Concrete was poured Monday in front of the steps of the Lebanon First Presbyterian Church, symbolic of the fact the church wants people to know it is a place that is open to them, said the Rev. Terri Thorn.
After the harsh winter and many years of wear and tear, the steps to the entrance of the church on Main Street were crumbling, Thorn said. They needed to be replaced. And it was good timing, because the church had been talking for the last year-and-a-half about how to become more accessible to the people in the community. So they decided to construct a new and safer entrance, which will have steps enclosed under a roof and brick walls to match the rest of the exterior.
“It was hard to know where to come in before,” Thorn said. “This will be a noticeable and safe entrance, for us really symbolic of a place people feel they can come to.”
The project is the first of several on the horizon, Thorn added, that will align the church with its mission — to be a good citizen and active member of the city’s downtown. This Saturday is the culmination of 100 days of prayer and discernment, during which church leaders thought about the church’s future.
“We’ve been working on our vision on how our church can be a light and a presence in the community,” Thorn said. “The whole idea is to make sure people know this is a place that is alive and connected to the community — a living, breathing presence in the downtown.”
Several other future projects also aim to make the church more accessible, especially to the handicapped and elderly. One project includes the grassy lot at Meridian and Main streets, which could be turned into a park.
Church leaders went through the Lebanon City Council and the Historic Preservation Commission to get approval for this project. The current church building was dedicated in 1888, and the education wing was built in 1968.