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Letter to the Editor: News of My Death is Greatly Exaggerated
Ever since the County Commissioners finally went public with their plans to build an annex to the courthouse back in February a day has not gone by when someone does not stop me on the street, or in the grocery store, or in a restaurant or … and offer their outrage and condolences.
Yes, the construction of the Annex will totally obscure Grace Lutheran Church’s physical presence in the community. Yes, the only access to the church will now be through a series of alleys. Yes, we will lose most of our parking for Sunday morning. Yes, we will now be confronted with hardships that most urban congregations do not have to deal with. But… we are not dead… nor do we plan to be in the foreseeable future.
This is a congregation that has endured 61 years of Autumn Leaf Festivals (complete with the ever-present carnival in our front yard). We have had no access to daytime parking. We have had the parking lot chained off on Sunday mornings. We have put up with the taunts and catcalls from the prisoners in the jail and well as being witnesses of numerous breakouts. We have lived through countless proposals to build offices and courtrooms over the decades. We have had former commissioners try to encourage the removal of our pastor. We have seen commissioners come and we have and will see them go.
Through it all we have served this community by providing space for countless organizations and meetings including the County of Clarion and her commissioners. We have met the needs of the community in times of disaster through the work of many hands and generous contributions. We have supported the efforts of the civic life of this community including the library, hospital, ambulance services, fire department and the veterans. We have faithfully proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ and been a place of sanctuary and prayer. I wish to go on record that none of this will end with the construction of an Annex. When (and if) the dust settles on the new construction we will still be here as we have for the past 125 years.
Grace is in good hands… I wish I could be so confident of our county. The word folly comes to mind. The spending of 8 million dollars in an already economically distressed area is questionable at best – you have to begin to wonder what kickbacks the commissioners may be getting out of this. In the past six months I have not found a single person in this county that has viewed this project as necessary, feasible or even reasonable and yet the commissioners insist there is no credible opposition to this construction. The commissioners may ride confidently in another Autumn Leaf Parade but as the emperor with his new set of clothes found out… we all know the truth.
No, the news of Grace’s death is greatly exaggerated… let’s pray the same is true of our county.
Jake Jacobson, Pastor
Grace Lutheran Church
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