Building Update 11/09/2020

The past couple of weekends we have had members of the Construction team out on the new property to work on a couple of projects.

There have been 2 crews hard at work on site. One crew has been digging outside and putting in drainage tile for the site! Heavy machinery at work.

The other crew has been inside framing the interior walls for all of our classrooms, bathrooms and offices! We can really get a feel for the size of our building now on the inside. It is a true blessing to see these gentlemen hard at work!

Enjoy some pictures.

Building Update 11/1/2020

The work has resumed! This time it’s with our own volunteers.

Yesterday our volunteer crew began to build the stage, began to dig the drainage tile, finished the office wing walls of the new church and began to chalk out our fantastic real-people-sized bathrooms! All three of them! Remember we have added a family restroom as well.

It is a great crew, led by our Building Committee and Trustees, and we thank them for the donation of their time, skill, and effort. Please pray for safe work, as they are back on the job today as well. Pray too that the Holy Spirit blesses them as they work with wisdom, skill, and fellowship.

New Building Update 10/21/2020

The workers from Ameren are at the site today setting up the transformer to provide power to the new building. It’s good weather for the work, and another exciting step towards finishing the project!

Please continue to be in prayer for a safe worksite, and for a safe harvest, as we have many church members hard at work in that area now. It is exciting to see the work continue, and a great thing to look forward to a new building. We miss seeing you all in person so very much, and look forward to the day when the pandemic has ended. Until then, please be safe, show compassion, and know that this project continues because we believe that God is with us, and there is a light of hope at the end of this long tunnel! May the peace of Christ be with you and yours until then.

Building Update 10/14/2020

We have some really exciting news to share with you today! First of all thank you so much for your continued support. We started this year with the project still needing over 28,000 dollars and now only just over 6,000 is needed for construction between now and the end of the year! Your support is making great things happen for our church, and building a new space for the Kingdom of Heaven here in Downs!

We are about to begin an exciting step in the building project now. Several of our great volunteers are about to begin work inside the building. They will be framing the interior walls, building the stage, and more! Some of the chalk lines are already drawn on the floor and the work will begin soon.

You can just start to see the offices as they are boing drawn in on the floor to the right.
Our new bathrooms are SO BIG! I couldn’t even get them all in on one shot. And this shot is elevated, not at all taken from ground level!
Here in a panoramic shot you can see the worship area (and kitchen, and storage) with the insulation in and the ceiling installed. The new materials that our volunteers will be working with are already loaded into the space.

Please pray for good weather, for the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and for a safe workspace for our volunteers as they are soon to get started! We’ll keep you updated with more pictures as the work continues.

Building Update 10/1/20

The church property on Seminary street is now officially for sale!

For any with specific interest in the details of the property and the sale you can find a lot of great information here on a sheet prepared by our excellent trustees.

Please be in prayer for the sale of the building and this next important step in moving to our new building. Construction is slated to finish sometime in late February of next year. Thanks again for your prayers and support. We’ll finish this update with a picture of the new site now that all the brickwork is finished.

New Building Update 9/21/20

A big step in the building process took place last week on a Tuesday afternoon. The Sunday morning crowd yesterday got to see it first hand, and we have some great pictures to share with you here. Our Stained glass has begun the move from the old location to the new one!

The image of Jesus on the south facing panel is one of the images we are taking with us. Each piece must be disassembled in the shop and then re-leaded for display in the new building.
Here is the center panel of the East facing window being removed. These panes of glass were quite fragile (only 1/8 of an inch thick in places!), and our Trustees engaged a very professional crew from Window Creations to remove them and prepare them for the new location.

Watching the removal of the stained glass was bittersweet. As the Pastor I can surely say that this location on 102 S Seminary has been used well for ministry, and the beloved windows and artwork have been a focal point for our worship here.

It is exciting to know that we are taking some of the best of the 1909 Sanctuary with us, to display in the new location. In addition to the four pieces we are taking with us, we have also contracted extremely high resolution photographs of all the remaining stained glass. This will allow us in the future to print (like literally print!) windows that can be displayed in the new building! We can call up any of the 19 smaller windows for reproduction at any time!

The north facing window’s center panel features Christ from the 23rd Psalm. This beautiful window never got quite as much light as the others because it was so close to the old parsonage. In the new building it will be nice and bright.

