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Church plans spiritual and physical renovation

Staff writer

Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church is in the middle of receiving a much needed “faith” lift to the sanctuary.

The church, located outside of Hillsboro on Kanza Rd., hasn’t been renovated since the ’70s, and hasn’t had this many renovations done at once since the building of the sanctuary in 1927.

Pastor Jerred Unruh has been with Ebenfeld since July. He said that the renovations were a group decision.

“Decisions to make the renovations were made by the church council with trustee’s committee managing the details of the project,” Unruh said. “However, the ultimate decision was made by the whole church membership.”

Unruh replaced Gaylord Goertzen as pastor after Goertzen decided to retire in 2013. Goertzen, who came to Ebenfeld in 1988, is excited for the upcoming changes.

“We’ve needed renovations for years,” Goertzen said, “so I’m glad it’s finally happening.”

The renovations include updates to windows, lighting and sound, refinishing and covering of pews, refinishing hardwood floors, replacing carpet, and new paint.

Removing the pews from the main floor of the sanctuary was not difficult; however, the pews in the balcony were a different story, since they wouldn’t fit down the stairs.

“A group of men [had to lower] the pews by rope and ramps down from the balcony,” Unruh said.

Students from the youth group also helped remove the upholstery and staples from the pews.

Along with the sanctuary, services held at Ebenfeld are also changing.

The church has held two separate services since September 2003, but recently decided to switch to one service.

“[The change] was reached to help facilitate a new season of worship,” Ebenfeld moderator Bruce Jost said, “it was made before Jarred was announced as a candidate.”

The dual services focused on different forms of worship music: One more contemporary, including guitars and drums, and the other more traditional, including only a piano and organ.

While the worship services themselves were different, the sermon remained the same. Goertzen’s sermon in the sanctuary was transmitted through a video feed into the contemporary service, where worshipers would watch him on a projector.

Jost said that the decision to combine the services was made to increase fellowship attendance, to help simplify work for worship member volunteers, and ease the transition for the new pastoral position.

“[The change] was made before we knew who the new pastor would be, even though we were uncertain when that would happen,” Jost said. “It felt like God was showing us that now would be a good time to do that.”

Last modified Jan. 14, 2016

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