Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Life Church

Just wanted to pass along some news about New Life Church (the church that I attended at UofM). They are doing big things and am pumped for them. I will be able to go back to a service in June when I am back in Michigan for a wedding and I am excited to see the building (for those of you who don't know the story, it is long, but in short - we used to worship and learn in different auditoriums over campus and finally, after many uphill battles, were able to build a sanctuary off of the existing building we had):

New Life Church // A2 Project Update
May 16th, 2007

Dear Friends,

We have some excellent news to pass along to you. Just this morning, we received word that the City of Ann Arbor has passed us on all of our final inspections. This means that we are now completely cleared to use our facility. The last three months we have been operating on a temporary certificate of occupancy (that was set to expire yesterday, 5/15/07). But now that we've passed all our inspections, the City will issue us a final (non-temporary) certificate. This is huge news as it officially marks the completion of construction for our new facility.

The second big item is that we also just received a signed consent judgment from the City of Ann Arbor attorney's office (last week). Most of you are probably aware that we have been engaged in a second major battle with the City of Ann Arbor with regard to our application for property tax exemption. Technically, we are fully qualified for property tax exemption in the City of Ann Arbor, but our application for that status the last several years has been consistently rejected with no apparent legal footing. So we initiated a second lawsuit with the City of Ann Arbor and this consent judgment means that we have now been granted our property tax exemption. The City will also pay us back for our taxes paid in 2006 plus interest, so we're expecting a check from the City for about $35,000 any day now. Without that exemption, we were guessing we might have had to pay something closer to $60-80k this tax year (not to mention future years). As you can imagine, we were absolutely thrilled to receive this bit of news in the mail!

Lastly, we'd like to ask for your prayers. We have a sister church in Blacksburg, Virginia, where 32 people were killed in what is being titled the deadliest shooting in recent U.S. history. At this point, we believe that at least two (possibly three) of the students who were killed attended our sister church (New Life Campus Fellowship, NLCF). And many of the other victims were connected with members of the church in one way or another. We would love it if you could join is in praying for the victims and their families. We're also asking for pray for NLCF, it's pastors, it's staff and it's members as they continue to minister to a grieving campus and as they grieve themselves.

We've been struck with the fact that the University of Michigan isn't much different than Virginia Tech. It's not hard to believe that this kind of thing could have happened at a place like the University of Michigan, instead. So we'd also love your prayers for God's protection against anything like this occurring again!

We don't always have the privilege of seeing God's hand move so clearly in life, but it is certainly exciting to witness when we can see God move. We hope you'll join us in thanking Him for these tremendous blessings. We live in a fallen world, and tragedies like what occurred at Virginia Tech last month only serve to support that there is still plenty of work for us to do in expanding God's Kingdom.

Thank you for your prayers and your partnership in this great endeavor!

Joel VanderSchel on behalf of Steve Hayes

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