The MUMC Distinguished Citizen Award 2016
On Sunday, July 24, 2016, we honored Mr. Jeremiah "Jerry" Ford III, AIA, with our Distinguished Citizen Award. He was presented with a certificate, a commerative leaf on our "Tree of Thankfulness" wall, and a gala luncheon in his honor. His daughter, Amanda, and his good friend, Walter Vogelsburg, sculptor, were present with us that day. Here is the text of a letter that was read to him in the presence of the congregation that morning.
24 July 2016
When I was appointed to this church18 years ago, I realized that there was something very special about this sanctuary. As I stood in the center aisle and looked around, several things struck me about this room. Oh, it looked very different then indeed! There was a rug on the floor, there were metal chairs to sit on, there was no pipe organ. But the architecture –the design of the place - was solidly intact.
This room is a celebration of light. We read in the holy scripture, “God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good.” The architecture of this room allows the light of God to come in and shine upon us. And that is a very good way to be in the presence of the Lord.
I have admired the brilliance of the skylight design. I have admired the large windows that look out on God’s creation. In this room, you indeed know whether it is night or day, summer or winter, spring or fall. We worship in harmony with God’s creation.
Since then, and for many years, I said to myself, “Someday I hope to meet the man who designed all this.” It was a thought that crossed my mind many times for many years. At long last, I decided to do something about it. I would set out to find you. I asked people who might’ve been here at the time; I looked at architectural plans. Finally, I was able to track you down on the Internet.
A joyous new project brought us together. Thanks to a very generous gift from one of our members, we were able to start the process of installing a new, large, stained-glass window in the front of our sanctuary. We ran into a major structural challenge. And here at last was the opportunity to meet with the man who had designed the room in the first place. You came to the church, dreamed about the new project, and supplied a way to install this rugged and graceful frame and improve the look, the acoustics, and the air conditioning system at the same time.
Even before I met you, I knew you existed. (Sounds a little theological, doesn’t it?) It was a dream of my heart that, someday, we would be able to honor you for the work you have done here.
I believe that a sermon is a work of art that draws people closer to God. It’s usually a spoken event, but I don’t think it has to be. I preach here most Sundays of the year, and I have done so for 18 years. But you, my friend, have preached here for 36 years. That is because every time a person enters the sanctuary they are drawn closer to God.
Jerry Ford, the grateful congregation of this church, past, present, and future, salutes you. I do too. Thank you so much the care, love, and the technical excellence you have brought to this project. Truly, you have done well, and we recognize that today. We all say thank you, and may God bless you always.
Your friends in Christ,
Pastor Tony Godlefski
And the congregation of Montgomery United Methodist Church
Belle Mead, New Jersey
A Thank You from Jerry Ford
Thank you Pastor Tony. I will long remember the day July 24, 2016. It was a day of Grace, Love, Memories, Inspirations and Friendship all in a House of God! You can’t get much better than that! It was all the better because my daughter and Walter were there as well.
Wonderful web site and photos which I shall treasure.
July 25, 2016
On Jul 25, 2016, Amanda Ford Wrote:
Dear Pastor Tony and to the congregation of MUMC:
It was a special and great time with all of you yesterday. Thank you Pastor Tony for honoring Jerry Ford. I am so proud of my Dad!
Here’s what I love – Architect designs fabulous church and over the decades the congregation has lived, loved, prayed, and improved a beautiful house of worship. There’s nothing sweeter than a space created that is filled with meaning – I am so happy for you and my Dad to see it filled with joy in 2016.
It was so nice to meet you, Pastor Tony! Your service was so very beautiful. -And, the luncheon was delicious, and the warm welcoming of fellowship from all was felt from the heart. I had such a great time!
Thank you very much!
With warmest wishes,