(in case you didn’t receive the email–send us yours if you didn’t!–here’s an invitation to preview a possible alternative site to our present meeting spot)
Good Sunday Evening, (with apologies if this is a duplicate email; we wanted to be sure we got this word out to as many of our members and regular attendees as possible)
If you were with us this morning, then you saw (and heard) first-hand one of the enduring challenges of meeting as a community there in the hotel ballroom: other sister churches whose sound from their worship services unavoidably spills over into our service. (To be fair, ours does likewise into their worship time).
As we’ve told you over the last several months, our reasons for seeking an alternative venue was to alleviate the noise factor, as well as provide us more space for nursery, children’s ministry, and adult education–both on Sundays and during the week.
Well, an opportunity has arisen–only last week to be honest, and practically right under our nose.
A modest-sized Baptist church, on Main St. just north of I-20, whose congregation can’t quite fill their space has expressed genuine interest in letting us share space with them. Fairmeadows Baptist Church has been at this location for some time, but has in recent years responded to their financial struggles by inviting other communities to share their space for a fee. There are presently no other church communities sharing the space on Sundays.
Pastor Dee Carlisle has been on staff for over a decade and became their bi-vocational solo pastor about three years ago. He met with me and other members of the venue search committee last week to introduce us to the space. The elders and some other members of the committee took a walkthrough this afternoon.
Given the heightened challenge of creating a space for praise, reflection, fellowship, and prayer in the hotel (a challenge to which we are susceptible without warning each week); given our ongoing (and blessedly growing) needs for space; and given the location of this property, the Session would like to provide the community a chance to see the space and provide input.
Among the advantages of the property:
- though a shared space, we’d have a quiet place for our worship services
- we would be able to keep meeting on Sunday mornings
- larger nursery and additional classroom space
- close to our present location
- potential for meeting at other times during the week
Full disclosure, the building itself is about 50 years old and, in some portions more than others, it shows its age. And it is a church building you might find in a sleepy town in West Texas–unlike what you’re accustomed to if you’ve always lived in cities–but its size more than accommodates our need. The sanctuary holds 200, the nursery has two adjoining rooms, and there are 8-10 different educational spaces that are either ready or would be ready to go after some cleanup and TLC. If we elected to begin meeting here, we envision having some professional cleaning done for the church at our expense, as well as inviting our community to have a work day to prepare the rooms for our use.
So on behalf of the elders (and with the enthusiastic encouragement of Pastor Carlisle), I’d like to invite you to come have a look for yourself this Wednesday night, August, 14th, at 6pm, in the sanctuary of FBC. The church is at 200 Carr Ln and is nearly equidistant to the North of I-20 as the Hilton is south of I-20. (Yes, that close. Can you believe it?) We’ll convene, pray, have a walkthrough, and then reconvene in the sanctuary for a time of discussion. We’d like your honest input.
FBC’s pastor has offered to let us meet there on a trial basis if only to see that it really does fit our need. Since the church could only accommodate us so long as we stay under 200 people, it’s the advice of the Session that our search committee continue its work should this venue prove unworkable, or in the event we need to find a larger location in the future. We recognize the importance of continuity for the sake of our Body so we’re very hesitant to put ourselves in a position that would require another change in the near-term. But given what would seem to be some insurmountable challenges in our present location, we’re willing to take this risk.
But at risk of prejudicing your perspective, I won’t say more. I will however attach a link here for a slideshow of pictures I took last week, mostly of the rooms we’d be using. These are to give you a first impression, as best they can.
The building can use some work in places, but the kindness we’ve already seen from the pastor and his modest flock has been encouraging to me and the others of us who’ve visited.
So, the short notice notwithstanding, we do hope you can make it, if not for the whole time just long enough to have a look. Let us know if you’re coming, too, so we know how many to expect.
Whether you’re coming or not, please do pray: for the wisdom we need to make decision of this nature, with proper appreciation for the urgency we feel, but not too hastily.
This morning we spoke of fear. While this choice is nothing compared to the kind of choice Jesus had to make in Gethsemane, the exhortation to place our fears in the context of His love and power would seem to have relevance even to this moment.
Hope to see you this Wednesday at 6 at Fairmeadows Baptist Church, 200 Carr Ln
I and the other Session members are glad to field any questions you may have. Feel free to contact any of us.