A Brief History of Time…at St. Andrew
On October 13, 1962, twenty-three people gathered in the gymnasium of Forest Park Elementary School, Columbus, Ohio, under the pastoral leadership of Rev. G. Terry Bard, two years after his ordination to the Christian ministry in the Presbyterian Church.
The janitor advised the young pastor to set up the chairs in a circle, and set up fewer than he thought they’d need: it’s better to run and get more chairs than set up for many and have only a few show up! Terry took his advice, and this circular setup would prefigure the sanctuary layout of a “church in the round” that would be built two years later. Natural light and three walls of windows remind the congregation to “come to worship, leave to serve.” Outreach and service remain a keynote of St. Andrew’s connection with the community and the world.
By March 10, 1963, the young fellowship of Presbyterians had enough people to sign a charter of incorporation with the Presbytery of Columbus.
In the fall of 1964, the congregation moved into its new building at 1450 E. Dublin-Granville Road, designed by local architect Wayland Bowser of The Ohio State University and inspired by the mission style of Frank Lloyd Wright.
One year later a preschool was organized to teach all of the young children of the families buying homes in the growing Northland area. The preschool operated until 1995 when the needs of the neighborhood dramatically changed and the facilities were no longer able to be used or updated for all-day daycare.
In those early years, attendance approximated 200 on Sunday mornings, with over 300 on Easter and 375 to 400 on Christmas Eve. Rev. Bard baptized over 200 children in his tenure at St. Andrew (1963 – 1968).
Rev. Bard was succeeded by Rev. Howard C. Dhonau (1968- 1992). Rev. Phyllis A. Heffner succeeded him. Rev. Heffner retired at the end of 2017.
St. Andrew has a history of “nesting” projects or group of people, like a Koran fellowship, a Ghanaian fellowship, and an adult day care center, until they outgrow the church’s facilities and move on.
The congregation considered two different proposals to relocate; however, in both cases the congregation of St. Andrew decided that God was calling them to stay put where they were.
In 1997 the Session approved a “Second Sunday Offering,” an extra-commitment offering received in addition to the weekly offering. The practice of receiving this offering continues to this day. The offering supports local and global mission projects and also raises awareness and provides opportunities for service.
Within the last decade, the congregation continues a regular emphasis on mission as part of events the church hosts. In 2018 St. Andrew’s facility will become the Columbus home for Fugees Academy, a school for refugees. The school focuses on the special needs of refugee students. The church facility and grounds are used by many outside organizations such as Urban Bee Keepers, Taoist Tai Chi Society, and various art groups. In 2018 the Northland area community garden is being developed on the grounds.
Today the church is multicultural and averages 70 in worship. It has concentrated local mission effort in relationships with Near North Emergency Materials Assistance Program (NNEMAP), and with the neighborhood elementary school.
In the fall of 1964, the congregation moved into its new building at 1450 E. Dublin-Granville Road, designed by local architect Wayland Bowser of The Ohio State University and inspired by the mission style of Frank Lloyd Wright. The glass walls looking out onto east and west courtyards reminded worshipers that they came to worship and left to serve. The simple amber stained glass cross suspended from the peaked ceiling was a brilliant choice and placement; the cross has central place at St. Andrew.
The sanctuary is all on one level, reflecting the Reformed tenet of “the priesthood of all believers.” The central pulpit/lectern, the plain baptismal font, follow reflect Wright’s mission style. Handicapped accessible before it was mandated, the sanctuary is easy to navigate.