be our parish hall, but for now it would be everything. In two weeks we tore out the bar, stripped down the walls and re-plastered them, replaced the floor, and painted the ceiling. Two weeks after signing the papers to redeem our old building we held the first church service there since 1925. We marched around the block, reclaiming it for the Lord, and then marched right into our one usable room. The place was packed with folding chairs and our sound system was the epitome of jury-rigged. But it was beautiful, because it was ours.
The Rev. Eric Zolner
Father Eric is a 3rd generation Anglican and the Rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Springfield, MO.