Scout project revives church narthex with new tables


Boy Scout Jake Hilley of Troop 277 came to the rescue of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Ponte Vedra Beach when he approached them to ask about any project he could take on, to reach his Eagle Scout rank. The answer: tables.

The little church that was once a stable, has been using picnic tables in its narthex that were also created by Boy Scouts more than a decade ago. They were functional and had multiple uses during its Pumpkin Patch, but many were falling apart.

On two recent weekends, Hilley and a handful of Boy Scouts, troop leaders led by Jamie Kranking and parents came out to build five sturdy, farmhouse-style tables, using pressure-treated wood with notched bases, side stretchers, boxed aprons and windowpane finishes on the durable composite tops.

“These tables could be sold at an outdoor furniture store, they are so well made and beautifully designed,” said Sheila Kolesaire, the church council president. “We are delighted to have tables that are easy for aging congregation members to sit down at as well as women in dresses or skirts. It was a bit of a challenge with aging picnic tables that had attached benches.”

This is one of several Eagle Scout projects at Lord of Life in the last year. Only 4% of Boy Scouts achieve Eagle rank, the highest level in Scouts. It requires a project with significant scope, planning, fundraising and leadership.

“I was happy to do this project and learned a lot about woodworking, design, cutting, precise measurements and assembly,” said Hilley. “It was great to see the finished tables and know they’ll be used every week.”

Lord of Life Lutheran Church is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a church of about 4 million members. Its roots date back through the mid-17th century when early Lutherans came to America from Europe. It is located at 276 Roscoe Blvd. N. in Ponte Vedra Beach.