Like many things that are nearly a century old, the floorboards at Community Church of Keyport are showing their age. A new grant will cover their replacement.
The 98-year-old floorboards of Community Church of Keyport (RCA) in Keyport, New Jersey, creak as people walk over them to have a free lunch through the Bayshore Lunch Program or to visit the Keyport Food Pantry. They vibrate with the worship of three churches that share the space. Chairs scrape across them during Sunday school and summer worship.
Like many things that are nearly a century old, the floorboards are showing their age. The floor can no longer be refinished as it is literally down to the nails—the nails and cracks are covered by duct tape, making the aging floor a hazard to the many who traverse it.
But, as one of the first recipients of a Flourishing Churches Grant, Community Church will be able to replace the floor and continue living and loving like Jesus in its community, a lower income neighborhood hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Churches with thriving ministries sometimes lack financial resources for building improvements, and more than 60 such churches applied for the Flourishing Churches Grant. This grant, of up to $50,000, allows churches to upgrade their facilities and grow their ministries. Seven churches were chosen for the grant this year.
Here is what the other six churches plan to accomplish with their grant.
- Chour Thai Reformed Church in Yonkers, New York, needs to repair and update aging restrooms, reseal outside walls to stop water seepage, and fix broken front doors. By doing so, the church will meet the city requirements and codes in order to do community ministry through an after-school program, tutoring, and day care.
- Emmanuel Reformed Church of Waupun, Wisconsin, wants to be able to serve elderly people in the church and allow for the whole church to gather for events, small groups, and Bible studies. To do so, it needs a lift to make the lower level accessible to those who cannot use stairs, as well as more meeting rooms, a larger Sunday school room, painting, and general updating.
- Faith Chapel Reformed Church in Paterson, New Jersey, will be improving a handicapped ramp, adding a driveway due to limited parking, enclosing an exterior stairwell to utilize the back entrance, fixing the church yard fence and walkway, updating the kitchen with new appliances, and expanding the pastor’s office. All projects will improve the overall safety, outreach, and ministry of the church.
- The floor of the Family Life Center of First Reformed Church in Prairie City, Iowa, is from 1947. Much like the floor of Community Church, this one is used both by the church and the community. As a result of the age and the wear and tear, it needs to be replaced. This will allow for further use and outreach.
- Making the building more comfortable for all ages is the goal of Mott Haven Reformed Church of Bronx, New York. To do so, it needs a new roof to stop water leaking and a new HVAC to make the climate of the church more moderate and comfortable.
- Servant’s Community Church (RCA) of Grand Rapids, Michigan, wants its building to reflect the care and dedication of the church members both to the church and to the community. In order to make it more inviting, safer, and more comfortable, the church needs to fix the front doors that are charred from fire, replace the cracked concrete by the front doors that makes entrance less accessible for people with physical disabilities, fix the balcony railing that is not up to code, and install a T-coil and new sound system, both to make the worship more accessible to people who are hearing impaired and to prevent microphones from cutting out. In addition, they will replace old siding and install new windows and air conditioning units in the church office building.
The Flourishing Churches Grant is funded by the RCA Church Growth Fund. Grants will be available again next year. Find out more about the grant and application process at www.rca.org/flourishing-churches-grant.