St. Luke United Methodist Church received a very special update during Holy Week — a crimson red flame. UMC was able to update their exterior in time for Easter, and the proud flame that appears on countless United Methodist Churches, now has found its way to Newton.
“We are going to be remodeling our building this summer and we were trying to incorporate the cross and flame emblem in the model,” Pastor Audrey Young said. “And then the idea came up, ‘Why don’t we add the flame to the one at the end of the sanctuary?’ That’s how it kind of came about.”
Being a devout Methodist, Young was excited about the update.
“I don’t know if it bothered anybody else, but it bothered me,” Young said with a laugh. “Cause when people come to downtown, they look for the cross and flame, and then they know it’s a United Methodist Church. Ours didn’t have that indication on the building itself. It does (show) on our signs, but not on the building itself, so that was where that came from.”
The flame was installed by the Rhone family. Young said it took the family about an hour to install it, and both the church and Rhones hoped to have the flame up by Easter.
“It was definitely a family thing.” Young said. “It was the family’s goal (to install the flame by Easter, (and) it was our goal to (have it completed) by Easter, and it really tickled everybody once it was done.
“We wanted to purchase it to honor our family, specifically our firstborn son and grandson, who both passed away,” Betty Rhone said. She said her family ordered the flame from Brian Davies in Baxter. Rhone also said her entire family will be attending the ceremony to honor the family, both deceased and living.
Although a major Christian event already passed, Young said the church will hold a special dedication ceremony for the completed project on Father’s Day.
“We will be dedicating that cross and flame on Father’s Day, and that is kind of cool.” Young said.
St. Luke UMC celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and in addition to the flame, the church will also be completing some major renovations this summer.
“We are going to open up and have a new gathering space and a portico where people can park and drop off passengers,” Young said.
She said the church was able to raise the necessary funds to start the projects and cannot wait for the them to be completed.
“We got the money raised and that was phenomenal, raising (about) $52,000 in five months, Young said. “We still need some money, but it’s done.”
The project means something special to a dedicated couple.
“We have a couple here,” Young said. “They are here every Sunday (and only miss service if they are) somewhere else or sick. He is in a wheelchair, and she is a little short thing. She will be out here, getting him in that wheel chair, pushing him in and out every Sunday. Every Sunday, she is so faithful, and they are so faithful. So that portico is going to be very nice for them because she won’t have to go out in the rain anymore.”
St. Luke UMC is located at 501 E. 19th St. N.