While I know as pastor that this scripture i’m about to quote is NOT about stained glass windows; I can’t help but think of John 16:16 as we watch the windows head out for renovation. Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

We take the best of us with us as we go: our love of God, our great ministries, our vibrant congregation, and even our artwork. A new place is being prepared for ministry in Downs, and we thank you for your support and prayers.

A later addition into the plan, we also decided to take one of the beautiful rose circle pieces at the top of the windows. This piece too will be prepared for display in the new building.

New Building Update 9/15/20

The brick work continues at the work site! They have begun to work on the front face of the building, and you can see some of the limestone blocks that will be featured on the corners of the building.

This is the north side of the front face of our building. These windows look into the work rooms and offices.
Scaffolding here is being set up for the south side of the front of our building. These windows look into the fellowship hall area of the church.
A photo from after a bit of work has been done on the front side of the building. If you look closely you can see two beautiful pieces of limestone to mark the corners of the building.

New Building Update 9/10/20

The great brickwork at the church continues. Here are a few shots of the work at the new location.

The brick on the north facing wall is finished now and you can really start to see some of the finished look of the building!
This is the brick on the north facing side of the building. This side of the building has the chapel and offices inside of it and the brick is finished up the front.
The bottom portions of the supporting posts for our covered entryway are going to feature some of the same brick that is on the building itself.

Building Update 8/13/20

It’s time to take a look inside! A lot of the new work that has been accomplished cannot be seen now just by driving by, but good work is being done! Let’s step inside the new building.

A view from the inside of the Narthax (or greeting area) looking out the main doors. The shape of the cross in them is beautifully highlighted, and you can see there’s a lot of work going oninside the building itself.
Some of that work is in the ceilings as the fire-suppression sprinkler system is being installed throughout the building.
Also going on right now is the important adding of insulation to all of the exterior walls. Here you see a bit of a panoramic (that’s why it looks a little stretched) view of the new stage for the worship area.
I absolutley love this picture from the chapel! Just happened to be in at the right time and able to catch the sunlight reflecting off the floor. There are so many special places for worship and ministry being created inside this building and each is quite different from the other. We will have a very multi-purpose multiple-use building which will enable us to do all kinds of ministry in the future.

Thank you for your continued support. Our Building Committee is hard at work on the interior of the building now and we’re not too far from a big update that will be part of the worship service. Please continue to pray for a safe workspace, and for God to be present in the work as we continue to build for the Glory of God.

Building Update 8/5/20

The last pieces of the roof are going up and the drive-under awning is coming together nicely.

In the picture above you can see the chapel on the right. It’s a great sized room for small-style prayer meetings, worship services, meetings, or even small weddings. Notice the two extra-tall (16 feet) windows on the right side. There’s an exciting possibility there.

The two large windows of the chapel.

The company that is working with our stained glass will soon be coming to the church (mid-fall) to do two important things: 1) take high resolution photographs of all of our stained glass windows, and 2) remove and re-set the three central Jesus pictures in the sanctuary windows and one of the rose-circle windows. Those three pieces will be re-leaded and re-framed to be displayed back-lit within the building. Currently we are looking to put them somewhere on the stage in the worship area.

But those high-resolution photos will allow us to reprint our windows on glass. And as you stand in the chapel and look out through those beautiful, tall windows, it looks like a perfect place to do a “phase two” stained glass. While we might not use our originals in that room, there’s an exciting opportunity to use the reproductions we will be capable of making in the future.

Please continue to pray for our Building Committee, who are diligently working on stage lighting, sound systems, stage curtain, and interior colors for the building. Please also be in prayer for all the construction workers, for safety and grace as they continue to build. May the work be blessed by God, and may it be a blessing to others.

Building Update 7/28/20

The Entryway to the church is coming together really beautifully. What you see here will be the front doors to the building, and the cross that marks our faith is beautifully worked into the design. Extending out from here will be a covered awning which you can see the posts for in the next picture.

Both the siding and the roof are beginning to take shape as the new building progresses. Every day it looks more and more like our congregation’s new home. A place of worship, an outpost for the kingdom of heaven here in town, and a home for our church family!

