SANDY RUN—What do we do with the old sanctuary and fellowship hall once used for Sunday school, day care and meetings at Beulah UMC, Sandy Run? This was the big question of the people of Beulah United Methodist Church in Sandy Run, established in 1892. Someone suggested it should be torn down. Someone else suggested it be made into a facility for the youth to use since they had outgrown the area designated for them in the new church building.
A congregational meeting was held in February 2014 to decide the future of the old church. Adults expressed their memories and what the old church meant to them and not to tear it down. The youth expressed their desire to have the building for their Youth Center, where they could have their meetings and provide outreach programs for the community.
One youth, Zane Gray, told the group, “We are not about tearing things down but building things up.”
The congregation voted to have the old church made into a youth center. So with the thoughts, prayers and dreams of many individuals the Beulah FACELIFT Project was begun. FACELIFT stands for Following After Christ’s Example, Looking Intently For Truth. The youth named their center “The RunWay” with the “T” in the shape of a cross.
Several workdays were held prior to a big workday on June 21. Prior to that day, asbestos had been removed, repairs had been made to the roof and the gables on each end of the block building had been replaced. Thirty adults and youth came together to begin the transition of making this a new place for the youth. It was a hot, muggy day, but it did not dampen the spirits of those working on the building. Furniture was cleaned, and volunteers took down old walls and removed fixtures. Skirting on the exterior was removed and cleaned in preparation for caulking and painting. Several windows were blocked up in preparation for the new bathrooms that would be installed.
In lieu of youth attending a Salkehatchie Summer Mission Project as a group, it was decided they would continue the work on the old sanctuary and block building in an attempt to transform it into a vibrant center for the youth located in the Sandy Run area. The dates of July 3-5 were selected as FACELIFT workdays.
The day began at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast, and work began at 8 a.m. and continued until 4 p.m., with a lunch break. Workers went home to shower and then returned at 6 p.m. for the evening meal, followed by a Praise and Worship Service in the old sanctuary. Each workday began with the group holding hands and making a circle, having a prayer led by Youth Director Thad Raymond and followed by the singing of “Sanctuary.”
Youth and adults were assigned specific jobs to work on—scraping outside walls in preparation for painting, removing wood and debris from walls inside the building or taking out the old bathrooms and moving them to a more central location in the block building. This included digging a hole in the floor to make room for the plumbing. Light fixtures were taken down and new recessed fixtures will replace them. The old HVAC unit and block foundation on the outside had to be removed. Ceiling joists were reworked as needed for the new sheetrock and new HVAC. Plumbing lines were found and additions were added to them. Much more work was done.
The Praise and Worship Service each evening included candles lit on the old altar followed by a Scripture and prayer. The RunWay Models, which were youth of the church, led the congregation with many uplifting songs. T-shirts were given to all the youth with the logo of the FACELIFT Project and a photo of the old church on the back of the shirt. After a major storm on Thursday evening, a beautiful double rainbow appeared above the church as if a sign from God that we are on the right track to forward his kingdom in Sandy Run.
So much has been accomplished and so much remains to be done for the youth center in Sandy Run. But with God as our guide and continuous work dates, the youth center will be completed and will be a living testimonial to what can be accomplished when God is in control.