LACONIA — For nearly two centuries the familiar, majestic old New England white clapboard church has graced Veterans Square in downtown Laconia with its steeple soaring high above the surrounding business community, other churches, and across the way the picturesque railroad station. However, following this Sunday morning's service it will no longer house the Evangelical Baptist congregation which next week will move to its new home in Lakeport.
After years of unsuccessfully seeking property in the local area, the decision was made to purchase Our Lady of the Lakes' buildings in Lakeport when they were made available for sale. For some time, desperately needing more space to expand, the growing EBC congregation had necessitated two Sunday morning services.
Since renovations in Lakeport have been ongoing for several months, for the immediate future Sunday meetings will be held in the property's gymnasium located across Washington Street from the sanctuary. It is hoped that classrooms, an enlarged fellowship hall and other changes will be ready for occupation soon after the first of the year. Eventually, others will be scheduled as needed. For the handicapped, an elevator and ramp have been installed near the new entryway. Meanwhile, the gym is at ground level and shouldn't be difficult for handicap entry. Church offices, including the pastor's, business, and other related rooms, have been operating for over a year in the former large parsonage to the right of the church, separated by the parking lot. And unlike the downtown property, plenty of parking is available.
Tomorrow, Remembrance Sunday, there will be just one service for everyone at 10 a.m. in Veterans Square. Among special features planned are video interviews with long-term members, singing of the older hymns, an illustrated historical retrospect by Pastor Dan Lyle, message by the Rev. Dr. Frank Accardy, a former pastor of the church, and a communion service led by Jeff Price, also a former pastor. A sister church has offered to staff the nursery so that everyone can participate in this historic event. Guests, especially those who may have attended EBC in the past, are invited to join together for this final salute to Veterans Square.
Next Week, November 3, Celebration Sunday, begins a new era in the life of EBC. Another historic worship service will be held in the gym at the Lakeport campus. There will be just one service on that day, starting at 10 a.m. as well.
Beginning Sunday, November 10, the current plan is to resume a two-service schedule, mainly because double services provide more attendance options, thus facilitating growth, and double services also make it possible for those involved in children's ministry to both serve and worship on any given Sunday. Therefore, starting on that day service times will be 9 and 11 a.m. , with a shared coffee break in between.
"I realize that's a lot of change to process but EBC is in a season of change and change is a fact of life," Interim Pastor Lynn Kent noted recently, adding further that he, "as well as Joshua Stone, transitional assistant pastor, and Dan Lyle, worship pastor, is convinced that these changes are in the very best interest of our church and especially those whom we want to reach."
Listed on the National Historic Register, the white structure so symbolic of early New England churches has been a familiar and beloved landmark in downtown Laconia ever since the construction by the Congregationalists in 1836. At that time, known as the North Church, it stood at the corner of Church and Main streets next to property later occupied by Gale Memorial Library which was built between 1901 and 1903. Shortly thereafter, the Congregationalists built a new stone church across Pleasant Street and sold the wooden building to the First Christian Church (formerly known as The Peoples Church, now as Evangelical Baptist) which had the structure moved to its current location across from the railroad station.
Selling price of the old church was $1,000 ($600 for the building and $400 for the pipe organ). It cost another $1,999 to move it across the square to the new lot which cost $1,780. Transported on rollers, it went with everything intact. Nor was the building damaged many years later when the 179-foot steeple was destroyed in the 1938 hurricane, falling across the square and landing on the roof of the depot. The first Sunday service in the relocated and refurbished church took place on Jan. 2, 1904.
Sadly, especially for those who, with their families and ancestors have attended services in this building for so many years, the structure will no longer house a church. However, as noted recently by David Provan, chairman of the building committee, "We realize that buildings are only tools. This campus will allow us to spread God's Word, to help those in the Lakes Region who are in need and hurting, to adequately accommodate those who want to join us, as well as to enable us to mature and grow as Christians."
