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Westminster Presbyterian Sanctuary Dedication

Charlie Wingard

Charlie Wingard

Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson and Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Yazoo City, Mississippi

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My remarks today at the dedication of Westminster Presbyterian Church’s new sanctuary in Huntsville, Alabama.


Today we celebrate a milestone – the dedication of your new sanctuary.

Milestone achievements don’t come easily. This one hasn’t. You’ve made it here because you’ve done thousands of small things right – the thousands of quiet and loving and faithful acts of Christian care you’ve given each other. Most of these had nothing to do with the building you dedicate today. But without them we would not be here.

The foundations of your sanctuary were laid not two years but six decades ago when Paul and Loraine Alexander devoted their lives to building a church and school that would serve the people of Huntsville in the name of the Lord.

Only the Lord knows how many times since then the word has been taught at Westminster. Week-by-week, you – the congregation – have joined with your pastors to instruct the children of the church, to visit the sick, to comfort the suffering, to console the mourning, to restore the fallen, to welcome the new Christian, and to extend friendship to those the Lord has sent. Thousands upon thousands of small acts of care performed in the name of Christ and according to his word. That’s the foundation upon which this beautiful new sanctuary rests.

So many examples come to mind. I’ll share only one.

Nearly a decade ago you chose to put the needs of your school ahead of your own desire for a sanctuary. That choice revealed not just your priorities but also your character.

The word school is impersonal. So let me rephrase – you put the needs of precious covenant children and their families first. For seven years, without complaint or recognition, scores of you came to the gym on Saturday nights to set up chairs. Each time a set-up team came and labored without fanfare, you imitated your Savior as you looked to the interests of others.

Today we celebrate. Enjoy! Your sanctuary is a milestone achievement.

But tomorrow return to your strength – doing the small things right.

All buildings are temporary. None of them lasts. This one won’t.

But God’s people, body and soul, belong to him for eternity. Therefore, the worship and teaching that will take place in this beautiful sanctuary will produce fruit that will last forever.

How sweet and awesome is the place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores.

In your new sanctuary, treasure Christ. Treasure his word. Treasure his people. And your sanctuary will be full of the Savior, and, truly, a sweet and awesome place.



  1. Tom Adams says:

    Thank you for these words, dear friend. It was a great joy to hear you deliver them this morning and to see both you and your sweet bride.

  2. rbecksann says:

    Thank you, Charlie. You always see/remember the best in people! We were so happy you and Lynne were able to celebrate that long anticipated day with us. You were a huge part of that becoming a reality.

    • Dear Rebecca – Many thanks to you and Matt for hosting us during this special weekend. Both of you encouraged us in many ways during our time in Huntsville, in this building campaign and project and in so many other ways. Yours, Charlie

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