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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Unique gift funds church makeover

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Unique gift funds church makeover

Financial gift from former member transforms church in north La Grande neighborhood

Drive by the Crossroads Community Church, 601 Jefferson Ave., in north La Grande and you’ll probably do a double take.

“A few people have asked, ‘Did we get a new building?’” said Gary Hood, who has been pastor at the church for about 16 years. 

The answer is no. But thanks to a gift from Leola Miller, a former member of the church who at her death left about $20,000 for the church to use, the old stucco building with a faded mission look has gotten a facelift.

“She was just like that,” Hood said. “Nobody knew she had set the money aside. She was forward looking and wanted to give it to the church, and I think she would be pleased with how it was used.”

The work has taken about a year. The project started with the roof and then moved on to painting and stucco touch up, a new pocket park and rock work by Richard Muilenburg Masonry.

Much of the work, however, was done by church members and, occasionally, neighbors and friends. On larger projects, such as painting, and on work days, more than 30 volunteers were enthusiastically lending their skills to the work, Hood said.

“You get enough hands involved in a project and it’s surprising how fast some of this can go,” Hood said.

The work has caught the attention of many people in the community and the neighborhood.

“During the major phases of the work last fall and winter, hundreds of people passed by offering encouragement and compliments,” Hood said. “People stopped to speak to volunteers. Others honked, waved, gave a big thumbs-up and always highlighted their responses with a smile.”

The new look and design was created by Cyndi Villamor, a professional designer and member of Crossroads who was also the project manager.

The changes include a new design to the roof lines, a new stone facade, window changes, paint color enhancements, new signing and a garden area that invites people, especially those strolling through the neighborhood, to stop and sit for a while.

For the full story, see Friday's issue of The Observer

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