Thursday, November 23, 2017

Moving Forward

We had embarked on the Penrose Project because it was an incredible opportunity. The building would have been an impressive resource, we could stabilize and expand our businesses and offer all kinds of empowerment for the community. And then, after two years of labor, networking, and promotion, we got the letter from the city that they didn't own the building and were immediately cancelling the lease.

We have suffered greatly due to this error. Our reputation has been damaged. We have alienated financial supporters. Our relationships with volunteer groups were damaged as we had to cancel at the last minute, leaving them no place to serve. We lost revenue from our woodshop. We incurred debt and spent thousands of dollars on obtaining the building. Most importantly, we did not get to add the Art and Technology Center to our community. Instead, the building is used as storage by the City Treasurer's office as it sits and deteriorates. What could have been an incredible community asset will instead sit and continue to be a blight on our neighborhood.

The result of these events over the last two years have caused us to re-examine how we approach our work in the city and the businesses we run. Sun Ministries is going back to basics. We have wandered off track a little. Our good intentions to build the community and form beneficial partnerships did not take into account the greed, corruption and incompetency that has led to the current conditions all around us. We firmly believe that God is doing a great work in the inner city and we are called to facilitate that work.

We know our primary function as Sun Ministries is to plant faith communities that operate by God's design. These faith communities will rebuild the inner cities of America. We cannot do this in partnership with the government, people motivated by greed, or people looking to control our work or control those in our community. We want to see unity in our community and these things can never achieve unity. They are fundamentally divisive. They bring their unholy motivations into everything they do.

Sun Ministries has had a rough year. We are turning the corner as we move into 2018. We are refocused and ready to continue planting faith communities that are united to serve by showing the justice, mercy and love of Christ to the world. We plan to do this by multiplying disciples that live under the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. We have already been doing this through the Church@HydePark.

Today we are announcing that the Opportunity Center expansion will still take place. It will happen in a building we already own. It will take a little longer to accomplish but it will happen. Once it is finished we will have an incredible tool of empowerment in the Hyde Park neighborhood. The goal is to concentrate on our core businesses and the tools we need to fulfill our mission. The complex will house an expanded woodshop and sewing center, an audio and video recording studio, our second hand store, our maintenance services and rehab operations and give us space for the Opportunity Garage.

What will be missing from this version of the project? There will be no space dedicated to community use. This facility will be for our use. It is unfortunate, but the facility is not as large as 1901 Penrose. We really wanted to facilitate that kind of space but we are not able to do that in this building.

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