Looking at the lectionary passages set for Jan 1st, I was confronted with the Matthew 25:40 text which states: ” I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these you did it to me.”
The folks listening to Jesus at that moment were wondering what he was referring to. “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?” When? Whenever, is Jesus’ response. What better”call to action” for a new year! What is more arousing than to hear that every time we respond to those in need that we are responding to our Lord Jesus.
Let’s look at our record. Truly, we do respond to such needs by participating in the Men’s Overflow Shelter (this month — Jan 10 – 16) by offering our kitchen and hall for the Family Feeding Program — House of Manna, by supporting the Hall Education Fund — which provides scholarships to New Brunswick needy children going onto higher education, by providing gifts for kids in needy families, by offering space to many groups: the Hyacinth Foundation, the Prom Dress Exchange group, amongst others. And so forth. Isn’t it wonderful that this list has grown over the years? Our commitment to “the least of these” has increased!
So, with a new year, it is time to think about new means of helping the “least of these” That being said, a team of folks has been working for some time discussing some strategic planning for our facilities. Stef Beemsterboer cleverly coined the name for this team: Building Vision Group. Its task has been exactly that: building a vision for our buildings, in particular, for the building of our sanctuary. For one thing, it has been determined from the usage of our BTUs that the sanctuary uses about two to three times the amount of energy (heating & electric) than our education building. We were shocked with this information! Simply because the sanctuary is used only two evenings per week and all day Sunday, while the education building is used almost all week for many hours per day. We realized, with this information, that we are not utilizing the space that the sanctuary provides to the best capacity.
Can we do something better? That’s our quest, if you will. So the group has met with various architects and planners trying to determine how we could possibly address this under usage, or how to better use that space in a greater capacity. The Building Vision Group brought before the consistory, in December, a few ideas, but in order to make plans, it is clear that a feasibility study of the sanctuary space must be completed by an architect. Thus, we are in the process of employing one, who will then provide us with such a study.
Along these same lines, the Building Vision Group has been looking into developing a 501(c)3, which is a nonprofit organization — something we will have to apply for through the federal government. At this point, we have written a Vision Statement in which the paragraph reads: “The Town Clock Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization, sees its historic buildings as a welcoming home, infused with early nineteenth century charm, offering the people of New Brunswick many types of community spaces and shelter opportunities.” As you see, we are clearly putting the least of these before us and considering how we might better serve our Lord. And what better way than through these large buildings that we have which can offer shelter, education, a warm meal, spiritual nurture and so much more.