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Morning Sun
  • A need to expand: Wesley House breaks ground for expansion Sunday afternoon

  • It was an absurd moment when Rev. Ellie Foster, executive pastor at Wesley House, consciously thought about the fact her congregation worships weekly surrounded by mayonnaise, toothpaste and toilet paper.

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  • It was an absurd moment when Rev. Ellie Foster, executive pastor at Wesley House, consciously thought about the fact her congregation worships weekly surrounded by mayonnaise, toothpaste and toilet paper.
    Sure, that had been the tradition and was just one more thing that made Wesley House unique, but Foster said as the surroundings sank in she realized it was one more piece of evidence that the ministry needed more space.
    “I’ve been here eight years, and I’ve probably been dreaming about this for seven or seven and a half,” Foster said of an expansion project slated to begin with a groundbreaking this weekend.
    She said the space constraints have necessitated creativity in the one large room that is used for bulk food storage, worship and other events.
    “When we have a big supply of food we have to put it in the big room,” Foster said.
    “Last week, we got a semi-load in and we were fortunate that we didn’t have a meal Thursday night because we didn’t know where we would put the people,” Foster said in a press release issued by the Kansas East Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. “This addition will allow us to get more food at greatly reduced cost. It’s going to make a big difference for us.”
    May’s Garden Party event demonstrates another example of the careful coordination that has been needed.
    “We ordered (food) in April and asked them not to deliver it after the Garden Party,” Foster said, adding that a truckload of food showed up one day after the fundraising event. “It’s a nightmare sometimes, and a real juggling act.”
    “I hope that once we get the transition made it will make things run a little smoother,” Foster added.
    Several factors, and benefactors, came together and made it possible for the expansion and smoother operation to take place, and ground officially will be broken at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
    “It’s a God thing,” Foster said. “It really is. We’ve been talking around the fringes. It felt like we were in limbo for a while, then suddenly it took off.”
    “Everything has fallen into place,” she continued. “We’ve figured out funding.”
    Foster said the ministry had some donations toward the new space and others pledged, and the ministry then became the recipient of the 2000 Member Club grant, which is strategic funding issued to United Methodist ministries around the eastern third of Kansas. Additional grants and a donation from the Sunflower Kiwanis aided toward the ultimate goal of $133,000 needed to complete the project, for which TriState Builders of Pittsburg will be the general contractor.
    “It’s supposed to be done by Oct. 15,” Foster said. “We’re dreaming already of how we can revise our Christmas preparation.”
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