OSWEGO, NY – For more that 150 years Grace Lutheran Church in Oswego has been a beacon of love and hope in Christ. A welcoming safe haven for all, Grace Lutheran has played a major role in the spiritual wellness of Oswego and the surrounding communities it serves.
To ensure that Grace Lutheran Church is vibrant for another 150 years, Pastor Richard Klafehn and its parishioners have begun an extensive remodeling project that literally refurbishes the church from top to bottom.
Following months of planning the project got under way in May. In just four months Grace Lutheran Church and its parishioners have seen tremendous changes.
Piercing the sky high above Grace Lutheran is the church’s steeple and bell tower. A fixture of the city’s eastside skyline, it received a thorough cleaning and painting. Now a pristine white, the tower shines brightly.
President of the Grace Lutheran Parish Council John Zanewych explained that while the exterior improvements, which also included painting of the wood and trim as well as refinishing the church’s doors, it’s the remodeling taking place inside that will have most impact on the parishioners as well as the community.
“We have completely remodeled our basement and made a 150-year-old unusable basement into a functional hall that we can utilize for a variety of purposes. It doubles our space as we now have two halls, each able to accommodate up to 200 people. This fall we will be holding several events including a rummage sale September 26 and 27, a craft fair in November and a spaghetti dinner in December. Our halls will also be available for rent to the community,” said Zanewych.
In addition to the extensive painting and remodeling a new heating system and the implementation of National Grid’s Smart Watt program that uses high efficiency light bulbs, has made the church much more energy efficient.
Parishioner Steve Gioia added that while much has been done, Grace Lutheran would receive even more updating in near future.
“We’re looking to add a lift to make our second story ADA accessible and updating the full kitchen we have on the second floor,” said Gioia.
As it has for more than 150 years, Grace Lutheran continues to serve its community in many ways. The church has hosted food and clothing distributions; assists with cooking and serving breakfasts at the Salvation Army in Oswego; supplies Human Concerns with food donations, and working in conjunction with the churches in its faith partnership, Church of the Resurrection Episcopal Church in Oswego and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fulton, helps sponsor the Blessings in a Back Pack project which provides school age children in need with a back pack filled with food.
The Blessings in a Back Pack project currently feeds approximately 150 children in Oswego and Fulton each weekend throughout the school year.
“It’s a very worthwhile project,” said Zanewych. “There are many children who enjoy lunch five days a week at school, but on the weekend may have little to eat. We supply them with a back pack filled with food on Fridays so that they will have nourishment at home and the children return the back packs on Monday.”
The remodeling of Grace Lutheran has also benefited the community by providing a home for Oswego County Habitat for Humanity.
Part of a global, nonprofit housing organization Habitat for Humanity operates on Christian principles that seek to put God’s love into action by building homes, communities and hope.
Oswego County Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.
“We are happy to be able to provide a home for Habitat for Humanity. They do wonderful work such as their ‘A Brush with Kindness’ program, an exterior home preservation program that offers painting, landscaping, weather stripping, and minor repairs for homeowners in need. Habitat for Humanity is an excellent community resource and we are proud to support them,” Gioia said.
Located at 201 E. Sixth St., Grace Lutheran Church offers services Sundays at 9 a.m.
“We are a vibrant church and happy to be a part of the Oswego community. All are welcome to join us!” said Zanewych.
For more information on Grace Lutheran Church, visit www.gracelutheranoswegony.com and follow them on Facebook.