The Community Chapel of Hesston was started in local family homes. The core group included Paul and Laura Stapleton, Homer and Ann Norris, Deb Norris, Paul and Anna Bair, Denny and Kathy Hefner, Frank, Kathy, Becky and Sharon Norris, and George Stapleton. This group was eventually offered the use of the little white church in Hesston free of charge by Valley View Christian & Missionary Alliance Church. The Hesston group gave them a $50.00 monthly love gift.
In June of 1980 a Board of Trustees was formed and the name Community Chapel was accepted. 1981 brought the hiring of Rev. Ray Lucas. His son Steve took over in 1982 when his dad returned to the mission field.
In January 1983 the C.M.A. sold the church to the Community Chapel for $12,000. The board of trustees paid for it in May.
Once the building was theirs, the men went straight to work. Under the supervision of Shorty Shope, the building was raised adding 16" to the foundation. A hand fired coal furnace was exchanged for a new oil furnace and flue, a dirt floor for a cement one, an outhouse for indoor plumbing, and a drop ceiling was installed. It was a lot of work, but they trusted God for their every need.
In 1986, Pastor Steve Lucas resigned and the need for a new Pastor was imminent. The Board approached Pastor Blair to see if he would be willing to step in part time. He preached his first sermon on March 2, 1986 to an attendance of 26. It wasn't long before he had a full time job. So more work was in order. The entrance way was enlarged to build an office for the Pastor. The stairwell to the basement was relocated and improved. The steeple was also worked on and Paul Bair headed the rewiring of the church. This was done for $4,500.00 debt free.
The Church continued to grow and soon the congregation saw the need for a new addition, so on July 8, 1990 ground was broken for a 40x52 ft. addition at the estimated cost of $75.000. Frank Norris was given the job of building designer. Many hours were put in by George Stapleton (Pastor Blair's right hand man), George VanRiper, Paul Bair, Homer Norris, Bob
Hefner, Bob Wise and many others. Frank made the cross and flower boxes which now hang at the front of the church. He also labored over crafting the altar, pulpit and the original
communion table. Paul Stapleton put the finishing touches on the wood trim. The new Sanctuary was dedicated debt free June 23, 1991.
Again the Church realized they were running out of space. The Chapel House was purchased for the borrowed price of $60,000. The remodeling was again taken on by the men of the Church for classrooms and a new office for the Pastor. At the same time, Bob Wise and Bob Heffner worked to repair the bell tower.
Most of the smiling faces of the core group of Hesston Community Chapel are a memory in our hearts. In the history of HCC written by Esther Heffner she ends by declaring ,"Here we are in 2007 and still growing!" Well, now it is 2013 and we are bursting at the seams with parking being an issue! An essay on the internet entitled "A Call for Prophets" caught my eye. Using
Numbers 11:25-29 it summed up God's response to Moses' complaining by quoting, "Is my arm suddenly too short to reach where you are? Do you remember how you got here in the first place?" I don't know if anyone from that core group had this thought on their mind during the renovations but they persevered and trusted God as we are now and He brought them through!
Isaiah 43:19 "Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."
Join us as we begin the "Follow His Vision and Stretch Your Faith Campaign"!