--Pastor Jamey Nichols
As we have continued to trust and follow God’s leading in the restoration with our Traditional Congregational Church friends—now, once again, our church family—it’s been great to see the ways God has worked things out along the way. First, our FCC family has grown with the addition of new members. While they would have to say how “at home” they each are feeling, from my perspective it’s as if we’ve always been together. It’s hard to believe it’s only been 2½ years since the idea was officially presented. When a decision is a good one, the comfort it can offer has a familiarity that belies historical reality. Though new, it feels old.
Another related advancement is the sale of the building to Bill Simpson, Jr. for his funeral home business. Each of our new members have expressed satisfaction that their old building is going to be used in such an important way in our community. And, although you can see a bit of change on the building’s outside, the real modifications are internal. Be watching for an open house invitation where our church will be invited for a sneak-peek into the remodeled facility.
The much-loved bell in the spire of the old building will soon be moved from its original home to a new home in the churchyard of our Camburn building. Our Trustee board is continuing to work on a ground display that will not only show off the bell, but will also mesh nicely into the lovely front elevation that is our exterior. A date is not yet firm, but plans are advancing with care so that when the time arrives, one Sunday it won’t be on site and the next Sunday it will. Prepare to be surprised for what will include a rededication once it is finally moved.
TCC’s financial resources have also been moved over to FCC, and, I’m very pleased to say, have been set apart by the Trustees and designated as The Mayflower Fund. This newest FCC endowment fund, monitored by our Trustee board and managed by Cornerstone Wealth Partners in Grand Rapids, exists for a threefold purpose: supplementing our youth ministries, supplementing the funds for improving/maintaining our facility, and helping to underwrite the pastor’s expenses for traveling to the NACCC annual meeting. Though I wasn’t able to attend this year in San Diego, I was present last year in Detroit and look forward to attending in 2019 (location TBD).
The final stage of the hopes and dreams over which we talked long and prayed much was the addition of a Community Youth Worker whose job it would be to do youth outreach at our local school. As you may recall, our original intention was to make the position full-time wherein half of the work week would focus on FCC students and the other half on community student outreach. Since Scot and Karisia Hoskins have dedicated themselves to FCC and to leading our in-house teen ministry as volunteers, we now have the ability to bring in someone to do student outreach full-time!
With the old Simpson funeral home being generously rented to FCC at $1/year, we can use the building as housing and a youth center space. Also, since such an outreach effort is new to FCC, the congregation agreed to make this venture a 3-year experiment. If God blesses our plans, we will receive ownership of the building as payment-in-full for the land-contract on the TCC building. If the ministry doesn’t prove successful, Bill will retain ownership and pay off the contract according to the existing terms. This is a win-win for all involved and the exciting part is that the real risk to FCC is considerably low, while the opportunity for community-altering ministry is considerably high.
To date, I have interviewed seven different people for the position. One strong candidate decided it wasn’t the right fit. The other strong candidate was Scot and Karisia, and you know how that turned out. All but one of the other candidates I deemed unsuitable. The most recent candidate I interviewed during the latter weeks of this past July is a very strong candidate (a husband/wife w/o kids). Consideration remains ongoing. Lord willing, we will have a decision shortly after this article is published.
As we continue to “wait on the Lord” and remain “still and know that He is God” we find ourselves in a place common to Christians—patiently attending God as he moves in His own time. The day is not far off when we look back at our own history and marvel how one church painfully became two, then wonderfully became one again. Add to that, the present condition of the one is stronger together than either was alone. A story like this is just the sort we see in the Bible as God’s people walk steadily through life, keeping their eyes fixed on the Author and Perfecter of the faith. “Come and see what God has done, His awesome deeds for [FCC]” (Ps. 66:5)!