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Patiently moving forward

One: Watch! Wait! The day of God is at hand!
All: Like the bud on a tree, God’s possibilities are about to blossom!
One: Stay awake! The reign of God is very near.
All: We are here, watching and waiting with hope.
All: May God bring justice to all people. May God’s reign come on earth as in heaven.

An Advent litany from Hymnal: A Worship Book (1992)

As we met with our board of directors last Friday, it felt appropriate that we were gathering and discerning in the middle of Advent–a time of waiting and expectation. The incarnation of God teaches us that anything can happen, that our longing will be satisfied in ways we could never have foreseen.
We didn’t come out of our board meeting with any spectacular revelations or perfect plans. Rather, we came out of it with a much-needed sense of patience, re-committed to growing *culture is not optional together in imaginative, discerning, sustainable ways. Throughout the day, we met with local members of the Three Rivers Area Faith Community, where the vision for a youth and family center at Huss School originated. Their perspective on what the Three Rivers community needs and how our resources might meet those needs will continue to be invaluable as we cultivate relationships of love and accountability. We also toured and said words of blessing at Huss School–just the first of many blessings on the site, we expect. Since some of our board members were meeting in person for the first time, we shared abundant meals and conversation in the middle of more formal business. We look forward to gathering again as a board early in the new year.
Finances continue to be a concern until we get back on our feet with a revised plan for fundraising. Since we last updated you about our efforts with the Imagining Space project, a small Three Rivers congregation contributed over $700 in special offerings toward the project; a group of college staff members raised $800 for Huss as their collective Christmas donation; and an individual donor committed to contribute monthly toward our electric bill. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity and vision behind these gifts. God continues to provide where our efforts fall short.
As we approach the end of 2009, we would be grateful for any financial contribution you can make. $40 keeps the electricity on for one month, $360 covers insurance and $500 meets one mortgage payment. We believe that this project will always depend on the gifts of many people, contributing money, time, prayers and skills as they are able–and it will be stronger for having the investment of many, rather than just a few. Please let us know what you can offer. We would love to start 2010 with four months of expenses in the bank, which means raising $2,000 in addition to the gifts listed above before the end of the year. One-time and monthly donations can be made online. In kind gifts can be communicated by sending us a message through our contact page.
Bigger plans will be needed over time to realize the full potential of the space. In the meantime, there’s nothing stopping us from beginning good work on the site. In January, we will host our first out-of-town group at the school. However, this group won’t be scrubbing floors and painting walls; they’ll be filming! We’re glad that a film class from Calvin College will have the opportunity to use the building in its current somewhat-spooky state as a unique film set while they learn practical writing, acting and production skills. We’re also looking forward to revealing more to all of you visually in the form of a promotional video the group will make as part of their exchange for using the space.
In March, we’ll host our first work group, as several Calvin College students will use their spring break to serve and learn in Three Rivers. The board is already imagining ways to draw more of you into the work and creativity of that week, so watch for more details.
Thank you for your attentiveness to the Imagining Space project throughout 2009. Just one year ago, we never would have anticipated that *cino would have such abundant building and land space as a canvas on which to paint a bold, colorful, interactive Kingdom-oriented vision. Thank God for graciously setting aside this time of year for us to delve into the goodness of hope, of giddy excitement, of earth-shaking surprises.