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St. Paul Lutheran wraps up renovation

Open house planned Oct. 6

By Erik Buchinger

St. Paul Lutheran Church in Clintonville will put the finishing touches on its $516,000 building renovation this weekend.

Art Ebbinger, who has been a member of the church since 2014, served on the vision committee for the project alongside Pastor Titus Buelow, Bob Petermann, Dave Schley, Austin Retzlaff and Chuck Schowalter.

“For the most part, the entire project is complete,” Ebbinger said. “Now it’s just a matter of doing the cleanup we volunteered to do ourselves to offset some of the labor costs. We’re putting portions of the basement back together, and we anticipate that being completed this weekend.”

The original building was built in 1969. Ebbinger said it was in need of upgrades.

“It was very dated and just wasn’t what somebody walking into a church would want to see for accommodations,” Ebbinger said. “There wasn’t an area for a mother with a child to go to. No ability for a kitchenette for coffee after the service. It was dated and needed an extensive amount of updating, and that’s exactly what we did.”

The renovation included doubling the space in the narthex, additional bathrooms, a new entryway, classrooms for Sunday School, a vestibule, kitchenette, improved audio and visual system, an expanded space at the front of the sanctuary among other upgrades.

Ebbinger said the planning started in February 2017, and the church broke ground in May 2018.

An open house to see the renovated building is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 6 from 1-4 p.m. with events for children as well as live music.

“It’s an opportunity for the congregational members to introduce themselves to the folks wondering what was going on and an opportunity for them to come in and see the place,” Ebbinger said.

The congregation held a dedication service on Sunday, Sept. 16 where the contractor, MJI Building Services, was invited.

“We made a special presentation on behalf of them primarily because of the beautiful job that organization did for us,”

Ebbinger said. “The president of the company, Mark Ihlenfeldt, graciously donated a brand new 12-foot solid oak cross to the congregation as well.”

The church raised $108,000 to accommodate the down payment of the project. Ebbinger said the hope is to have the facility paid off in seven to 10 years.

Ebbinger said he has noticed a difference in the last few weeks.

“We’re already feeling that,” Ebbinger said. “Of the two Sundays, we had visitors we have not seen from our community attending church with us. We believe based on renovations we have added, the outreach is limitless. We can reach those who need a church home like never before.”

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