East Side Story: Redux

September 28, 2017

Two weeks ago I wrote how the vision of some business people ten years ago made it possible for Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church to have a much needed parking lot in 2017. This week, I’m talking a bit about some shorter-term vision, but still about the parking lot.

If you were in church on Sunday or watched on LiveStream or Facebook, you heard Caryn Rivadeneira talk about the sod party of last Friday. There is more to the story! Here’s what you need to know:

  • The landscaping design called for trees and bushes in the space we sodded. However, while the parking lot was being blacktopped, Pastor Gregg pointed out that we could have some nice green space if we move the trees.
  • The landscapers for the project were incredibly cooperative. They found different and better locations for the trees and prepped the area for sod.
  • Sod is inexpensive, readily available, and very heavy.
  • The City of Elmhurst approved the new landscape design.
  • The sod was delivered on time and placed perfectly.

So all the pieces were in place--or so it seemed! The one thing missing was the labor. The people I had counted on for laying the sod were busy doing legitimate things like the Cadet Campout. Visions of 360 pieces of sod drying out in the 96-degree heat were becoming all too real.

I put out a call for help.

Within five minutes of the requested meeting time, the ECRC staff started to appear, ready for work. Paul, Kyle, Andy, Caryn, Bert, Gregg, Michelle, and Lisa, joined Joe and me in 96-degree heat to place 360 pieces of sod (3,600 sq. feet) in one hour! One hour! The unusual part was that it was actually fun.

So what, if anything, can we learn from this?

  • It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to lay sod, but it does take a team.
  • The staff at ECRC is prepared to do whatever it takes to get it done.
  • The folks who work at ECRC truly look out for each other and understand that Kingdom work comes in many forms!

Vision comes in all sizes, from ten-year-long, big-picture property purchases to improving 25-feet by 135-feet of open space to give room for ministries to grow and develop.

Caryn said Sunday that she was proud of the ECRC staff, and I echo that 100 percent. The staff of ECRC consists of nothing but dedicated, smart, and loving people who understand that serving our God gives us amazing opportunities. Most of those opportunities involve the things in our job descriptions. Some include sod so we can have green space for rest or fun activities. Whatever work is being done we understand that it is being done for the glory and advancement of God’s Kingdom here on earth.

And, please, take a moment or two to walk the east side of the church. In addition to the new sod, now growing like crazy, look for the new fence around the garbage area, the new landscaping, and the easy access to the east doors of church. Also, be sure to walk the existing patio, including a circular walk featuring the names of Jesus on the bricks, leading to a fountain.

The East Side Story is a whole new dimension for ECRC!

~ Jack

Jack Lanenga is the Executive Director of Operations at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church.

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