Small Congregation Shows Big Heart by Funding New Elevator

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is not a large church — with only about 120 active members, you’d have to classify it as a small congregation. But, for too many services, the turnout has been even smaller, after the three-level church’s 1940s-vintage elevator began to fail, the Tulsa World reported. “We had people who had to stay home,” said senior pastor the Rev. Bill Crowell, who told of congregants unable to use the stairs becoming stuck in the old lift. Though small in numbers, the congregation was undeterred, and held fundraisers to pay the $360,000 tab for a new elevator. Installation of the new lift began in June 2016, but the church was forced to shut down the old one just after Christmas, leaving the building without an operational elevator for several months. The new elevator was ready for Easter, and it brought back congregants — some in wheelchairs — who hadn’t been to church in a long time. “It’s been great,” said Crowell, adding, “People are loving it.”

Tulsa World photo
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had reason to celebrate just before Easter, 2017, when the congregation put its new elevator into service. Marking the occasion are (l-r) Linda Mummey; the Rev. Twila Gibbens, a former pastor at the church; Chad and Erin Henderson; and Patsy Rowland.