Columbia Grove Connection Center


A Big Decision to Make!

Update – November 23, 2012
Dear Friends:
After much prayer and discussion our congregation made two very important decisions last Sunday.

First, to the motion:


“That the Membership of Columbia Grove Covenant Church authorizes the purchase of property according to the Master Plan dated October 9, 2011 and located on the north side of 9th Street N.E. in 300 block and east of City Hall, in the City of East Wenatchee, Douglas County, State of Washington, commonly known as Tax Assessor’s Parcel #038-000-1201. ”

Be it further resolved:

That the Leadership of Columbia Grove revise the Master Plan and timeline for this Master Plan according to our budget accounting for our Capital Campaign funds.

Our membership voted against the motion.

This means we decided NOT to purchase and develop 333 9th Street. After much discussion, it was determined that the costs and long term indebtedness of building on the field is likely to be incompatible with our mission in this valley and our current economics.

We want to stay fully invested in reaching people for Christ and serving people in need. It was felt that a building project as expensive as the one we were considering risks drawing too much energy and funding away from our primary mission.

Then, there was second motion.


“That the Membership of the Columbia Grove Covenant Church authorizes the North Pacific Conference and the Evangelical Covenant Church to sell the property located on the north side of 9th Street N.E. in 300 block and east of City Hall, in the City of East Wenatchee, Douglas County, State of Washington, commonly known as Tax Assessor’s Parcel #038-000-1201, with the excess proceeds to be used for Denominational Ministries”

Be it further resolved:

“That the Membership of Columbia Grove Covenant Church authorizes the continued use of the Capital Campaign for a future building for Columbia Grove”

Be it further resolved:

“That the Membership of Columbia Grove Covenant Church authorizes the re-establishment of the property/building committee with the task of finding a future home for Columbia Grove.“

The membership passed this motion unanimously.

Since Sunday we have notified the Conference and Denomination that we are not planning to purchase 333 9th Street. We have encouraged them to put the property on the market at their discretion. They understand and support our decision.

We will continue to look for a long term facility that’s better suited to our mission and finances. Our Property/ Building Committee has already started investigating several possibilities and will be reporting back when they see something that looks appropriate for follow up. Please email Steve ClemBill SheaTom Leonard and/or Bonnie Schwarck with any “leads” that you are aware of.

We’re looking for a building that:

  • Is large enough with an open span space for 300+ people to assemble. (10,000+ sq. ft.)
  • Is somewhere in or near the East Wenatchee or Wenatchee Downtown area.
  • Has enough nearby parking for 150+ cars.
  • Is zoned appropriately.
  • Would cost under 1.5 Million to purchase and remodel for our purposes.

As we actively wait on the Lord, we will continue to grow our Building Fund so that we are better positioned to respond to opportunities as they arise. Our Capital Campaign Secretary, Becci Piepel, will be privately contacting all who pledged over the past month to see about their interest in continuing to pledge. There is no expectation or obligation to do so.

All are encouraged to give towards our Building Fund as the Lord leads. Here’s the link for doing that.

From the considerable feedback I’ve heard since Sunday, I hear you saying that we are more committed than ever to the mission God has given us! We’re expectantly waiting on Him to guide us to a facility that will best help us fulfill our unique mission in this valley.

In His Grip,

Pastor Andrew


Update – November 15, 2011

Dear Friends:

Over a month ago, we presented a potential Master Plan for building a ministry facility on 333 9th Street. We asked you to pray and seek the Lord for direction. “Lord what would you have us do with this possibility before us on this property? How have you called me and my family to respond to it?” Together we sought the Lord.

The response has been tremendous! To date, 61 households have pledged to give financially towards our having a long term ministry home. In addition, many have offered to pray regularly and to help by offering time and talents.

The Leadership Team is excited to announce that the total amount pledged is more than $323,000!

Thank you for this generous demonstration of support and commitment! This tells us that we are willing to sacrifice in order for our shared ministry to set long term roots in the community.

This also tells us that developing a facility on 333 9th Street may be financially unwise, and may conflict with the mission that God has given us in this valley. Although we believe that God is leading us away from this door, we also believe His will can open another one. God is great and He has a great plan for our church. The process of developing a Master Plan taught us many things about our congregation and what kind of facility will help us fulfill our specific calling. Those lessons learned can be applied to a building or property that is a better match for our congregation’s finances and will allow us to both establish a permanent home and continue God’s work in our community.

This Sunday, at 12:30 PM, there will be a congregational meeting to present the pledge results, answer any questions, and give all who wish a chance to voice their comments. Then we will ask all present members to vote “yes” or “no” on moving forward with the 333 9th Street Master Plan.

