Dedicating the Future to God’s Glory
Now that construction on the new Immanuel’s Leidy’s Church building has drawn to a close, there is the temptation to think in terms of a conclusion. And, it is true, that in some respects getting the keys to the new facility does mark the end of an incredible 20+ year journey. It’s important, however, not to think of this as the end, but rather, the beginning. As the physical labor of building a new facility wraps up, the spiritual labor of using the gift we’ve been given to reach the world around us begins.
On Sunday, September 18th at 2:00 p.m., Leidy’s Church will have a special service to honor the past, rejoice in the present, and dedicate the future to God’s. At this dedication service, members of the church pastoral staff, both past and present, will speak. In addition, special music will allow us to praise God for this blessing and celebrate what lies ahead. The dedication will then be followed by an open house which will include guided tours, information tables, music, and light refreshments. Please follow us on Facebook for the updates!
The Building Journey
Immanuel Leidy’s Church has been enormously blessed throughout the entire building process which spans over 20 years of church history. Looking back, it is impossible to deny the hand of God at work through every step along the way.
Since 1987 the congregation has been required to have two services of worship rather than one. Neither the available parking spaces nor the sanctuary could accommodate the congregation gathering to worship at one set time. Landlocked by cemeteries and a meat processing plant, expansion seemed impossible. Consideration was given to purchasing land in another part of Franconia Township to build, but the idea was ultimately dismissed. And, so, the church remained where it was, landlocked.
In the mid 1990’s the situation changed. Land across the street from the church’s current facility was made available for purchase. Part of an old farmstead, the majority of the farm was sold to a developer and in due time the beautiful homes of Cambridge Reserve took the place of fields of soy beans and field corn.
Approximately 20 acres and one family residence were not included in the development. Instead, this acreage was divided into three separate parcels. In February of 1996 the Immanuel Leidy’s Church congregation voted to proceed with the purchase of the three parcels. It was not an easy decision as a mortgage still existed for the renovations that had been completed on the existing church building in 1991.
The first parcel was purchased in March of 1997. This is the parcel on which the new church building now sits. In January of 1998 the 15-year mortgage taken out for the 1991 renovations was paid off, which was well timed for the purchase of the second parcel in September of 1999. This second parcel is where the athletic and recreational grounds will be located. The third and final parcel, where the parsonage sits, was purchased in June of 2000.
In September of 2003 an additional 2.3 acre parcel – part of which was being farmed as part of the first parcel bought! – was put up for sale. The congregation voted to purchase it in October and by the end of 2003 the church was out of debt and had $20,000 in her Building Fund.
With all the land acquired, Leidy’s Church created a feasibility committee and a preliminary land planning study was done. This study was done to determine the best way to organize the use of the land and the maximum size worship facility the land could accommodate. Interestingly, the results of this initial planning study were ultimately what the church used when it moved forward with the project some ten years later. Having a planning study hold up over time like that was truly unique – yet another notable blessing that allowed this project to take shape as it did.
The estimated cost of this facility, however, was $6.8 million – far beyond the means of the congregation. Congregants continued to give faithfully to the Building Fund even though it seemed likely that it would take 30 years or more to accumulate sufficient funds.
Soon thereafter an anonymous friend from beyond the congregation helped spur congregational giving with a $500,000 matching fund challenge. As the church reached $100,000 increments they were matched. In due time that resulted in a Building Fund balance of over $1 million.
A year or two later, our church felt the hand of God at work once again when we received another remarkably generous financial gift. This donation was made by a different, but still anonymous, friend who was not a member of the congregation. The amount of the gift was ultimately enough to cover almost half the projected building cost. At this point, a Building Committee was formed and building design got underway. It is of interest to note that those design plans developed between 2007 and 2008 almost exactly correspond to the building that was ultimately erected between 2014 and 2016. Sticking so closely to preliminary designs is somewhat of an anomaly in the field of architecture and is yet another testament to God’s goodness and the wisdom that He generously bestowed upon those who worked so diligently on the plans.
Between 2008 and 2013 much work was done to secure approvals and permits from Franconia Township, Montgomery County, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. It was also during this time period that Richard Kapusta & Company Architects prepared the official construction drawings.
In October of 2013 the Immanuel Leidy’s Church building project was put out to bid. In January of 2014 a final price was established (a price that was significantly higher than the earlier estimate) and brought before the church for a vote. At that congregational dinner, the vote was 89.5% in favor of moving forward with the project even though the potential mortgage was projected as high as $3.1 million.
On April 27, 2014 Immanuel Leidy’s Church broke ground for the new church building. Shortly thereafter, Leidy’s Church was blessed with another anonymous, non-member gift intended to cut the anticipated mortgage by approximately half. Yet again, we were able to see the hand of God providing as we continued to move forward with what we believed the Lord Jesus was calling us to do. Interestingly, the current anticipated completion date for the new building is sometime in April 2016 – almost two years to the date of the original ground breaking. We look forward to being able to worship as one congregation again.
As a church, we feel our new church building is both an enormous blessing and an immense responsibility. As construction concludes and the future awaits, we remain committed to the firm foundation of our past, thankful to the one, true, living God who has taken us on this journey, and dedicated to using what we’ve been given to bring glory to God and to do God’s work in our community. We look forward to being able to worship as one congregation and hope you will join for our 8:45 Sunday School and 10:00 service of worship when the new building opens.