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The dedication of the United Church of Winchester happened this Sunday

Yesterday, The United Church of Winchester dedicated their new church addition to God, and it was a great celebration. Local pastors and retired ministers who had served at the church were present, and an uplifting sermon was presented by the UCC Conference Minister.

From left to right: Rhonda MacLeod (CE Director), Rev. David Hughes (pastor), The Rev. Gary M. Schulte (NH Conference Minister, UCC).
From left to right: Rhonda MacLeod (CE Director), Rev. David Hughes (pastor), The Rev. Gary M. Schulte (NH Conference Minister, UCC).Photo by Rev. M. Allyson Szabo

For the past several years, there was heated discussion at the Winchester church. They knew they needed to expand their church home and update the Fellowship Hall and kitchen, but every time plans were coming together, they seemed to fall apart.

Under the blessings and guidance of their interim pastor, Rev. Alison Jacobs, they came up with a viable plan for building. The original idea was to pair up with the Winchester Learning Center and create a large addition that would hold the extra space the church needed, and the space that the Learning Center needed for their expanding classrooms. Due to time constraints, that plan had to be put aside, but the Building Committee continued with due diligence to figure out how to provide the congregation and the Winchester community with what it needed.

As Rev. Alison phased out, Rev. David Hughes came on as the new settled pastor of the church. He stepped in and raised spirits and hopes, and last June the ground was broken officially for the new addition.

Ingram Construction Corporation, Edwards Construction and Marvin Smart worked with the architect Richard Monahon, Jr. to bring about a beautiful addition that stayed true to the original feel of the building. Now, The United Church of Winchester boasts a beautiful entrance hallway, an updated narthex, two sets of handicap accessible bathrooms, and a full size elevator to allow everyone to join in the joy of worship.

The ceremony was led by Rev. David and the congregation's new Christian Education director, Rhonda MacLeod. The Rev. Gary M. Schulte, Conference Minister of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ, was the guest preacher. He spoke of the beauty of creating a sanctuary truly accessible to all people, and the importance of continuing the work by carrying that accessibility forward in other ways (for those of high or low income, those who are deaf or hard of hearing, etc.).

Present at the dedication ceremony were former United Church of Winchester pastors Rev. Alison Jacobs and Rev. Roger Brown. Also attending was Rev. Matthew Worrall of Grace Christian Fellowship, several members of the Winchester Learning Center, and representatives of the Historical Society.

After the dedication, a small reception was held in the newly renovated Fellowship Hall and kitchen. The Ladies Society were on hand to provide food and drink to everyone present. New and old members of the church met and renewed old acquaintances. A newly renewed and expanded house of prayer was brought to life an animated with Spirit.

"For the consecration of life and service, in grateful remembrance of those who have gone before us, and in gratitude for our life together in this church, we dedicate this building to the glory of God, to the honor of Jesus Christ, and to the praise of the Holy Spirit." -- excerpt from the Litany of Dedication

If you're interested in learning more about prayer, or reading about local prayer events in Keene and the surrounding area, subscribe to this column by clicking the "subscribe" button above. If you have any comments or questions, don't hesitate to ask in the comments below, or by e-mailing Rev. Allyson atrevallyson@gmail.com.

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