House of God Now House of Schumm

By Eric Olson

June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 24, 2008 at 1:30 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter)--
LIKE MANY SKYLINES OUT IN YOUR COUNTRY DEFIANCE OHIO'S IS SPIKED WITH CHURCH STEEPLES. BUT VERY SHORTLY THERE WILL BE ONE FEWER HOUSE OF WORSHIP IN DEFIANCE…AND ONE MORE HOME SWEET HOME.

Paul: Over here is gonna be the kitchen in that recessed area there, that's where the altar used to be.

NEXT MONTH PAUL AND KENDRA SCHUMM AND FAMILY WILL ABANDON THE TRAILER THEY NOW CALL HOME, AND MOVE INTO THIS..5-THOUSAND SQUARE FEET OF BRICK CHURCH THEY'RE CONVERTING INTO A MEGAHOUSE…THE CHOIR LOFT INTO HOME OFFICE SPACE, THE SOCIAL HALL IN THE BASEMENT INTO GUEST ROOMS..AND THE SANCTUARY, BATHED IN ETHEREAL LIGHT STREAMING THROUGH BREATHTAKING STAINED GLASS WINDOWS, INTO EVERYTHING ELSE.

Paul: It's a combination kitchen, dining room, living room, hangout room. Before we were even married we both individually thought it would be really cool at some time to live in an old church.

THE BUILDING BEGAN LIFE IN 1910 AS ST. JOHN'S REFORMED CHURCH. THE SCHUMM'S BOUGHT IT AT AUCTION LAST YEAR. THIS IS THE NEW MASTER BATHROOM, THE OLD CHURCH OFFICE STILL SPORTING A TRIO OF BEAUTIFUL WINDOWS. STAINED GLASS STARES AT YOU FROM EVERY CORNER OF THIS BUILDING..THERE ARE 46 STAINED GLASS WINDOWS IN ALL, MANY BEARING THE NAMES OF FOUNDING FAMILIES WHO HELPED BUILD THE CHURCH A CENTURY AGO. ITS TRANSFORMATION INTO LIVING SPACE, AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT, HAS BEEN LESS THAN SMOOTH.

Paul: We'll get started on something and then 'Oh man there's something really wrong we got to fix that before we can finish what we started in the first place'.

THE SCHUMM'S SAY THEY FEEL AN OBLIGATION TO THE THOUSANDS OF PARISHONERS WHO WORSHIPPED IN THIS CHURCH OVER THE YEARS..WHO WERE BAPTIZED HERE, MARRIED HERE AND MOURNED HERE. THEY'RE PRESERVING AS MUCH OF THE ORIGINAL STRUCTURE AS THEY CAN AS THEY CARVE OUT ITS NEXT INCARNATION. AND DESPITE THE OCASSIONAL DISCOURAGING WORD YOU CAN TELL THIS FAMILY IS LOOKING FORWARD TO MOVING DAY.

Paul: Would you recommend this kind of project to anyone else? Only if you're nuts. And is this gonna be your home forever, is this it? I guess, next stop nursing home. There's a lift out back and I'm a nurse so he'll live here 'till he dies!

ERIC OLSON REPORTING OUT IN YOUR COUNTRY.




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