After more than a year of waiting, members of the Eudora United Methodist Church are taking construction of their church into their own hands
"Thank you lord for my opportunity to be a part of the church building. God bless our church and congregation."
---- Don Bradshaw, project manager
"This is the best of God's work and built for God's glory. Praise be to God!"
(Excerpts written inside a wall of the Eudora United Methodist Church, still under construction.)
Don Bradshaw ducked beneath the floor. The project manager worked for a moment completely out of sight. When he popped back up, Loretta Gantenbein handed him a pile of fluffy white insulation. He took the bundle and descended again.
The loud insistent whirr of an electric drill cut through from the back of the building. It sustained for a moment before stopping.
In a corner, Paul Oelschlaeger knelt with his tools in hand. After eight decades, he had his own part to play in the project.
Who better to include in the construction of a new church than a carpenter?
"I want to do this," Oelschlaeger said.
The congregation at Eudora United Methodist Church has waited more than a year for its new $1.4 million worship center to open. They have celebrated several milestones, most recently conducting a ceremony to sign the inside of an unfinished wall.
The signatures and messages left on the wall are a link to an earlier stage in the building's development. In 2005, about 200 congregation members signed a metal sheet included in a cross, the emblem of the United Methodist Church. The tall black and red structure is visible from Kansas Highway 10.
Seeing people again put their names to the project struck Bradshaw.
"It was just a feeling of togetherness, everyone striving for the same purpose," Bradshaw said.
Despite the fact the projected opening of the building is still three to four months off, congregation members are taking the inside construction of the church into their own hands.
"It's the only way we can do it," Bradshaw said.
Their combined effort has helped the project progress to the point that the interior is becoming more recognizable, Bradshaw said. Seeing the building form makes the process a little more fun, he said.
"Actually, it's not a little more fun, it's a lot more fun," he said.
In all, Bradshaw predicted the building is about 60 percent finished. Like most construction projects under way in the past year, the church has been delayed by inclement weather, he said.
"We struggled a lot with the weather," he said.
Now that work has shifted inside the weather has become less of an issue, he said.
"You get to the point where everyone works a little harder because they want to see it to the end," Bradshaw said.
Congregation member Dorine Arvidson placed tape in an enclosure that will be a restroom for the nursery.
The workday Saturday was her first. She signed her name to the wall and has watched the building slowly rise up.
"I'm excited," she said.
Doris Oelschlaeger built several houses with her husband, Paul. She's working with him again on this project.
"We'll appreciate it more," she said. "I like to help do what I can."
For more information on the new center or to help, call the church office at 542-3200.