As you come to church week in and week out, you may notice minor changes here and there. Artwork in the coffee area gets changed depending on the season or special emphasis. The stage is modified now and then. A sign appears telling guests where to park. The kids’ check-in station is changed. While most of the time, we try to keep the changes to a minimum, in the coming weeks and months, more noticeable changes will be coming in anticipation of our addition of a third service in late February.
This week, new windows were installed on the south side of the office wing. These windows match what we had installed in the Worship Center during our Renew Ashworth campaign in 2015. New roller shades and window trim will soon follow to complete this installation.
Following our One Worship Service and Thanksgiving Fellowship meal, we will begin a remodel in the basement. This renovation will include the construction of new classrooms in the basement. Our kids’ ministry has been growing (which is a great problem to have)! With the growth has come challenges week in and week out in providing enough breakout space for the kids to meet in.
This renovation will also include the construction of a sensory room. This room will help meet the needs of our kids with special needs that can become overwhelmed with noises and crowds and provide them an opportunity to step away when needed and decompress. It also provides parents who might not be able to attend church otherwise an opportunity to be a part of the Ashworth family knowing their kid’s needs are being met in an appropriate environment.
One of the primary reasons for the basement work is to begin moving toward a secured kids’ ministry area. It is a reality in our culture that we need to make the safety and security of our kids a top priority, unlike ever before. One of the ways we can do this is by providing a secured area for them to be in while at Ashworth. Secure doors will be installed in the basement and the kids’ hallway, limiting access to the areas to kids workers who have been vetted.
Another change coming is the change in seating in the worship center. In early December, we will be removing the pews in the worship center and replacing them with chairs. This has been a point of much discussion among the leadership team. Still, as we continue to reach out to our community and provide a more modern worship experience, we felt this was a necessary move for a few reasons.
First, with the changes being made in the basement, we will no longer be able to host fellowships in the basement. Moving to chairs allows the worship center to be used for more than just a couple of hours on Sunday. Second, it increases the number of available seats in the room for the worship services. Lastly, as we begin construction on the Chapel, it keeps the seating consistent between all the worship areas and allows us to make all worship spaces as consistent as possible. (This change means we need to find a home for 25 pews. If you or someone you know would like one or if you know of a church or Chapel that could use them, let Lynn Oswald know.)
I know that change is always difficult, and the changes that are coming can be seen in a negative light. But I hope that we see these changes as a reason to celebrate. Ashworth Church is growing and becoming more diverse. God is moving in our church. And these changes are making room for more and more people to come experience the presence of God, to know the life-transforming power of the love of Jesus, and to connect to a dynamic and vibrant community where we can all grow closer the Jesus together.