Yesterday I arrived at the church in the morning, came in the lower level entrance, and walked up the steps to the second floor where my office is.
Anyone who is familiar with the West Des Moines United Methodist Church would tell you that our entrances are not optimal. The door to the sanctuary is far from the parking lot. The door on Grand Avenue opens into what feels like a back hallway. The door from the parking lot enters the basement. In order to get to the main offices or the sanctuary from that door, you have to climb stairs or ride the elevator. If we started all over and designed a new building, our entrances would look different, certainly more accessible. These entrances are the result of a sloping lot and a history of building expansions.
Despite all that, yesterday when I was climbing the stairs, for some strange reason I thought “I love these stairs.” Sort of an odd thought, but it felt true.
First, a lot of people have climbed those stairs over the years. People headed to worship services, children going to Sunday school, brides and grooms ready to say their vows, grieving persons facing a funeral and the loss of a loved one. Up and down the stairs we walk through the events of our lives shared together. Looking for someone at church on Sunday morning? Wait at the base of the stairs and there is a good chance they will come down those stairs at some point.
Second, the stairs have a landing in the middle. The wall of the landing is curved and a bulletin board follows the curve of the wall. We have gifted bulletin board artists in the church. They keep the bulletin board beautiful and informative. Walk up the stairs today and round the landing and you will discover that the Missions Committee is collecting sanitary products and canned vegetables for Bidwell Riverside mission. The book club is reading A Man Called Ove, a good book. And we are looking for volunteers to serve in our State Fair Stand. The act of climbing the stairs reveals the activity of the church.
Yesterday I was noticing all this but more than this, climbing those stairs felt a bit like rising up, climbing to a higher plane, a more hopeful place. Come in those lower doors with whatever burdens you are carrying, whatever lowliness of spirit you might be feeling, and prepare to be lifted up.
So our building isn’t perfect. And if we could, we probably would make some changes. Not everyone is capable of climbing stairs and we want to be accessible. But it is OUR building. And there is a story in this building, a story that has played out on those stairs, about a people rising up, about hopefulness.
As silly as it sounds, I love those stairs.
See you Sunday.
Pastor Cindy Hickman
West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines, Iowa
Like us on Facebook or visit us at wdmumc.org
We worship at 8:30 and 11 on Sunday mornings and we would love to worship with you.
This Sunday we will start a new sermon series called In the Beginning. Could God be starting something new in your life? Looking for a fresh start? See you Sunday!
Our youth are serving in Hazard, Kentucky this week. They are repairing homes, making friends and growing as disciples. Important change-the-world work. Keep them in your prayers!