A heartfelt appreciation for the Spire church requires a little reading about the story of the people and the decisions they made to build a beautiful, modern, artistic church designed for the future. It was not an easy decision, but one based on a commitment to serve God in the place they found themselves. They stood firm in a declining downtown Beaumont when most were abandoning it for the suburbs. Each debate and discussion always ended with a decision to remain downtown because “this church is and should remain a downtown church”.
The Spire, First Methodist’s fith home since 1840, has been watching over Beaumont for the past fifty years. I thought about all the changes it has been witness to. I took some time to think of all the people who watched this church come to life. People who surely gazed in wonder at the cross high atop the spire. People who worked hard and prayed hard for the success of this church. People who believed in a future of serving Jesus in uncertain and changing times. There was a culture that developed in the congregation of this church, one that reaches beyond 50 years. I learned about people with a spirit of moving forward, always looking toward the future but also believing that you see where you are now by taking time to look back. Throughout the pages of their history are statements such as: “to live is to change” and “this church has never given a little answer to a big question”. One of my favorites was “the church is here, now, seeking to serve the new wilderness”. That seems as relevant today as when it was written in 1968.
In the pages of our history you will find people who believed in community, diversity, commitment and social justice. These same people built a beautiful church and left us with a unique cultural heritage. We are living in that future they planned for. Reading this history gave me an even deeper appreciation for the space I worship in and the people I worship with. I know that we can face whatever the future brings because we have the past to show us the way.
I read about a sermon given by Dr. John Wesley Hardt for the cornerstone celebration of this church. He spoke about depending upon Jesus as a cornerstone for growth and that He is the one who joins old and new together and holds it in unity. It seems a simple message from the past is also the hope for the future and that depending on Jesus as our cornerstone is what will always keep us united.
By Michelle Holland