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Asbury UMC in Maitland Updates Lakeside Chapel

Asbury UMC in Maitland Updates Lakeside Chapel

Congregation gathers for service at the lakeside chapel. Photo by Asbury UMC.

Pastor Scott Harris of Asbury UMC in Maitland is the first to admit that a recent photo of him in command of a jackhammer is something of a joke, but in reality the hard work of rebuilding the 50-year-old “platform” on Lake Sybelia has been a serious endeavor.

Rev. Dr. V. Scott Harris manning a jackhammer. Photo by Asbury UMC.

“First we had to break up the concrete slab at the Lakeside Worship Center before we could improve the facility, so that’s where the jackhammer came in,” he said. The concrete platform was like a dock that went out over the lake and has been a big part of the church’s life, with many types of services, including Easter sunrise, weddings, and even jazz vespers and festivals. “We try to hold events that attract members of the community … we’ve even borrowed musicians from Disney from time to time,” he said.

“It’s a running joke around here to get a picture of me doing any kind of construction job, because I am hardly a handy man,” said Harris.

In addition to services, the space is important to the community at large. He explained that there is a big cross in the space, and railings, walkways and benches invite people to walk around the lake, kneel and pray or meditate.

His church has about 1,000 members, and Harris calls the group who did the work of improving the facility “outstanding,” adding that among them are former architects, engineers and construction experts. In addition to re-pouring the concrete to make a space that would accommodate more people, a Boy Scout working toward his Eagle Scout ranking focused on upgrading the benches. New landscaping and good weather helped the team finish the upgrading project in less than 10 days.  Since completion, the church has held an outdoor service March 6 with their praise team, and Harris said “the weather was fabulous.”

As Easter draws near, the church expects anywhere from 200 to 300 worshipers to come for the traditional sunrise service. “They know to bring chairs and blankets, and we’ll all gather at this beautiful spot,” said Harris.

“Anyone who comes here can see why we really take care of this place...the surroundings make it very easy to feel God’s presence.”

As for photos of Harris doing manual labor, he hopes they will be dragged out at some future unknown retirement ceremony to show, he said, “that I was a multifaceted leader.”