I realized many years ago when illness or injury would overtake our family that normal routines would have to stop, or at very the least adjusted to make room for helping. Care-giving and recuperating necessarily took center stage in the household. When a family member lies stricken, family life just has to re-orient, at least for a bit.
Well wouldn't you know, Tricia's surprise illness came in with such a roar I paid little attention to getting out imagine/Northampton's big news - I know, you are probably thinking: "well, duuh!" I agree.
But while things are settling down some, here is what I was going to tell you:
Imagine/Northampton will soon have a new home right on Main Street. We are relocating our offices from 16 Armory Street, just around the corner to 70 Main Street where we live. We are moving into the offices on the second floor below us!
A number of reasons influenced our decision. First, we want to have a presence as a church right on Main Street as we prayed years ago. God opened the way to live on Main Street, now we can work there as well.
The offices give us more space. We have been worshiping at our crib for 5 weeks, but when we get near 20 in our living room, people have to climb over each other to find a seat - not good. We have no room to grow and it already is uncomfortably crowded. With downstairs not only will we have office space for counseling, and spiritual direction, but we also have a reception area, small kitchenette and bathroom.
The coolest feature is the front room overlooking Main Street. It has gallery lighting and enough space to house the imagine/Band and 35-40 people. We can do worship there as well as art showings, or teaching on other nights during the week. The kids can be in the reception area, and we can even use our apartment upstairs for teens when we have them.
We will not have to schlep equipment or set up and take down the room every time like we did at the Northampton Center for the Arts. We will not have to pay for a separate worship space, which became prohibitive when we went weekly.We will be located and contained in one space. Imagine/Northampton will have its own identity and we will get our crib back on Sundays.
Most importantly, we think that as a church we will have a place. Yea., I know the building is not the church. I have gotten that for a long time, But a location just creates a sense of permanence and identity. Also, in the original vision God gave we have a very distinctive place which captures what we are about in serving the city.
Not having a space has given us the curious feel of being displaced and impermanent, as if we are not really an actual church. We are something, but not a church. Funny thing is, other people have not been able to see us as a church either. That will change with this space. We will still do what we do to serve the city, but from a central location part of the time.
I need to add we are taking somewhat of a risk to move. The space is more expensive, but when you factor in having to rent to worship space and also keep our offices on Armory Street, the increase is doable. This will especially be the case as we grow.
Our lease ends at the Armory Street offices on April 15th, so we will need to hustle in the next two weeks.
So here is what we ask you to do:
1. Pray God would bless and show us favor in this move, that he would grow our redemptive influence in Northampton because of it and grow our numbers.
2. Consider sending $35/month for a year to help offset the increased costs. You can use PayPal on our website: www.imaginenorthampton.org, or send us a check: c/o imagine/Northampton, P.O. Box 268, Northampton, MA. Your gifts are fully tax deductible.
3. Help us with our move on or about April 15th.
4. Ask what we need to furnish the space, especially the worship space. Consider donating that stuff.
5. Come to one of our worships after we move in.
Needless to say, we are excited by what God has opened to us. May it be the beginning of the next leg of our missional journey here. We all feel hopeful it will mark a substantial move forward.
It feels right to us and the Holy Spirit.
May such a simple move make a huge difference in the lives of many here.
May God establish his Kingdom work through our hands and be glorified.