During the last quarterly congregational meeting, Doug Hanson gave an update on what the Elder Board has been discussing in terms of our space needs.
It is evident that God is growing our church. The services have been crowded, children's ministries are bursting at the seams, and our student ministries are seeing record growth as well. Spaces are very tight on Sunday morning and Wednesday nights, even with moving the Sr. High group to Sunday evenings.
In September, the Comprehensive Facility Planning Committee presented their final plan to the board after receiving approval of a requested variance with the City of Cohasset that allowed us to have impervious surface coverage on our property up to 60% (the previous coverage amount for our zoning was 25%). With this obstacle out of the way, it was up to the Elders to decide how to proceed.
The final plan that was presented to the board depicted our "wish list": a plan that would accommodate all of our needs with the expectation of a 500-person, two-service church. It included a new auditorium, additional spacious classrooms, an office wing and extensive remodeling that encompassed more bathrooms and a new commercial kitchen.
The board started weighing our needs and wants versus what we could realistically afford. They looked at which areas were most needed in the foreseeable future and ways to phase the project to get the most bang for our buck.
You can view the amended plan HERE. The plan would add a new 370-seat auditorium along with a new east entrance and additional bathrooms. In addition, existing spaces would be remodeled to include:
Enclosing the covered walkway to become a new infants area as part of the nursery
Offices would be added and moved to the current youth room
Existing office space would be converted to a large conference/classroom space with the ability to divide the space using a moveable wall
Adding a moveable wall to the existing worship center to allow student ministries to use the space with privacy, creating a hallway from Children's ministries to the foyer. This space would be used as a coffee area/fellowship hall on Sunday mornings.
This plan gains us expanded meeting space on Sunday mornings, additional classroom and nursery space, and additional office space for staff. While it's not everything we were hoping to have, it will give us some breathing room until we can proceed onto the next phase.
Please know that nothing has been decided. If God continues to bring more people to GREFC, this gives us a place to begin further discussions on future building needs.
Any movement forward would require a vote from the congregation. We wanted to give everyone a chance to see what we have come up with so that you are informed when it comes time to make a decision on how to proceed.
We welcome the chance to discuss this plan with you and what went into our decisions. If you have any questions or commments, please contact someone on the Elder Board.
Thanks to your generosity, our church family was able to make the 2016 Open Door Coat Drive a success. Your combined givings helped provide:
58 winter jackets
2 snow suits
5 snow pants
6 pairs of boots
Numerous hats and mittens
The Open Door Coat Rack served 1,102 people this year with much needed cold-weather apparel for members of our community. The items we collected were delivered to United Methodist Church who hosted the event. They gave out most of the children's and adult coats, all the snowpants, all boots and all mittens. Any remaining items were given to Zion Lutheran Church's Clothes Closet and the Salvation Army.
Cash donations were down this year. The volunteers who staff the event are hoping churches will consider fundraising in addition to giving clothes.
Thank you for giving from your heart!
An Update from Doug Hanson
I’m excited about the Team that is coming together. There are nine who went on the March 2016 trip that will be going again. We have a great mix of men and women, including experienced builders and handy people, as well as others that will be serving as relationship builders, VBS leaders, and construction assistants. On this trip we really hope to be able to spend more time interacting with and getting to know the people better.
Because we’ve had such a great response to our call for volunteers to go, we have decided to trust that God will provide the funds to build three homes rather than two. We’d like for our entire church to join with us in praying for that provision and for the success of the trip. At the Leadership Gathering a few weeks ago Andy Abrahamson asked us “What big things are you trusting God for now?” This is one of those things!
We will be having a Team Meeting soon in which we will be further exploring people’s skillsets and interests so we can create our work crews and plan for how we spend our time in country. We will be going over details and making plans for the group studies we’ll be doing to prepare ourselves for the experience. We will also be discussing fundraising ideas and strategies and begin to get to know each other.
We don’t yet know for sure which families we will be building for, but it’s been determined that they will be three of the eight identified in the Los Anones area. The projects are shown in the “Los Anones Homes” section of the Upcoming Projects page on the www.bwithoutb.com website.
Please be in prayer for the following team members who have made a decision to go:
Emerald (Emmy) Seeling
If you would like to make a donation to fund the building of the three houses you can do so electronically by clicking HERE, or you can bring or mail any donations to the church office.
Maybe you're in college, maybe you're just starting a new job, or maybe you're raising little kids...life in your 20's can look so different from person to person. But our need for Jesus is what binds us together.
If you're in your 20's and want to find a group of people your age that shares your faith in Jesus, then join us on Friday night for some food, good conversation, and fun. Meet at Steve & Faith Wick's house and bring a friend. Find more information on our website.
Wednesday, November 23 | Service at 6:30 PM | Pie & Dessert at 7:30 PM
Before the relatives descend, before the turkey is put in the oven, before the football and the shopping, come celebrate God's faithfulness.
Join us the evening before Thanksgiving for our second annual Thanksgiving Eve Celebration Service. It will be a time of worship, celebration and stories of thankfulness and God's faithfulness. After the service, join us for pie and dessert.
If you plan to join in the celebration, please bring a dessert or pie to share. If you have a story of thankfulness that you'd like to share, please contact the church office.
Infuse Sr. High Ministries WILL be meeting this evening during the Women's Ministries Christmas Tea.
