Putnam Baptist Church holds rededication ceremony

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Mon., Jul. 8, 2013
Efrain, Ruth and Leonela Burgos at the rededication of the Putnam Baptist Church. Photos by D. Coffey.
Efrain, Ruth and Leonela Burgos at the rededication of the Putnam Baptist Church. Photos by D. Coffey.

The Rev. Gil Bourquin led a rededication ceremony at the Putnam Baptist Church on June 30. The ceremony was the culmination of a project three years in the making. The stone church, which was rebuilt in 1904 after a fire gutted the original structure, was in need of repair.

The project began piecemeal and stretched out from one year to the next until a minor disaster forced the congregation to go full speed ahead. A large piece of ceiling came down in February 2013. “We had a church meeting and we decided to do the whole thing,” Bourquin said. “And we did it. We just did it because it needed to be done.”

What it entailed was re-plastering ceiling panels, painting walls and ceiling, replacing aisle runners and sanctuary curtains, and purchasing a new cross. Every pew was moved while repairs and painting were done. It took six people and three four-wheel dollies to move each pew. Crews moved them to one side of the sanctuary then the other before they could be repositioned in their original spots. And the installation of an elevator was completed, allowing handicapped congregants access to the church.

The rededication gave the public its first look at the refurbished church. The sanctuary's interior - with its dark wood panels and thick wooden archways and buttresses and ornate stained glass windows - was restored to its original luster.

In the nine years Bourquin has been a pastor, the community has spent almost $300,000 on upgrades and maintenance of the 109-year-old church. They had to re-point the bell tower after it was struck by lightning. Besides plastering, painting and installing the elevator, they've purchased a new bronze cross and aisle runners. They plan to get new offering plates as well.

“The glory of this event is not the plaster on the walls, or the paint, the curtains and carpet,” said Bourquin. “With apologies to the workers, the glory is in the presence of the Lord.”

After the ceremony, congregants gathered for fellowship and refreshment. Efrain, Ruth and Leonela Burgos attended the ceremony. “It's peaceful here,” Burgos said. “You feel God here. Everyone knows each other by name.” 

“God's doing great things,” Bourquin said. “I'm excited.”

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