I took a tour of The River Church today and this unexpected event turned what I expected to be just another non-eventful Friday into a nice day. I initially was stopping by to check out their yard sale in front of the old Sacred Heart rectory. I made a few purchases, including some Disney videos for my grandkids, a couple of PA speakers and a guitar amp and was loading it up when I ran into Pastor Crombie. The church is open during the yard sale for the curious to go in and check out, with the sale continuing tomorrow. Crombie asked me if he could show me all the work that had gone into renovating the former Sacred Heart Church. Having attended this church all through my childhood, I jumped at the chance to get a guided tour. I was impressed the moment I walked through the center front door. I just want to note right from the start, that as the renovations were being done the church tried to reuse or preserve former elements and aesthetics of the old church and this seems to have worked out remarkably well. The front lobby area had been enlarged  and now felt very spacious but still retained the high arcing archways over the entrance doors. There was a serving counter which was made from the front pew rail/wall of the church. Much of this same woodwork can be found throughout the church.

As I entered the church I saw that the pews had been removed and replaced with modular seating, which can be configured into different shapes if necessary. The lighting and sound system was state-of-the-art and I think I would have hours of fun playing with it. The entire church had been repainted in very pleasant yet soothing colors that made the church very warm and inviting.

As I mentioned earlier, the entry area of the church was now much larger and that meant the balcony had grown. This was furnished with comfortable chairs and sofas and looked like a good place for small groups to meet. The area that I had been baptized as a baby was also transformed into a relaxing sitting area.

I'm sure I've forgotten a ton of things that he showed me but the one thing I kept thinking was that their church was beautiful. From the ashes of a former forgotten and abandoned church had risen a phoenix and it was beautiful. In a text that I sent to my niece, who is a member of The River Church, I stated, "Everyone that was involved in the project should be proud. They've created a wonderful place to worship that manages to balance a feeling of a place of reverence with the modern feeling of the hope of life." I went on to say, "I really like that they incorporated some of the old with the new. It was very touching and a sign of respect towards what use to be."

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