Articles From the December 1995 Unification News
Rebuilding Hope for Oklahoma - The Restoration of the Historic Church Building in Norman
by Christoph Resmerowski-Norman, OK
Is there anyone out there who doesn't know our church house in Norman, Oklahoma? I didn't think so. Wherever I go, whomever I meet, church members ask me: "Do we still own the place in Norman? I stayed there in '77 with Mr. -'s team" or "I joined there in '78" or "I spent the night there on MFT in '82." In fact, many precious brothers and sisters lived and worked from this now almost 70-year-old structure on University Boulevard. And many others were reborn here, becoming aware of God's real situation, the eternal nature of life, and saying their first prayers in the name of True Parents. No doubt, True Father's overnight stay here makes it the historic building in all of Oklahoma.
It was Thomas Cromwell who bought the house when he pioneered Oklahoma. Through prayer he was given spiritual guidance in his search for a church center. Whenever he walked by the location, he had the strong feeling that this should be the building he was looking for. His perseverance eventually paid off. It's a beautiful house with 10- foot ceilings and it is very close to the University of Oklahoma campus.
This church center has seen a lot of action, campaigns and teams come and go-and many members went from here to the far reaches of the world in the service and support of our True Parents in the providence of God. Being always busy, there was not much time to be worried with the upkeep of the place. And many years of constant service for brothers and sisters have left the house in, shall we say, a "disadvantaged" situation.
In 1995 a major overhaul seemed to be in order. A new roof was installed, and then we took a good, hard look at the priorities, our financial situation and the future needs the house should fulfill in the context of Tribal Messiahship and proper representation of our True Parents and the Unification Movement.
After discussing the center's sorry situation with Rev. You, our regional director, and all the state leaders in Region 8, Oklahoma was finally given permission to go ahead and apply for a $30,000 improvement loan on the property.
To begin with, 20-year-old heating and air conditioning equipment needed to be exchanged, the foundation of the house had to be leveled, and old, soggy kitchen and bathroom subfloors needed to be renovated. Most old closets and some walls had to go, and some of the ceilings had to be lowered and properly insulated. The basement waste water discharge system was leaky for a very long time and needed major repair. Sixty-five gallons of paint and endless hours of brushing, rolling and spraying secured a completely fresh, new look and spirit for the house. The job seemed to be never-ending, all areas had to be painted repeatedly, and some walls needed even three or four coats of paint.
Most of the painting happened at night simply because I have a real life: church affairs, family, juggling finances. So, to be perfectly honest, I hit a few low moments, asking myself what I was doing here in the middle of the night, all by myself, destroying my health by breathing the toxic fumes of primers and paints, while the will of God seemed to be "out there on the Battlefield of Restoration" and the whole thing became such a drag on the real life...little sleep at night usually means lack of energy when you need it most in "the real life"...!!!
That night, to get away from my toxic fumes and the resulting unnatural high I experienced, I started thumbing through some old CARP magazines and stopped at the directions Fathers had given to the leaders then, many years ago. That promised to be good inspiration for someone in my situation here, I thought, and I started reading, and there it was, that one line, jumping right at me: "always keep your center clean and neat and freshly painted." Do I need to say more?
Experiencing my unnatural high had become part of the will of God, or is that too bold an assumption? You be the judge.
After the painting project was finally completed, we left the field to Brewers Carpet One. They came and installed good quality carpet throughout the house, new vinyl floors in the kitchen and bathrooms and a beautiful wooden floor in the entrance hall.
Most of the work is done by now. Enough new materials, changes (and emotional outbursts) called for sanctifying the church center with Holy Salt and rededicating it to the Work of God. Everyone is pleased with the dramatic change we have brought about, preparing this beautiful building for bigger and better things to come.
It is our privilege and obligation to make sure that we represent God, True Parents and the Unification Movement to the best of our capabilities. On Oct. 12 we were fortunate to have a member of the True Family stay with us, when Jin Hun Nim came to Oklahoma to deliver the speech "The True Family and I" on the University of Oklahoma campus.
And finally, I want to say a word of thanks to my own family: my wife, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of this project and who now as a result knows everything there is to know about paint and painting- and our two boys, who were of great help, too, and who had to dust off their schoolbags every day (and sometimes even the pizza), always without complaint.
Christoph Resmerowski is the Oklahoma state leader.
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