Paying It Forward: The Story of Grace Lutheran Church, Hatfield, PA

Today, the people of CUMC received a check in the amount of $1,250 from Grace Lutheran Church, Hatfield PA. Frank and Kay Stone delivered the check and shared their story about their church's "Grateful Grace fund".

Grateful Grace is a mission of Grace Lutheran Church. Each January, they ask their members to give as they are able, to the fund. They choose a church or organization that is in need before January and encourage the giving until May. Christ UMC, Selinsgrove is the fourth recipient of this fund. Others who have received were: a South Carolina Church recovering from a fire, a New Jersey Church recovering from hurricane Sandy and a Maryland church that had a fire.

With humble thanks, the people of CUMC Selinsgrove receive and accept this gift of Grace.

Here is their story: "On December 30, 2011, our 104 year old educational building (the original church) burned. Our new sanctuary which is a separate building was spared, but had smoke and soot damage. It was impossible to restore the 104 year old building. During this time we had begun the process of calling a pastor. In 2010 or Pastor had accepted another call. The negotiations with the insurance company took many months. After we had received our insurance claim, the process of hiring an architect took many more months. During that time we called a pastor and began plans for proceeding with the building of an educational wing. Our pastor was only with us a few months, when he developed medical issues and had to resign. So we were back in the call process and planning a building project. Needless to say, many more months went by. In 2013 we called Pastor David Lutcher and he has been leading us through the years of rebuilding. In May 2014 we celebrated the first shovel of ground next to our sanctuary. Building did not begin until August 2015. It has been almost five years for our congregation through a long building process. We hope to return to our church the end of October. We will be worshiping in our new fellowship hall while some renovations are completed in our sanctuary. By Christmas we hope to be worshiping in our completely renovated sanctuary. Our day care plans to reopen at Grace in January.

We were able to continue worship in our sanctuary during the building process. However, we have limited classroom space and no social area. Our sanctuary was used for everything. This past June the builder asked us to move out of our sanctuary so our project could be completed by the end of the year. We have been worshiping at chapel located in a retirement community 10 minutes from our church.

Our daycare was fortunate to rent space from our neighboring Catholic Church. Everyone is looking forward to our return to the Hatfield area with our services of worship, Sunday Church School and Daycare."

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