Over the past couple of years, we have been fostering a relationship with our neighbors to the west at the new assisted living facility – Oak Park Place. During the construction, Pastor Balza made first contact with some administrators, with the hope that we could be the first church to offer some religious services for their residence. Before Pastor Backus arrived, Pastor Pries conducted the first Oak Park Place Sunday afternoon Worship Service, and we have been doing worship there once a month ever since. On one occasion, when a resident was in his final hours here on this earth, a family member asked for a clergyman to visit, the staff at Oak Park Place reached out to us and gave us the opportunity to witness Jesus’ love and forgiveness. God has certainly blessed our relationship these past couple of years.
Three weeks ago, Pastor Backus, Pastor Pries and Dave Huebner met with their regional director and asked if they would consider renting out the large hall where we could conduct our worship services with their residents once a month. They were thrilled to be asked. They too appreciate our growing relationship and are offering us their space for free.
Here are some bullet points explaining a few more details:
• They want to provide us with a convenient worship space at no cost.
• We will keep our normal summer worship times of 8am and 9:45am.
• We are locked in for the summer months, but if we need to start worshiping there earlier than June or into September, that will be okay.
• Their space can legally seat 135 people (we have never reached 135 at one service during the summer months in our recent past.)
• We can move some of our chairs over to their facility since they only have about 80 chairs for this room.
• We can set up our altar, pulpit and other chancel furnishings and keep them there until we are ready to move them back into our newly refurbished chapel.
• They have a projector, screen, grand piano, and a modern sound system ready for us to use.
• They have a little kitchen area in the back corner of the hall if we desire to offer some refreshments for fellowship.
• There’s plenty of room for our own praise bands.
• Their parking lot is smaller than ours, so we will ask some of our healthy younger members to park in our church parking lot or on a nearby street. But for those who are not up to walking there is plenty of parking at their facility.
There will be several challenges for us to navigate during our building project. What a blessing to know that our worship will not be interrupted and will take place right next door. To God be the Glory!