The 125th anniversary of the Gahanna Sanctuary, 82 N. High St., will be celebrated Sept. 27.

The commemoration will begin at 10:30 a.m. and continue throughout the day.

John Michael Spinelli, a Gahanna Sanctuary trustee and president of the Gahanna Foundation Inc., said the milestone will be marked by a wedding-vow renewal, history presentations, a garage sale, music on the facility's organ and refreshments.

The structure was built in 1895 as Peace Lutheran Church. Its congregation later moved to Clark State Road.

Laurie Jadwin, Gahanna's mayor, said Sept. 27 would be declared "Gahanna Sanctuary Sunday" through a proclamation she plans to present during her report to Gahanna City Council on Monday, Sept. 21.

Peace Lutheran Church, at High and Town streets in Olde Gahanna, was constructed in 1895, replacing the original church on Johnstown Road, built in 1838, 11 years before the merger of Bridgeport and Gahanna, according to Spinelli.

Peace Lutheran Church operated at 82 N. High St. as a religious facility until 1965, when the land and building were sold to a private owner.

The Olde Gahanna Sanctuary Inc. was created in 1981 as a 501c4 nonprofit organization, to maintain the historic portion of the building.

The Gahanna Sanctuary was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 because of its two significant architecture features: roughly 450 square feet of Tudor-style stained-glass windows and a Gothic Revival-style bell tower.

The Gahanna Sanctuary has been the center of many community activities over the decades, and continues to aspire to be a center for community activity by permitting worthy community groups with laudable purposes to use the facility for free, according to the proposed proclamation.

Spinelli said Sanctuary trustees have a full day of celebration activities to reminisce about the facility as it once was. They also will christen its future as a unique event venue, he added.

A history presentation featuring Ed Lentz, a columnist for ThisWeek Community News, and Satolli Glassmeyer, of History In Your Own Backyard, will begin at 10:30 a.m. and be repeated throughout the day.

Spinelli said a wedding-vow renewal is scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. for couples who were previously married at the venue.

"On Sanctuary Sunday, we will conduct a one-day only garage sale of stuff stored in the basement, which includes four doors made in 1895, among other materials and equipment that have been collecting dust for decades," Spinelli said. "First-come, first-served. Make an offer."

He said Priscilla Hewetson of Delightful Sounds, who with Ellen Ford performs wedding-ceremony music, plans to entertain throughout the day on the Sanctuary's mighty but little-used organ.

Spinelli said a wedding garden, with a theme of herbs and flowers, is included in future plans.

He said the intent is for it to contain stained-glass sculptures, a fountain, a gazebo, new entrance portals, and a variety of herbs and flowers, annuals and perennials that will add an outdoor feature enhancing the Gahanna Sanctuary's appeal.

"A small church complex built in Olde Gahanna at the turn of the 20th century is undergoing a metamorphosis of mission, of sorts, from a 'community center' business model set up in 1981, when the former Olde Peace Lutheran Church was reborn as a social organization nonprofit, to what some contemporary voices believe is fast becoming the center of the community by pivoting from peering into the past to focusing on the future," Spinelli said.

Social distancing will be enforced on Sanctuary Sunday, with the facility's calculated social-distance capacity at 31 visitors.

Facial coverings will be provided for those who do not have one.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla