Phase 3 of the Junction Center building project is complete! All of us at WJTL have been looking forward to this for years. In fact, a few have been looking forward to it for decades: Tim Landis (our president), Fred McNaughton (WJTL station manager) and Chris Strayer (CMI Productions concert promoter). I knew the grand opening and dedication would be special. Unfortunately, I had an ill-timed case of laryngitis. I originally planned to be there from the very beginning until the very end, welcoming people at the famous WJTL Table and mingling the night away. But when a DJ loses their voice…it’s time for a new plan! So, my husband, Sam and I decided that even though I couldn’t speak, we wouldn’t miss this important event. He came along as my translator. Our toddler, Josiah, tagged along. We timed our arrival as the main event was getting started and were thrilled to see a packed parking lot!
When we walked into the doors, my heart was so happy to see so many WJTL listeners! There were so many familiar faces of friends of WJTL, those who gladly volunteered over the years, plus regular concert attenders and local musicians. My fellow WJTL staffers popped up here and there with a wave and an excited smile for such a big occasion. What surprised me was seeing so many people who have been a big part of my life! Pastor Tony Hunt was one of my youth pastors at Hershey Free Church. He is now Senior Pastor at Lancaster Evangelical Free Church. He said he had been hoping to bump into me at Lancaster Bible College, but our paths never crossed. Then I met Judy Lehman. She’s part of Steven Courtney’s Suitcase Musicians and works at HOPE International. We’ve been internet friends for over a year, mostly relating with music and toddlers. (Our 2 year olds’ birthdays are very close together.) We’ve been trying to meet in real life for a while, but haven’t been able to arrange it. I was delighted to make these connections at the brand new The Junction Center Landis Hall. It’s a place that I’m sure will hold meaningful memories in the years to come. I can’t wait to see what relationships are started there. I imagine kindred heart friendships will start there, musicians will connect with eager hearts, and broken hearts will find Jesus.
I hope you’ve heard the story of Robert M. Landis. It is truly amazing to think of the impact this man has had—and will continue to have! Fred McNaughton was talking about the concerts and events we have lined up to take place in the new facility. I loved when he stressed that we don’t want to forget our roots! Heritage artists, like Chuck Girard, Russ Taff, Michael Card and Phil Keaggy have been important in helping to blaze a trail for Christian music – and we will continue to support and showcase them. WJTL is also on a mission to impact future generations. Children will love concerts with artists like Slugs & Bugs! There will also be Christian rock shows, concerts with current contemporary Christian artists, local bands and much more.
One of my favorite moments was seeing how our son responded. After all, this was Josiah’s first real concert! When Rend Collective took the stage, Sam took Josiah up front. He held him for a few songs, while Josiah quietly watched. But, when Sam put Josiah down, he began dancing and jumping and clapping and shouting! He loved the concert so much, he talked about it all the way home. (Especially the guitar.) We asked Josiah if he wanted to go to another concert, and he said “uh huh”! (Translation: “yes”!) It brought back memories of when my mom took me to concerts with Michael W. Smith and DC Talk. We always talked about what we loved on the way home in the car. And now the process is starting all over again in my little family. I’m so grateful for Junction Center Landis Hall and can’t wait to see and hear the stories of lives impacted by Christ. Community. Music. in this new space.