An Extraordinary Year
In my 2017 parish year-end report I concluded with these words:
“I don’t know what this next ministry year will bring us but it is a future we meet with God, of this we can be sure. I keep a card in my desk drawer with the following quote:
Healthy things grow.
Growing things change.
Changing things challenge us.
Challenge causes us to trust God.
Trust leads to obedience.
Obedience makes us healthy.
And healthy things grow.
That’s a good thought to keep before us. Put it on your refrigerator. Read it from time to time. You will be a different person next year. We will be a different parish by next year. God will lead us through experiences which satisfy and delight us. He will also allow us to experience failure leading us to acknowledge our dependence upon Him alone.”
Who could have guessed how this year would unfold? I don’t have that desk or the card anymore, and yet, through it all, we have experienced the steadfast faithfulness of our loving heavenly Father.
We write this update two days before Thanksgiving. Currently lined up on Venning Street are thirteen cement trucks as Hill Construction begins the fourth pour of our foundation as we rebuild our Ministry Center. It is amazing to think how much has been accomplished in these past seven months.
God promises to bring beauty from ashes and He has in many unexpected ways. While the essential footprint and plan of the new construction has not changed (you can see a streetscape rendering at the corner of Whilden and Venning), there are a few beneficial adaptations we have been able to make as we simultaneously build and rebuild. For example, the previous engineering challenges associated with overlaying new construction atop an existing building has been greatly eliminated.
We are also able to add a gabled roof to the Ministry Center, previously prohibited due to the roofline, which will allow us to include natural lighting in the new sanctuary.
The smoke and water damage also necessitated a complete upgrade to the infrastructure and interior of the portion of our building that was not burned along with Sams Hall. Renovation of this space was not part of the original plan. However, smoke and water damage necessitated it. Over the past six months, new floors, carpeting, walls, ceilings, electric wiring, IT, LED lights, a fire suppression system, HVAC have been installed, and Sams Hall has been repainted. We are close to completion with one hallway remaining to be painted.
The foundation should be completed over the next few weeks. Once completed, structural steel will begin rising. We expect to see this early in the New Year.
Another development to note: plans are almost completed for a columbarium to be built in the courtyard outside of the Historic Church. The ground has been cleared and drawings are being finalized. Construction will begin early in the New Year.
Lastly, thank you! Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for your commitment to our Lord, to our parish, and to our community. Literally, hundreds of folks have stepped forward to serve the church and our community in any number of ways these past several months. Equally, the generosity of St. Andrew’s members is amazing. It is a blessing to be a part of the Lord’s renovating work – both physically and spiritually.
In the family,
Steve & Jacqui