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First United Methodist congregation beginning to feel at home in new surroundings

Youngsters gather in the front of the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church on Sunday to hear the childrens' sermon. Becky Bodey taught the lesson. This was the first Sunday worship service in the new church, three years after it burned to the ground.

The church has had a series of special occasions leading up to today. There was an Ash Wednesday service on Feb. 18, a prayer vigil from dawn to dusk on Feb. 19-21, and the last service at the ONU Chapel on Feb. 22.

Following the Feb. 22 service, the congregation, local citizens, and members of other congregations in town walked from the chapel to the new church for refreshments, socializing, and to see the new edifice.

More special occasions are planned:
• Sunday, March 8, 10 a.m. Jerry Murray will be guest preacher. He is the architect, with RCM.
• Sunday, March 15, will be a Day of Gratitude.
• Sunday, March 29,  Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, resident bishop of the West Ohio Conference, will be guest preacher on Palm Sunday.
• Easter Sunday, April 5, there will be a youth-led service at 8 a.m, a breakfast at 9 a.m., and a service at 10 a.m.

On April 12, the formal dedication of the new church building will take place, led by Rev. Barry R. Burns, district superintendent. A piece composed by Jonathan Wey of ONU will be presented by the Chancel Choir and University Singers. A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at the close of the service.

At 8 pm on April 26, the church will host the spring concert of the University Singers, directed by Dr. Ben Ayling, II.   (Monty Siekerman)