Archive for Thursday, June 8, 2006

Deal reached for church

June 8, 2006

As Eudora United Methodist Church history relates, the cross hanging in the center of its chapel was made from driftwood branches found floating in the Wakarusa River.

Now much like the two branches in the cross, the congregation itself will be floating. But instead of bobbing between two banks, they will be floating between two buildings.

The church council agreed to come to terms last week with a potential buyer to sell its current building at Seventh and Church streets for $194,000. Although the identity of the buyer wasn't revealed, realtor Fred Schmidt of Century 21 said the building would be turned into a residence and most of the interior would remain the same.

The deal won't officially close until Aug. 21, but to building committee chairwoman Peggy Claggett, the sale encapsulates a major step for their church community.

The congregation is working toward building a new $1.2 million building south of Kansas Highway 10 near Winchester Road.

"It's kind of a mixed blessing I guess you could say," Claggett said. "It's sad to be moving from something you're familiar with, but we're very excited to get this done so we can get started on the new building."

By finding a buyer for the property,the congregation now has more capital with which to finance a loan needed for the construction of the new facility.

"It will help because we don't have to bother as much," Claggett said of securing funds.

With the August deadline approaching, Claggett said the congregation hasn't found an official place to worship between the closing of the deal on their current building and the completion of the new one.

There might be options, however, Claggett said.

"In August, we will be looking for another place to worship. I will assume ---- because I'm in charge (of the building committee) ---- it will be in Salem Chapel," Claggett said. "I'm planning on us moving our services over there."

The plan would need to be OK'd by officials within the congregation before it could be finalized, Claggett said.

In the meantime, Claggett said she's focused on the more pressing aspects of the move ---- storage.

"Lots of people have volunteered space for storage," Claggett said. "We're getting ready to box up stuff now."

Among the valuables the congregation needed to store was a baby grand piano.

Eventually Claggett found she could store it in a climate-controlled environment provided by the company who sold it.

"That's been a relief, because that's the thing I was worried about the most," Claggett said.

To deal with other excess items, church leaders plan a moving sale for later in the summer.

"I'm thinking we'll probably have a moving sale the first of August sometime," Claggett said.

While the impending sale forces church members to deal with the tasks necessary to move, Claggett said she also sees the deal as a motivational source for the congregation.

"It's kind of scary because we're going to be in between places until the new facility is ready," Claggett said. "But it's exciting that way because it will force us to hurry up and not drag our feet."

Overall, Claggett said she's hopeful about the coming months.

"I think the transition will go smoothly," Claggett said. "Our church is full of hard workers, and we'll just do what it takes to get moved and get the other facility built."

Church officials will meet next week to plan final celebrations in the old building, Claggett said.

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