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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

December 11, 2009

THE CENTER CAN HOLD

I imagine that the road outside the front door was dirt and that several carriages pulled by horses went past that door every hour. I am talking about the year 1877 when our historic Gladden Chapel was just a one-room church on the old country road.

Today that one room church has two sanctuaries, numerous offices, a huge preschool, a food bank and a couple of fellowship rooms. We have flush toilets (they didn’t have those in 1877). There was no need for a food pantry as I suppose everyone grew his or her own food. And church members? I am not certain, but I will guess it was around 100 or 150. I should look it up. We have two to three times that number in worship each Sunday. We have five times that number on the rolls of the church.

That old country road is now highways 33 & 161. At rush hour it is gridlock. If I want to leave then I sit and wait for a break in traffic. If I want to eat dinner, I only have to walk a block for five nearby restaurants or drive five minutes to dozens more on Sawmill.

Everything has changed.

Almost everything. The Gladden Chapel is still relatively the same. So much so, that when folks step into it, they really do feel themselves going back into time. In the past months I have done a wedding in there, a baptism, and a funeral. It evokes fond and long ago memories for some of our older members who remember sitting in those pews when they were kids in say, the 1930’s. To the young couple getting married there, it signifies a simple, beautiful chapel, much like one would find in New England. To the family of the baptized baby, the chapel is intimate and quiet for the blessing of their dear child.

But there is one thing that indicates to us, who are a part of those events that the world has changed all around the chapel. And that indication is….of all things….the radiators and the fact that the entrance to the chapel is now from behind the pulpit. In 1877, the vast majority of people entered through the front door off of the country road (now Bridge Street/33/161). Today most enter off the narthex behind the chapel because the parking lot is behind the narthex and the parking lot is where everyone goes first.

The radiator is right behind the organ bench but it is directly in line with the door behind the pulpit. Everyone who enters the chapel walks past the minister, the organist and the radiator, in that order. Since the minister and organist still work, and the radiator does not, you can guess which one had to go.

I spoke with the contractor who removed it. He estimated that it weighed about 800 pounds and I told him that I intentionally made myself scarce when that thing was about to be lifted out.

I am delighted. You will be too. The entryway (behind the organist and minister) are now safe. No more tripping over and walking around that radiator (our heat source is located elsewhere now). It was especially dangerous for our senior members.

We’ll be ready for the crowds at the 11 pm Christmas Eve Service and so will the Washington Gladden Chapel. It has been our home since 1877 and continues to be the spiritual center of all that we do and all that we stand for.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

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