We ask for your continued prayers as the work is done on the building, prayers for safety and good conditions. We also ask for your prayers of guidance as our building committee talks stage and worship area details (sound, projection, chairs, and much more!). Please also be in prayer for our excellent team of volunteers who have offered to help frame the inside of the building. It won’t be too long before they are called and that work can begin.

Building Update 7/20/20

Members of the building committee visited the site this morning to take a look at siding and windows, and while we were there we took some great new shots of the exterior.

Here is the front of the building, the side that faces SR 150, you can see that it is prepped for siding and the framing of the entryway is coming together nicely.
Here you can see the south-facing side of the building. If you see something that looks like a little mini-roof peak on the left-center side that’s our new CHAPEL! We have vaulted the ceiling in that room to give it a sacred feel and those two big holes are for a set of beautifully tall windows. The bit coming off to the right is our stage.
Now moving to the NORTH facing side you can see the worship space in the center standing above a side hallway that leads to a nice sized youth room on the left. On the right is where our nursery will enter into an attached outdoor playground for our smallest members. That area is also connected to the fellowship hall.
One more fun shot, just because the clouds were beautiful today. You can see the front and the south facing sides of the building here.

New Building Update 7/15/2020

Hey everyone! Here is your New Building Update from Kyle.

I wanted to talk a little bit about the excitement I have for the new building. First, if you haven’t driven by lately… You’re missing a lot! The construction team has been hard at work and we can now look at the building and have an idea of where everything is!

One of the newest topics of discussion for us has been the stage space and how to equip our space for everything we could possibility need – sound and power outlets. We are blessed to have some very knowledgeable people here in the church who can help us pick the right set up for our stage!

I had the privilege of walking in before the walls and roof were finished and the space is going to be so perfect for us.

Obviously, I am most excited for the multipurpose gym/worship space. As someone with a sports background, having this space is going to create all kinds of new opportunities for our church. Some of the ministries we already have are going to benefit tremendously from this space – we will have room to do large group games for our NextGen Ministries!

We also have the exciting opportunity to try some new ministries – sports ministries! This is something I am excited about because of the community we live in. We could do some real good for this community by using the gym space effectively.

I see so many great opportunities in this building, and it is starting to feel real! Seeing the building go up so fast has been a true blessing. I have also received a lot of messages from people in the community asking questions about the new building. We are getting noticed and I can tell you it isn’t just our current congregation that is excited.

We will continue to post updates as we get new exciting news.

– Kyle

Phase 4 on-site Worship Services

Are you considering joining us for on-site worship during phase 4 of Illinois re-opening plan? This post is designed to give you a clear picture of what worship at the church on Sunday morning will look like, so that you can make your own best decision about whether to join us or to wait. Whichever you choose, we have a worship service for you! The online service will continue, as normal, all throughout phase four. God is with you, and you’re important part of our church. Please make safe and responsible decisions about when to join us in person. Below is a video explaining worship during phase four, or if you would like to read the main-points just scroll past the video.

During Illinois Phase 4

  • If you are sick, showing symptoms, or have been exposed to someone who is ill, it is your Christian duty to stay at home and join us online instead of in person. Our church is here to help support you though, please call the office if you have needs we can assist with, have prayer requests, or are low on supplies.
  • We are strongly encouraging any and all who are in the high-risk categories for Covid-19 to stay home during Phase 4. We’re working hard to provide you with high quality online worship and alternative ways to connect with the church.
  • Worship attendance will be capped at 50 people in the sanctuary
  • Worship attendance will be capped at 25 people in the fellowship hall
  • Masks will be expected no exceptions made. This one of is the best ways we can care for one another at this time.
  • Seating will be every-other pew, those who live in the same house can sit together as a group, all individuals or family-units are asked to keep the 6 feet social distance guidelines.
  • We will dismiss by rows after the service to avoid dense crowds in the entry/exit area.
  • There will be no fellowship meal, no Sunday school on-site, just the one worship event.
  • The doors will open at 9 AM and the service will start at 9:30.
  • There will be music, but there won’t be singing, we have been asked to discourage singing.
  • No attendance pads or offering plates will be passed, and the bibles are temporarily out of the pews (but you are welcome to bring your own Bible) – this is just to try and reduce common contact surfaces.
  • Hand sanitizer will be abundant and available.

