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Following brunch in the gymnasium of Wilson Junior Academy, the group crossed the road to the building site where six men in hard hats with golden shovels participated in the ceremonial breaking of the ground. The white hard hat was worn by Howard Berger, age 99, who had been the main builder of the destroyed church. Other shovelers were, from left to right, Les Messersmith, head deacon; Aaron Berger of the board of elders, Howard Berger, Tom Hubbard, pastor, Mark Blomquist and Kyle Blomquist, architects on the project. 

April 26, 2019

Wilson Church Breaks Ground for New Building

Construction to replace church destroyed by fire is expected by Christmas

The congregation of the Wilson Church on County Road 551 gathered Sunday morning, March 31, for a groundbreaking celebration as the rebuilding of their church is set to begin. The building being replaced was struck by lightning the night of July 25, 2017, and damaged beyond repair. That edifice was the second church housing the Adventist congregation in Gourley Township (Michigan) to be destroyed by fire. The building of that church was characterized by a kind of “barn-raising” spirit in which the whole membership got involved in gathering money (stories of sacrificial giving abound) and material.  Members provided nearly all the building labor as well. 

The groundbreaking date was settled on with very short notice. A One-Call was made to alert members, and to ask any who were willing to help with the meal to call Char Moon . . . and people did call; the result was a hearty breakfast featuring biscuits and gravy (two kinds), potato dishes (also two kinds), coffee cakes, sweet rolls, cereals, fruit and pancakes. Ah, what pancakes! Jerry DeGrave fired up his big griddle, turning out lots and lots of pancakes topped with new-season, locally-made maple syrup. The Wilson Church is fortunate to have a professional florist, Fred Berger, in its membership, and he arranged strikingly unique table décor. 

Following brunch in the gymnasium of Wilson Junior Academy, the group crossed the road to the building site where six men in hard hats with golden shovels participated in the ceremonial breaking of the ground. The white hard hat was worn by Howard Berger, age 99, who had been the main builder of the destroyed church. Other shovelers were, from left to right, Les Messersmith, head deacon; Aaron Berger of the board of elders, Howard Berger, Tom Hubbard, pastor, Mark Blomquist and Kyle Blomquist, architects on the project. 

The church being replaced was built in a simpler time, when codes and permits were not so sophisticated, and planning much less complicated. Today, the preparation has been more complex, but the congregation is excited to be moving forward, hoping to occupy the new sanctuary by Christmastime. This will be a one-level structure, with a covered unloading area and handicap access features. Progress may be tracked on the website www.wilsonsdachurch.org, which also has a place to donate to this effort.