Since the 1950s, like so many other urban churches, we have seen our numbers dwindle, and those of us remaining have struggled to maintain our oversized property and grounds. Feeling spiritually drained by the upkeep of our facilities, we took bold steps these past two years to begin a move toward rebirth. Evergreen sold our property to Rhodes College in March 2013 and signed an agreement that requires no change in our programs through mid-2015. After that time, the agreement ensures that Rhodes will continue to provide us space on the campus for worship and educational programs at no cost to Evergreen.
This new arrangement is both frightening and liberating at the same time. It is frightening in that we give up control of the physical space, but liberating in that we are no longer burdened by the upkeep of our facilities. With these burdens lifted, we plan to devote our energy to exploring a new paradigm of worship, one that is characterized by the spiritual nurturing of our members and our community, built on our history of service and promotion of social justice, and defined by our welcoming and open-hearted faith rather than the building in which we worship.
Releasing our facilities also meant that we had to explore new avenues for the continuity of the outreach programs housed under our roof. We are thrilled that those programs have found a new home at Living Hope Church and that those important ministries will continue in our community.
Though at times these many transitions have weighed on all of us, we have been blessed to witness the movement of God throughout the process, to see the opportunities that God has presented to us, and to partner with our neighbors at Living Hope and Rhodes College. We are dedicated to the Memphis community and passionate about living into our vision for the next 100 years of Evergreen Presbyterian Church.