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Topic: Jake's Blog

Publisher's Clearing House Arrived!

August 20, 2013
Jake Caldwell
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Dear Friends,
I hope you came away from our congregational meeting on Sunday encouraged, both by the progress we’ve made and the plan that is in place to continue to explore our next steps. In case you were not there, we announced in Publisher’s Clearing House style that we have received a settlement from Church Mutual that maximizes our policy— 7.8 million dollars and change. A special thanks goes out to Stuart Gant, Ted Lolley, and the Exploring Team for all their hard work, and to all of you who were waiting and wondering these long five months to see what would happen. Our collective perseverance and tenacity has paid off. I’m told it is a rarity, in a situation like ours, to receive such a settlement with no restrictions. Whew! Now that we are through with that phase, what’s next?
The Exploring Team has chosen to utilize HOPE Partnership, a Disciples of Christ program that helps churches align their building needs with their mission, as a mechanism to engage the whole congregation in planning for our future. That process will begin this week with a site visit from Rick Morse, our HOPE Partnership consultant. Over the next few weeks, you will be hearing more about how you can be involved in that process. It is for anyone who loves our church and wants to be a part of our future.
On Sunday we also voted to relocate to Third Baptist Church. Although the Elders suggested that the vote totals not be announced, you need to know that the congregation is strongly united behind this decision. It was a very nearly unanimous vote, as indicated by the spontaneous applause following the announcement. After receiving unanimous approval from their board, elders, finance, and property committee, Third Baptist voted unanimously as a congregation to extend this invitation to us. There are some logistical things yet to be worked out, but we are targeting the first Sunday in October to begin worshiping there. Stay tuned for further announcements as we plan for this transition. The church offices will also be relocated to the Third Baptist campus within the next few weeks. The congregation voted on Sunday to include the house on Daviess Street in the demolition plans. While it has served as a functional office for the last few months, it is in very poor condition and not suitable for use over the winter. Full-scale demolition will begin on the remnants of the church this week. To the extent it is practical, relics and other materials from the old building will be preserved for re-use or re-purposing. All good news, all tangible signs of the progress we’ve been craving. If the theme of the last few months has been grief and anxiety, my prayer for our church is that the theme of the next few months will be hope and excitement. I believe we have turned an important corner, and now we have a new stretch before us to build some momentum. Nothing will happen as quickly as we want it to, but I have found it helpful to remember that whether they realized it or not, those saints who built our former church building were shaping the ministry that happened in and through that place for well over a century. The decisions that we make over these next few months will likewise impact the trajectory of First Christian Church for the next 100, 150, maybe 200 years. Perhaps it’s not altogether bad that we have this time set apart to pray and to plan, to listen and discern, not only what we want for us today, but what the needs of the church might be over the course of the next century or two. That’s an awesome and exciting responsibility. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share in it with you. I look forward to these next few months that are pregnant with possibility.

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