With the voices of staff lifted in praise and celebration, Rev. Lou Strugala, Building Committee Chairperson, cut the “grand opening” ribbon in a ceremony on Monday April 4th to mark the opening day of the Mission and Resource Center (MRC).
The day began with staff gathered in the entry hall, while Bishop John Schol shared scripture and prayer for the work to be accomplished in the new central office for Greater New Jersey. Together the staff entered the first floor Learning Center for morning worship.
Alexa Taylor, Benefits Services Manager and a part of the move committee, loves the new space. “It feels wonderful to be here,” she said, “There will be so many opportunities for laity, clergy and staff as a result of this facility.”
To facilitate the move, Greater New Jersey’s offices were closed on Friday April 1 and the move took place over the weekend. When staff arrived at the Center on Monday morning, all their moving boxes were already placed in their offices and their computers were in place and ready to go.
“The move went smoothly. We had a great committee working on it,” said Taylor, “There were many, many moving parts but everyone handled their part nicely.”
Rev. Lou Strugala, who chaired the building committee of the Board of Trustees couldn’t agree more. “Once the resolution was passed at Annual Conference, the pieces all fell into place,” Strugala said.
Rev. Cliff Still, the chair of the Board of Trustees was also on hand for the first day. “I’m proud to be a part of the work that will go on here,” said Still, “United Methodists glorify God by doing his work in a place that lifts us all up together.”
The Mission and Resource Center was designed to do more than house the Greater New Jersey staff. It is equipped with beautiful meeting spaces for agencies and committees of the Connectional Table. It has a video and audio recording studio that will allow for higher quality productions and be available for use to congregations and outside groups. It has a full service kitchen facility so that events and meetings can be catered.
“We intentionally named this facility the Mission and Resource Center because this building is all about how we support the work of the church out in the community,” said Bishop John Schol, “Our focus is to quip transformational leaders to make vital congregations. Our capacity to resource our leaders has never been greater.”
In addition to the staff, all nine district superintendents, the field staff of A Future With Hope and special guests joined in the day’s opening activities. Special guests included Conference Lay Leader Rosa Williams, the contractor Jack Green and his family, construction foreman Norm Cetuk, and architects Steve Carlidge and April Horvath.
The staff wasted no time however getting back to business. By noon, the Cabinet was meeting in Conference Room A that overlooks Jumping Brook Road and other team members were already unpacked and at their desks.
A special dedication ceremony is being planned for April 15 at 10:30 a.m. and all clergy and laity in Greater New Jersey are invited to attend. Bishops Devadhar, Lyght, and Schol will be leading the dedication service and special guests include: General Secretary Alfred T. Day of the General Commission of Archives and History, Dr. Javier Viera, Dean of Drew School of Theology, Dr. Ginny Samuel, Associate Dean of Drew School of Theology, and elected officials of the township and State of New Jersey.
Following the dedication there will be tours of the new Mission and Resource Center. Register to attend the dedication on April 15, by going to www.gnjumc.org.