The Glory Has Departed


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Sunday, December 7, 2014

WELS Documented and Pastor Steve Spencer Commenting -
On Closing WELS Congreations - Your Mission Money at Work...Buy Bars Instead


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Grass Roots Contribution: Crown of Life Transforms Yucaipa Church

Within hours of asking for grass roots documentation of what's happening in the WELS, one reader from Southern California sent us proof of transformation taking place at the former Prince of Peace Lutheran property. Left in the hands of multi-site Crown of Life Lutheran, here's what been taking place.

Give us your thoughts.


WD2


Dear members of God's family at Crown of Life,

On Sunday June 22, our sister church in Yucaipa, Prince of Peace, released their pastor from his call because they could no longer pay him.  They gave him a severance package and allowed him to stay in the parsonage from up to 90 days.  Prince of Peace congregation  has aged and shrunk in size so that continued ministry with their own pastor just is no longer feasible.  The last service with their own pastor was June 29. 

Yesterday, July 20th, I received this email from Bill Jacobs, the president of Prince of Peace following a voters' meeting on Sunday afternoon: 

"Dear Pastors,   At the voters meeting held on July 20 at Prince of Peace,  the voters
of Prince of Peace approved the following motion-  Motion to offer to Crown of Life the transfer of this facility to use as a preaching station.  This motion was passed unanimously. Please contact me with any questions. In Christ, Bill Jacobs, President Prince of Peace"


Our current situation in Beaumont
Crown of Life, Beaumont campus, currently rents Noble Creek Community Center in Beaumont for worship services.  We pay $75/hr with a usual monthly rent of about $750 although on a 5 Sunday month or a month with special services such a Christmas Eve or Good Friday, the rent will be about $1000 because it is an hourly rental.  The community center works pretty well for worship although Sunday School is limited to a corner of the administrator's office.  The facility on a few occasions has not been available to us because of other renters but to be honest, the staff and administration there has been very good to us and worked with us as much as we could have expected.   We are permitted signage only on Sunday morning.  There is a beautiful garden behind the community center that we have used for Easter worship.    Because we are renting, we are not responsible for utilities at the community center.  We carry liability insurance as part of our church coverage and insurance as well on our property that we use there.    Crown of Life also rents a house for Pastor Steve and Katie as part of his salary package for which we pay $1550 per month.  Sunday morning activities include set up and taken down each week as well as towing a trailer to and from the community center.

The Yucaipa property being offered to us
The property of Prince of Peace that Mr. Jacobs referenced in his email is less than a 10 minute drive on the 10 freeway from Noble Creek.   It is located at 31785 Yucaipa Boulevard and is a minute or two north of the freeway at the Yucaipa Boulevard exit.   It is completely debt free, unencumbered and paid for.   The property is in good repair although we would want to repaint inside and outside (facia, eaves and trim), replace the carpeting, replace the pews with chairs, put in an AV system that would meet our worship needs and a few other upgrades as well.  With that said here are the details.
--the property is just under 3 acres with about 1.25 acres undeveloped
--there is a 2368 sq ft, 3 bedroom, 2 bath single story parsonage on the property that also has an office, a two car garage and a fenced in back yard
--the sanctuary will seat 100 people on the main floor; there is also a balcony
--there is about a 1000 sq ft parish hall and a full kitchen
--there is a large mother's room with closed circuit TV of the service; there are also two offices in the building
--there are two 12 X 24 Sunday School classrooms
--the paved parking lot has 44 spaces and the grounds are nicely landscaped although the plants and trees could use a trimming
--there is a lighted sign
--there is a fenced in playground on the property although it is sized for school age children

