These were exciting times… after years of unfaithfulness, losses and exile, God’s people returned to Jerusalem and the surrounding towns and began to rebuild. The first thing they began rebuilding after their own homes was the Lord’s house – the temple in Jerusalem. There were many challenges and it took 20 years to complete, but everyone pitched in, and when they finally finished,
“Then the people of Israel… celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy.” Ezra 6:16
These are exciting times… after years of pandemic shutdowns and the loss of a 5th of our congregation who have moved away, drifted away, or are still staying home; 8 months without a Youth & Young Adults pastor; and over 3 years of negotiations with the buyers of part of our church property, we are making good progress!
☞ On January 21, we signed closing documents on the sale of 2.9 acres of our eastern property to Sunrise Senior Living, who will be building a seniors facility there. In exchange for property we hardly used, we received just over $2.8 million and their agreement to pave all of our back gravel road, upper parking, and dropoff area. We have already paid down $1.5 million on our church mortgage principal, saving us over $14,000/month; we put $500,000 in reserves; we gave $80,000 (10% of the remainder) to our Missions Team to disperse to our missionaries; leaving $725,000 for property improve-ments (to replace our old playground equipment, roof repairs, audio/visual/lighting upgrades to our sanctuary, and other needs). It took 3 years, a contract and 5 amendments, but it’s finally done – and what a blessing!
☞ On January 30, our congregation unanimously approved calling Christian Clark to be our new full-time Youth & Young Adults Pastor. He has been coming Sundays and Tuesdays for weeks, and he started full-time this week. This has already generated new enthusiasm and the return of some of our youth. We would like to see all our middle & high school youth and all young adults (18-25) come and support his efforts to rebuild these ministries. We thank Joey DeLao for teaching the Middle & High School Sunday School class, and Jeff & Sylvia Roddy for leading the Middle & High School Youth Group on Tuesday nights for the last 8 months; and Shirley Ragusa (the “Snack Lady”) for the last many years; and all the young adults who helped cover the bases. Now let’s pray for and support Christian & Hannah in their ministry here!
☞ Our “Buy-a-Chair” drive is up to $35,914 (85% of our goal) to buy 420 chairs for our sanctuary refresh. Thank you to all who have donated! If you can help us complete this drive by buying any chairs (or portions of a chair) for $100 each, we’re almost there! We’re hoping to get these replaced before Easter.
☞ Our “Renew the Church” Fund is up to $138,477, which is 69% of our $200,000 goal. This fund will help us purchase the remaining 65 chairs for our classrooms and offices, to replace our aging baptistry, and other needed projects. You can donate toward that at any time; but we do need everyone’s support of our regular tithes & offerings, which have been down almost every week this year, putting us $15,577 behind. We appreciate everyone’s prayers and support as we all pitch in.
☞ Our vision for this year is To Be Faithful – faithful followers of Jesus, faithful friends, faithful in our marriages, faithful in giving, in serving, in all of life. So we’re calling all who have been a part of Lighthouse to come and help us rebuild, to invite others, and to celebrate all the good things God is doing here!
Mike Openshaw, Senior Minister