Friday, April 30, 2010, was the first chapel service in our renovated 1029 East Baltimore Street building. This was the original Helping Up Mission building on the block, purchased in 1955 for use as a homeless shelter for men in the city. On Friday, February 27, 2009 we had our last chapel service in that building (see my blogs of 2/25/09 and 3/2/09). Then, last April – 53 weeks ago – we began demolition of that building between two of our other buildings on the 1000 block of East Baltimore Street.
We received our Use and Occupancy permit a week ago and began to move some offices into the new building, but had not been ready with all the equipment to use the chapel (and just between you and me, we still need to work on some of that equipment a bit more). But Friday was our first chapel in the renovated 1029 East Baltimore Street building. While none of our present undergraduate clients were here for the final service and would not be able to quite appreciate the moment, this was a special time for those of us who knew the old building.
Steve Gudeman, our Director of Operations, oversaw the whole project – from conception to design to demolition to reconstruction to occupancy. So it was only fitting that he opened with prayer and shared a few words (and photographs) about the transformation from the old to the new. Members of the Helping Up Mission band sang some old familiar songs with their own new lyrics and Helping Up Mission Executive Director, Bob Gehman, shared about the old days and the transformation that has taken place. What was happening in the hearts of the men sitting in the new chairs in this new air-conditioned (hallelujah!) chapel is actually mirroring what has happened to this building.
This was not the building dedication for the renovation of our original building here on this block. Once we get everything moved in (I have not moved my office yet!) and have all systems go, we will dedicate this new building to the glory of God and transforming broken men to build a better Baltimore. We will keep you posted. Happy 125th anniversary Helping Up Mission!
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director