November 16, 2020

A journey begins with a single step

Written by  Linda Moffett

A journey begins with a single step … and EMM’s journey culminates in a new location in downtown Lancaster! But the journey is not ending; it is only beginning.

The new location for the EMM offices at 450 North Prince Street means a greater engagement with our neighbors, businesses, and even those just walking by on the sidewalk. We hope to be an incarnational witness. It means being the hands and feet of Jesus in a new place — a place where there is great diversity, great need, and great opportunity!

But some things will not change, and that is our commitment to training, sending, and supporting workers around the world — a mandate that we have been faithful to for more than 100 years. Our vision remains to take the good news of Jesus across cultures — both here and abroad.

New home

Let us introduce you to our new “home.” Originally a car dealership, Cornerstone Design-Architects helped us design the interior of the 23,000-square-foot building to house a hospitality center on the first floor and EMM offices on the second floor.

The first floor — with large open areas, easy access, and large storefront windows — is a space to host events and ministries that promote cultural awareness, cross-cultural friendship, personal growth, and Christ-centered mission. There are three meeting rooms that can be converted into one large space, if desired. The large meeting room, seating up to 200, will be ideal for discipleship events, classes, and training. A second meeting room, with capacity of up to 30, will work well for events like prayer times or cohort meetings. The small meeting room, holding up to 15 people, is a convenient place for English lessons and after-school tutoring for students and community members. We are especially excited to offer space and a welcome to refugees and immigrants in our community. Lancaster City is a melting pot of cultures. The School District of Lancaster reports that there are 38 different native languages spoken in their schools, and there are hundreds of students who are refugees from countries like Congo, Syria, Poland, Ukraine, Burma, Cuba, India, Kenya, Iran, and Iraq!

A gathering place

Immigrant business incubation can happen in the commercial kitchen, while community meals and dialogue take place around tables in the lobby and café area. It’s exciting to think about musical performances, worship nights, an art gallery, and participation in Lancaster’s First Friday events! And offering a low-cost venue rental for small or medium-sized groups, including small congregations and gatherings, is much needed. Of course, it will take time for these ideas to come to fruition, and we imagine that God will have some surprises for us along the way.

We are also excited about building a stronger team with better collaboration among our own staff as we’ll be under the same roof for the first time in 64 years! The second floor contains EMM’s offices, a mix of individual offices and workstations. Meeting rooms, a small library, a warming kitchen and eating area, along with an outside deck promote staff interaction and cohesiveness. A lot of windows and natural light, along with a simple, industrial design, welcomes visitors and applicants.

Tim Keller, the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, has pointed out that Paul and other Christian missionaries went to cities because when Christianity was planted there, it spread not only regionally, but converts then took the gospel back to their homelands. It also affected the culture since cities are generally the seat of learning and government. Keller concludes, “The importance of cities for Christian mission today is, if anything, even greater.”

Plan to visit us soon. As our supporters, this place belongs to you, too. It is our prayer that this space will help all people encounter, grow in, and share Jesus. Let us see together what the Lord will do! You can learn more about this project and how you can get involved at EMM.ORG/450.

This article appears in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of Missionary MessengerSign up to receive more inspiring stories like this one in our magazine.

Published in Articles, Local stories

Eastern Mennonite Missions

mail: PO Box 8617, Lancaster, PA 17604-8617 US
location: 450 N Prince St, Lancaster, PA 17603-3010 US
toll-free: +1 (844) 891-3939
phone: (717) 898-2251
fax: (717) 898-8092
office hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. EST

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