Back when I was in 7th grade, Andrew Lloyd Weber released his album musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. My older sister, Kathy, brought home the two record set, and we listened to all four sides in one sitting. We liked the music, but found the storyline somewhat contrary to the Biblical message and confusing at points. The music did, however, serve a redemptive purpose. It made us think about Jesus, and it drove us to the Bible to explore him.
During my next year of Jr. High, my big sister brought home Godspell, by Stephen Schwartz. Several songs in that musical spoke to my heart like a message from the Holy Spirit. The song, Day by Day, was especially moving. It was a musical prayer for three things:
To see thee more clearly Love thee more dearly Follow thee more nearly Day by day
Before ever hearing that song, I was fully baptized into the stuff of church. My mother played hymns on our family piano. She accompanied the choir on the organ at church. We listened to sacred music on the record player quite often. I even played my trumpet for some church hymns and sang in the youth choir. But those songs did not inspire me to follow Jesus, quite like that Broadway song, sung in the music of my generation. I suspect that song was still echoing in my soul the summer before my sophomore year of High School, when I gave my life to Jesus Christ as Lord.
I was so pleased to hear Jessica Bondy sing the Godspell prayer in worship several weeks ago. Not only did it remind me of my young love for Jesus that began years ago; it beautifully introduced our 2019 Lenten theme: DAY BY DAY WITH JESUS. As we take time to read through the Gospel of John in this season before Easter, let’s do more than engage in the religious activities of church; let’s journey day by day with Jesus. Let’s allow the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ to daily invigorate us, or perhaps reignite our love for God. Let’s invite the music, and everything around us, to help us see Jesus more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly.
Two and a half years ago the Board of Directors, Church Council and Pastor Steve committed to launching a comprehensive study of the short and long term facility needs of our church campus. In July of 2016, The Facilities Master Plan Committee consisting of Monte Stuck, Suzy Morgan, Tom Cutler, Chuck Jervis, Bob Hodges, Frank Kejmar, Neal Waner, Lisa Soria and Steve Davis, began the process.
The charge to committee was to develop a “Master Plan Concept” that provides ideas for discussing and addressing the present and future needs of our church campus in areas such as: handicapped access, ministries and programs, openness and landscaping, access and security, and most importantly, the maintenance and preservation of our place of worship and one of our community’s most revered historical assets.
In August, the committee interviewed and hired David Keitel, Principal Architect, with domusstudios in San Diego. This architectural design firm is highly recognized for its extensive sacred experience designing and remodeling hundreds of worship centers throughout Southern California and Southwestern United States. (domusstudios.com)
As the first step in the design process, a civil engineering firm was hired to provide a complete Topographic Study/Report of the entire church campus. This report is required for any re-designing, retrofitting and remodeling of our church grounds and buildings. In addition, we engaged an imaging company to create a complete set of floor plans also necessary for any structural repair or modification to our buildings.
With our architect providing a proven blueprint for developing a comprehensive master plan, the committee spent a great deal of time reviewing and discussing church program and ministry needs both currently and in the future. Data from church membership surveys were reviewed. Several of us visited other churches and worship centers looking at current trends where facility flexibility was a predominate theme in newer worship facilities. This process took over a year with the committee meeting on an average of twice a month.
The final phase was developing and reviewing concept designs. The architects took the committee’s desired components and requirements and provided several conceptual designs. The century old buildings and elevation challenges required creativity, persistence and patience.
The Committee’s Master Plan was completed at the end of 2017 and presented to the Board and Council in 2018. A power point presentation has been developed by the architectural firm’s graphics department and will be presented to the congregation on Sunday, February 24th following the second service. We hope all will attend and join the discussion on the long-range facility modernization, community outreach, ministry growth and preservation plan for our structures.
We began our fourth year of ministry with the amazing First Congregational Church of Redlands this May. We love visiting with our boys and their families around Southern California; we miss our regular time with Scott, and his girlfriend Emma, up in Oregon. Wishing you every blessing in the New Year!
My friend, Stan Mattson, the leader of the CS Lewis Foundation, sent we this wonderful video about the home of CS Lewis. I praise God for Stan and all he is doing to advance and promote the rich intellectual and faith legacy of Lewis.