Mark Pamperin of Wisconsin works on the roof of Prince of Peace Evangelical Luthern Church on Old Petersburg Road. Pamperin is a volunteer for Builders for Christ, a group of retired people who travel around the country building churches.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Jesus Christ's carpentry background inspired a group of Lutheran senior citizens to follow in his woodworking footsteps, and a Martinez Lutheran church has welcomed their ministry.
Volunteers with the Builders for Christ, a Lutheran-based building program, are working on a 1,425-square-foot addition to Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church at 3703 Old Petersburg Road.
"We have a group of volunteers from all over that place that are members of our church body, and they travel around and assist congregations in building additions," Pastor Steve Olsen said.
In addition to parishioners of the 175-member Prince of Peace congregation, 10 volunteers from as far away as Wisconsin and Michigan came to Martinez to assist in the building add-on, which will house classrooms and restroom facilities, Olsen said.
During his career, James Doe, 69, helped build vehicles specializing in destruction. In retirement, he heads the local Builders for Christ project. The mild weather also played a factor in the Michigan resident's decision to come to Columbia County.
"I left four feet of snow on my front yard, and I didn't want anymore of that, so I came down here and walked into an ice storm," joked Doe, a retired engineer for General Dynamics Inc., which builds engines for U.S. military tanks.
Doe and his wife, Mary Ellen, have been living out of a camper for the past three weeks while working on the church addition.
Although he has no carpentry background, Doe has been a Builder for Christ for six years and has worked on 12 projects. He said his engineering background has come in handy.
Pete Sather, from Wisconsin, cuts lumber for an addition to the Prince of Peace Evangelical Luthern Church on Old Petersburg Road.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"I'm not used to construction, but I can read blueprints, and I grasp the situations fairly easy," he said.
After his retirement, Doe said he became involved in the project on the advice of a friend and the urge to do something constructive, literally, with his free time.
"A buddy of mine was involved in it. He was a project manager," Doe said. "When I retired he said, 'Well, you haven't got anything to do, you might as well come help us build these churches."'
The decade-old Builders for Christ program includes 150 members, mostly retired couples such as the Does who want to be productive.
"It's an agency within our church body that goes around and helps other congregations because they enjoy serving congregations," Olsen said.
Olsen said the addition on the Martinez church is expected to be finished April 15. A dedication ceremony will be held soon afterward.
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