This is the second time the Christmas program has been rescheduled, the first time on Dec. 16, due to inclement weather and the second time after a portion of the church balcony bulkhead, a cosmetic area, that holds up ceiling tiles and light fixtures collapsed on the pews and several members of the congregation on Dec. 23.
"This shows the determination and spirit of our congregation and the people involved in this program and their commitment to continue the ministry of Christ," Pastor Bob Witte told The Brazil Times Thursday. "They won't let something like an accident, a construction flaw, stop them from getting the message out. Although the timing has changed a little bit -- we are doing a Christmas program in February -- the message hasn't."
Choral director Jeannie Price agreed, adding that the program really wasn't a typical Christmas to start with.
"The program tells the Christmas story, but it really is so much more," Price said. "It is a worship service for anytime of the year."
Reminiscence of the Christmas movie classic, "It's a Wonderful Life," Price said the program "Imagine" invites listeners to immerse themselves in the joy and glory of God's presence through true worship by weaving familiar worship songs with newly written music.
"Everyone involved is really excited about being able to do this program," Price said.
Overseeing the four weeks of necessary repairs at the church, Facilities Team Chairman Mark Vitz has informed the congregation in the monthly church newsletter that extra steps have been taken to assure something like this will never happen again:
"The balcony structure has never been compromised and is very secure. I will sit with confidence under the balcony with my family and I hope you will feel comfortable doing so also," he wrote, adding that Brazil City Engineer Steve McKenzie, Donan Engineering engineer Patrick Carl and privately hired inspector, Michael Waldbieser, have addressed all safety concerns.
Church officials felt it was important to hire someone to do the repairs with a vested interest in seeing them done right, and hired church member Thom Webster to complete the necessary repairs.
After having worship services in the Family Life Center while the repairs were being made, the sanctuary reopened last Sunday. Witte said the unfortunate event brought the congregation together more than ever.
"It was amazing, everyone returned to their regular seats, even under the balcony," Witte said. "The congregation had a great attitude during the repairs. Even our attendance and offerings were higher during that time."
The program, Imagine, will be presented during the 9 a.m. worship service this Sunday at the church located at 1875 West United States 40, Brazil.