(Nov. 9, 2018) After several months, the Taylorville United Methodist Church, located on Adkins Road in Berlin, has reopened for prayer.

The 170-year-old church was in dire need of a new foundation, and all Sunday prayers had been relocated to the communal hall right next to the church while it underwent construction.

“Today we have come together as a church family, brought God into our lives, and raised this church up to a new foundation,” Chairperson Bruce Clark said during Sunday’s service. “I want to thank my foundation committee for the job that they’ve done and their support. I also want to thank everyone for donating and supporting.”

The project took roughly five months to complete after two years of planning, and cost $130,000, which was raised very quickly by members of the church, local businesses and other churches in the area.

“I’d like to thank the individuals, the businesses and even other churches that helped make this a reality,” Pastor Walt Crocker said during Sunday’s service.

The church also received a 167-year-old surprise while building the new foundation, the discovery of a time capsule unearthed for the first time since 1851. The box contained a New Testament, a small hymnal, a registry of the members at the time and an old book from that era.

“We knew there was a corner stone, which we replaced,” Contractor Russel Snader said. “As we were pulling it out, we saw the top of it had been hollowed out and there was a small four-inch by seven-inch by three-inch-tall box. Most of the stuff inside was in pretty good shape.”

Church members quickly preserved the artifact the best way they could and displayed photos of the original documents and objects during the service.

time capsule

A new time capsule containing an updated bible, hymnal, photos from the original time capsule from 1851, current photos and even a cornbread recipe was buried alongside the older time capsule during construction of the church's new foundation.

Before completing the foundation work, a new time capsule as well as the original were placed back into the earth for the next generation to discover.

“They helped us to understand what it was to be a people of faith not only as they reached out to their generation but also to us as the future generation,” Crocker said. “We in turn put together a new time capsule with records from this day and a thumb drive. Imagine 150 years from now somebody will open this box and say, ‘What is this?’”

In addition to the thumb drive, within the new time capsule members placed a bible signed by the congregation, a brick from the original foundation, a 150 anniversary plate, photo albums from 2004, 2012 and 2018, a new hymnal, photos of the original time capsule items and even a cornbread recipe.

“One thing has never changed in 150 years, they came together as a church family and built this church, and kept this church going bringing God into their lives,” Clark said.

Crocker expressed gratitude for the experience that was shared with his church as a result of this discovery and the work that went into creating the new capsule.

“We’re not trying to reach out not just to our community but to those future generations as well,” Crocker said. “We erected this church onto a new foundation. I trust it will last longer than the old one did. God has been good to us.

“The reality is both in 1851 and here in 2018 we have the same foundation; the lord Jesus Christ,” he continued. That’s why we’ve survived this long, that’s why we’ve been called to this place.”

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