After six years in one place, Echo Church is finally having to move. For the past two years, we have attempted to purchase the building we were renting. Our leadership went back and forth in negotiations with the Walnut Hill Christian Church, holding dozens of meetings about the property. But in the end, it didn't matter: the building was sold to a private owner who will renovate the edifice into a residence. We were notified last week that we need to be out of the building at the end of the month.
The process of purchasing the building was more exhausting than anything I could have ever imagined; I know that some time soon I'll put into words how ridiculous everything was (it will take multiple blog posts to be sure). We could've had the building if we had offered the right amount, but we were unwilling to leverage the future of our congregation by paying more than it was worth. My greatest sadness is that, when all was said and done, a building dedicated to the worship of God was treated with disrespect by its stewards. The dedication and desire of people who served over decades in this community was dismissed in favor of dollars. But we can walk away with heads held high, knowing that our leadership handled ourselves professionally throughout the entire process.
But that's all in the past. A great future now lies ahead of us
Echo Church is totally committed to remaining in Walnut Hills, our target community for ministry since our inception. And we have been blessed in securing a new location: starting December 4th, we'll be renting the Cincinnati Church of the Brethren at 950 Nassau Street in Walnut Hills.
The CCOB is a fifteen-year-old congregation which moved from the suburbs to urban Cincinnati in 2008. My wife and I have had the pleasure of getting to know their pastor and his family and we're energized by their dedication to this community; in fact, our two churches hosted a joint movie night last summer to reach out to the community. The Church of the Brethren offered us a generous rental rate that will help stretch our ministry efforts. We look forward to continued opportunities to partner with this congregation who is also dedicated to ministering in Walnut Hills.
Our current plan is to meet here on Sunday nights at 6pm, at least through next summer. We're viewing this location as a lay-over—providing us ample opportunity to take our time to search for a more permanent solution. But this building is a definite upgrade on our current location, with recently renovated amenities throughout. It'll take no time at all for us to settle in to our new home.
My sadness concerning the move is eliminated by thoughts of what will happen next. I've never been more excited about Echo. This little thing that we started in 2005 is going strong. I'm thankful for all of you who have bought in to our vision for ministry in urban Cincinnati. I ask for your continued prayers in our efforts as we move on to the next chapter in our story.