Welcoming Spaces 3.0 will turn into a welcome addition to Mennonite Men's JoinHands program, thanks to a contribution from Waterford Mennonite Church.
In late 2018 Waterford began its "Welcoming Spaces 3.0" campaign, seeking to make several improvements in their physical facilities to create a more inviting space for guests and regular attenders alike. To date, the church in Goshen, Indiana, installed an ADA-compliant ramp in the sanctuary, providing access to the platform for those with physical limitations. They also repaved the parking area to provide a safer and more attractive surface to a lot that had significant cracks throughout. Welcoming Spaces 3.0 followed earlier Welcoming Spaces campaigns for facility improvements.
Drawing on a model used by other congregations, Waterford chose to "tithe" from its campaign, providing resources to other groups seeking to provide more welcoming spaces, with plans to make Mennonite Men the largest beneficiary of the tithe. To date, Waterford has contributed $5,000 to JoinHands.
"Although by most standards, this is not a major capital campaign, in my 15 years pastoring here this is the largest project we've done which required fundraising," said Pastoral Team Leader Neil Amstutz. "I have found Waterford to be a generous and responsive congregation when special needs have been brought forward. There is always a healthy dialogue between advocates of money spent 'for ourselves' versus money spent 'for mission'. This campaign gave us the opportunity for our physical improvements to also bring benefits far beyond ourselves for churches that are growing."
The Waterford contribution to Mennonite Men is anticipated to grow, said church leaders. "As we began our projects, we knew of at least three significant needs we wanted to address," said Jan Oostland, the church's facilities manager. "We've improved two significant spaces with the ramp addition and parking lot repairs, but we also knew we wanted to address some issues in our fellowship hall. In the months to come, we'll be fleshing out what that will look like and perhaps consider some other needs."
"Grounded in our gratitude for the gracious God we serve, it has been exciting to see many in our congregation prayerfully respond with generous offerings," said Lyle Miller, Welcoming Spaces 3.0 coordinator. "As we invite people to participate in the remaining activities, we anticipate being able to send even more to JoinHands. We are thankful for the ways Mennonite Men helps men 'grow, give and serve as followers of Jesus.'"