Recap of Continuing the Conversation II (Sunday July 29)

Hello New Lifers!

Sunday night yielded another helpful conversation about the future of our church family, and especially the stewardship and future of our beloved building.

Thank you, Lord, for this congregation!   I certainly have enjoyed this continued and delightful conversation with you all. Let’s keep praying and talking about the next 30 years.

A quick recap:

1. Hospitality! In our current sermon series the concept of hospitality occurs at least twice. Marc Davis preached on a passage in which the first appears (Romans 12:13), and Dave White will unpack the other passage later this month (Romans 15:7). The latter is especially instructive, for it connects the simple gesture of hospitality to the gospel itself. I love verses like that do this! “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.”

Are we a hospitable people? I hope so. And this entails not only your personal home, but also our common church home. Let’s make it more hospitable, shall we? This certainly involves our own excitement in meeting new people, but it also involves the building itself. For instance, I hope in five years from now no one talks about new people getting lost at New Life! And I hope the facilities are warm and pleasant for all who enter.

Why be hospitable? Because Jesus welcomed us into the Father’s family. So let’s welcome others as well.

2. What’s changed since we talked last? (June 20)

First I asked this question: What was our church’s largest interior renovation/remodeling project since we moved into the Casa Conti?

The answer is it’s currently going on right now! It’s the swap between our two elementary classrooms and the Sr High classroom. It’s exciting to see these rooms developing, in addition to the new bathrooms and kitchenette in the former Sr High storage area. Thank you to Ed Spector and his team for all the hard work.

Now, on to other changes. The original plans for the Fellowship Hall (permanent 40/60 split into two rooms) have been scrapped. The current thought is to continue to use it for various activities, including educational and light gym activities (e.g. Boys and Girls clubs). Also, we have paused on the pursuit of a variance with the township for the sanctuary “bump-out”, not as a final decision, but it seemed wise to wait with various contingencies at play right now.

Also, I think I can say that the exterior picture of the church that we showed on April 29 will almost certainly be changed in some way.  We’ve heard some good feedback concerning how to make the building look a little more Glenside/Abington appropriate. Perhaps that means a Wissahickon Schist veneer, but after this last meeting we’re now thinking about another option as well. Nice to have some rock experts in our midst. Thanks for continuing the conversation!

3. What’s currently being discussed?

What to do with the Fellowship Hall and the exterior look of the building, as mentioned above. We also discussed whether the Jr. High class should be relocated (right now the probable answer is no). Finally, tentative remodeling options for the hallway outside the new Sr. High room, between the kitchen and the sanctuary, were discussed. There’s some wonderful wood above that drop ceiling!

4. What would we do with the Common Gathering Space? (CGS, also called “Third Space”)

The CGS is a wonderful part of our plan. It is a long hall / gathering room to be constructed on the Easton Rd side of our worship building. What might we do with it?  Here are some of the possibilities:

Sunday morning welcome center
Many informal conversations!
Youth D-group, WBS small group
New Life missions and ministry fair
Mini-Library …on wheels?
Informational meetings
Art competition display area
Holiday Craft event
Coffee area with seating (with a kids’ play area nearby perhaps)
Small presentation area (for events like a Barnes & Noble meet the author, First-Aid training)
Reception area (after Christmas pageant, comedy night, Sr. High worship night, joint worship night, etc.)
Fellowship Hall overflow area
Senior Dinner
Study space for college students
Smaller, informal worship gatherings
Preschool families: parent meetups for coffee during school time

Very exciting indeed.  But remember that the CGS is first of all valuable as a “non-programmed space.” Talk to a friend. Meet someone new. Sit down on a couch and fellowship with one another. We have some places in the building where this happens on Sunday morning right now, but nothing ideal. The CGS will undoubtedly be a significant improvement!

Finally, Clint Files spoke on a few items, including an excellent description on how the new building design will improve the ‘flow’ of people on a Sunday morning. He also talked briefly about the upcoming capital/stewardship campaign, which starts in October.

Let me conclude by saying that this really is a conversation. I for one have thoroughly enjoyed the process of exchanging ideas, and as a result we have together improved the plans in a number of very important ways since our April 29 event. Let’s keep this going.

Thank you for being interested in New Life’s Next 30 Years!  Please keep praying.

For the Lord of All,
Pastor Mark