Building Update 6/28/2020

You’ve been watching the new structure as it quickly takes shape, and let’s have some fun with this update and go inside!

There has been quite a bit going on at the worksite! We watched the main multi-purpose portion of the building go up first, but now the surrounding rooms and hallways are taking shape. You’re looking at the stage as it comes off the main room on the left of the picture, and the bathrooms and nursery on the right side. The long hallway coming toward you in the middle of the picture is going to turn left and create some great youth ministry space!
The hallway near the bathrooms, this shot is showcasing one of the I-beams used to support the framing of the building, and you can see all the hookups for our MUCH LARGER bathroom facilities!
A view from inside the new multipurpose space which is the perfect size for our church. It’s a fantastic room for big gatherings and church family events.

These pictures were provided to show the work being done and they showcase the framing, but more pictures are on the way to show the stage, the entryway, chapel, and more! Please continue to pray for a safe worksite, and thank you so much for your support of this ministry step for our church. To God be the glory!

Building Update 6/20/20

This week’s progress on the site is nothing short of amazing! Most of the walls and beams and have been put up now, and you can really get a picture of the size and scope of the project!

In the picture above you can see that the roof-framing for the multipurpose space is complete enough to make out the shape of the room. That multi-function space will host our worship services and our many larger activities. Behind that big space to the left you can see the stage taking shape, and behind that to the right is what will be our chapel with a bit of a vaulted ceiling.

The shorter pieces coming out in front are beginning to show you the shape of the classrooms, bathrooms, and nursery that wrap around the building. Please continue to pray for safety at the work site, and find an excuse to pass by on 150, it’s an exciting site. May God continue to bless the work that has been done, the work that is being done, and the work and ministry to come.

New Building Update 6/15/20

We’ve gone three dimensional! This first standing section will be a part of the multi purpose space that will be used for worship and activities.

The first section of wall is standing on the site and many more are getting ready to be raised! We thought we’d share some of the good news in pictures and ask you to continue to pray for the safety of the workers, and for the joy of creating a new space for our church community! May God be in the work, in our hearts, and bless the village through this project.

Building Update 6/8/2020

last week the concrete slab was poured at the site! There’s a solid floor down now and it won’t be too long before you can begin to see the frame of the building as it is put together. We have a great new place to look forward to! Please continue to be in prayer for the safety of the workers, and for the town and the country through this difficult time.

Building update 5/28/20

The pieces of the building are beginning to arrive! Depending on the rain and moisture on the site, you should expect to see concrete being poured sometime next week. Once that has dried and set you’ll start to see the bones of the building going up. We’ll go from 2d to 3d! If you get the chance to drive by in the next couple of weeks it will be an exciting thing to see. Please pray for the safety of the workers, and please share your excitement with your neighbors and family. May this new location be a place of hope, where the grace of Christ can be known by all.

Standing somewhere toward the edge of the parking lot this panoramic has the building footprint on the left you can see all the pipes and electric stuff sticking up and the delivered materials and pieces stored on the right. It should not be too long before the site starts to take shape.

Building Update 5/22/20

The last pieces of the underground work are being finished. This is everything from the plumbing, to the conduit for important speaker/microphone cables and even the grease trap in the kitchen. As each of these are finished we get closer and closer to being ready to pour the concrete that will be the floor of the new building!

The plumbing for the new kitchen

New Building Update 5/16/20

Water water everywhere! The rains may slow us down a bit, but it’s neat to see some of the draining and grading work on the sight doing what it’s supposed to do. Water has been a big theme for the week as the work has moved underground to get the plumbing into the building.

Not too far from the new kitchen!

In the coming weeks we’ll be putting any and all necessary electrical work under the ground, including the conduit that will connect the new stage with the new sound-booth. Once all the underground work is done then, weather permitting, you’ll see a lot of concrete!

New Building Update 4/27/20

Today’s photos are from before the concrete footings are poured.

You’re looking at the places where the concrete footings of the building will be poured (possibly even today!). The wind has been a blessing to the work because it helps dry the ground quite quickly, which allows a lot more to be accomplished today. What a blessing to see the footprint beginning to take shape.

