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At Long Last, the Lift Is Coming!

In the early 1960s when this building was initially erected thoughts about the needs of disabled people in public were seen very different than they are now. By and large people who were disabled spent most of their time in their homes and they tended to live a shorter life than we do today.


In 1998 when the UCSD free clinic project started here they met with patients in the pastors office Back then, when Doctor Ellen Beck and Pastor Noel Estergren started us on this adventure I don’t think they could’ve known where this would end up. Of course back then was before the two dental chairs were installed upstairs and full-service restorative dental clinic work happened each week here. But even back then this church was dedicated to serving the most vulnerable and there were questions about how to help those with limited mobility.


Our senior acupuncture clinic brings on average 30 patients a week many in their 70s and even 80s upstairs. Often times Family members or homeless guests will bring the seniors’ walkers upstairs for them to use and then back downstairs after treatment.


I would imagine many of you don’t know that my office is on the second floor. Before 2010 I made that climb unaided by any device. Of course as my MS has progressed so has the number of devices and type of the devices needed.


In 2014 accessibility was just a pipe dream. So was finding funding for additional social worker time to serve our clients, as was “going green and a new van. But these became our goals in 2015, our anniversary year. This one, the LIFT, this was the doozy. The amount of funding required just seemed insurmountable even as we checked the others off our list.


But many of you are here because you believed in that doozy of a mission and you with us and kept asking “so what’s happening with the lift” helping us to stay encouraged and keep our vision to bring this about. And this vision says a lot about justice. It helps us to provide services to another vulnerable population of people. No longer will they have to stop receiving care because they cannot ,or will only be able to receive limited care because the stairs just get larger and larger.


Thank you for your caring, you’re praying and your commitment to serving those who struggle in this place.

Below is an abridged version of the ground-breaking service prepared by TACO Board President Rev. Bill Radatz:

Ground-Breaking Service (abridged) for the First Lutheran/TACO Lift

We lift our eyes (and our Lift) to the Lord.

(Some liberty has been taken with scripture translations!!)


L: Behold, the people of God gathered in the courtyard of the temple. And they praised the Lord for all his goodness to them.


1: And some went to the UPPER ROOM, where they were staying, Peter and James and John, and James  and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartoloméw and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. (Acts 1:13)


L: But some remained below in wheelchairs and walkers and with canes. And they raised their voices and said:


2: “Such experiences are too wonderful for me; they are so high that I cannot attain it.” (Psalm 139:6)


L: And others said,


3: “RISE up, O LORD; O God, LIFT up your hand; do not forget the oppressed. (Psalm 10:12)


L: And others said,


ALL: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than to try to get up those stairs” (Mark 10: 25, loosely)


L: So they entered into a contract with Vincent Felice, a contractor who has built many lifts. And the people were happy, as they should be, since that is what “Felice” means in Spanish!And the people said,


ALL:  LIFT up your heads, O gates! and be LIFTed up, O ancient doors! - ALL THREE OF THEM - that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle, and in securing those necessary permits from the city. (Psalm 24:7-10)


L: And soon - maybe three months -the people of God will be able to say,


ALL: You shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth, or at least to the second floor. (Isaiah 54:14)


L: Bless, O Lord, this project of a new lift. Bless all those for whom it will open new ways to access your goodness, grace and healing. Keep all safe during its construction. May our spirits,  and the commitment of our community to be the heart of Christ in the heart of the city, rise along with this lift.

Many people gathered in outdoor courtyard

Rev. Bill Radatz, Dr. Ellen Beck, Rev. Noel Estergren, and Gretchen Estergren

Man in white hard hat and shovel breaking ground

Jean-Claude Chamaa

Many people gathered in outdoor courtyard to watch groundbreaking

Jim Lovell, Jan Neuhaus, Martha Radatz, Lori Gremel, and Kathryn Kanaan

Dr Ellen Beck using shovel to break ground

Dr. Ellen Beck

Jan Neuhaus using shovel to break ground

Jan Neuhaus

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