Letter to the Editor

Giving praise to an area sanctuary

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To the Editor:

Recently, our company, Crafton Painting and Decorating, had the pleasure to work in Brazil, at the First Presbyterian Church, 201 N. Walnut St.

This church has been at this location as long as you can remember.

Those who worked on this project to decorate the facility worked diligently and had a keen eye for the completed task that had not been decorated since 1965. The sanctuary was repaired, painted and the floor was given some attention in a few places, followed by the installation of carpet.

A new cross was installed on the front wall centered in between the Alpha and Omega.

As I drove from Terre Haute to Brazil on dedication Sunday, a few thoughts entered my mind as the wheels turned on the asphalt pavement that seemingly was drawing me to Walnut Street.

Thoughts of the dedication excited me because my company was a part of this project. But more important thoughts -- from my point of view -- as a visitor to First Presbyterian Church, next to the library -- another landmark of this great small community -- pushed my company thoughts.

As the drive was made, nothing but good thoughts entered my thought process. I parked in the library parking lot and started to approach the church -- just in time to hear that big bell sounding the call to worship. The thought of freedom occupied my thoughts for a few steps -- both human and spiritual. Seemingly, the bell was in its own way indicating that everyone has the freedom to worship any place they want, but also indicating everyone is especially and particularly invited to worship with us at First Presbyterian Church.

This is a great way to start any day -- knowing one is loved and wanted.

There are many in Brazil who need to listen to the big bell on Walnut Street, next to the library. It rings and is seeking those who have a desire to worship as well as those who do not understand Christianity.

The bell is there for you as a reminder and as well for the ones on the inside, in the pews, with new carpet on the floor and a fresh look -- that God is still working on Walnut Street -- next to the library.

On dedication Sunday, the words -- in this very room -- became alive as my listening to the dedication was enjoyed.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit was still working on the human and spiritual element of the project.

The physical work may be accomplished by the workers and committees, but the work of the Holy Spirit is always trying to make us better Christians. He is seeking pre-Christians to come and see what is inside the doors just to the left of the big bell.

I heard the words of Pastor Gary Scroggins deliver a gentle, yet powerful message after Steve McCullough and the choir sang a beautiful song that is somehow etched in my brain and will not let go.

Listening continued about things that happened in this very room (the sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church).

One could feel the commitment of leadership to make this building a place of rest, prayer, fellowship and learning as the words flowed from a skilled pastor to his congregation and friends. He went on to share that many things had taken place in this very room. People have been married in this very room. Lives have been changed for the good. Families have been put back together after separations that come from the stresses of life.

In this very room, after the big bell rings, neat things take place. Neat things like communion, thanksgiving, baptisms, prayer, singing (excellent singing) and the announcements of the birth of new babies of the church. Commitments are made to the Lord in this very room. This is powerful: Most of them last a lifetime and will extend into eternity.

The physical renovation project is completed now, for a few more years. The workmen can rest, but the work of the Lord continues at the First Presbyterian Church, located at 210 N. Walnut St., Brazil.

The Holy Spirit never gives up on us at any time. In this very room, there is evidence that He never gives up on anyone. Sometimes, he uses a big bell or a set of wooden doors aged by the sun, or even a letter to the editor to accomplish His will. The Holy Spirit is always working.

The leadership and congregation can now return to what is really important.

I can sum it up this way: People first, people second and people always. Jesus loved people -- good and bad -- so much He died on a cross -- bigger and rougher, but similar to the one centered next to the Alpha and Omega at the front of the sanctuary (in this very room) with the big bell to the right of the wooden doors that invite you to come and stay awhile.

I wonder what will happen (in this very room) the next time the bell sounds.

Jerry (Jake) Crafton,

Terre Haute