Three Years and Counting!

Dear Church Family,
Three years ago, the Administrative Council voted unanimously to accept an opportunity to participate in the Healthy Church Initiative. Six months later, at the end of Phase II, Grace hosted the HCI weekend: three days of worship, dreaming, conversations, and planning. More than 60 people attended the Saturday workshop. Small table groups discussed a variety of items, including dreams of new ministries and concerns about our facilities.

The full HCI report shared this feedback regarding facilities:

“The consultation team heard a consistent desire for a ‘Large space to gather together.’ One person said, ‘I think we like where we are but wouldn’t it be cool if we could move forward in the next step?’ We hear a desire to expand to meet the current and future needs of the church.”

Five HCI prescriptions were shared, one of which stated:

“The Pastor, in consultation with the Coach, will name a Facilities Study team. This team will assess the current facilities in light of the ministry needs of the congregation and the community to determine how the facilities are adequate and inadequate to meet those needs.”

Here’s a timeline to illustrate our path thus far:

Sept 2016: HCI study team formed
Feb 2018: HCI weekend; prescriptions adopted by a 53-1 vote
Summer 2018: HCI Facilities team formed; findings later unanimously approved by Administrative Council
Feb 2019: Church Conference votes to acquire seven acres by a 73-9 vote
March and May 2019: Capital Campaign and Building Committees teams form and contract with consultant and architects
Summer 2019: Capital Campaign and Building Committees meet to dream and plan, based on 18 months of feedback

Why am I bringing up all of this Healthy Church Initiative history three years later? Because a refrain we heard over and over again was, “This is not a quick plan, but a process. Trust the process.” And with the Capital Campaign set to launch next month, I want everyone to be able to see and understand the amount of work and time that has been invested in the process.

In September and October, the congregation will hear from the Building Committee and the Capital Campaign team about their work. These teams are very excited to share this unified vision for the future of Grace UMC. Here’s a timeline for the project going forward:

Sept 8 & 15: Info sessions, including Q&A from members
Sept 22: Launch Sunday. One service only at 10:00. Catered luncheon.
Oct 13: Commitment Sunday
Oct 27: Announcement Sunday
Late 2019/ Early 2020: Church Conferences (2) for Master Plan and Financing

Writing this, I looked back at three years’ worth of HCI communication. I was inspired by the sheer numbers of Grace members who have worked on the facilities issue only. This does not include everyone at the HCI workshop or the Mystery Guests who visited our building and left feedback. Thirty people! And of those thirty only seven served on more than one team. Going back to the original study team, here are the names I have, alphabetized, not assigned to any particular team. The congregation was well represented.

Gerri Bandemir
Tom Busby
Scott Caldwell
Erin & Stephen Clayton
Dan & Laura Dominick
Bill Douglass
Janet Hayes
Hal & Lynne Hinckley
Frank Holcomb
Carol Kennedy
Margaret Kloppers
Sheridan Krov
Keith Lightfoot
Rhonda Luckett
John Murphy
Carolyn & Jim Nicholson
Cindy Pressley
Gary Rice
Malinda Rice
Nana Rylander
Finau Siale
Sue Ann Spencer
Rodney Ward
Mike Wiggins
Jim Williams
Pastor Frank

When we began this process three years ago, I asked you to pray for two very specific requests, both of which are still relevant today:

The guidance of the Holy Spirit as we consider the direction God is calling us to go.
Pray for willing hearts. We will only go as far as those who participate will carry us. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in any way in the Healthy Church Initiative. When we agreed to do the work, no one had any idea where God would take us. And we’re not there yet! For nearly fifty years, the people of Grace United Methodist Church have followed Christ out into the mission field. I am excited to journey along with you!

All Grace is Amazing!