First Baptist Family,
When the pandemic began in March of 2020, the church staff and church council brainstormed ways to help. When we understood that meeting outside was safer, I contacted several downtown businesses with no outdoor space and offered our front lawn as a meeting or gathering place. One of the businesses I reached out to was alleyCat Yoga, which Susan Mathis owns. At the time, she appreciated the offer but had already moved classes online.
However, six weeks ago (March of 2022), Susan reached out to me to see if First Baptist might be willing to rent space for her studio. Their lease was ending, and they needed a new home. Susan’s dad had been a pastor, and she knew churches often have space that goes unused during the week. In addition, years ago, Susan’s daughter attended the Child Development Center at First Baptist. Thus, she was aware that the Center had closed. She wondered if there might be an opportunity to rent that space for classes.
Last week, the Church Council unanimously voted to enter a 6-month experimental lease with alleyCat Yoga. They will be renting one classroom, the Train Class, and offering 7-10 classes per week for adults and children beginning June 1. As you know, the Child Development Center has been closed for two years, and the board voted to dissolve the Center last fall. As a result, the classrooms have been sitting empty, and we have yet to tackle the enormous task of cleaning them out so we may repurpose them. The Church Council believes renting the space will give us the incentive to begin cleaning out the classrooms and dreaming of new dreams for the area.
Since Susan grew up as a pastor’s kid, she understands congregations, and we believe she will be respectful of the space. It feels providencial that her daughter went to the CDC and she will use this space to offer classes. In addition, at First Baptist, we talk about the importance of caring for our bodies and souls, so it looks like a natural fit to offer a space for yoga as a part of a holistic approach to spirituality.
The Church Council acknowledged we need to have a broader, church-wide conversation about the permanent use of the CDC space in the future. Therefore, we hope that this 6-month trial period will allow us to hold some town-hall-style meetings to reflect on the future use of CDC. We see this as a win-win for all these reasons and look forward to this period of experimentation and exploring future ministry opportunities.