What could have been a traumatic event for 200 worshipers at St. Paul on Dec. 2, marking the last service for the congregation in the 116-year-old building, became a time for celebration.

The enthusiasm of the Rev. Mack Elder, pastor of the Open Door Missionary Baptist Church, purchaser of the building at 76 High St., spread throughout the sanctuary as he said how excited he and his congregation were to have their own church after 12 years of worshiping in rented space.

The timing couldn’t have been better for both congregations. Open Door, which had been worshiping in the fellowship hall at the church, needed a permanent home, and St. Paul had the daunting task of marketing the property.

Pastor Elder, who joined two of his congregants in a choral presentation, called the serendipitous situation “a miracle.”

To mark the conveyance of the building to Open Door, Pastor Elder said his congregation is establishing the Open Door Missionary Baptist Church-St. Paul Lutheran Church Scholarship Fund, benefiting congregation members of Open Door and the new Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church who wish to pursue a divinity degree.

Upon Pastor Elder’s urging, participants in the service formed a line to make the first donation to the fund.

The service was followed by a reception in the church hall.