From cement work, to running a back hoe and skid loader, to painting, plumbing, mudding dry wall, and much more, the congregation of Church of Promise has completed a new building in rural Buckingham. The group first formed the Church of Promise in the autumn of 1997 and met in their homes until they rented a farm house for worship services and Sunday school classes. Rev. J. Richard Ernst became the first full-time pastor of the congregation in November of 1999, after his retirement as Superintendent of the Iowa/Minnesota District of the Wesleyan Church. Until that time, and after, the church has had various pastors and speakers.
In 2001, a pole building was erected for worship services, with the Sunday school classes being held in the farm house. A garage was renovated for use as a Sunday school classroom for the teens. After many years of searching for property, they began their construction of a permanent building last year. That property is located just west of highway 21, on county highway D-65.
The late Linda Yuska, one of the founding members of Church of Promise, had a dream that the church would one-day be located at the property where the old Geneseo school had been abandoned and where the new church has now been built. It was more than 10 years later that the church was gifted the property. After determining that the old school building was unfit to remodel, the congregation had abandoned the idea to use that property until April of 2012, when the members decided to build a new building on that site.
The congregation began meeting for worship in the new building at the beginning of December 2012. Although the carpeting was not yet in place, and there was much work to complete, one delightful outcome was a comment from a visitor that the singing in the echoing room sounded "like a choir of angels."
With the money saved over the years, and through generous donations, the building was completed debt-free. The congregation felt blessed to receive most of the kitchen cabinets as a donation, 1/3 of the flooring from a local store, cash, and even meals from neighbors as the work continued for long hours.
Before the installation of carpet and tile, the congregation completely covered the concrete floor by writing scripture promises to remind them that they are standing on God's promises. As Pastor Holsing commented, "Church of Promise is a Bible-centered church, and as its name implies, emphasizes believing in God's promise to give eternal life to those who put their trust in Jesus Christ."
Pastor Stuart Holsing of Cedar Falls became the full-time pastor of Church of Promise in November of last year. Pastor Holsing and his wife, Janet, had been in ministry for 24 years prior to his current role. His ministry included pastorates in South Dakota, Kansas, Texas and 7 other years in Australia, before coming to Cedar Falls, IA in 1991. He is currently also a Communications Professor at Hawkeye Community College and a direct support provider with Cedar Valley Community Support Services. Pastor Holsing stated that, "For Janet and me, who grew up on farms in Kansas and South Dakota, and attended rural churches, pasturing the Church of Promise feels like coming back to our roots."
The public is welcome to attend any of the special activities of Sunday, November 10th. The day will begin with a special worship service at 10:00 a.m., with Rev. Ernst giving the message and Pastor Holsing leading the Dedication Service. The celebration continues with an Open House from 2:00-4:00 p.m. There will be photos of the progress of the construction, and the public will be able to tour the new facility, visit with friends, and enjoy refreshments. This new building and new location, at 3125 Highway D-65, is just of west of highway 21, on county highway D-65.