Update: Family Justice Center in the Northtowns

A number of things are occurring simultaneously as we move forward with the planning for this exciting project. Meetings are being held with architects, engineers, Amherst officials,  and lease writers. Many things need to be put in place before the actual work on the manse can begin. As is true with any new idea, there have been some rumors floating around. Here are some facts:

  • The manse will not be a shelter. Clients will not be spending the night there. In the beginning, it is planned that the Center will be open three mornings a week.
  • The manse is not being sold to the FJC. It is being leased.
  • The manse is not going to be gutted or otherwise altered. This way the manse could easily be converted back to a residential property if at some point that would be desired.
  • North Church is only one of a number of churches and organizations that has formed the Northtowns FJC Coalition. We are not alone in this undertaking. North Church has no financial obligation to the Northtowns FJC. Grant money has already been obtained and pledges of monies have been pouring in.

Betsy Greno, convener of the project, has met with board members of the Morningside Homeowners Association to discuss the plans for the manse. Next-door neighbors also attended the last coalition meeting to have their questions and concerns addressed.

On Sunday, March 10th, you opened your wallets and your hands for our Time for Change offering, giving $487.50 for the FJC project. What a wonderful way you have expressed your support for this project! There will be many ways for you to continue to support the Northtowns FJC in the months ahead. There will be opportunities for you to attend volunteer training, to help in construction projects, to assist in fundraising efforts, and to contribute financially. Please watch the bulletins and North Star for continuous progress
updates.

The next coalition meeting is Monday, April 15, at 7 pm here at North Church. You are welcome and encouraged to attend. If you have concerns or questions about the FJC satellite project, please speak to Ann Eisenlord, Jim McConnell, or JoAnne Alderfer. Please continue to say with us this affirmation of faith from the Iona Worship Book:

We affirm a faith that takes us beyond the safe place:
into action, into vulnerability, and into the streets.
We commit ourselves to work for change and to put ourselves on the line; to bear responsibility, take risks, and live powerfully,
to stand with those on the edge; to choose life
and to be used by the Spirit of God’s new community of hope.

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