After several years of praying and planning, the congregation and pastors of Marion Mennonite Church, located on SR 120 west of Howe, broke ground for a new church building. On Sunday, June 2, members of the congregation pulled on long ropes tied to an old fashion plow pushed by pastors of the church, Ron and Char Roth.
Members have been praying every hour of each day and meeting the first Sunday of each month to walk and pray over the ground, designating it as "holy ground" to house the new church building. "The excitement is building as we prepare to embark on the vision God has given us here at Marion!” Pastor Ron said of the project. “We have been talking about a couple of images and themes, 'Imagine What God Can Do!' and "We See People!' Recently, we have added another image, that of a plow. This image has a remarkable meaning for us here at Marion. Putting our hand to the plow is a symbol of our commitment to follow Jesus. Here at Marion, our eyes are to be focused on the vision God has given us and the end result, 'Imagine What God Can Do!-Pulling Together!-We See People!'"
The church has been working with WKM and Associates Architectural Services, located in Auburn, Ind. LeRoy Steury of Steury Builders of Pleasant Lake is in charge of construction phase. According to Dan Byler, chairman of the building committee, site and architectural plans have been approved by IDEM. The earth moving portion of the project is set to begin June 17, with the entire project completed before Christmas of this year.
The church construction is operating on a three-year timeline. Since June 2012, nearly $190,000 of the $497,000 (approximately one-third of the project total cost) has been raised in the first year through pledges, fundraising efforts and community donations.
The new sanctuary is being expanded to 64 ft. by 60 ft. and will seat approximately 250. Included will be a double door entrance from the foyer, new lighting and a carpeted stage, along with a new sound system with inputs and monitors to accommodate multiple musicians/singers. Sound will be running into the foyer, fellowship hall, kitchen and nursery areas. Two projectors will be placed in the front of the sanctuary and one along the back wall for those presenting on the stage.
Renovations of the kitchen area includes an expansion of the fellowship hall with an added coffee bar. New appliances and cabinets will also be included in the kitchen.
The main nursery area will have closed circuit TV and a changing table. Individual sleeping rooms and nursing areas with play accommodations is an added feature. A toddler room for children ages 18 months to 4 years old is to be located downstairs.
An updated color and decorating scheme is included throughout the church and outside. Plans also include the addition of a doublewide carport with additional lighting at entrances and in the expanded parking area.