Doing the math and doing the ministry
--Since there is no mortgage on the property, the only costs to us as far as operation are utilities (at Prince of Peace $205/mon electric and $200/water), taxes on the undeveloped property and parsonage (about $100/mon) and maintenance and insurance.
--The church would ask Pastor Steve and Katie to move in to the parsonage as soon as Oct. 1 and realize a monthly savings of $1550/month
--Pastor Steve and Katie would enjoy the benefits of a larger home than they  now have plus an office in the church building for Pastor Steve.
--The church would save the money used for Noble Creek rental although we would incur the operating expenses of utilities and taxes which just about offset each other.
--We would have a 24/7 presence on the main street in Yucaipa with the 10 freeway just a few minutes away.
--The location would make the property easily accessible from Banning and Beaumont to Redlands and San Bernardino.
--It would be farther away by 10 minutes from the Palm Springs area but Crown of Life is planning to begin work with growth groups in the Palm Springs area this winter and those growth groups could also include worship time.
--It would provide a debt-free building that would be available for our use any time we want or need it.

The process
The Crown of Life Board, comprised of representatives from all our campuses, has approved the following process.
1.       Sam Kleinschmidt and a task force will investigate the property and report to the Board to determine financial feasibility.
2.       The COL Board (which is responsible for the "business" side of our work) will receive Sam's report and determine financial feasibility.
3.      If the Board finds the property acquisition financially feasible, we will give it over to the people of our Beaumont campus to discuss the matter.  We very much want all of our Beaumont people to make the move to the new property if we decide that is what we should do.
4.      If the Board and our Beaumont campus people decide we should move forward, the accepting of the property will finally come to the annual meetings of the congregation since our constitution calls for the acquisition of real estate to be a matter approved by the church as a whole.
5.      If the decision is made to move forward, we would do the legal work to take title to the property and secure the tax exemption that Prince of Peace has also enjoyed from San Bernardino County.
6.      We would also make the necessary upgrades to present a fresh face for the property to the people who pass by.  We would anticipate services would begin sometime in October.

Would you please pray about this?  It may be a gift from the grace of God to solve long-term the facility issue for what is now our Beaumont campus without much cost to Crown of Life.  Would you please think about this, especially if you attend the Beaumont service?  We are planning cottage meetings to give you the chance to ask questions, to express yourself and to get answers to your questions.

Some photos of the property are attached but remember that we are planning some upgrades as well.
In Christ,


Pastor Rick


Projects Update 
1. The Yucaipa remodel has begun with a number of misc tasks; we were able to pull a permit over the counter (thank you City of Yucaipa); flooring and AVL has been ordered and painters start on Monday.
2. The packet for the CUP major modification is ready for submittal to the City of Corona. This is to give the KidMin building a permanent CUP, update the site plan, get rid of the grove.
3. The masonry contractor should be at the Corona campus next week to pour the footings for the new sign.
And God be praised because we were notified by WELS Home Missions yesterday that we have been given a grant of almost $10,000 to buy specified equipment for the Yucaipa property.












2 comments:

  1. What is there to say - not much. This is nothing short of heart-breaking. Out with the old. In with the new. The differences between the two churches are rather stark, aren't they? Where would you prefer to worship our awesome and transcendent God? I know where I wouldn't go! Now - To anyone and everyone reading this who may happen to belong to a "struggling" congregation, either financially, or attendance-wise, or both, which is often the case: This is your future, like it or not. The synod mission boards - both national and district - will NOT help you; they will say they simply can't, and honestly, by their own measurements of "effective ministry," that's very true. Either your Pastor will have to find secular work - as I did in TX for 5 years to keep that mission going - or merge with another congregation, or just close. The days of the synod keeping otherwise faithful confessional churches open and going for just "two or three gathered together" are gone and over and will not return again. I know of a half-dozen more congregations in this district alone that are in a similar situation, and two more that have already merged. Again, this whole matter is tragic and heart-breaking, especially for the many members who labored for decades to preserve a place where they could worship as confessional Lutherans. Surely, these are further signs of the End Times. Come, Lord Jesus!
    Reply
  2. We agree, Pastor Spencer! If the doctrine is Lutheran and the preaching is Lutheran, why this burning desire to tear out Christian symbolism and centuries of sound tradition to worship like the Evangelicals of the 21st century? Maybe Pastor Rick or Steve will tell us?
    Reply