Enthusiasm Abounds at ‘Stage-Breaking’ Bash
by Steve Soderberg and Charles Floyd

On Sunday, January 31, a capacity crowd—including children of all ages—gathered in Keith Jones Hall to participate in the Marsh Renovation Stage-Breaking Celebration and to kick off the final stage of the Marsh 2.0 Capital Campaign. This memorable day was, for many supporters, “decision Sunday.”

Pastor Deryk opened the exuberant celebration with prayer and was joined by John Davis, who briefly described the ten-year trek to reach this exciting starting point for the Marsh Building’s actual renovation and renewal.

Paul Breglio joined John in expressing the congregation’s thanks to the long-persevering Marsh Project Team for its endurance and commitment. Brian Johnson thanked all of the Marsh 2.0 Capital Campaign workers and all First Church families that had already stepped forward with their support by returning to God a portion of the abundance He has provided.

All recognized that God has placed us on this path and that He has asked each of us to take that step, courageously trusting in faith that He will provide along the way.

Maeve Sullivan, representing our youth, and Bill Lynch of our senior membership, donned hard hats and used gold crowbars for the official “stage-breaking” moment, punctuated by the release of 100 imprinted Marsh 2.0 “God At Work” helium balloons, nicely symbolizing the uplift to be felt in the community by this venerable building’s restoration—although a few of the children appeared a bit crestfallen as their prized balloons drifted up, up and away! The project will be completed later this year.

Before and after the event, Keith Jones Hall stood stripped of all contents, awaiting the demolition hammer. The existing stage will be replaced by a new and more centrally positioned riser (on the right side of this photo), to facilitate an even broader range of service possibilities—and much more—in a freshened, brightened and enlarged space.

But that’s just the beginning! All three floors of the Marsh Building will be transformed, thanks to the inspired generosity of our church family.

If you have not already taken the opportunity to participate in this Community of Christ endeavor, please take a moment to prayerfully consider providing a Letter of Intent to indicate your support of the Marsh 2.0 Project. Letters of Intent are available from First Church members who have volunteered to personally visit families in their homes or at other locations, and also in the Church Office, on the church website (firstchurch.org/LOI), or by mail.

Contributions to the Capital Fund can be made at any time. All such contributions should be payable to First Church of Christ. Please note: The check memo line or sealed enclosure should indicate “Marsh Capital Fund” to assure that contributions for this purpose are credited to the Marsh Project. Early contributions will help to minimize or eliminate the cost of any authorized borrowing to temporarily fund the construction project while the Marsh Campaign Funding is being received.

Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. —1 Chronicles 29:9, ESV


BONUS — To put our Stage-Breaking Ceremony into perspective, check out the newly discovered shovel tag shown below (used by Keith Jones’s daughter Marcia), which was saved from the original Ground-Breaking Ceremony for this building, in 1950.