On Sabbath, September 18, 2021, The Dalles Seventh-day Adventist church will be holding a Grand Opening Celebration for their new building. The sanctuary will be filled with members and guests. The sun will be streaming in through the wide glass wall overlooking the Columbia River. The audio will be tuned so you can hear clearly, and the music will be heavenly, with an Island flavor.
While you’re sitting in one of the soft blue chairs, please look up and notice the chandeliers. These are God’s special lights, a gift He has given to The Dalles.
The Beaverton Seventh-day Adventist church was remodeling their sanctuary and chose to replace the lights. The “old” brass and glass chandeliers were moved to the fellowship hall. They were just “too nice” to send to the dump.
Several years later the Beaverton members decided that the fellowship hall needed remodeling. The changes included a different kind of light fixture, something “new and more appropriate”. The 24 “old” chandeliers, still too nice for the trash, were moved into storage, and the church members prayed that God would find a perfect place for their “old” lights to hang. “If anyone might want them.”
One of the Beaverton members, Wilton Hart, was now living in The Dalles where the church members were constructing a new church building on a hill above the Columbia River. Many times each day Wilton, and all the others, prayed for God to lead in every part of the construction. They talked to God about the plumbing, about the sidewalks, the appliances, and the windows. They even prayed for God to lead them to the perfect sanctuary lights.
“We had researched purchasing glass and brass chandeliers,” remembers Joanne Rude, one of the building committee leaders. “But the price was far beyond our budget. But we continued praying for lights. Glass and brass chandeliers. Twenty-two of them, to be exact. Please, Lord.”
When you pray, you might as well pray specifically, describing your dream clearly to God. Chances are, He’s already been working on the answer.
The new church in The Dalles has a large expanse of windows overlooking the river. The strong sunlight coming through those windows calls for a very special kind of light fixture in the sanctuary, lights that will help on stormy days and not distract when the sky is clear. “Maybe,” Wilton thought. “The Beaverton lights might be the answer to our lighting prayer.”
Wilton brought a couple of the lights to The Dalles for the building committee to see. The chandeliers were heavy - 22 pounds each! The glass needed cleaning, the chains were the wrong color, and the old bulbs would need to be changed to new LEDs. “But, once they’re clean and bright they might be perfect in the new sanctuary,” one of the members said. “And the price is sure right! Let’s do it!”
Wilton brought the heavy chandeliers, six at a time, from Beaverton to The Dalles. Joanne, and her husband, Steve, agreed to do the cleaning, and Wilton started to rework the electrical connections.
Each glass panel had to be scrubbed with micro-fiber cloths soaked in vinegar-water. Since the fixtures couldn’t be taken apart, this meant lots of arm-stretching and knuckle-bruising. The brass was easier. All it needed was a good rub with a cleaning cloth.
As Joanne and Steve were cleaning, Wilton was performing LED magic with the twenty-two new fixtures. Each had to be reworked for thirteen LED bulbs and adjusted so Richard Cowles and his electrical crew could hang it from the new sanctuary’s ceiling. When everything was ready, the lights got a double coating of clear polyurethane. “To add to the glow!”
On Sabbath, September 18, 2021, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in The Dalles is holding a Grand Opening Celebration service for their new building. The sanctuary will be filled with members and guests. The sun will be streaming in through the glass wall overlooking the Columbia. And the church on the hill will be glowing - lit by 286 bright LED lights in twenty-two brilliant glass and brass chandeliers. “Old” lights recycled as God’s perfect answer to the prayers of two congregations.