ALBION - Members of the Albion United Methodist Church have left their church building and will soon see the contents of the building go out of the door.
The church is hosting an auction for items to clear out the church from pews to stained glass windows at noon Sunday. The auction will feature dozens of items and will raise money for the demolition of the 105-year-old church building at 101 W. North St. in Albion.
"We hope to gain enough from the sale of the items to be able to completely take it down, haul it away and landscape the area," said Mary Dooley, a longtime church member.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Longtime Albion United Methodist Church members, from left, Mary Dooley, Gene McRill and Peg Gall are pictured in the church. An auction will be held at noon Sunday to sell all the items in the church, which has been vacated by the congregation and will be torn down.
Due to structural issues, the building is no longer sustainable for the 32-member congregation, which now meets at a chapel connected to a nearby insurance office.
Seeing the church go away is emotional for its longtime members.
"I'm 82 and I've never known any other church," said Gene McRill. "It's sad, but life goes on and it will go on."
The members are quick to point out that even though they have moved out of their church building, the congregation that was established in 1857 is staying together.
Member Peg Gall said this is unique because with most churches that are vacated the congregation splits up and heads to other churches.
"We are continuing together because we have been together all of these years," Gall said.
While the current chapel is serving the needs of the church now, led by pastor Cheryl Ridenour, the future is uncertain for the congregation.
"I think God will give us a message," McRill said.
Dooley said they will continue to reach out to more people to help them worship God.
"We'll miss our beautiful stained glass windows and the atmosphere in the sanctuary," Dooley said. "But you don't have to have these to worship God."
The auction is being led by Van Metre Auction Company. The company has items that will be up for bid at the church posted on its website at www.vanmetre.net.