In mid October, while in Yonkers, New York, I toured a beautiful Episcopal Church called St. John's Yonkers. The congregation was founded in 1693. Their sanctuary seats 600. Unfortunately, their average Sunday attendance has dropped to around 50. Brace yourself; their property insurance is $80,000 a year!
While I was talking with their Rector, Bishop Deon called. He told me the 6300 Minnesota property has significant repair issues and substantial insurance premiums. He clarified that purchasing the property would be catastrophic for our community. It was God's perfect timing to receive that call in a church that anticipates closing in a few years due to a similar problem.
In this discernment process, two things have come to the fore that hadn't been visible before (at least to me).
1. Parking is a critical issue for us. We need more of it if we are to continue to be vital.
2. We could plant churches in South County as we continue to grow.
These are essential and exciting considerations. I suspect you could name others.
So, now, we move into a new phase of discernment. The Bishop's realtor will look around Carondelet to see if other properties might better meet our needs.
It's a stretch to keep ourselves open to that, but God has a plan, and it's so good for us to surrender to new ideas, even when they don't lead to anything. Surrender is a spiritual practice of the highest order!
I join you in continuing to pray for our community. May we see our property with fresh eyes, open to new possibilities wherever God calls us.
-- Pastor Rebecca