Church Renovations, Physical and Spiritual

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If first opened for worship back in the late 1800’s.
 
And now, the Brazil First, a United Methodist Congregation, is hoping a new physical face lift will also help lift their followers spiritually as well. 
 
The sounds of plaster hit the bucket and the swipes on the ceiling ring through the church. 
 
That’s what you hear during the week at Brazil First. 
 
It’s different on Sunday. 
 
Renovations take a back seat to faith.
 
“It’s our home,” says Sharon Koehler, chairperson of the administrative council. “Just like you take care of your home and you want to make it attractive so that you can enjoy it, well we want this to be that home where the community feels comfortable being a part of it.” 
 
Like the light that guides you home, followers say that this renovation isn’t just physical. 
 
It’s a representation of something more. 
 
“We get in the same old routine and doing the same kind of thing,” says Emily Sands, Brazil First attendee. “But, just having this, like you said, metaphor of the change, it’s good to take inside look into ourselves and see how we need to change and how God is working within us and how we can help others in the community.”
 
The beauty of a historical building isn’t just what’s on the outside, it’s about the invitation to come inside and feel welcome. 
 
And to do that, plastic is removed from pews to make way for the faithful. 
 
“I’m just real excited about it,” says Ellen Packard, Brazil First attendee. “We just have a beautiful church and I just like how our trustees keep up with the work, you know, to continue the beauty of it.” 
 
All the while, a small town in Brazil is making an effort to be more than just a church on Sunday’s. 
 
They want to offer their services 24/7. 
 
And the way to do that is to have a stable, reliable foundation for their sanctuary. 
 
The renovations to the sanctuary, walls, and woodwork will lift spirits inside. 
 
“Our church has been very faithful to come and still continue in the midst of the dust and in fact, it’s kind of intriguing,” says Koehler. 
 
“There’s small towns all over Indiana and Illinois,” says Sands. “I think in small towns you can relate in other people and so it’s really good to have a place in the community where a lot of people can come whether it’s church on Sunday or throughout the week coming together and just building community within the church.”
 
Construction began on Jan. 3rd.
 
The renovations have three phases and will hopefully be completed before the upcoming Night of Praise in March.

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