Among others from our congregation at South Long Lake Presbyterian Church (SLLPC), Rhonda Pickar and I had been really missing our church since it burned down in Nov 2010.
After the fire our church had met for services at the Long Lake Town Hall for a time before the Presbyterian Church had the the SLLPC dissolved in 2011 and after that most of us floated around from church to church while others just stopped going at all . We lost our building but we still had our people and luckily no one was hurt in the fire.
A couple items that survived the fire is our Wrought Iron Advent candle stand and the bell you see mounted in the back of the old Chevy-I know it looks odd but I have a cool story about that.
Ever since we lost the church we have been praying about it and after praying for courage we had even talked with a land owner near the old site about purchasing his land if ever it was for sale and ideas had been floating around about what we could do- It had been on our minds and hearts to get a Church going again one day.
In the springtime of 2012 Rhonda got a strong feeling to move on this- she called me saying she wanted to start church services up at the Long Lake town Hall again. Tim Holtz, her brother felt the same way she said – and I will admit my reaction was less than enthusiastic- I was inwardly groaning because I knew it was going to take a lot of effort and work- I can be pretty lazy.
That same night I woke up about 2 am and I sat up in bed with this vision in my head- from the Holy Spirit I am certain. I saw the Old 51 Chevy pick-up that we didn’t even have yet- with the Church bell mounted in the back, and I am telling you, I got excited, really excited!
Sitting up in bed that night I drew a picture of the truck with the bell in the back and at this point I hadn’t even seen a picture this Pickup yet. Craig was buying it from his Uncle and was going to be bringing it home from his Dad’s home place out in western MN in a few days -we had no idea we would be using it to transport the bell to church every Sunday! So when I shared this with others they were all excited and when the truck arrived a few days later they went right to work bringing the bell out of Pickar’s barn where it had been stored for the last couple years and mounting it in the back of the truck. It was awesome!
We started calling the previous members of SLLPC to see if any were interested in starting back up as a Non Denominational Church and we got more folks involved. One important matter was we didn’t have a Pastor.
A little of my background of lining up speakers and bands at New Song Music Ministries on Sunday nites under the leadership of Bob Evans, did came in handy and thanks to Bob for the encouragement he gave when I asked him for his advice as to how to begin a new church- we owe a lot to him for that!
So I called all the Pastors I knew and some speakers were referred to me as well that became regular speakers for us. A couple of us agreed to pay the Guest Pastors or speakers and one paid the rent at the Town Hall and we took turns bringing the refreshments. So we began holding services.
For our very first Service on July ist 2012 was with our Pastor Dwight Johnson who was retired, he agreed to come and bring the message. It was an amazing morning! A lot of tears of joy fell during our first service July 1, 2012, especially when we rang the bell.
I was watching traffic pass by the town hall that Sunday and that bell truck was really turning heads! God can do surprising things even in these days and I love His sense of humor!!
– Fay Holtz