Sunday, October 16, 2011

2nd Anniversary Part 2: Ministry Update

Keeping true to my word in posting Part One, it's time for an update on some of what's been happening in ministry at Redeemer over the past year.

Providential Enounters Revisited

Some of you might remember reading on our first anniversary last year about our very cool encounter with James Meredith, local civil rights leader who integrated Ole Miss in the 1960s. We met him at a local community barbeque, and long story short (read last year's blog for the whole story!), I felt compelled to invite him back to Redeemer for a church service and also to visit our Sunday School class that was studying the book When Helping Hurts, which looks at how we can better serve the poor. Well, imagine my shock when just a few weeks later, who should show up in Sunday school but Mr. Meredith himself?! I pretty much had a little heart attack. He continued to attend our class for several weeks and eventually became a regular attender of worship as well.

Now I want you to understand that I really wanted to write about this way before now, but I felt that it wasn't my place. That might sound odd, but after getting to know Mr. Meredith a little better, I could tell that he was very private about some things, his spirituality in particular, and I felt I needed to respect that privacy. I could tell that God was working in his life, but I didn't really know how much until an interview with Mr. Meredith was published in the Clarion-Ledger, Jackson's local newspaper, last spring. In the article, he expresses how he had wrestled with God his whole life, but finally made peace with God last December. How amazing is that? That happened during the time he was atttending Redeemer, and since he said it himself in the media, I don't feel like I'm overstepping my bounds to share it with you. How cool that God used our church to minister to such an important man in Mississippi's history!

Moving Up & Out

Another really exciting thing happening at Redeemer is our building expansion. We broke ground last spring and should be finished the first of the year. Our building occupies one city block, so architects had to be creative in how they designed our expansion. Basically they built a new shell over our existing sanctuary, then knocked down the interior walls. Our new sanctuary will seat double what it does now, which will be about 650 seats. We are also adding additional classrooms & nursery space. The cool thing is that we're continue to grow despite the construction zone and being crammed into our Fellowship Hall as our temporary sanctuary.

The side of the Sanctuary (note the missing walls!)

Living behind the church while this is going on has been an adventure for Evan for sure. Almost every day I hear the request, "Mommy, let's go look at the tractors!" or "Can I ride on Cranky (the name of the crane in Thomas & Friends)?" Many times we even pray for the tractors. While it has been fun to watch the building going up, I certainly won't miss the noise or layer of dirt on our cars when they're finished!

The back of the church (what we see from our house) and all the bricks about to go up!
There are many, many more cool things happening here at Redeemer, but those stories will have to wait for another day. We count ourselves very blessed to be a part of such a special body of believers.

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