ADAMS In a public farewell from its East Church Street home Saturday, the operators of Hearthstone Ministries held a small festival to raise money to fund a move to a new location.
Its not a goodbye, said William A. Sampson, who runs the thrift store with his wife, the Rev. Susan M. Sampson. We arent planning on stopping the work we do.
They also dedicated a plaque for the soon-to-be vacated space to Ralph F. Brouty, the father of building owner Peggy A. Brouty, who evicted them July 30. The ministry must clear the building by the end of August.
He tried to do great things for the community, Mr. Sampson said, adding he met Mr. Brouty a few years ago. We felt God was telling us, Honor him.
During a brief presentation of the plaque, Michael C. Parks, pastor of New Testament Fellowship, Route 12, Watertown, said the dedication was an example of what Gods love is.
Mr. Sampson said he did not contact Ms. Brouty, who owns the building through her P.A.B. Enterprises, or her family about participating in the dedication, for fear they might try to have a court stop the dedication.
We felt this was something we needed to do, he said.
Mr. Sampson dismissed the notion that they had ulterior motives for the dedication.
If thats something they feel, thats on them, he said. We really are doing this out of respect.
Ms. Brouty hung up on a phone call from the Times on Saturday afternoon, and did not respond to a follow-up message left asking for comment about the dedication. Mr. Brouty died June 2 at the age of 83.
The eviction was finalized quickly by Adams Village Court on July 30, despite hopes from the ministry it could buy the building. However, the church failed to raise even a small fraction of the money it thought it needed to buy the space, 11 E. Church St., based on an old offer, and Ms. Brouty told the court the building was not for sale any more.
The festival, which included carnival-style games, food, craft displays and inflatables, drew a small but enthusiastic crowd of about a couple of dozen people to the building. The Rev. Mrs. Sampson said the event drew more than $2,000 in support from area businesses in the form of cash and gift certificates, and several residents brought baked goods and other food to sell during the event.
Bonnie A. Bristol, who volunteered near a game stand, said the store was necessary for the community, and was a big help when she moved to the village in January.
A lot of people are disappointed, she said. Im hoping they can find something good that works. Theyre good people.
With about two weeks left before they have to leave, the Sampsons said that they were still exploring their options to find a new home, and that they would continue their work regardless of location.
People want us to go on, but where we will be is the big question, the Rev. Mrs. Sampson said.