Neighborhood! We have an exciting opportunity for our community coming up this May. We have been sharing for the past year our discussions with Westminster Presbyterian and their generous offer to gift us their building. Our original plan was to have two locations for Neighborhood. One at Westminster and one in Cloquet. In the past several months the Neighborhood Church board has been discussing moving our church home to Westminster and stepping out of our lease at the Hub. We are aware that this move can bring all sorts of feels, especially for those in the Cloquet area. I can assure you that we did not take this option lightly. We started this beautiful community in 2015 at the Cloquet High School and have loved our time in Carlton County. Let me share some of the key factors that shaped our reasoning to seriously consider this opportunity.
- Fully accessible building: We take great pride in being a fully inclusive community. Sadly, the Hub (where we currently have in-person services) is only inclusive to a limited group of people. The Hub is currently not an accessible building for people with physical disabilities. There are no accessible bathrooms and access to our Neighborhood kid’s space is limited. When we say we’re inclusive and all people are welcome to this good and beautiful community, we want to confidently use the word all. Westminster has automatic doors, accessible bathrooms, and an elevator. This creates even more opportunities for people to find belonging at Neighborhood.
- Grade School: Our kid’s space at the Hub is elite for nursery to early childhood. We have seen that for 2nd-5th graders we have a great opportunity to invest in these kids and families. Westminster has a giant floor plan that will be elite for all kids from birth through 5th grade. Rebecca Rick and her team are dreaming of how to maximize that space into something inspiring, safe, and fun.
- Green Space: Westminster has green space where we could build a playground and a fenced-in area for kids to run around in when it’s warm. I’ve never seen a kid turn down the chance to run around with friends over church. Not once.
- Resources: Westminster has not only offered their building but some of their resources and assets as well. They want to see the legacy they started continue on through a like-minded community and one that embodies their values as well. Gifting us their building (with the mortgage already paid off) as well as their resources greatly impacts our budget. In the past three years, we have been operating in a deficit, which the board was mindful of coming out of a pandemic and inflation being high. The Hub has been great for us, but moving to Westminster, puts us at a significantly healthy place in regards to our budget. Freeing up tens of thousands of dollars for people versus paying for a building.
- Student Ministries: With those savings, we want to invest in developing a vibrant, dynamic student ministry program. I was a youth pastor for well over a decade and deeply believe in what a healthy student ministry can be and the impact it can have on students’ and families’ lives. With this move, we have the opportunity and budget to hire a youth pastor who can start this legacy at Neighborhood.
And this is just the beginning!
Two questions have come up. “Why are you saying ‘potential move’ versus ‘making the move?” Great question. We are still in the final stages of working out the details with Westminster and the Presbyterian leaders. We feel extremely confident that the last stage is just hammering down language and final details. Our goal is to have our first service in late May and will communicate once we have reached the final agreement.
Secondly, we have gotten a lot of concern over what happens to the people of Westminster church. Are we kicking them out to the curb? I’m excited to inform you that they are excited about worshiping with us, laughing with us, and praying for us. They will still exist as a church within our church.
I would love to sit down over a drink or coffee and share more and process with you about what this move could look like for you and yours.