On July 8, Les and Linda Smith moved out of the parsonage at Hillsdale UB (Hillsdale, Mich.), so that it can be renovated into an office complex; the attached garage will become a conference room/classroom. The Smiths have lived next door to each of the three UB churches they have served during the past 25 years.
Currently, two staff members must share one office and a part-time pastor does not have one. The six offices at the church are scattered throughout the building in four areas. The new office complex will provide an office for each staffperson. The new office for Pastor Les will be his former bedroom.
Hillsdale UB has two Sunday morning services in two locations of the church–a more traditional service in the sanctuary and a contemporary service in the Worship Center (gym). For three years, 400 chairs have been setup and taken down each week for the second service. The parsonage renovation will allow the church offices to be used for additional lobby space and will relieve the bottleneck between services.
Two new parking lots have just been completed. One was a large expansion of the existing lot at the rear of the church, while the other replaced the front lawn of the former parsonage, so visitors to the new office complex will be able to park close by.
In June, Hillsdale completed a 40 Days of Purpose Campaign. Prior to the campaign, the congregation had eight home groups with about 80 participants. During the six-week campaign this number grew to more than 400 participants meeting in over 40 small groups. This included about three-quarters of the adult congregation as well as a number of unchurched people. Most of the groups are continuing to meet despite the end of the 40 days, while others plan to resume in the fall.
At the Ministry Fair held on the fifth Sunday of the campaign, around 350 signed up to serve in one or more of the dozens of ministry opportunities being offered both within the church and community.