CHASE — Members of the Chase Fellowship Church are counting their blessings this Thanksgiving season. After 11 years of meeting at the Chase Township Hall and 10 years of trying to move into their own church building, last weekend they officially accomplished their goal. An open house took place Saturday and an official dedication was observed Sunday. 

During the dedication service, Pastor Connie Shoemaker presented a special plaque of recognition to Wayne and Judy Eversole, of Baldwin, and their daughter, Jodi Drilling, and her husband, Zack, for keeping other church members motivated when they wanted to give up. 

The church would have had the funds to move in much sooner, but they stayed true to their mission to reach out to the Chase community and gave more than $30,000 over the years to help those in need with food and heating. 

Shoemaker said everyone who walked in the door during the open house commented on what a beautiful building it was.

The Reed City Congregational church donated many church fixtures including an altar, backdrop, baptismal, a stand for people to sign in, a pulpit, communion fixtures, an advent stand and wreath and more. Barn wood from the Carl and Elsie Avery farm in Nirvana trims the windows and doors.

The service closed with a special blessing given by Jodie Maguire, the church’s other pastor. Voices from the congregation blended together in the chorus, “Jesus, I just want to thank you.”

Shoemaker said she remembered when the congregation walked into the town hall for their first service 11 years ago and when they talked about buying Howie’s Gun Shop. 

“We were very hopeful. One of our members said if we got the building, it will be a miracle and we would know God was with it.”

Overcoming all of the challenges that would arise over the next few years, Shoemaker attested God was with them.

When members of the church approached the Lake Osceola State Bank about purchasing the building, the bank worked the payment into an affordable amount for the church. 

When the work to convert the property and building into a church began, the property was designated a brownfield because of a gasoline leak discovered in the ground. Members thought remodeling would go fairly quickly, but it was discovered the south side of the building didn’t have a foundation.  

As problems and costs began to add up, Shoemaker and God took care of everything.

“While cleaning up the store building an antique gas globe was discovered, and we sold it on eBay for $1,300. Then the church had a bake sale at Walmart and earned $600. This amount was matched by Walmart. The combined amount took care of the permit and blueprints. Each time our goal seemed insurmountable, God provided. He didn’t bring us this far to leave us,”she said.

Some people donated thousands of dollars to the church, which Shoemaker noted always came right when funds were specifically needed.

Shoemaker noted the symbolism of the store building being used as a church.

“The church building used to be a grocery store, but now we feed people spiritually. It was also a gas station, and now it fuels and empowers people in their walk with God, and it was a gunshop. Here we learn the spiritual weapons to fight evil,” she said.