Giving Thanks Shutesbury Church renovation prepares for a new season of Thanksgiving By Elliott Burke Correspondent
The Shutesbury Church gets an extreme makeover SHUTESBURY- As summer closes out and Autumn takes over, the members of the Shutesbury Church are preparing for a new season of Thanksgiving. Earlier this year the struggling church began extensive renovations to restore the historic 182 year old building that sits in the town common center. Through the help of â€œWith His Handsâ€?, a ministry based out of the Second Baptist Church of South Hadley, the building has received a new lease on life both physically and spiritually.
Since May the church has been bustling with activity, with people gathering on Saturday mornings to work at various refurbishing projects to the structure, and on Monday evenings to pray and break bread together. The experience has been transformative in many way. “What has been happening here, with the construction, it’s just been amazing to watch it happen from week to week”, Linda Hanscom of Belchertown relates with enthusiasm. “At times I can hardly believe it”. Linda has been instrumental in keeping the momentum going, writing letters and contacting the local media to bring an awareness of the church to the larger breadth of the community while helping out with construction projects in any way she can. She provides encouragement and support as well as nourishment to the workers, bringing in homemade baked goods to sustain them through the long, busy day. Workers and volunteers still arrive early on Saturday mornings to put in a good days work, but the numbers are growing less and less. That’s a good sign that they are getting closer to their goal as they complete as much as they can before the Winter sets in. Full in the midst of the New England harvest season, the Shutesbury Church is taking a well deserved breather to celebrate, reflect and give thanks for what they’ve achieved. Next Sunday, October 25th, there will be a dedication ceremony for the church and the community is invited. Starting at 12 pm, they will begin with an open house and a fair to welcome visitors into the new church, with the dedication service following at 3 pm. There will be fellowship, music and food along with games, carriage rides, a magic show and face painting. “We want to give our thanks to everyone who has helped make this project possible and the restoration a reality” said Dave Tetreault as he talks up the excitement planned for Sunday. Tetreault, a board member of “With His Hands” ministry and on-site construction foreman, is equally impressed with their progress. “We still have some major work to do in certain parts of the building, but it’s really come a long way in a short time”. “We still have the exterior to paint, and the steeple renovation to do, but most of it is well underway” Linda said; “We’ll be converting part of the downstairs into a kitchen for fellowship use”. With the onset of Winter, which now seems eager to arrive early, there is a push to complete as much of the work as they possibly can until they resume in the Spring. The church is located at Town Common Road in Shutesbury; activities for the celebration will be from 12 noon to 5 pm. People interested in helping with ongoing construction projects or contributing toward the renovation can contact: With His Hands Ministry c/o Second Baptist Church 589 Granby Road South Hadley, MA. 01075 413-536-0626
Or go to their website at: With His Hands Ministry http://withhishands.org