Irons Church Opens New Community Center

The value of the services provided exceeds $450,000

After nearly a decade of stepping out in faith and experiencing several miracles along the way, Irons Church in Irons, Michigan held the dedication and open house of its new community center on July 10.

The brand new 3,000 square foot building will provide a new home for the church’s Community Services ministry, as well as a center of influence for the region.

At the open house, several community partners pledged their continued support for the much-needed center that will serve one of the poorest counties in the state.

A legacy of continued support

Since the 1960s, the Irons Community Center has served those in need.

The community center was established in a former Barn Hall built in the 1890s. However, as the building aged, it became apparent to church leaders that the once-adapted building no longer met their needs. needs. Coming out in faith, Irons Church has decided to close its old center. Swearing never to go into debt and with a nest egg of $11,000 in hand, the church set out to build a new home for its community center.

A series of miracles since that decision has propelled the church’s vision forward. “Money kept popping up!” said Nancy Przedwojewski, one of the leaders of the community center. A real estate agent has donated prime real estate. Professor Martin Smith and the School of Architecture at Andrews University chose to design the building at a fraction of the standard rate. The contractors worked as the money for the projects came in, and later the contractors even donated their labor and paid for the materials. In 2021, a generous donor provided nearly $16,000 worth of merchandise for a gigantic community garage sale. Donations, grants and other in-kind donations were also an important part of the project. Combined, Przedwojewski estimates the value of all donations to exceed $450,000.

Photo credit: Samuel Girven

The community gathers for the center

The rural community rallied around the community center in various ways.

Several Northern Michigan businesses and individuals donated their time and services during the construction of the center. These businesses include electricians, concrete finishers, heating/cooling companies, plumbers, panel makers, carpet companies, septic plumbing contractors, landscapers, roofers, and siding companies.

Lake County Sheriff Richard L. Martin says his department plans to get involved with the center by mentoring youth and providing safety training. “Being the sheriff isn’t just about law enforcement,” he says. “There are always things we can do as a law enforcement agency that can build a better relationship with the community. We all live in this community and we have to make this community better.

Rachel Gillespie, community nutrition instructor at Lake County Michigan State University (MSU) extension, says she plans to offer lifestyle, nutrition, and other food-related courses. for people of all ages at the community center. “We plan to offer nutrition programs at the community center,” she said.

Przedwojewski says Spectrum Health and the Michigan Department of Health (District 10) also plan to offer programs at the community center.

Chelli Ringstaff, Michigan Adventist Community Services director, says she looks forward to working with the new center. “I am so grateful for all the love, care and hard work Irons has put into starting their new community service center,” she said. “I look forward to seeing the new relationships this ACS center will forge within the community – the Lord will work alongside Irons during their ministry.”

To advance

The leaders of the community centers have developed several plans to reach the surrounding areas.

The center will support the community with a food pantry and lifestyle classes. They also plan to focus heavily on youth ministry in partnership with other community organizations.

As for future ideas, Przedwojewski says leaders are considering offering more programs, including day programs for seniors, bereavement recovery assistance, parenting classes, and more. “In the work of God, there is no place to sit on the sidelines.” she says.

All things considered, Przedwojewski hopes they can lead their community to something deeper. “They all know that we are doing good in the community. But I want them to know something deeper. I don’t care if they come to church – what I want is for them to meet the Lord. I want them to find some peace in life through a relationship with God. That’s my ultimate goal.”

Samuel Girven, 15, is a student at Northview Adventist School and ASPIRE Academy.

Jill E. Washington