If the majority vote “no” to developing 333 9th Street, we would put these follow-up motions before the membership for vote:

1. That we release 333 9th Street back to the Denomination.

(Encouraging them to sell the property so the financial assets currently committed to the property are available for other denominational ministries.)

2. That we continue to grow a Building Fund so we can be in a financial situation to move on a facility as the Lord presents us with opportunity.

(Should this second motion pass, our Campaign Secretary will contact all who have pledged to see if there is interest in continuing their pledge towards the Building Fund.)

3. That we maintain a Building Committee to actively seek and evaluate potential properties.

We are firmly committed to moving forward in ministry and setting long term roots in our community. We are trusting that God will reveal the next steps of His plans for us as we continue to seek Him.

All for Jesus,

The Columbia Grove Leadership Team:
Dave Belton, Poppy Kelly, Lance Jobe, Andrew Toth, Bonnie Schwarck, Jill Leonard, Evan Anderson and Becci Piepel and Pastor Andrew Thompson.

Below is a summary report of pledging from our Campaign Secretary


Pledge Summary:

  •     Total Number of Pledges:    61
  •     Total Amount of Pledges:    $323,716.00

(There are some stock donations included in the pledges. Their value has been estimated.)

  • A majority of the people who made pledges said they would be praying regularly for the church.
  • A majority of the people who made pledges also said that they would help in whatever means necessary.  Many people were willing to provide their skills & talents in whatever means necessary.
  • Some people that gave pledges said they were commited to CGCC and would support whatever the congregation voted on.
  • Some people mentioned that their pledges came with no strings attached, they wanted to move forward.

Comments from people not wishing to pledge:

  • I do not feel now is the right timing for our church to build.
  • We believe that God will use us regardless of location.  Is there another location, an existing location that we could utilize?  Sacrificial giving could be used for our community.
  • We don’t feel it is a good idea to spend resources on a new building.  One of the reasons we were drawn to this church was that we didn’t need a building to worship God.
  • We do not feel that God in calling us to in this direction of building a new building.
  • The Lord has put it on my heart to tell the church that this is not the right time to go into debt.  This is the time to build stronger home groups.  I will support any decision made by the church.
  • Praying regularly
Update – November 12, 2011
Dear Columbia Grove Friends:

As you may know, our church has been in a discernment process about our long term facility plan for several years. In June 2010, our Leadership Team, with the support of our congregation, commissioned a Building Committee to investigate the possibility of building a multi-purpose Ministry Center on the “Field of Dreams” property at 333 9th Street, East Wenatchee.The Building Committee was charged with, among other duties, recommending an architect who could develop a “Master Plan” for the site.  After considering and interviewing many candidates, the Building Committee recommended Mark DiLoreto of Planning Solutions. On Sunday, March 20th, our members voted and approved hiring Planning Solutions to develop a Master Plan for 333 9th Street.

Before we could discern whether or not to develop the property we needed to gather important information. What should a building that supports our vision of worship, connection and service include? What should its capacities and options be for long term expansion?  What would it cost?

Through a series of congregational meetings held over the past few months, a Master Plan has been developed, so together we can pray and ask God whether or not it is His will for us to move forward.

On Sunday, October 9 from 12:30 – 2:30 pm the Master Plan was presented by our Building Committee and Mark DiLoreto.  We ask you to seek God’s discernment over the next several weeks as to how He is directing you to personally give and sacrifice towards this project. Pledge forms remain available until Sunday, November 13, our Commitment Sunday, when pledges are due.

We will meet on Sunday November 20 at 12:30 pm, where pledge totals and gathered discernment information will be presented to the congregation.  Church members present at the meeting will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on developing the 9th Street property as presented in the Master Plan.

Please attend these very important meetings on October 9 and November 20. We need and value your involvement! This is a decision that the entire body must make together.

Please ask questions. We want everyone to be fully informed in their prayers. You are welcome to contact any of the following people for more detail.

Dave Belton (670-8076), Bonnie Schwarck (884-7716), Bill Shea (662-9476), Steve Clem (884-0744), Tom Leonard (886-3134)

Trusting Jesus for every step,

The Columbia Grove Leadership Team:

Dave Belton, Poppy Kelly, Lance Jobe, Andrew Toth, Bonnie Schwarck, Jill Leonard, Evan Anderson and Becci Piepel.


The Master Plan for 333 9th Street. 

(A single document in three parts, because of the large file size.)
Audio: (Click on the link to listen)
34 Days of Prayer and Pledging (click on the link to download or listen)
To Respond