God Wins: Part 1
North Seattle Friends Church, while small in numbers, is richly blessed in many things including faithfulness, generous hearts, and real estate. Included in our campus is a building that used to be a small neighborhood store. Over the years this property has served us well as youth center, kindergarten, day care center, vacation bible school, and currently as a storage building. In recent years we have been wrestling with what to do with it as it has fallen into a state of disrepair, and that has weighed heavily on many of our members. God had not provided clear vision for what to do long term, but was always faithful to reveal to us what immediate maintenance was required.
Having a desire to serve the community we are located in, but not many resources except property, it seemed like a perfect fit when about six months ago a non-profit group approached us expressing interest in using the old storefront building for a neighborhood tool library—instead of books, you can check out tools. The group had previously identified another location for their tool library only to see it fall through. After meeting with our pastor to explore the possibility of renting the building they wanted very much to “set up shop” in the storefront. They applied for, and received, a grant for capital improvements to the building.
So what had been a burden to our church community was suddenly transformed from burden to gift. Not only did our church not need to pay for the necessary repairs—repairs which the grant now funded—we now got to partner with another non-profit that will engage our residential community, something that has long been a desire on the hearts of many in our meeting.
At meeting for business when the clerk of our administrative council presented the idea to the congregation, a resounding, “Yes! Approved.” filled the room. We all celebrated in gratitude for God’s provision for us, as well as for our neighbors.
Just as we began drafting a long term lease with the tool library, we received an unexpected offer from a neighboring non-profit business to purchase the storefront property. Now what do we do? Certainly selling the building would be a better long-term solution for the church. But, feeling like God had intended us to say, “yes” to the tool library, we wrestled with how a sale would affect that previous commitment. We were quite aware that the tool library’s grant funding was contingent on them having a space to occupy. Without our storefront building they might lose the grant and be heartbroken—again. No easy way forward could be seen.
To be continued… (in November)
Contributed by Patty Federighi, North Seattle Friends