Groundbreaking Remarks

GroundbreakingAt the groundbreaking, representatives of the larger Church and community: pictured with me are the Rev. Craig Howard, Presbytery Leader, Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy; and the Honorable Hal Patton, Mayor of Edwardsville …. Gospel of Mark 4:30-32; Hebrews 11:8-10, Joshua 1:2, 9 ….

During the past few months, FPCE made a special effort to remember our heritage and honor our spiritual ancestors. As we prepared to leave a campus after 133 years, we remembered the story that God has been telling through Presbyterian Christians up to the present day. It’s a story of courageous sacrifice and compassionate generosity demonstrated by our mothers and fathers, (many of whom we remember, not with us today physically, but with us in spirit) to preach the good news of Christ, to further freedom for peoples long oppressed, to seek God in worship, and proclaim God’s amazing grace, to educate children and youth, to create not one but four homes for the advancement of Christian mission and ministry, always building: programs, services, staff, and facilities through additional renovations and expansions, all the way to the edge of breaking ground for a new building in this year of 2017.

In the story God is telling through us, an important chapter begins today; It’s a chapter that circles back to pick up a thread of the church’s story from the year 1998, when a Facilities Task Force recommended the purchase of new land, and continued in 1999 when a Land Search Committee recommended purchase of 30 acres here at Ridgeview Rd. At that stage, the dream of a new home for mission and ministry was something like the mustard seed of which Jesus spoke, very small, but once sown, grew and grew. The thread continued through staff changes, a 2004 study of mission, program, staff, and facility, a 2005 Ministry Plan and Feasibility Study, years of patient perseverance for many members of the long-range planning task force, and construction readiness committee. For nearly 20 years, some of you have trudged on through the work with the faith of Abraham, convinced of God’s call, but not always knowing where you were going, or whether you would see the promise.

Today, the pages of the story turn to a new prospect. Like the ancient Hebrews who were in the wilderness a long time, we have to be encouraged that what we see here isn’t an optical illusion. The Lord says that it’s time to cross over into the new land: “Be strong and courageous, do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

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~ by JohnH1962 on May 9, 2017.