December 2, 2020
New Life Family Services Coming to Phillips Neighborhood
One of the first actions taken by Pastor Kenny Stokes when he joined the Bethlehem staff in 1998 was to create a partnership between Bethlehem and New Life Family Services. Partnering with this pregnancy resource center/adoption agency has provided opportunities over the past 22 years for our congregation to honor the Lord and promote the sanctity of life in meaningful ways by coming alongside these frontline workers to support them financially, in prayer, and through volunteering. New Life has experienced a number changes during this time—expanding their range of services, moving several locations, closing one office, renaming their outreach to young women in crisis “First Care,” and many others.
Approximately five years ago, New Life became especially burdened to minister to women (and men) in the area with the highest concentration of abortion clinics and abortion-vulnerable women in the state of Minnesota, namely, Hennepin County and more specifically, Phillips Neighborhood. After extensive research and fervent prayer (and a few closed doors), the Lord provided an opportunity to purchase land just south of Franklin Avenue on Chicago Avenue near Hope Academy in August 2019. The following is an update on the Phillips Neighborhood location from New Life’s Executive Director, Tammy Kocher.
Demolition on the property is now complete; both of the original buildings have been torn down, and the land is being prepared for the construction phase of our new 12,600- square-foot space, our largest First Care Center. We have expanded our original plans for a single-story 10,000-square-foot building to include a partial second story. While this change brings some additional expenses to the project, it will allow us to house a full-service medical clinic (Community Care Clinics of MN), providing family appointments and prenatal care to the community. We will also have additional space available to partner with like-minded ministries, helping ensure better collaboration and continuity for our clients.
In August 2020, we attended a public hearing with the zoning and planning commission, and by the grace of God, we were approved without any resistance. We are currently in the permitting process and will be able to begin construction as soon as specific building permits are approved. We are planning to start construction in March 2021.
The total project costs, including two years of operating expenses, are just over $3M and we are still in need of about $392,000. This final amount does not include the mortgage of the property ($635,000). Ideally, we would like this cost covered as well.
Please continue to pray over this entire project, specifically for God’s favor in timing, financial provision, and community partnerships.
We are praising the Lord with New Life for the $2,600,000+ already raised toward this new facility located so near Bethlehem’s Downtown Campus. If you are interested in helping to reach the final goal to allow the Phillips location to open with virtually no debt, please consider giving toward this need. You can select a “New Phillips Center” ornament option on the virtual New Life Giving Tree (scroll down to select an ornament gift) and also through our Christmas giving trees located in the Commons at both the Downtown and North campuses through December 27, 2020.