Our partner church is in Padina, Serbia. It is a single building that houses both the church and the parsonage. The structure began life over 100 years ago as a farmhouse. There is an addition that was built over the past 5 years with major help from our church.
The addition, as of July 2017, had been in use for 2 to 3 years with an unpainted and an uninsulated block wall exterior. The pastor and three others put in many hours of work on the addition, sometimes working into the night. They also stripped most of the outside of the original building of its old crumbling plaster and installed insulation and new plaster before painting a good part of the structure. Additionally, in the last 3 years, part of the original building’s large unfinished attic (once a place where hay was stored) was finished to provide a good-sized conference room and a storage room.
In all, the last 5 years have seen the provision of a fellowship/meeting room with kitchen, an upstairs conference room, 3 dormitory rooms sleeping 8 each on bunk beds, 4 restrooms with showers, and a basement with a wood-burning central heating unit. The dormitory facilities are important because there are basically no local commercial facilities, and travel and lodging expenses are relatively expensive for the average parishioner. Although the exterior of the addition was unfinished until July 2017, the building had already hosted district and sub-district youth retreats, women’s meetings, men’s meetings, the 2016 Serbia-Macedonia annual conference, and a retreat for Methodist youth from Serbia and Macedonia (the country immediately south of Serbia, a full day’s drive away). A pastors’ retreat is scheduled for October 2017. And, of course, local church events such as Bible School and fellowship meals have been held here.
Below are some images from Marty & Susie Kalz’s visit to Padina in 2017. The last 3 photos show the decorations for Thanksgiving Day, which is not a national holiday on a set day. Churches choose a Sunday in the fall — usually October or November — on which to give thanks. In Padina it was October 15. The sign says Sanctuary United Methodist Church (more literally, Prayer House Evangelical Methodist Church). The man playing the organ and preaching is Pastor Janko.