By Jasmine Willis
WAYLAND — The local food pantry was blessed by the efforts of an entire community on Earth Day.
The Wayland Rotary Club reached out to this local reporter to share the good news of community caring in these hard times.
Wayland Rotary Club Member Jean McMillan said over $1,000 in cans, bottles, and cash donations were made to the Wayland Food Pantry located in the Wesleyan Lighthouse Church. The money was collected from the bottle drive held on Earth Day from the club.
“The Wayland Rotary Club hosted a social distancing can and bottle drive to benefit the Wayland Food Pantry. We are still benefiting the food pantry with the money we collected,” she said. “We were given permission by the village to use Victory Park and by Gunlocke’s to use their parking lot for the drive benefit. We stationed three pick-ups in that area and at the Food Mart.”
McMillian said folks were lined up to fill the stations with their redeemable cans and bottles to help the food pantry. Everyone took those cans and bottles to the Tell ‘em Where You Got It Redemption Center in Wayland.
The church was given the check to be used for the food pantry. The money comes as a great need as many are suffering from the hard times, we all face now.
Pastor Rob Parker, Wesleyan Lighthouse Church said the church is still doing the food pantry via curbside. The service is held Wednesdays 4:30 to 6 pm and Saturdays 9 to 10:30 a.m.
“They pull up at the curb and are met with the food right at their car. We are still serving. God is good,” he said. “We are sending a thank you card to the club. Go God and the community. It is a joy. Lord bless this gift and so many.”
Last year this reporter did a story of triumph on the Wesleyan Lighthouse Church saving the famous Jesus and Lamb Window. The story had been revisited in these dark times to shine some hope in the darkness.
From the article that this reporter wrote last year about the church fundraiser. I think it is something we all need to be reminded of.
In 1958 tragedy would overcome this small community in an unimaginable way. St. Pauls United Church of Christ, as it was called at the time, had a large sum of money from the Rev. John Hartman Estate go to a new furnace. On Dec. 14, 1958 a sermon was given by Rev. Frohne. This sermon was about how the church had spent all their money paying off debts.
On Dec. 15 at 4 a.m. the southside of the church had been seen engulfed in flames.
According to local news reports of the time a state trooper saw the flames on his regular route. He reported it to the Wayland Fire Department who called in help from South Dansville, Dansville, and Atlanta to stop the fire. It took them four hours to battle the blaze, which did $100,000 worth of damage.
The true miracle came with the beloved stained-glass window of Jesus holding the lamb being saved in the fire. It appeared the fire stopped right at Jesus’ feet. This gave the devastated congregation the faith they needed to rebuild.
All that was left was the wall with the Jesus’ window and the belfry. Within a year the church began to rise from the ashes. The community came to their aid with wisdom, compassion, and understanding. Evangelical United Brethren Church and Woodcroftery held services for them until it could be rebuilt. When Woodcroferty, which was Wayland High School, was burned down, it would come to St. Paul’s Church for help. The church would let them have classes in their building until it was rebuilt. Jordan Construction Company and John Wright were hired to rebuild the church in 1959. The largest contributor to donating to the church at the time was Howard Gunlocke.
On Sept. 6, 1959 the church was rededicated with greater glory, new pews, donated hymnals and Bibles, and an even more faithful congregation.
Mary Deitzel provided our special music this time, Rev. Frohne gave the special service, and Rev. Frederick Duhl gave a special message from his heart.
Another amazing find in the church is an original Bible from the congregation. Research shows this kind of Holy Bible with the Jesus and Lamb image was only in print from 1901 to 1929. It survived the fire and was a family heirloom to Olivia Kinney. Research shows Olivia Kinney passed away In Florida last year after moving there in 1968.
The thunderous flames threatened to destroy the soul of a congregation, but instead it ignited them into a faithful community that continues to grow and enrich others.
Lighthouse Wesleyan Church is located at 101 S. Lackawanna St. in Wayland. They have church service on Sunday at 10 a.m. They can be reached at 585-728-5005. Pastors Rob and Cheryl Parker are now doing services online at Lighthouse Wesleyan Church Facebook. They also have online Connect on Wednesdays. They are doing Bible Study, prayers and other online ministry. Visitwww.enjoylwc.com/food-pantryfor more information.