This morning, after I dropped Lexi off to school, I had the distinct desire to just take a drive through old Dunlap, just to see it again. I ran across this church building that hadn't noticed before. It was like in the picture above except the sign out front was laying on the ground. I tried to call the number and it was disconnected. After I got home I phoned the Dunlap Village Hall for more information, and they were kind enough to refer me to the owner, whom I then called. She told me that the church is for sale, and arranged for the real estate agent to give me a tour. When I met the agent later this morning, he showed me the church and said that he was just planning to put the for sale sign up today. Here are some more pictures of the inside:
I don't know what to think about the timing of all of this. In the mission report I just submitted to the diocesan council last week I said that we felt it was time to find a place of our own. I had been researching rental spaces, none of which I have been terribly pleased with. I had made some inquiries to the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, all of which have been ignored. I also inquired to the Central Illinois Landmark Foundation, and organization for the purpose of preservation of historic buildings, about any historic church building in need of "saving". They even came up empty. I don't know why exactly I decided to go looking in Dunlap this morning, nor why I didn't already know this building existed since we've been living in this small town over 1.5 years.
On top of all of this, the owner is asking $140,000 for the property, either cash or financed - which is well outside our current financial reach. Without additional help from generous patrons we will not be able to acquire a building like this for some long time.
So, I started thinking that maybe I need to ask others for help. First, please pray for us. The "megachurch" phenomenon is having it's way here as it is just about everywhere else in America. Even so, those disillusioned with it here are still very timid about approaching Orthodoxy. Our feeling is that having a facility of our own - especially a proper church building - will help to ease some of those apprehensions with regard to our budding community as it enables us to invest further in our worship surroundings.
Second, we will establish a building fund for Holy Transfiguration Mission. I ask anyone who feels so led to help us fill it. The presence of traditional old calendar Orthodox Christian worship is a great blessing to the community in which it is lived. In addition, it is our practice to pray at every Divine Liturgy the following prayer...:
"...the founders, benefactors and the brotherhood of this holy temple... may the Lord God remember in His kingdom always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages."...which is a great blessing for those to whom it applies. I encourage everyone to help us establish a permanent temple for Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission - be it in this building or someplace else.
As we approach the celebration this weekend of the Holy Glorious New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia under communist militant atheism, might we consider also making a sacrifice in honor of their memories. Pray. Give alms to the poor. Support your local church community. And, if you would, also remember us. Click here for our contact information.