The River Run Church of the Nazarene faced a number of challenges last year. Due to renovations, we were temporarily displaced from our regular meeting place in the Detroit Town Office Building from the beginning of April through the end of June. We were able to hold regular Sunday church activities in an alternate location, but most of our ministries suffered during this time.
Liability concerns, expressed by the selectmen, required us to remove any food stored in the building. Additionally, we had to discontinue the supplemental food pantry that we operated from there. The kitchen facilities have not been fully restored, so the free community dinners we offered have been put on hold. We restarted a few of our outreach ministries in the fall and hope we can regain momentum.
Our relationship with the Town of Detroit has changed. We no longer provide basic cleaning in return for the use of the building on Sundays. Instead, we pay rent for church activities on Sunday, but are able to use the building at other times for public programs or activities, free of charge, as can other non-profit organizations.
This winter we spent time planning, refocusing, and redefining how we will do ministry in the future. We plan to increase our online ministries, will take many of our church activities out into the community, and are exploring options for additional outreach activities or community based small groups.
In spite of these challenges, we were able to plant, manage, and harvest produce from the community garden. A core group of six volunteers distributed about 1250 pounds of garden produce to twenty five households… feeding at least 60 people from eight different area towns. We expect to be scaling back on our community garden activities in 2018, in part, because we will be relocating the River Run raised beds to an alternate location that will be easier to manage and maintain.