"I'm impressed by the congregation's unity and sense of adventure about this move", observed Pastor Kent, continuing: "It would be so easy for them to cling to what has always been and miss what could be. It seems like those who have worshipped at the Veterans Square building the longest have been the most enthusiastic about moving forward to Lakeport. They understand that the church isn't a building but rather the people who worship, fellowship and serve together. God is being glorified and the Kingdom of Christ advanced because of this practical demonstration of faith. It is a privilege for me to serve with this wonderful church at this exciting time."
Papers are expected to be passed this month by David and Maureen Kennedy of Hampton who plan to convert the building into an Irish restaurant and pub.
Last Updated on Friday, 25 October 2013 09:00
LACONIA — Laconia High School, the LHS SADD team and Stand Up Laconia publicly thank Franklin Savings Bank for their $1,000 donation that will be designated toward the schools 2nd Annual LHS Chem-Free After Prom Party. This gift was made possible by Franklin Savings Bank's Annual Charity Softball Tournament which raises money each year for local groups and agencies that are in need of support.
The employees of Franklin Savings Bank are poled each year to identify what groups will receive this support. The Laconia High School administrative team, members of LHS SADD and Stand Up Laconia are thrilled that this year some of the charity proceeds went to the chem-free party! The chem-free party was initiated last year by Officer Steve Orton, the school resource officer at Laconia High School, and his SADD Team.
The $1,000 check was received at Laconia High School on October 17 by Ken Sawyer, Regional Sales Manager of the Laconia and Gilford Offices of Franklin Savings Bank. The check was presented to Clare Persson, chairperson of Stand Up Laconia, a grass roots organization that was initiated out of Better Together and seeks to positively impact Laconia by reducing the amount of substance abuse occurring in our city. Also included in the picture are SADD members Savanah Bastis, Cierra Gonyea and Carly DeNauw, and Jim McCollum, Principal of Laconia High School and a member of The Stand Up Laconia team.
Last Updated on Friday, 25 October 2013 08:29
SANDWICH — Town of Sandwich Moderator Lee Quimby and his special guests will bring Sandwich history alive this Saturday, October 26 at the Sandwich Central School from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"Sandwich - The Beginning" will celebrate and highlight the signing of the town charter and some of the town's earliest settlers.The festivities will include an historical vignette, a Congessional Record dedication, a 250th commemorative postal cancellation presentation and music, food and drinks from that time period.
The refreshments will be prepared by the Corner House Inn. There will also be a raffle for a 250th anniversity commemorative chair. There is no charge for this event which is sponsored by the 250th Anniversary Committee.
Last Updated on Friday, 25 October 2013 07:58
MEREDITH — The Meredith Rotary Club recently hosted 20 youth exchange students from Rotary District 7870, which covers much of Southern Vermont and Southern New Hampshire.
The students in the youth exchange program were from Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and Thailand. Students in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program spend the entire school year with host families in the United States. Two Meredith students joined the group, one who spent last year in Chile, and one who is Meredith's candidate to be an exchange student during the 2014-15 academic school year.
On October 11, students met their weekend host families at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Meredith, during a dinner sponsored by the Meredith Rotary Club. October 12 began with a trip to the Squam Lake Natural Science Center. From there, the group attended the Sandwich Fair, compliments of the Sandwich Fair Association. They then enjoyed winding their way through the corn maze at Moulton Farm. Later the participants went off to Funspot, the Weirs Beach Go-Kart track, and making tie-dye shirts, before ending the day on the Mt. Washington dinner cruise. After spending October 13 with their Meredith weekend host families, the students returned to the towns that are hosting them for the year.
Events such as these are rewarding experiences for both the students and host families. Anyone interested in being a Rotary Youth Exchange student or hosting a student, during the 2015-16 academic school year, should contact Dean Gulezian at 677-7172.
Last Updated on Friday, 25 October 2013 07:54
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