There are many things that have been put on “pause” over the last few months. But I am so pleased that our Building Committee has not paused. They have made a great deal of progress. We have such a gifted group of leaders who are guiding this process. I know you join me in thanking them and praying for them as they do their work. Our future is so bright as we dream about SHINING the love of Jesus to the Lehigh Valley and beyond. Here is their update:
A REPORT FROM OUR BUILDING COMMITTEE
Despite the challenges presented by these unprecedented times, your Building Committee has been very busy working on many aspects of our new church building project. When we last talked with you at the congregational meeting in early March, we displayed a building design with two worship venues and associated spaces to allow us to leave BECA and Locust St. once the building is completed. That design was developed this past winter and was intended to be our ultimate long-term building plan, with a near term goal of obtaining a more detailed cost estimate to determine what we can build now. With the capital campaign results wrapping up in December and hiring an Architect and Construction Manager in February and April, respectively, we have been working diligently to define the project cost and refine the building design to align with available funds.
We are very excited to share that our Architect, Mann-Hughes, has developed a wonderful 35,000 sq. ft. church design that meets our current needs, accommodates reasonable growth for the short term and also provides opportunities for future expansion. It still allows us to leave BECA and our Locust St. church when the construction is completed. It includes one worship venue that can be easily and quickly transformed from classic to modern services and will meet the unique needs of both venues. Also included is a multi-purpose room with flexibility to accommodate multiple meeting spaces or a single fellowship hall type meeting space for around 200 people or just over 125 people for dinners or receptions. The building design has ample space for children and youth, a nice inside and outside children’s play area, sufficient administrative space and a large gathering space atrium for fellowship and receptions along with a café and kitchen to support hospitality events. A beautiful Memorial Garden is designed for the front of the building. With this building design, we are currently projecting a financing gap of between $1Million -$1.5Million but believe quite confidently that we can close the gap with construction cost improvements, a responsible level of bank financing and additional Shine campaign commitments.
The current project schedule shows that we will be able to break ground sometime in the late Spring of 2021. There is a meeting with the Bethlehem Township Zoning board in late June and then a meeting to review plans with the Bethlehem Township Planning Commission in late July. After these initial Township meetings, we expect to receive Township approval and all environmental clearances by March 2021 to start construction in late Spring. Our intent is to work hard to meet or beat this schedule.
God has blessed our church with committed and energetic staff and lay leaders, a passionate, faithful, and generous congregation, and a talented group of outside consultants in our architects, engineers, and construction managers. We are very pleased with the progress since early March and also recognize the exciting challenges ahead of us. More details will be provided once we get through the Planning Commission meeting in July. In the meantime, keep praying! Please submit any questions or comments to email@example.com.
Thank you for this opportunity to serve!
Steve Follett and Gary Etter, Co-Chairs
Building Committee Members: Brad Chamberlain, Nora Riley, Peter Young, Mike Butz, Jim Rowland, Keith Krenz, John Lewis.
We are not hitting the pause button on Hecktown Road and we are not hitting the pause button on our mission and ministry. This past week, we had 797 devices that were watching our worship services. With our analytics and conservative estimates, that equates to around 1600 people (or more) watching our services on our three platforms – Facebook, YouTube, and our Website. It is also good to see more people engaging. I loved seeing you greet each other in our “virtual lobby” and engage throughout the service. Our Sunday Small Groups and our GRACE Afterservice have also been new ways to engage people.
Also, this week, our Chancel Choir did a zoom call as did our Modern Worship Team – it is so good to connect and see each other. Our small groups are continuing – long term K groups and new Sunday night small groups. And our Next Generation Ministry is vibrant with groups and zoom calls and family time and Sunday nights. Not to mention Bible Studies and prayer meetings.
On Sunday, we will check in with our 2020 Inquirers. Inquirers are our students who are digging deep into their faith and will officially become members at the end of the process. They will lead us in our profession of faith this week. It is our greatest mission to teach the next generation the good news of Jesus Christ and it is always amazing to see these students express their faith and use their many gifts.
This week, we continue in our DISRUPTED Series. But this week, we will look at a different kind of disruption. Sometimes, Jesus invites you into a disruption that will take you to a deeper faith and trust in him. It happened to Peter when he took the step out of the boat and onto the water. As a part of my message, you will hear from our member, Erica Baittinger, who stepped out into her own deep waters.
GRACE WEAR SHOP
Some of you have asked about “Grace Swag” when you see me wearing shirts and fleeces with our logo on them. Well, I’m excited that we now have our own GRACE Store. In partnership with JWEAR, you can now purchase items “on demand”. They will be shipped directly to you.
Our member, Val Piacentini, is the founder of JWEAR which exists not just to make t-shirts but to mentor Easton kids. So, your purchase will support their mission and they will gift 10 percent of our sales to our SHINE Campaign. Click here to shop. Now, you can watch worship on Sundays in some new comfy GRACE clothes.
What a privilege to be your pastor as we see God so powerfully guiding our way, GRACE Church.
See you in the lobby!
Your Pastor and Friend,
Dr. Marnie Crumpler