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Wayside Christian Fellowship was a vision of Colleen Malone and Joanne Riley who wanted to start an open and affirming church in North Vernon. They looked at several buildings that were for rent. There was one building that kept drawing one of them, but the other refused to call on. Once all other places were looked at and not acceptable for one reason or another, the call was finally made. They met the owner the following evening to go through the building.
Walking through the building, their excitement grew. By the time they walked up the steps to the back room, even though there was water dripping from the roof on to the floor, they looked at each other and at the same time said 'THIS IS IT'!
With a small group of people, they cleaned up the front area, painted the walls, brought in some pews and held their first service on April 20, 2014. Work on the building was ongoing. The horrible carpeting was removed, the floor scraped and painted, the floor of the large room off the main room was taken down to the subfloor and tiles were installed. A few donated refrigerators came along to store food in.
The group decided that we needed to find a way to have the shelter open for that winter. We received a grant from a local foundation and hired a group of plumbers to get the bathrooms usable. The doors of Wayside Inn opened unofficially on November 23, 2014.
It soon became apparent that the mission overshadowed the church. All the energy went into making the shelter a safe place and we quickly learned what assistance the people who came to us needed. We made community partnerships to be able to help our residents to be able to help themselves.
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