Please continue to be in prayer for the workers and for their safety. Our prayers are with you as you spend extra time at home. Our online worship services can be accessed from the front page of our website www.downsumc.org Thank you for your support and blessing of our efforts to build a place for the church to grow in.

New Building Update 4/22/20

Setup for the site continues today. The mobile office has been set up for several days now to provide a place to coordinate construction from. Today we saw the instillation of a new power pole. This one is temporary for the purposes of construction, but it is exciting to see each step as it proceeds.

May the Lord be with you and bless you in your homes during this stay-at-home time, and we hope that these small updates on the project bring a bit of hope. As the workers continue to do the portions of the project that can be done during this time, we pray that God would bless them with health and safety.

New Building Update 4/14/20

The ground is finally dry enough to begin a bit of our site-work!

The project is on the move again!  On 150 you can see our excavators beginning to work on what will become the concrete foundation of the new church.  We’ll continue to keep you posted week by week as new improvements to the site begin.  As we take a look at the physical foundation of the church, it is a good time to remember our spiritual foundation: 

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.  –1 Corinthians 3:10-11—

The stakes are used to mark out various corners and rooms in the new building so that important grading and groundwork can be done.

May all of the work of our church stand on the foundation of Christ which we will celebrate this Easter season!  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son for us.  May everything we do come from thanksgiving and worship of God, and move from that place outward in Christ like love of neighbor.  We ask for your prayers for the workers as the begin the portions of the building project that can be done during this time of social distancing.  We will wait with patience for anything that might need to pause until the concerns about Coronavirus have lessened.  May God be with you in your homes, to keep you safe, to bring you peace, and to bless our community with health.  May God be with our nation through a spirit of unity and peace, through inspired scientific research, compassionate care, and wise leadership. 

If you have not yet joined us for worship our services are all online at www.downsumc.org  We look forward to the day we can gather together again, but until then we are united in the spirit and together in heart.  We’ll keep you updated with the portions of the project that can be worked on.  We have much to be thankful for, and much to look forward to. 

Online Worship Services

The link for the worship service is below, as is a chance for you to download the church bulletin. We put the song lyrics in the bulletin in the hopes that you’d sing along. Thanks so much for joining us for worship this morning. Our church is praying for you and we look forward to the opportunity to gather together again.

  1. March 22, 2020 Worship Service

Building Update 3_5_2020

The church’s Legacy team is hard at work gathering photos from the community, and putting together a picture archive of the history of the church.

As we await dryer weather and the arrival of the electric utility to the worksite, it’s a great time to update you on the fantastic work of our Legacy team.  They have been busy at work gathering pictures from the congregation, histories from local archives, lists of pastors who have served, and much more. 

Legacy is also taking a look at the artwork and paintings in the church, and gathering the theology behind the stained glass window symbols.  All of this is to help us do the best job of telling our story as we move. 

The team is looking at some really exciting possibilities like a timeline-mural, and the design of a welcome desk to help tell our story.  It is a joy to see so many of our congregation diving into the story of our church, and committed to sharing it.  Membership on the Legacy team is still open, and there is a place for you to join. Simply contact the church office at 309-378-2651.

Building Update 2/24/2020

These are the center panels of each of our three beautiful windows. In order from left to right, they show scenes from: Revelation 3:14-22, Psalm 23, and Matthew 26:36-46.

While we continue to wait for better weather, this Sunday we heard an update from the Trustees. The three center panels of the largest stained glass windows of the church will soon be removed (in late-mid March or early April). They are being removed now to give enough time for them to be prepared for display in the new building. It’s quite a process to remove and re-display a stained glass window and takes some time. The exciting part is that we are on schedule to have these beautiful windows on display in the new building on opening day!

Part of the reason for the announcement was an important heads-up to the congregation. If you want pictures of the old sanctuary before the windows are removed, you have about a month to get them.

There’s some great work going on in the background as we await dryer days: The Legacy team is gathering pieces of our history, working with village, county, and denominational historical archives. The Publicity team is hard at work and you’ll see the fruit of their efforts soon. We are beginning to have practices for the additional worship team. The church is at work to prepare for our new location. A large thank you to all of our amazing volunteers! Please continue to be in prayer for a safe project, and for the new home of the Downs United Methodist Church.