Thank you to all who joined us on Monday night for the second in our three-part fall meeting series about the Greensboro Road project! The goal of these gatherings is three-fold: to communicate clearly the vision behind and the process of the proposed building project, hear questions and responses from the congregation, and pray together.
This week, we heard from Pastor Don Willeman some background on how we make decisions as a church family, and factors the elders have considered in moving forward with this building project. Then, Lindsay Whaley and Noah Crane shared on behalf of the building committee. Lindsay gave an update on the initial steps in the process of obtaining permission to build in Hanover, and Noah shared the story of the building design. We also heard a number of helpful questions and comments from CRC members. Short summaries of these talks are below, and we are all happy to talk more with any of you who were not able to be there.
Pastor Don reminded us that according to our church constitution, we are an elder-governed church. Likewise, our constitution calls for the elders to lead by seeking significant “congregational input”. To this end, the leadership of CRC has an open-door policy and truly want to hear from our church family. So, as pertains to the Greensboro Road building project, the elders commissioned a building committee who would be connected to and hear from a broad cross-section of the church, to be responsible for hearing input from the congregation and making decisions about the proposed facility. Moreover, the congregational meetings regarding Greensboro Road are keeping with this same spirit of seeking input.
Don emphasized that from the beginning of CRC’s history, our vision has always included having our own facility. Over the last 18 years, 100’s or even 1000’s of hours have been expended searching for properties and considering options. At the same time, we understand that a building comes with challenges and requires a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of emotional energy. We have asked and continue to ask the question, “Is it worth it?” and we say yes for three major reasons. One, to enable our serving and “belonging” in the heart of this community; to be physically vested in the Greater Hanover/Lebanon area communicates something to our friends and neighbors, and allows us to move beyond taking hospitality to extending it to others. Two, we desire to be a church not just for ourselves, and owning a facility gives us a place and platform to provide resources and training to other churches and aspiring ministers. Three, we want to be well positioned to move from the “visionary generation” (those who have poured into the creation and establishment of Christ Redeemer Church) to future generations who will build and extend this ministry. We want to pass on the resources to strengthen the ministry of the gospel here for years to come, and a building will be very helpful to that end.
We may ask, “Is this risky?” Yes, trying to get a building is risky. However, not securing a building is too. Our “safety” is not found in either maintaining our current situation or stepping into something new: in all things we trust the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
We continue to move forward one step at a time, at each point considering what the next wise step is.
II. Next step
In December, we will present to the Hanover Planning Board a proposed site plan detailing building placement & facility use information. This begins an official dialogue with the town and town staff, will be helpful for gauging their initial responses and receiving feedback as we proceed.
III. Exterior design
Noah shared how the building committee has considered the general look of the proposed building. As we have observed and listened to our church community, we see that we come from a wide range of backgrounds and preferences—from some who would prefer a very traditional building, to those who prefer a more modern design. We see that people from many different kinds of church background feel comfortable in our church family, and we want to continue to welcome all. We want to be respectful of the aesthetics of community in which we are building, while building a space that is able to accommodate current and future needs of our congregation. We also work within the established building guidelines of the town and restrictions of our specific property. Images were shown of the current site plan and exterior building design, showing changes incorporated based on feedback received following the October congregational meeting.