What is the timeline for all of these initiatives?
This is a six-year plan. The first step is to align our efforts and resources. This is a big vision with big goals. We would be foolish to assume we know all the answers. We’re building work groups of people who are passionate about areas within the vision. There are many of you with talents, ideas, connections, and expertise that can move our vision to reality. If you would like to participate in one of these teams, please complete the form on this page or email B.J. Priest at [email protected]
“For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” Esther 4:14 NRSV
How will information be made available to the congregation?
Pastors Rob and Mark will regularly update the congregation during worship. We’ll also share news in our newsletter and on our website. You are always welcome to email Pastor Rob, Pastor Mark, or our Executive Director, B.J. Priest. You can also submit questions on this webpage. Hopefully, you will become engaged in the process and help share updates with your friends and neighbors.
How will we measure progress and how will we hold people accountable to the vision?
Some of the goals are readily measurable, such as the number of microloans. Other goals are not as easily measurable, but will be quantified and monitored by the leadership team for the vision.
How can people submit ideas or ask questions along the way?
Please use the forms in this section of the website to share any ideas or questions you may have. At this time, we are collecting ideas in order to have a robust discussion about the specific next steps. Ideas ignite other ideas, and this is a time for us to dream. As we receive questions, we will update this section of our website with additional answers. Again, we encourage you to be part of the process by joining one of our teams.
What is the timeline for expanding the parking lot?
While it’s not glamorous, expanding the parking lot is a necessary first step toward accomplishing other goals that may be higher on our list. However, this is an expensive project requiring input and approval from people outside of our church. Our work group on Connecting All at Ebenezer will draw up a plan for our committees and congregation to vote on and approve. From there, we’ll hire the necessary experts and apply for the required Stafford County permits. We expect this process to take at least eighteen months to two years.
Is there a plan or timeline for starting the satellite campus that was mentioned?
The timeline is still in development and depends largely on decisions we make together as a church. The Virginia conference adopted a goal to stand-up 250 new faith communities by 2039. As part of this initiative, they’ve made resources available to local churches looking to grow. We’ll assemble a team to create a proposal for both the congregation and the conference. If you are interested in being part of this discovery team, please contact B.J. Priest or use the form on this page to identify your interest.
When we look at humanitarian aid, why did we choose Bo, Sierra Leone, Africa?
Ebenezer’s commitment to support the people of Africa traces back to 1915, when our youth group raised money to send overseas. Today, Sierra Leone is considered by the World Bank and IMF as one of the poorest countries in the world. In 2003, Ebenezer Church joined an effort organized by Floris UMC in Herndon to partner with Helping Children Worldwide and change the lives of the people of Bo, Sierra Leone, Africa. Since then we’ve concentrated our efforts and donated more than $250,000 to HCW, and 32 members of our congregation have traveled to Bo.
Why are we only giving 200 microfinance loans to families in Bo? We could easily give many more.
Helping Children Worldwide and the Child Rescue Centre (CRC) will administer the microloans. They have the capacity to administer 200 loans over the next six years. If their capacity increases, we would be happy to help them expand the program. The CRC not only provides loans, but also teaches families how to budget, save, and create a simple business plan. Graduates of the microfinance program visit the CRC weekly to report their progress and make payments on their loans and CRC staff visit the new businesses each month to track their progress.
Is using the property at 166 Embrey Mill a part of this plan?
While we’ve made improvements on the land, we have not yet discerned the best intentions to use the eight acres to benefit Stafford and grow God’s Kingdom. Please share your ideas or vision for the property. In the meantime, we’ll continue to use it for recreation, event, and picnic space as well as overflow parking on the weekend.