Originally published Aug. 30, 2015 on http://www.oconeestreetumc.org.
ATHENS — More than 200 people attended the Aug. 30 worship service, dedicating the new sanctuary at Oconee Street UMC, replacing the historic building destroyed in a 2013 fire.
“Two years, four months, 14 days and 13 hours, but who’s counting?” said The Rev. Lisa Caine, pastor of the church, as she opened the service. “We’re delighted that each of you is here this morning.”
The service was presided by Caine, district superintendent The Rev. Dr. Gary Whetstone and North Georgia Bishop Michael Watson.
“We are so inspired and impressed by your faith, your sense of unity and your faithfulness to God as you have rebuilt,” Whetstone told the congregation.
In his sermon, focusing on rebirth, Bishop Watson also praised the church.
“Glory Hallelujah! We are celebrating today,” Watson said. “Oconee Street stands as a sign of God’s presence among us.”
As Watson prayed, Whetstone and Caine touched each element that was blessed: the building, the baptismal font, the organ and piano, the pulpit, the Lord’s table and the altar rail.
“This building is a symbol of God’s continuing grace and what God can do,” Watson said in closing the ceremony. “And so are you.”