Transition, mess, and beauty

The café and seating area in the hospitality center


The last three months of 2020 held a lot of transition for EMM. As the construction at 450 North Prince Street was in its final weeks, staff continued organizing, purging, and packing up over 100 years worth of files, books, artifacts, and memories. And about a million paperclips. How did we end up with so many paperclips? 

We held moving days to load vans and trucks with all that we were taking with us. We cleaned. We sold unneeded furniture, supplies, and dozens of ugly filing cabinets people surprisingly wanted! We donated items to the Ephrata Reuzit, the Habitat Restore, and Lancaster Creative Reuse. We ate pizza at physically distant tables. We found our new desks and unpacked boxes, settling into beautiful and unfamiliar spaces. We navigated permitting issues and city inspections, and internet and phone challenges that occasionally made us want to scream. It was a bit chaotic. 

But often when you look closely, there is beauty in the mess. Through all of this, we met weekly and prayed together as staff. We listened to workers share their stories of how God has worked in their lives and their communities despite the pain and challenges of COVID-19. We processed the generous gifts of supporting churches and individuals. We wrote stories and shared them with you through Missionary Messenger and our fall banquet. We mentored young adults participating in the first year of the Advance program. We worked to create procedures for the new ministry space on the first floor and made our first plans to open the space to an Arabic Bible Study, the School District of Lancaster, and a leadership cohort. Indeed, there is beauty in the mess.

We look forward to the day when we can invite you into the mess. Hopefully things will be clean and organized by then, but the reality is, partnering with God’s mission isn’t always neat and tidy. 

We are so grateful to those of you who have entered into this new thing God is doing through EMM here in Lancaster City. This new thing, it’s more than a new office. And we want you to see it!