Share the Love of Christ with All!

Groundbreaking for the Build UP the Body Project

On July 9th, 2017, we, at Immanuel,  broke ground for the Build UP the Body Accessibility Enhancement Project.



Imagine creating a space for all ages and all kinds of different people that is safe, welcoming, and beautiful.



Imagine a renewed space that helps us worship God. and nourish our faith in Christ.



Imagine new ways that we might connect with each other and with our neighbors in need.



During Worship

During worship, stories were shared of the background and the vision for this project.

Jim Bendickson & Nancy Marks


Jim Bendickson and Nancy Marks shared stories honoring two Immanuel mothers, Doris Bendickson and Joy Fagenstrom.

Dick King- A look to the future

Dick King & Tove Elvrom

Most of you know that, this past year, our church worked with the Missoula Interfaith Collaborative to identify a way we could have a bigger impact on community needs.


This spring, we started working with Washington Middle School. We met with the new Principal Kacie Laslovich, the former Principal Craig Henkel, teachers and others from Washington to talk about how we might partner around feeding kids and families who are hungry and fostering a spirit of service and giving among students and the school.  


I am pleased that Immanuel’s Accessibility Enhancement Project includes adding a dishwasher room to our Fellowship Hall kitchen along with on-site laundry, and showers. I imagine that these renovations could provide opportunities for Immanuel members to teach food prep and cooking classes to students.  


What if there were students who needed emergency showers or laundry, and our church could offer that?
How could our newly ADA accessible space help support the middle school, which always needs space for classes, tutoring and counseling?

We haven’t made decisions on these things, but I do wonder what opportunities this project could open up for us.


As Paul wrote in our second reading today:

God has given us, and our church, many, many gifts.


Even now, God is gifting us with the Accessibility Enhancement Project. We can use this gift to extend hospitality to strangers, including our new partnership with Washington Middle School students, family, and faculty.  

Build up the body logo

Julie Sager, Preschool Director

Julie Sager Preschool

Julie Sager, Director of our Pre-school, recently reflected on the significance of the project:


 “We invited moms and grandmas to come to a Mother’s Day tea to listen to their preschooler share songs, have treats, and spend time with them.  One mom attended with her baby and her 5 year old who is in a wheel chair.  Obviously, coming down all our stairs to attend the tea was not possible for her to do alone.  Fortunately there were plenty of other adults who were able to carry her baby, and help her carry the wheelchair down the stairs and then back out when it was time to go. 


Clearly an elevator would have made it much easier for this family to attend.  I hope the family will be back in a few years when their baby is old enough to attend Immanuel’s pre-school.  Imagine how welcome they will feel and how thankful they will be for the elevator and all the renovations to our building!”


We truly believe that, “Though we are many different people, in Christ, we form one body, and we belong to each other.” (Romans 12:5). We are excited that the Build Up the Body vision will create a space for all ages and all kinds of different people that is safe, welcoming, and beautiful.  

Pastor Molly Sasser-Goehner

Pastor Molly

I love this reading from Genesis, (Genesis 28:10-17) about Jacob where he had dream there was  a ladder from heaven, I chose that on purpose– – elevator… ladder from heaven… get it?  


I love what he says at the end- he wakes up from sleep and he says ”Surely the Lord was in this place and I didn’t even know it.” The reason why the Lord was there was because Jacob was there, the incarnation, God coming down and living in and among us and talking with us.   

That’s what this is all about today, not just about the building and what we do there.  It is because the people and God is in this place because we are in this place.  And because God has called us to be here and to serve each other. This is a new way God is calling us to be in this place now.    Thanks to all who have worked together over the past few years to get this project together.  It’s exciting times and there is more to come.

The Ground Breaking Service

The Ground Breaking team

Ground Breaking Team
Spencer Long (front), Swede Gustafson, Steve Weber, Laura Thompson, Pastor Molly Sasser Goehner, Laurie Swanson, Tom Thompson, Pat Swanson

A few photos of the ground breaking.. and the celebration that followed