By JOEY REISTROFFER
SPARTANBURG — Dozens of parishioners at Jesus Our Risen Savior Church volunteered their skills and brawn to bring truckloads of pews down from Tennessee and set them up in the church.
“Every place we turned, the Holy Spirit was with us,” said parishioner Jady Fryml, who organized the project. “I have never seen a plan come together as fast. At every turn, everybody that I dealt with was outstanding.”
That included Mike Comer, a church supplier in Greenville. He put Frmyl and parishioner Gary Towery in touch with officials at High Ground Baptist Church in Kingsport, Tenn.
High Ground had just built a bigger church and wanted to convert their old facility into an activity center. They didn’t need their old pews, but they did need chairs to fill the activity center.
Frmyl and Towery helped solve both problems. Jesus Our Risen Savior offered to buy the pews and sell the Baptists some of their old church chairs.
“We got a great price for the pews,” Towery said. “It’s about a third of what they would cost new.”
To raise funds, Jesus Our Risen Savior asked its parishioners to sponsor a pew, and they stepped forward for the cause. Towery said that $20,000 has been pledged, with $12,000 of that in hand.
Frmyl said he got a cut-rate price on rental trucks to transport the pews to Spartanburg, adding that a parishioner donated blankets and padding to keep the pews from being scratched during the move. He also threw in a couple of dollies to ease the strain on hard-working backs.
Then Frmyl asked for volunteers to trek up to Kingsport on a Friday, break down the pews, load them up and bring them back.
A dozen people signed up for the workday, including unexpected help from several persons at the Spartanburg Downtown Rescue Mission. They moved 21 pews that Friday and 34 more on Saturday.
Dozens of people showed up at the church early Saturday morning, carrying their power tools and screwdrivers. They were anxious to put the pews together and set them up in time for Sunday Masses. By sunset, Jesus Our Risen Savior had a brand new look.
Towery gives all the credit to Fryml. “Jady’s a hard-charging man,” he said. “When he sets his mind on something, he gets it done.”
Towery thought about what this whole effort means to the parish.
“Everybody has been extremely enthusiastic,” he said. “They feel like (the pews) make it a church and not a meeting hall. People want to kneel and pray. I think they miss that. What better example can we have when young fathers kneel down, and their children see this. It’s a sign of respect. There’s no doubt about it.”