|May 21, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
In Chapter 15 of John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of Himself as the Vine and of us, His people, as the branches. While this is a beautiful metaphor of Christ’s relationship with the Church, it also contains some uncomfortable imagery as well. In that same passage, Jesus speaks of the need to prune if a vine is to remain as fruitful as possible. At times, we also must go through a period of pruning, which can be both uncomfortable and painful, but we know it will ultimately lead to further growth of the Church for God’s glory. Timothy’s leadership feels this is such a time for the Timothy Lutheran Early Childhood Center.
Last fall, Timothy’s Executive Board formed the ECC Task Force to extensively study and subsequently recommend practices to bring the program closer to a zero-based budget. Upon the Executive Board’s approval of the recommendations, the School Board approved the implementation of a portion of the suggestions for 2020. Before the unprecedented and unexpected pandemic crisis, it became increasingly clear to Timothy’s leadership that the Early Childhood Center at the RD Mize Campus has fallen behind in terms of necessary student safety and security accommodations to meet current regulations. These safety and security concerns cannot be ignored in modern-day Early Childhood Centers. The pandemic shutdown allowed Timothy’s leadership to pause and re-evaluate all of Timothy’s ministry priorities in moving forward, asking hard questions about our effectiveness as good stewards of God’s resources entrusted to us. It also became increasingly clear that Timothy’s budget simply cannot sustain the costs of upgrading the RD Mize Campus to what is considered standard practices for safety and security of early childhood programs.
After an all-embracing discussion among the Executive Board, Board of Elected Elders representatives, School Board President, School Administrator Ken Holland, ECC Director Mary Beth Self, and Timothy’s pastors, the Executive Board unanimously approved housing for three-year-old classes and Pre-K (four-year-old) classes at the Wyatt Road Campus, effective Fall 2020, while discontinuing ECC classes at RD Mize. A relaunch of our early childhood ministry at the Wyatt Road Campus in the fall will promote a refocus of our efforts to prune this important ministry, strategically restart our early childhood ministry, and grow the school ministries as a unified whole.
We celebrate the impact of Timothy’s RD Mize Early Childhood Center over the past decades, both within our church family and in the community. We acknowledge that change like this may be painful and difficult, but we entrust this move to God, praying that He will continue to guide us and bless us as we touch lives for Christ.
In His Service,
Pastor John Otte
Pastor Rod Lindemann