Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A night to remember

Last night the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area squeezed into a room at Presbyterian Homes Boutwells Landing for our November meeting. Many important items of business took place including the passing of next year’s budget and the retirement of three pastors. However my focus for the meeting was completely on the vote the Presbytery took regarding a property purchase for Chain of Lakes Church.

This property purchase was the culmination of a year of work that two separate task forces completed. The task forces were made up of folks from Chain of Lakes and from other Presbyterian churches. Both task forces represented the best of Presbyterian connectionalism. As the Organizing Pastor of of the new church I was very happy that I didn’t have to be the chair or orchestrate the process of either task force.

The property is located on the northern edge of the Lakes Development in Blaine. As I mentioned in a blog last week it is a terrific piece of property. It’s near hundreds of new houses and ideally will have visibility and access to Main Street. No churches have a permanent location within the Lakes Development. I can hardly imagine a better location within our geography for a church.

I was very confident about the vote last night as the hard and difficult work had taken place in the last sixty days. In that time an agreement has been reached with the sellers plus the three committees of the Presbytery (Church Development Team, Board of Trustees and Presbytery Council) had agreed to the terms and financing for the property.

The hard work had been done—last night became a night to remember.

Before the meeting I handed out “I love Chain of Lakes” stickers that Jennifer Huehns, the administrator of Chain of Lakes, made. Enthusiasm was high as I quickly distributed all sixty stickers I had brought. I was very pleased that eleven folks from Chain of Lakes came to the meeting.

The voting for the new property came right before dinner. John Ivers shared some history of the project, I gave a report sharing how we are doing at Chain of Lakes, Dave Nyberg shared a report on how this piece of property will benefit the ministry of our new congregation.

Walter Rockenstein, chair of the Board of Trustees, then led the body through the votes. The Board of Trustees had done an outstanding job of sharing materials which clearly explained what was taking place. After his presentation opportunities for questions were given to the Presbytery. No one had any questions. Knowing the irascible nature of many Presbyterians this was amazing. The first vote to purchase the property was then taken. It was---------------------------UNANIMOUS. The financing plan was then presented and a vote taken. It was also unanimous. The final two votes were easy. A third property task force was established to satisfy the contingencies of the Purchase Agreement and to authorize leaders to sign documents when we close.

The contingencies are significant to the people at Chain of Lakes Church. We want to move the sound barrier on Main and do it in a way that is acceptable to the neighborhood. We also want access to the property off of Main.

Once the votes were taken it was time to celebrate and not be concerned about the heavy lifting that lies ahead. After the Presbytery applauded for the votes, I started singing the Doxology. The people of the Presbytery soon rose and joined in the singing. It was a powerful moment of celebration. I still get chills as I reflect on our offering of praise to God. As a Presbytery we were united in how God had brought us together to take a very significant action which will have a long-lasting impact on the world.

The picture at the top of this blog shares the smiles of the people at Chain of Lakes as we celebrated this gift of property that the Presbytery has given to us.

If the spirit of last night’s Presbytery meeting is any indication, it is very clear that God is not through with the Presbyterian Church. Truly we experienced a night to remember.

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