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Stepping up to a new project

Posted: Monday, Oct 21st, 2013

Work began Friday on a project to remove and replace the steps on the west side of First Presbyterian Church. The church is planning its second Fall Supper from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 27 to help raise money for the project. The former steps are shown in the second photo. PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED

First Presbyterian Church is planning its second annual Fall Supper from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, with all proceeds going toward a project to reconstruct the steps on the west side of the building.

Work began Friday to tear out the steep steps leading to beautiful doors marking the west entrance of the church.

“It’s a pretty big project,” said Deb VanOverschelde, who is chairman of the fall supper along with Stephanie Myers. “The cement is crumbling, and when you get to the top step, you’re standing on that step to open the door.

“So many people don’t even use those doors, it is dangerous to stand on that top step, opening the door at the same time,” she added.

The new steps will feature a wide landing in front of three sets of double doors facing Dakota Avenue, and they will not be as steep going up.

“The design is to be more gradual so that entering the church from those steps will be much more accessible,” VanOverschelde said. The project is expected to cost about $60,000.

This year’s fall supper will feature both turkey and ham with all the trimmings. There will be games for kids and a silent auction. Meals will be delivered to shut-ins. For ticket information call the church at 352-8789.

VanOverschelde said she and Myers organized the first Fall Supper last year to help raise money to repair the copper dome on the church roof.

“This year we decided to do it again for the steps, and then we need electrical work done,” VanOverschelde said.

Years of weather damaged the dome and its windows were covered with wood. “Now the dome has been beautifully restored with new copper and new windows,” she said.

VanOverschelde said she used vinyl lettering to put biblical sayings on the glass windows that were removed from the dome, and some of those will be available at the silent auction.

“We’re actually looking into next year,” she added. “When the electrical work is done we’re going to resurface the floor in the basement, and we want to redo some stuff in the kitchen and put in more ranges — but you have to have the electrical work first.

“It’s an old building,” VanOverschelde said. “So many years they haven’t done any repairs. It’s a matter of starting somewhere and progressively getting it done one step at a time.”

Presbyterians have been a part of Huron since 1881. The Rev. Melancthon Chapin led the first worship service in newly platted Huron on May 6, 1881. The service was held in the unfinished Wheeler drugstore as worshippers sat on bundles of shingles!

Presbyterians built the present structure in 1914. It was extensively repaired after a 1928 fire, and enlarged with a Christian Education wing in 1962.

“I love this church, it has so much character,” VanOverschelde said. “The older churches have so much personality and you can’t replace that.”

Last year just under 500 people attended the Fall Supper, and VanOverschelde said they’ve set a goal of 600 this year.

“Stephanie and I both came from small churches and we had fall suppers to help support the church,” she said. “It’s real family-oriented, and we want to bring that back.”

For the complete article see the 10-20-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-20-2013 paper.

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