In these trying economic times, everyone’s looking for a bargain but let’s face it: real, honest-to-God bargains are pretty rare things. However, I think I know of something that could qualify as a bargain… and then some.
It’s been a little over two years since Zion Church burned to the ground. A year after the fire, Redeemer Church — a “daughter” church of Zion — was born, with the intention of returning to downtown Lincoln. However, despite being a downtown-oriented church, we haven’t been downtown yet. For the past year, we’ve been meeting at Zion Church’s new location, which is located in south Lincoln.
But that all changes in the next few weeks. Another Lincoln church, Faith United Church of Christ, has decided to shut its doors and they’ve chosen to sell their building to Redeemer for one dollar. That’s right… one dollar.
And if the price wasn’t enough of a wonder, the church is in a wonderful location for us, just north of downtown Lincoln and within walking distance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, one of our primary ministry areas. Indeed, college students make up a large number of the neighborhood surrounding the church.
All in all, it’s pretty amazing — and I have to admit, I’m still processing it. We’ve been away from downtown Lincoln so long that I can’t quite fathom what it’ll be like to return there for church, what it’ll be like to attend a “downtown church.” It’s a different setting, a different neighborhood, and it’ll be interesting to see who walks through our doors simply because of our location.
It’s also going to be interesting because of the history and legacy of the building. There’s a chance that some of Faith United’s members will be joining Redeemer. A merger of two congregations from different denominations certainly has its challenges, but there’s a lot of opportunity there as well, to learn from each other and to work together towards a shared legacy, that being the spread of God’s kingdom.
And while I can’t speak for Redeemer, I think it’s safe to say that we’re grateful and thankful for Faith United’s commitment to the neighborhood. It’s not an easy thing in this highly mobile, constantly changing culture in which we live, but they did it and that’s a very good thing.
On a personal note, the new church building brings with it a little nostalgia. Across the street from the church is a dump of a house where some of my friends lived back in the day. We called it the “Warhammer House,” and it was the site of many a basement show featuring some of Lincoln’s finest (e.g., Tie These Hands, Her Flyaway Manner, Bright Calm Blue, In Deliberation). And it was in that house’s basement where my old band A Dim Halo formed, practiced, and even recorded our first (and only) album.