ADA - The residents of Ada woke up on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, to a blue sky that was ripe with the promise of spring. Shortly after noon, however, the sky over Ada became clouded with the smoke from the fire that had begun to consume the Ada First United Methodist Church. Although an official cause was never determined, it is believed that an unattended candle left burning ultimately led to the demise of the 114 year old building.A fence and support beams were quickly put up to keep passersby safe from the perilous remaining structure. What was once an open an inviting building for parishioner and village resident alike, had quickly become a site reminiscent of a movie set. The work to clear the site at the corner of Main Street and Highland Avenue began in July 2012. In a matter of a few hours, the destruction of the structure that was standing before automobiles traveled village streets was compete. The demolition crew worked carefully to remove the cornerstone, dated 1898, from the structure in order to move it to a secure location.
What Ada lost that fateful March day was more than a place of worship. The building on the corner of Main and Highland was an epicenter of community life. From weekly Weight Watchers and club meetings, to the Kiwanis Pancake and Sausage Day and the United Methodist Women's Harvest and Herb Festival lunch, the Ada First UMC housed the activities that make life in Ada great. One cannot begin to count the number of special occasions that generations of Ada residents celebrated within its walls. Weddings, bridal and baby showers, memorial services, and the like were all celebrated behind those beautiful stained glass windows.
The congregation of Ada First UMC has been resilient, as has the Ada population in the months since the fire. Services and other church meetings are now held, thanks to the generosity of Ohio Northern University, at the English Chapel, and the meetings, weddings, showers and other activities continue as if the graceful spire of Ada First UMC had never looked down on the village below.
There is a bright future on the horizon for the Ada First United Methodist Church. Plans are now in the works to rebuild on the historic site of the 1898 building. New life will be given to a spot where so much of Ada's collective life has been lived.
It is doubtful that any resident of Ada will get through this week without talking or at least thinking about the events of one year ago. As we think about that day and the loss we as a community were dealt, let's be thankful that it is not human lives we mourn and give a sweet eulogy of praise for the building that has, in one way or another, housed us all.