On Sunday we offered our thanks to God for the life and service of the church hall boiler. For 81 years, first as a coal boiler and then as an oil fired boiler, it provided heat for scout troops and AA meetings, community theatrical productions and talent shows, the thrift shop and fellowship club dinners, church fairs and coffee hours.
Over the years, the boiler tank began to rust away with age, developing leaks and then sealing the leaks over with rust. Over the years, congregational leaders also questioned the boiler's efficiency, wondering about changes but then balking at the cost of replacement.
At its September 2011 meeting, the Session questioned once again whether, with rising oil prices we could continue affording to operate the church hall boiler. They appointed a team to begin reviewing options. And then when our Sexton John Wolfe test fired the boiler, water began running out the bottom as quickly as it went in the top. The boiler had finally rusted through.
For years, when we felt we could not afford to replace it, the good Lord kept our boiler going. And then, when we were wondering whether we could afford to run it, the boiler died. Our God watches over us in all ways.
The church is currently soliciting bids for all aspects of the boiler replacement process. We expect it will cost in the vicinity of $20,000 once costs related to a possible conversion to gas are factored in.