It was a tough decision to close the doors of St. John’s Lutheran Church after more than 30 years in operation, but chairman Barry Schick said it all came down to a problem with the clay.
“The clay under than building has been causing us problems since the beginning — when we first built the church 35 years ago,” Schick said.
“There’s just been a lot of shifting and a lot of movement so we’ve been working on repairs and things over the years but it’s just got to be too much. It was time to make some hard choices.”
The church held its final worship service in the Alain Road building on Sunday, April 8 and began decommissioning its present facility. Perimeter fencing has been put up around the Sanctuary, and the entry by Alain Road is being closed.
In the meantime, Schick and the congregation are faced with the “hard work” of figuring out what comes next. He said at the moment, no one is sure what that looks like.
“It’s hard to say,” he added. “It depends on what we decide to do. We have a few options to look at.”
Among those to be considered are rebuilding from the ground up, renovating or rebuilding part of the building or selling the land and moving entirely.
Though the building itself is fairly young, Schick said St. John’s congregation has been active in the area for more than a century, and despite the setback of not having a home of its own, the situation is only temporary. He anticipates it could be as long as two years, or as short as a matter of months — the length of time the congregation will be displaced, he reiterated, hangs on what they decide to do with their building.
While he and the other members consider the possibilities, the Community Baptist Church (4911 Silver Star Rd.), which is next door to the St. John’s church, has “graciously” offered the congregation the opportunity to share their facilities for services and activities. St. John’s will hold their services at 4 p.m. starting Sunday, April 15, while the Baptist congregation will continue to hold their service in the morning.
Schick said he’s grateful for the Baptist Church’s offer to share their building, and feels confident the two busy congregations will work well together as housemates.
St. John’s Lutheran Church was founded in 1902, with the first chapel built in Vernon in 1910. A church was built on 27th Street in 1913 for the congregation of 164. A larger church was needed by 1952 and was in use until the present building on Alain Road was built in 1985.