When the sanctuary of Davenport's Immanuel Lutheran Church opened in 1973, the church building had a welcoming entrance facing Rockingham Road with a concrete planter and a large white cross.
Some years later it was decided the church's preschool should have a place where kids could play, so the wide sidewalk leading to the front doors as well as the planter and cross were removed, and a play structure installed. For safety, a white fence was installed across the front.
People coming to services parked in the back and came in the back door. Although the fence was needed, its visual message was "stay out," church member Buckelew said.
Last summer the congregational consensus was "we needed a more welcoming facade," Buckelew said. She was appointed head of a committee along with three other women to come up with a plan.
They decided to recreate the original look, and the historic restoration project is now just about finished. The play structures and fence were removed by two parish members who have access to construction equipment, and Kelly Designs in Concrete, Davenport, earlier this month poured a concrete sidewalk and planter.
The work was done according to the original blueprints of Parish & Richardson Architects, Davenport, that were found in a storage room.
Money for the project was raised through direct contributions and several fundraisers, including the sale of Christmas centerpieces made by committee member Jan Heilmann of Blue Grass, a classic car show at which committee members sold concessions and a church dinner.
Immanuel Lutheran, 3834 Rockingham Road, has 240 members. Its ministries include Vacation Bible School, fundraising for Pregnancy Resources, a free community Thanksgiving dinner organized by the youth group and Angel Tree presents at Christmas for children of Hayes Elementary School.
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