Lake Life

& Such

Boy Scout Troop #398 meets at the Cedar Creek Bible Church from 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday. For more information, call (903) 498-5725 or (903) 498-3830.
Cedar Creek Art Society meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. A $3 donation per artist is asked.
Cedar Creek Domino Club meets each week on Wednesday at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. For more info, call (903) 498-4351.
Cedar Creek NAR-ANON meets at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
Cedar Creek Narcotics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405. Saturday is a 10 p.m. candlelight meeting.
Cedar Creek 49ers Club meets every Thursday and fourth Saturday for fellowship and dancing. Doors open at 6 p.m. The club is located off Arnold Hill Road in Seven Points. Call for more information, (903) 432-3552.
Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Wednesday at The Jalapeno Tree in Gun Barrel City, except the second week of the month, when the club meets Thursday in conjunction with the area chamber of commerce luncheon.
Cedar Creek Optimist Club meets every Tuesday at noon at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. For more information please call Danny Hampel at (903) 778-4508.
Cedar Creek Republican Club meets every fourth Thursday. For more information call (903) 887-4867.
Cedar Creek Rotary Club meets at noon each Friday at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant. For more information, call Dee Ann Owens at (903) 340-2415.
Cub Scout Pack #333 meets at the First United Methodist Church of Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For information, call Mary Harris at (903) 451-5280 or Tonya Capley at (903) 498-4725.
Girl Scout Troop #112 meets at the First United Methodist Church in Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For more info, call GeriLeigh Stotts at (469) 323-7943 or Malisa Bilberry at (903) 340-7451, or email
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 101 meets the second Monday of each month at the Senior Citizens Center on Hwy. 31 in Athens.
Girl Scout Troop 2667 meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Aley United Methodist Church. For more information, please call Suzann Smith at (903) 887-3889.
Gun Barrel Quilter’s Guild meets from 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. For more information, please call (903) 451-4221.
Kaufman County Republican Women’s Club meets the third Saturday of each month at the Farm Bureau Insurance Company, located at 2477 N. Hwy. 34 in Kaufman. For more info, call (972) 287-1239 or (903) 880-6770.
Kemp Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Tuesday at the Nutrition Center in Kemp. For more information, please call Dr. Jim Collinsworth at (903) 887-7486.
Lake Area Council of the Blind meets at 6 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month at West Athens Baptist Church.
Lake Area Democrats Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at Dairy Queen in Seven Points. Everyone is welcome. Email  for more information.
Mabank/Cedar Creek Area Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. Call (903) 887-5252 for info.
Mabank Garden Club meets at 2:45 p.m. at the Tri-County Library on the third Tuesday of every month (different times in May and December).
Oak Harbor/Tanglewood Crime Watch meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the R.T. Beamguard Community Center in Oak Harbor.
Roddy Masonic Lodge meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday each month. Call (903) 887-6201 for info.
RootSeekers meet at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in the Tri-County Library in downtown Mabank. The public is welcome to attend.
Southeast Kaufman County Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors meets at 1 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the center, located at 300 N. Dallas Street in Kemp. For more info, call (903) 498-2140.
SUICIDE SURVIVORS GROUP for those grieving the loss of someone by suicide, meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Mabank.
TAMARACK LADIES CLUB meets at 11 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the TLC Hall.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meet at 6 p.m. each Monday at the First Baptist Church of Mabank. Contact Gaye Ward at (903) 887-5913 for more info.
TVCC Singles meet at 7 p.m. each Monday in the Nutrition Center at TVCC, located off Park Street near the Athens Country Club. This is a support group for singles of all ages and is supported by TVCC. For more info, call Hilda Anding at (903) 489-2259.



Mabank church reaches another milestone
Church invites community to see new sanctuary during May 2, open house
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–For more than a century, the First Presbyterian Church in Mabank has been a place to experience God’s grace in community.
And “like a householder, who brings out of his treasure things both old and new,” (Matt. 13:52) this congregation has worked to preserve its sense of place while looking toward the future.
“In a sense, the old church designed the new church,” member Mary Ann Odom said.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
The new sanctuary now holds almost twice the number of worshippers the former one did – seating 300.

Built in 1903, the original building – set on stepped-brick foundation risers and cross beams of cypress wood – stands proudly at 112 W. Mt. Vernon Street as a designated national historical site.
Standing beside it, seamlessly joined, as though it were always there, the new sanctuary fairly glistens in rich wood tones and sunlight.
The public is invited to view this beautiful, new sanctuary during an open house set for 2 -5 p.m. Saturday, May 2.
“We’re glad to be in Mabank and hope all of you will come to the open house,” Rev. Dr. Ron Holloman said during a city council meeting when a proclamation making May 2 “First Presbyterian Church Day” in Mabank was approved.
“There won’t be any preaching – maybe some singing, but no preaching,” he jokingly added.
Many hearts, heads and hands contributed to the five-year building project, among them members of the building committee: Jeff LaRue/moderator, George Godson, Jan Groom, Carolyn Prince, Bill Brown, Karen Thompson, Ron Cannon, Pam Dotson, Holloman and Odom.
Refurbished stained glass windows, once in the original sanctuary, filter sunlight into the spacious hall that can seat up to 300 worshippers.

