Bellwether Dedication and Updates
The Diocese of Ohio held a dedication service for Bellwether Farm on Sunday, November 12. The morning kicked off with a session for the youth and young adults of our diocese to join in conversation with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The lively dialog ranged from questions about the Presiding Bishop's background to how to keep our faith during the current turmoil across the country. Eucharist was then held in Bellwether's animal barn where the Presiding Bishop celebrated and preached. Visitors later had the chance to see first-hand the progress on the building construction. Diocesan staff members Claudia Wilson and Jessica Miller, who organized the event for a crowd of more than 600, set up self-guided tours at four areas of the site: a youth camp cabin, the new farmhouse, the worship barn and the main dining-meeting building. At that last stop, attendees used permanent markers to write prayers and words of thanks to the construction crew on the steel pillars and masonry walls. Although those areas will be covered with final finishes, the sentiments will remain as long as the building stands. The project team expects building construction to finish on March 1, 2018. They will take the following two months to furnish rooms and set-up for hosting the first guests from the Diocese in May. There will be a community open house and opening celebration later in the spring, before the start of the initial camp season in late June. Other groups can book accommodations for the summer and fall—and beyond. Many thanks go to the construction team, especially Andy Simons, our construction manager, project supervisor Ron Beal, site construction manager Bob Geiger, and their construction team; David Meehan, Mike Petrucci and Shawn Johnson from A.M. Higley Co.; Ethan Miller and Mike Gerlak from Regency Construction; Dave Boch and Gary Rhoades of Erie Custom Carpentry; Jay and Joe Woodyard from C.R. Woodyard Contractors; Jim Workman, Henry Luli and Dan Luli of Workman Industrial Services; Matt Miller of Yoder Barn; Larry Scott from L.E. Scott Electric; Steve Holmes of Calypso Plumbing; and Duncan Estep and Aaron Estep from Buckeye Electric, who installed the solar array on the front barn. The project team is also grateful to the construction tech students and assistant director, Mike Ehrhardt at Erie Huron Ottawa Vocation Education (EHOVE) in Milan, Ohio, who are working on site twice a week. Mentored by Dave and Gary of Erie Custom Carpentry, the students have hands-on experience using new energy efficient building technologies, guided by professionals in the field. The partnership with the Diocese also meets one of the overall project goals to make every phase of Bellwether Farm’s development an educational opportunity.