Members of the First Mennonite Church and the area community gathered at 1060 W. Kansas Ave., the location of the new ReUse It Center, for a blessing and dedication.


It wasn’t your average church service.
The pastor gave her service from a platform suspended from a forklift, and the congregation crammed into a warehouse full of building supplies.
The walls may have been dull gray concrete, but the mood was one of celebration.
Members of the First Mennonite Church and the area community gathered at 1060 W. Kansas Ave., the location of the new ReUse It Center, for a blessing and dedication.
The ReUse It Center will accept five types of supplies: building materials, tools or machinery, yard materials, appliances and hard furniture.
These items will then be sold at a reduced price, with proceeds going toward area non-profit organizations and the Mennonite Central Committee.
It’s the intent of the 11-member board for the outreach, volunteer base and board of directors to involve individuals throughout the county.
“We began to see we needed to give back,” said Kathy Goering during the center’s dedication. “As religious people, we needed to help people in need.”
Goering said one of the challenges of the more than year-long process to get the center going was allowing God to lead the project.
“It was a challenge to let God lead and not get ahead of God,” she said. ... “It is God’s power not ours.”
During the blessing service, Randall Kaufman gathered children and led them on a tour of the building. Afterward he took a piece of lumber, which will eventually be sold, and allowed the children to sign it.
The ReUse It Center will be a part of a 39-year-old network of Mennonite thrift stores across the country.
Maynard Knepp talked about his experiences serving in Africa with MCC and the good that even a few dollars can do in the impoverished third-world in which MCC is working.
“In 2006, I was working in Africa. I met a group of people who were worshiping in a brick building with a tin roof that was similar to this. They were so grateful to celebrate,” he said.
MCC supports communities, such as the one Knepp visited in more than 50 countries to provide in relief, development and justice efforts.
In these efforts, even small donations can mean much, Knepp said.
He related the story of a woman who donated $25 for the first time to MCC. He called her to thank her for her donation. She asked, “Why are you calling me for a $25 donation?”
“I am calling because that $25 donation is so important,” he said. “In Burundi, people work for $1 or less per day. That $25 would pay the salary of a teacher for a month. That is a teacher who is passionate about her job for $1 per day.”
Recently, MCC has supported hunger relief in Somalia and disaster relief in Colombia, where 1 million acres are underwater after massive flooding in that region.
Kathy Neufeld Dunn, First Mennonite pastor, gave a brief message titled “Love Your Neighbor.” In it she noted the ReUse It Center could be an example of Agape love in the community.
The service concluded with a prayer and blessing over the ministry by Neufeld Dunn and the ReUse It board.
The center will open to the public on Tuesday with a grand opening to follow later. Volunteers and donations are allows desired.
To help, call LaVon Ediger at (620) 242-7008, Bill Toews at (620) 755-7034 or Kathy Goering at (620) 345-8532.