Every Promise Kept. How About You?

A few months ago, well before the current pandemic and the closures were even on anyone’s radar, we opened a brand-new school. We sat down, as a Parish Board and Ministry Team, and we prayed, thought, discerned, and asked God for help. Should we just leave the former Zion Preschool closed? Should we saddle the parish with another outreach that had already proven itself to be a frustration and high cost center for expenses? Do we really want to open the region’s only S.T.E.A.M.M. School for this age group that would also demand we get a state license to expand to daycare and infants?

These questions, at least the heaviest of the discernment points, were also similar to the very same discussions we had some 6 years ago when we purchased the campus that we now call home. Back then, the church and the school were closed, and the cemetery was in shattered form. The ‘inmates were literally running the place’! There was no pastor, and the renters (who paid no rent by the way) took advantage of that fact and came and went as they wanted and did whatever they chose to do, including building walls to suit their need! Yes, there was a lot of work to do; enough work that we had to literally decide of reopening an already closed preschool would be worth it. We prayed. We talked. We voted. We opened.

During that time, we also had huge buildings and grounds issues. We had planned to immediately renovate the sanctuary, but soon found out we needed new electrical panels and service at a cost of over $40,000. Then came lighting for safety, insulation, and mold and asbestos remediation, a new boiler, cemetery graves caving in, a huge bees nest underground, 42 trees that needed to be taken down for safety, new parking lot lighting, a garage that was on its last legs, and then AC units that needed replaced and new ones installed. Then the Bell Tower needed repaired, the Friary/Rectory needed built, and then that school again! We had to decide to reboot and reinvest or close it. Again, we prayed. We talked. We voted. We opened, but this time with two beautiful levels, all modern and brand-new technologies, and a renewed commitment to those who would come.

Last September was a tough start. It always is when you are doing something new. After a few months, we quadrupled our student population, expanded our staff to 12, and welcomed children into a private school that otherwise would NEVER receive such a quality education in such an awe-inspiring environment ever. If it weren’t for us, building the programs and costs centers into our parish life, we would never have succeeded. Then, just as we were heading toward being at a place where costs met income, COVID-19 hit! We were closed.

Many would have given up. Not me. Not my team. Instead, we invested again! We used this time of unexpected closure to add a new handicap restroom to the lower level school, something that was on the wish list, but never attained. We also built a new utility and storage closet, added a new sign for the Cemetery and parish campus on Church Road, and upgraded the Silvers’ Garden. We also added an entire Retreat Center (The Falls Retreat Center) to our life together, and not only continued but increased, our Outreach to the Homeless by putting out over 1200 Blessing Bags a month to meet the need during this crisis! And, of course, the biggest and most exciting item of all! We renovated our Sanctuary into something so beautiful and also (completely unknowingly, but certainly Spirit led!) safer for all to return to with distancing and safety in mind. Yes, God has been good, and we have listened, prayed and responded well. And, in the end, rewarded  for our faith.

All of this has been done without anyone asking you to increase your giving, add additional sums to a new Capital Campaign, and without a formal Stewardship Appeal for 20/21. All of this has been based on our request that you do one thing, and one thing only: Sponsor Chairs for the Sanctuary. Chairs, that I might add, you will sit on when you worship. Chairs that others will, too. Chairs that visitors and newcomers and seekers will sit on, as well. This was our only ask: sponsor some chairs and we can make all of this work and return to a beautiful place that can continue to do such wonderful things. Period! So, far, less than one-third of all of you have done so.

Every promise has been kept. I made some mistake along the way, I admit that, and I am only human, but I have been a good and honest pastor. I have never lied to you and have never led you astray. Everything I have ever promised has been brought to real life and ministry. We have built a parish like no other and one that any can be proud of, so proud of. Now, I am going to ask (even beg) again…And, I will tell you that I have now purchased 6 chairs, while many have not even done 1 yet.

Watch this Video. It features our latest Virtual Tour of our extraordinary school. You will see – in living color – what we do with your donations. Then, Click Here, and sponsor a chair or two and watch livestream this coming Sunday as we unveil a stunning new Sanctuary at Saint Miriam!

Every Promise Kept. How About You?

 


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