Radical Hospitality

Radical Hospitality at Foundry
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Phase I of Foundry’s Mission Possible campaign transformed the church into a more welcoming, more versatile place.

The most obvious benefit of the renovation is Community Commons. It combines modern amenities, like flat screen TVS, with historical touches, like many stained glass windows, for a stunning effect. The first-floor facility, just a short stroll from the sanctuary, makes a great place for people to gather for conversation, food, and fellowship on Sunday mornings. With new acoustical panels, hearing is easier, with more conversation and higher energy levels. Pastor Al Hammer reports, “The new space has helped generate a higher participation in fellowship hour after both services.”

Old Chapel BeforeThe Community Commons is also a natural place to hold community events during the rest of the week. Foundry has welcomed neighbors there to vote on Election Day, to see Santa Claus during the Christmas season, and to learn about the sanctuary movement for immigrants. 

With versatile lighting and configuration, the Community Commons hosts functions not needing a large sanctuary. For example, Foundry’s Longest Night service in December draws those who are lonely and downhearted for an intimate, meditative time. In addition, Divinum, discussions led by well-known moderators on different topics, is marked in Community Commons by active interaction, welcome refreshments, and easy circulation for fellowship.  

Assembly RoomSpecial and regular events for specific groups and for the community at large can be held in new and newly renovated spaces. Three examples are illustrative. Recently, 25 people from over 10 Washington district UMC churches met at Foundry to discuss the benefits of solar energy in cutting both the carbon footprint and expenses. The recent housing rally, in addition to using the sanctuary and front plaza, benefited from exhibiting materials in the Welcome Center, gathering in small groups in the Community Commons, and having access to the newly renovated and larger capacity restrooms. Also benefitting from enhanced spaces and larger restrooms are regularly scheduled groups like AA and Family Matters, a counseling initiative that serves the greater community,

Improvements from Mission Possible have helped Foundry better fulfill its call to radical hospitality in other ways, too. 

  • A new, more spacious elevator makes it easier to navigate the building.
  • New pew cushions, a new hearing loop for people with hearing aids, an improved sound system, and an added video camera to stream services on the Internet have updated the sanctuary.
  • Modern facilities in restrooms make them more accessible for people with wheelchairs and walkers.
  • Combined nursery and toddler rooms enable better staffing of childcare.
  • In a renovated youth room, teens enjoy a more comfortable environment for study and fellowship.
  • With a welcome desk, visitors are now immediately greeted when they enter the building.
  • Improved security throughout the building keeps the community safe.  

Fulfilling our Commitments

As part of Foundry’s answer to God’s call for radical hospitality through renovations, Foundry members voted several years ago to support Mission Possible with both monetary gifts and a $3 million bank loan. Now that Phase I construction and renovation are complete, Foundry has begun making payments on that loan.

Moving into Phase II of Mission Possible, Foundry must continue to pay for the improvements it is already benefitting from today. For many newer members, this will be the first opportunity to help support these vital changes.

Foundry congregants strive to be good stewards of the bounty that God has shared with them. That’s why a major focus of the $3.6 million second phase of Mission Possible will be replenishing $525,000 from capital reserves (which were tapped to cover cost overruns) and paying down $1 million of its outstanding Mission Possible debt early. These moves will put Foundry on a financial footing that prepares it for the future.

According to Dan Vock, chair of the Foundry Management Board’s Facilities and Operations Committee, “Renovations from Phase I are making a tremendous impact on Foundry. The enhanced facilities enable new energy on Sunday mornings and more opportunities for learning, organizing, and interacting during the rest of the week. Paying off the costs of these improvements is worth every penny.”