Grace United Methodist Church, Norway, MI
Monday, February 18, 2019
Open Hearts - Open Minds - Open Doors

 Crossroads Alliance

  

The congregations of Grace United Methodist and Bethany Lutheran churches of Norway know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God always finds a way!

Together they consecrated and celebrated the completion of a a $1.2 million church construction project, known as "Crossroads Alliance" in September 2009.  The project was done primarily with volunteer labor and included a "Great Room", classrooms, offices, kitchen, storage, youth space, a community pantry, a conference room and bathrooms.

Most of the cadre of volunteers who showed up each day armed with hammers, drills, saws and determination, were in the 65-80 age range.  Women from both congregations cooked and brought meals to the worksite daily.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship and shared vision.  Both skills and friendships grew.  A bounty of gtifts poured in, taking many forms, from an outpouring of time and talents, to monetary contributions, corporate grants, discounts on materials, equipment use, words of encouragement and many, many prayers.

It has truly been a pilgrim journey for both churches whose histories date back to 1879 and 1880 when they were established to nurture the faith of the area's Swedish, English and Norwegian immigrants. 

The seeds for the project were sewn in 1999 when Dan Olson of Norway assembled the pastors of the Evangelical Covenant, Grace UMC, Bethany Lutheran and First Baptist churches to announce the gift of 36 acres of land to be used to build new facilities for ministry and outreach.  Each church received a beautiful parcel and a remaining parcel was gifted to the city as the site for a new Jack Menghini Historical Museum.  A corporation was established to manage and oversee the land gift and is known as "Cornerstone."

The Evangelical Covenant Church was the first to build at the new location and Bethany and Grace began considering new buildings but were concerned about the financial burdens involved for their small congregations.  The necessity for thinking out of the box caused a new, intriquing  possibility to emerge.  Could two churches maintain their own individual congregations and identities but construct and share the same building?  It was an idea fraught with both unique challenges and unprecedented opportunities.

After much study and planning and support from both congregations, ground was broken in June 2008.  The road has not always been easy, but we have discovered that our oneness in Christ far exceeds our differences.  We sincerely believe that God called us to take these bold and innovative steps.  We have built together on a ffirm foundation of faith.  Thanks be to God!!

 

 

 

 

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