Lutheran Church to Host Fundraiser for New Paint Job


By Jean Brannum |

St. John’s Lutheran Church on Milton St was built in 1867 and has escaped a closure scare. The “bones” of the building have been repaired, but the place is in desperate need of a paint job. 

The walls around the stained glass and acoustic organ are littered with paint chips and tears. The staircase leading to the choir area is dusted with parts of the wall. Pastor Foster, who has managed many repairs already, explained that there were offers from film companies to use the space as a set, but could not use the space due to lead in the current paint.

Foster said the paint chips can deter potential new members. Credit: Jean Brannum

When Foster arrived at St John’s, the church needed many repairs and updates. Due to low funds, she had to prioritize. 

“We had to deal with everything that was going to catch fire, flood, or collapse,” Foster said. 

Foster first repaired the plumbing, refurbished the bathrooms, and updated the electrical system. Many of the repairs are not seen by passers-by but are needed to keep the water running and the lights on. The structure has also been fixed so the building is stable. 

Besides Foster-lead repairs, some members of the Boy Scout troops that meet in the church have stepped up to make some refurbishments. Jack Bonner, 16, made repairing the garden beds his Eagle Scout project. 

Bonner fundraised to pay to repair and restore the beds with flowers. He fundraised the project with donations. His biggest challenge was getting enough compost for the beds. But ultimately, he was happy with the result, especially when the flowers bloomed. The process took about one month. 

“The whole process is very long, but it’s rewarding,” Bonner said. “Everyone from the community comes together, which is a really good thing”

However, the paint-chipping on the inside is visible everywhere, and while the church has grown in membership since Foster arrived, the look can deter people. She also said some parents would be concerned about the lead paint chipping. 

“Evangelism is a Greek word, and it means to tell good news and invite,” Foster said. “So when you walk in here and you look at this, you think, ‘Ah, this congregation,  are they still open?’”

To repair the walls and cover the paint, Foster needs to raise $233,000. One of the ways she plans to do this is through a fundraiser called “Sinners Repaint.” The event will take place on June 29 at 5 pm. 

The event includes performances by local musicians and non-alcoholic beverages and baked goods for sale. The suggested donation is $50, but Foster encourages people to donate what they can. 

Musicians include Marvelle Oaks, Chelsea Hines, Noelle Tannen, Simon Brown, Citris, and more. 

Tess Demir, part of Marvelle Oaks and assistant scoutmaster for her daughter’s Boy Scouts of America troop, will be performing on stage with her husband, Alex. She said the band was her husband’s “Brain Child.”

Demir said that she and her husband stumbled upon St. John’s in 2015 and admired the old look. After their first service, Foster introduced herself and they have attended and been active members ever since. Demir is also the treasurer of the church council. 

“For me, it’s a little bit more than just fundraising,” Demir said. “It’s also reaching out to people who might want to find a church and not know where to go.”

One Reply to “Lutheran Church to Host Fundraiser for New Paint Job”

  1. I am fairly sure my paternal grandmother attended St. John’s in the early 20th century. Her name was Bavara (Barbara) Gass. She married George Larkin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *