Steps and Stepladders
May 2003/4, it was time to prepare ourselves for BIG CHANGE at Maple Grove Church. We had reached a goal we had met for money for the new building. We had decided to raze the old building and replace It with a new educational, office, kitchen, fellowship hall building. The old building needed prepared for the new building. At that time the parsonage was empty so we moved many classes up to that location and a lot of the furniture also. We could continue to use the 1962 sanctuary and basement part of the building during the building phase for the new part but with some temporary entrance plans. The vestibule, old basement and old sanctuary /classroom areas would be torn down. After moving things to the parsonage and tucking in things in the remaining part of the building, the recycling phase of the work began. The sandstone facing was removed and saved to be used for a sign in front of the church, cement block walls came down, furnace piping was recycled, water pipes were removed for recycling. Windows were removed for reuse in the new building – some were very old and refinished to near new condition. Many hours were spent by many people. Plants were moved and saved for replanting later. A couple trees needed to be cut down and the lumber was used for baseboards in the new building after it was sawed, dried, planed and prepared.
The last evening of prepping the building for demolition involved boarding up and blocking off the double doors into the basement area with very little light. Late that day a monster machine with buckets and a long arm reach also arrived to be ready for the next morning. Bright and early the next morning people arrived and found spot on the back hillside to observe the tearing down of this dear building which had served us so faithfully for nearly 150 years. There was sadness in the air but there was also a sense of expectancy for the future of God’s House. During the next couple days, they worked from north to south or back to front of the building. At one point an old step ladder was lifted gently out of the building to save it! Groans were heard – it had been left to be demolished because it was in such back shape that it needed to be “tossed out” as not fit for use.
The wide south steps that years ago led up to the south entrance at the back of the old sanctuary and later led to the many classrooms had been enclosed with the building of the vestibule entry. The steps had been carpeted and became a place for people to sit and visit. People felt they could not be destroyed but there seemed no choice. Then the operator of the big machine reached in to grab them and lift them around only to have an unexpected event. Rolling out of the back of the steps came hundreds of smaller stones rolling out. The steps had been a cast shell filled with stones. He picked it up complete when it was emptied and set it over to the side in what had been the parking area. The idea came forth quickly to put the steps on the back hill to be used again. So we have steps now coming down from the back upper parking lot. The visiting steps where people can again be seen sitting and talking - or watching the children in the play area. Memories of their usefulness carry on today. The old is useable In a new location along with many memories. The old becomes part of the new!!