“The New Church Building,” Friend, May 1986, 34
Every Sunday on their way home from church, the Amblers drove down Tate Street until it ended, turned left onto Clermont Avenue, then turned right onto Clarktown Road. Halfway down Clarktown Road Dad stopped the car, and the family got out and looked around. In January they saw a snow-covered meadow; in March, a muddy hole in the ground. In May the Amblers saw the wood and brick outline of a building.
“A new church.” Lissy sighed happily.
“Our new church,” Jude exulted.
“A new church that’s all ours,” Caddy echoed their feelings.
“The work’s progressing nicely,” Dad said as he walked closer to the building, his arms clasped behind his back.
Mom reached out to hug the children. “How nice it will be to not meet in that rented hall anymore.”
The hall was where the Amblers and the other members of the Accrington Branch went to meetings each Sunday. Anticipating the move into the new building seemed to make everyone in the branch even less satisfied with their present meeting place. Lissy, Jude, Caddy, and the other Primary children often complained about the hall.
“There’s no parking lot, and we have to park way down the street and walk for miles,” Madeleine complained.
“There’s just not enough room!” Lissy said each Sunday when she scrunched between her parents in sacrament meeting. “I feel like a sausage in a can!”
“We don’t have any classrooms, and even with the dividers Brothers Magnuson made, I can hear everybody’s lesson but mine,” Jude grumbled.
“The piano’s out of tune, and lots of the keys don’t even work!” Freddy lamented. “I sound horrible on this old thing.”
“The hall isn’t like any of the pictures in the Ensign or the lesson manuals,” Caddy said, looking longingly at a picture of a meetinghouse set in the middle of a lush green lawn.
The children complained so much and so loudly that the Primary president scolded them. “Why, when I was on my mission, I went to a branch of the Church that met in a small room above a restaurant, and we were glad to have it! You don’t know how lucky you are!”
But even she was happy when the new building was finished. The Saturday before their first Sunday meeting, the branch president gave the Primary children a special tour. They could hardly believe their eyes.
“Carpet on the floor!” Silvia rubbed her shoes back and forth.
“Cushioned benches to sit on.” Eva ran her hand over the polished wood. “They even have holders with new hymnbooks.”
“A gym!” Eva’s brother George jumped up and caught an imaginary ball. “Now we won’t have to go to the park or the elementary school when we want to play games.”
“A stage!” someone exclaimed.
“A drinking fountain my size!” Lily took a long drink of water.
“And this is the library,” the branch president said. The children smiled at the meetinghouse librarian, who was unpacking boxes of pictures, books, and magazines.
“How many classrooms are there?” Jude asked.
“Eight,” answered the branch president. “Now let’s go see the baptismal font.”
“A baptismal font!” Christina exclaimed. “We won’t have to drive all the way to Clinton Ward anymore for baptisms.”
“More than one piano—and I bet that they’re all in tune like this one!” Freddy played a scale, up and down. “And an organ too. Wow!”
“Next spring we’ll plant grass, trees, and flowers,” the branch president told them.
John pulled the door open, shaded his eyes, and craned his neck. “It has a steeple, too, so everyone will know that this is a church.”
“Yes,” said the branch president, “and when it’s completely finished and paid for, we’ll have a special meeting to dedicate it to Heavenly Father.”
All through the cold winter months Lissy, Jude, Caddy, and the other Primary children prepared for what they called “Dedication Sunday.” They talked about reverence and about how important it was to take good care of the new building. They learned special songs. They drew pictures of the things that they did at church and pinned them up to make wonderful, colorful classroom bulletin boards. And the day before the dedication all the children and their families cleaned the whole building until it sparkled.
Early the next morning the Amblers, dressed in their nicest clothes, drove down Clarktown Road to the meetinghouse. They sniffed the lovely flowers Mom had carefully arranged in vases the night before and packed in a large box. They breathed in the fresh spring air coming through the open windows.
“Do you remember when our new church wasn’t even here?” Lissy asked.
“And when there was just a big hole in the ground?” Jude added.
“But now it’s a beautiful church, and soon it will belong to Heavenly Father,” Caddy said eagerly.
“Yes, this is an important day,” Dad said, turning into the parking lot. “The stake president will be here with his counselors, and many other special people are coming.”
He stopped the car, and they got out and looked happily at their new meetinghouse. Mom and Dad held the hands of the three children as they went up the walk. “Oh, how good it is to finally have our very own building to meet in!” they all agreed.