Wednesday, November 23
There will be No Kidz ROC, No Family Meal, and No Immerse Jr. High Student Ministries on Wednesday, November 23rd due to a special Thanksgiving Eve Service. (There WILL be Kidz ROC & Family Meal, and Immerse on November 16th even though there is no school scheduled for the Thursday and Friday, Nov. 17 & 18.)
Sunday, November 27
There will be No Pathfinders 1.0 or 2.0, No Brick Class, and No Infuse Sr. High Ministries on this date.
Wednesday, December 21 and 28
There will be No Family Meal, No Kidz ROC, and No Immerse Jr. High Student Ministries on these dates due to Christmas break. Regular schedule will resume on January 4.
Sunday, December 25 and January 1
There will be No Pathfinders 1.0 or 2.0, No Brick class, and No Infuse Sr. High Student Ministries due to Christmas break. Regular schedules resume January 8.
If you've been regularly attending Grand Rapids Evangelical Free Church for the last 3-18 months and consider this your church home, then please consider coming to our Newcomer's Lunch on Sunday, December 4th, following the second service.
This is a great time to meet the Pastors, Elders, Staff and others who are newer to our church family.
Children who attend nursery through 5th grade are invited to participate in our Children's Christmas Program! Our program will take place on Sunday, December 11th at 4:00 pm. Please join us after the program for a slice of pizza and fellowship.
Our first practice will be on Sunday, November 13th at 10:30 am in Classrooms 1 & 2. We will practice for approximately 15 minutes (during the regular worship time). Children will be dismissed to Pathfinders 2.0 after program practice.
If your child attends first service at 9:00 am, please consider having them stay for practice during the beginning of second service. We welcome all children to participate at any point in our practice schedule!
We need volunteers! We encourage any older students in 6th -12th grades to be helpers for our smaller children that evening.
If you have any questions or want to help, please contact Carrie Hopkins or Heidi Geisler.
How Can Marriage & Mission Be One Sphere of Life? Listen as pastor and author Paul Tripp talks about one of his favorite words in this 2:37 minute video.
Nursery Helpers for Special Student Events
Many of the people who serve in our student ministries are young couples with young families. While Wednesday evenings are staffed with nursery workers, there are other times when we need help watching the littlest kiddos.
We would like to build a team of people to be called on to staff the nursery during special student events which might occur on any night of the week. Special student events happen approximately six times a year. We would also call on this team to help on the fourth Tuesday of each month during the Student Ministries Leadership Team Meeting.
Please let us know if you are willing to help in the nursery on these occasions by contacting Pastor Steve Wick.
Conact: Steve Wick, Associate Pastor of Discipleship | 630.699.1779 | Steve@grefc.org
Help with Meals
Wednesdays from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM OR
Sundays from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
We are looking for more individuals who can help us prepare and serve the Family Meal on Wednesday evenings and the Sunday night meal for the Infuse Sr. High Student Ministries group. On Wednesdays, you would not serve every week, but would be put on a rotation. Sundays you can choose a date that works best for you.
Wednesdays: The meals are planned out by the meal coordinator who does all the shopping. You would simply do easy prep of food that is already there (assemble or heat something), help serve, and clean up. If interested in being put on a serving rotation, please sign-up at this link and indicate you'd like to help with Wednesday Night Meals: http://grefc.org/register/ You can also call or email the coordinator or the church office.
Sundays: We ask that you prepare a teen-friendly meal (Sub sandwiches, pizza, sloppy joes, tacos, etc.) and have it at the church ready to serve by 5:00 PM. You can prepare in your own home or at the church. We ask that you prepare enough food for 20 people. You would help serve the food and clean-up. But we would ask that you also engage with the Sr. High students and get to know them a bit better. If interested please sign up at MealTrain.com: https://mealtrain.com/0zq5m3 Cal & Bonnie Kangas are coordinating this effort. You can contact them with any questions.
Serving a meal is a great way to get to know others from the church. And it is a HUGE blessing to the families that attend or volunteer at Kidz ROC and Immerse and the kids and leaders in Infuse!
Community Group Leaders
We are looking for more people to step into leading a community group. There are many who are wanting to be a part of a group and are waiting to join one.
Leadership simply involves being open to having others in your life and being willing to help facilitate blessing others. Community Group Leaders help organize the meeting times and meals and help to facilitate blessing others.
Community groups vary widely in how often they meet, where they meet, what they do and how they do it. There isn't a set mold that you have to fit your group into.
If you think you'd like to step into being a community group leader, please talk to Steve Wick, our Pastor of Discipleship.
We are in need of individuals who can help check in children to our Pathfinders programs at the 9:00 AM and 10:30 AM services.
This person would arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of worship and help parents and kids check in with their badges. They would direct families back to their seats for worship and then stay through the third worship song to help direct children as they are dismissed to their classrooms.
We're hoping to have enough people so that we can rotate Sundays and so that people do not have to do two services on a Sunday.
Conact: Sarah Schrapp, Director of Children's Ministries | 701.429.1074 | Sarah@grefc.org
Sr. High Relational Investors
Infuse Sr. High Student Ministries is looking for male and female Sr. High Relational Investors. These individuals would engage with 3-4 students throughout the year to build relationships and disciple them.
Relational Investors would serve on Sunday evenings from 5:00 PM to 7:15 PM throughout the year, would attend all large group events, and invest attention to their students throughout the week through texting, social media, phone calls or outings, which are at the discretion of the investor.
Conact: Steve Wick, Associate Pastor of Discipleship | 630.699.1779 | Steve@grefc.org