From the Pastor (02.01.20)

Almost four years ago our congregation was approached with an opportunity to sell part of our unused land for a commercial project. For some very good reasons, that proposal did not work out, but it prompted our leaders to recognize that we were in possession of an asset that had the potential to protect the long-term financial viability of the church, particularly if, as is happening in almost all traditional Christian congregations, our membership continues to decrease.

Now, after a lengthy effort (made more difficult by several changes in municipal offices), it appears that we are very close to concluding the sale of the land that you as a congregation approved in January 2019. We are hopeful that within the month of March we will be able to close the sale of a little over twelve acres to Lennar Georgia Incorporated for the construction of forty-three homes along State Bridge Road and surrounding our buildings.

This land was purchased over thirty years ago through the foresight of George Busbee and others. I am sure they hoped that all of the land would be needed for expansion, but they must also have known that, if it were not needed for that purpose, it would still allow us to determine who our neighbors would be and to have additional financial resources.

I am particularly grateful to Don Nanney, Chairman, and the other members of the Ad Hoc Property Proposal Committee for the incredible job they have done in selecting the right buyer for the property and in guiding us through the disposition process. The other members of the committee are Megan Dover, Stephen Hayes, Doug Hopkins, Don Mitchell, and Gary Skeen. Dan Hicks has provided invaluable advice and countless hours of pro bono work as our attorney.

Now that it appears that all of this work is going to come to a positive conclusion, we as a church family have the responsibility for being good stewards of what truly belongs to God. We have been entrusted with seeing that this money is properly used for the work of the kingdom.

Your leaders on the Finance Committee and Church Council have been discussing this for some time, but haven’t wanted to make any specific proposals until they were fairly certain that the deal would go through. They will be meeting very soon to discuss the best possible ways to ensure that these funds have a long-term positive effect on our ability to maintain significant ministries well into the future. This proposal would include details about the process for ensuring the safekeeping of the money, its investment, and the steps for determining how to utilize the proceeds.

When this process has been determined and approved by the Finance Committee and Church Council, you, the members of the congregation, will be given the full details. Then there will be a called church conference for the purpose of discussing and approving this plan.

To be completely honest, there were times when I wondered if we would get to this point in my lifetime, but now I believe we stand at the beginning of an exciting new era in the life of our church. For the first time we will actually be in a neighborhood. There will be people right at our door to whom we can relate and minister, and to whom we can be good neighbors. There is also real potential for some of them to join the family.

This also presents us with the opportunity to do some sorely needed deferred maintenance to our buildings, to increase the financial commitment to missions, and to create a revenue stream for our programs and ministries.

You can pretty much count on the fact that, every time I talk about our receiving this money, I will also say this: This liquidation of an asset we already had in no way relieves any of us of the responsibility for contributing to the life of our church — with our time, talents, and money. The Parkway of the future will be built on the foundation of our on-going efforts, not just those of the ones who have gone before us.

Look for additional information in the near future, but for now join me in giving thanks for God’s blessings on our congregational life and for the dedication of those men and women, past and present, who have brought us to this point.