I had heard of the building being sold a while back, and it left an odd feeling in my heart.
When I was a kid in the 1970’s, my family and I attended the First Congregational Church along with my aunt, uncle and cousins. While I haven’t regularly attended this church for many years, some of my family is still a very big part of this beautiful old church. Over the years, we have had many family weddings and celebrations here, as well as, more funerals than I’d like to remember. To me, and to MANY people in our community, this old building holds many great memories.
I hadn’t really planned to go to the last service, but it was kind of “on my radar” as something that I might want to do. I knew that Jim and Juanita would be there with some of our family and friends, but I wasn’t sure if I would make one last service or not.
As I sat in my office that Sunday afternoon, I was “reminded” of the service that was about to start. I drove over to the church and was able to sit with some of my family members. Many memories came back to me. Sunday school as a kid, the midnight candlelight services on Christmas Eve that were fun and meaningful. One of my all time favorite photos is from the wedding of my brother and sister in law. That was a special day for sure. I also had memories from the funeral of my father. That was one of the most difficult days of my life, and one that I will never forget.
While none of us took any selfies, I did walk back through Prior Hall, the Worship Center and outside of the ‘ol church one last time. I snapped a couple of photos of the beautiful stained glass. Take a second to click on one of those pics of the stained glass to enlarge it. They are beautiful and will be missed by many.
It was fun to hear people talk about the history of the church and about the history of the surrounding area. While the old homes have been replaced with buildings and condos, the future of Tempe appears to be coming at us very quickly.
I shot this photo of the old building with the crane in the background. It seemed oddly symbolic.