Monitor Photo/
Pearl Cantrell
This stained glass window honors the women members of the church for their faithful service and work in the Women's Aid Society and Busy Bees at First Presbyterian Church.

Also, a few new names have been added to once empty banners on the stained glass in honor of their service to the church – among them Mary Helen Myrick.
Wood-paneled arches rise to 35 feet, spanning the 45-foot width, providing an acoustical framework and hallowed sense of God’s mercy, out-poured.
Long, white, cylindrical lamps, accented with thin wooden crosses, are suspended from the arched ceiling, perfectly complementing the space with fill light.
New burgundy upholstered pews, reminiscent of the old ones, quietly echo the arched stain-glass windows in wooden relief carvings.
But the most striking feature is the chancel wall, the backdrop for the altar.
Wood-paneled from end to end, the wall features at its center, six large 4x8-foot wood panels, marching two-by-two from top to bottom and extending out from the wall for a three-dimensional effect.
Each rectangular panel displays an enlarged depiction of symbols found in the stained-glass windows. The colors are muted, so as not to detract from the action before the altar.
In front of these panels, a 10-foot long cypress wood cross is suspended from the ceiling.
The cypress came from Rusk and was used to represent the former sanctuary, which was originally built all of cypress, which was an effective deterrent against termites, Brown said.
The entire chancel wall, panels and cross were hand-crafted, stained and painted by church members.
Retired finish carpenter Bill Brown built, installed and stained the cross, wood-paneled chancel and surrounding wainscoting and modesty wall.
“There’s probably nobody any prouder (of the new sanctuary) than I am,” Brown said.
Gifted artists Kathy Cryer, Odom and Geneice Morriss painted the bluebonnets, dove, cypress tree, beehive, wheat and grape cluster – one symbol to each panel – to highlight the church’s unique history and sense of place.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
The six panels centered on the chancel wall were hand-crafted by members of the church to amplify symbols found in the stained-glass window that depict the congregation's history and sense of place.

In the 1980s, former pastor Joe Dwinnell asked Dwight Burcham to paint bluebonnets in one of the stained glass panels that had to be replaced or repaired to reflect springtime in East Texas.
The beehive and bees memorialize the turn-of-the- 20th-century women who stepped into the breach when the cypress wood to build the church was about to be delivered COD, and the price was more than was estimated.
These women loaded their wagons with jars of jams and jellies, eggs, quilts, baked goods, chickens, turkeys, candles and just any article they had that could be sold to earn the money needed to accept the order, Odom recounted. “They were called the busy bees.”
A photograph of this charitable group of church pioneers is displayed on a table in the vestibule to the sanctuary.
The tree about to fall depicts the cypress tree’s sacrifice to be transformed into wood for the construction of the 1903 church.
The other three symbols are more familiar, the dove of peace from the story of Noah and the Ark, and the full head of grain and grape cluster depicting the harvest and the fruit produced subsequent to the branches remaining in the vine – a picture of Christ and his Church.
Odom, a retired employee with Hallmark, outlined the symbols on the panels with a broken left wrist, while Cryer worked on it despite her arthritis. All told, it took the trio 750 hours to complete the paintings on the panels.
But, Odom admits, “No one worked harder or longer than Bill (Brown).”
“Everyone worked so very hard on the church,” she said. “Great love and care has gone into this whole process.”
A church member also made the lectern, from which the scriptures are read aloud during the liturgical service. But little is known about it, other than the lectern is seen in a photo taken in the 1940s.
Judging from its height (three inches were added to make it higher), it may have been made when the original building was built.
The current pastor, Holloman stripped the old finish and helped apply a new glossy stain to its ornate structure.
A new preacher’s podium, communion table and side tables were purchased. These sport borders of vines and grape clusters.
Two smaller tables set between the altar chairs, two on each side, were made by another church member.
One enters the church through the original portal into an entryway partitioned off from the former sanctuary and turning left to passes through an arched-window frame of the original building into the new structure’s vestibule.
Above the entryway, a hand-lettered sign on a piece of wood from the exterior wall of the original building spells out “Welcome Home.”
Bob Coffey lettered this and another sign just inside the sanctuary.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Stained glass window above the church portal.

Facing worshippers as they depart, another remnant of the original wall appears, hand-lettered with the church’s customary benediction –“As God’s children you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you ... Go in his grace and love and power.”

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