The Building Next Door
1710 Spruce Street is a double-wide row house with four floors and a basement. It sits directly west of the main church property, even sharing a wall with one of our buildings, and has been beautifully maintained with historic architectural elements since it was built in the 1850’s.
A Dream for Generations
The story of Tenth Presbyterian’s acquisition of 1710 Spruce Street spans generations. It is one of prayer and God’s faithfulness when we least expected the building to become available.
For decades, members of Tenth Presbyterian have prayed for the means and the opportunity to purchase the building next door. Dr. Liam Goligher, Tenth’s current senior minister, remembers meeting a member of Tenth’s staff in the 1970’s who spoke of the need for the additional, adjacent space. Prayer, petition, and preparation for the space continued.
“When I was 26 or 27, invited to preach at my church in Canada was a man who had preached at Tenth. He had worked with Dr. Barnhouse and Dr. Boice. He spoke then about the building next door, and felt that the church’s ministry downtown would be somewhat limited. Dr. Boice also had a sense that the building should belong to Tenth.”
Preparation in Faith
Fast-forward to 2008—with the “This People, This Place, This Time” campaign—when Tenth established a fund to provide for preliminary costs of appraisals and structural analysis, should a nearby building become available. Concurrently the church maintained a “watch list” of properties in the neighborhood with 1710 Spruce as a top choice. 1716 Spruce Street was also on this watch list. That property became available in in 2013, and the church purchased it with the intent to begin renovations the next year.
The Opportunity to Buy
Then, in February 2014, just as the church was poised to begin planning how best to use the 1716 building, Tenth unexpectedly received word that the owners of 1710 Spruce were ready to sell. In some ways, the timing seemed impeccable. We had not yet invested in renovating 1716. Building Committee Chairman Frank Harder suggested the committee pause discussions of renovation and begin to prayerfully consider the opportunity to purchase 1710 Spruce.
Commitment to Prayer
Committee members joined Liam Goligher at the spring 2014 parish meetings to talk about the prospect of acquiring 1710 Spruce, and especially, to invite prayer. Over 100 people committed themselves to pray regularly that if God wanted Tenth to have the building, he would make it plain and make the property affordable. This “band of Gideon” began receiving monthly email updates and praying regularly about this effort (as they continue to do today). The proposal to purchase 1710 Spruce was approved by the Session in November 2014 and by the congregation in January 2015.
Our Dream Becomes Reality
We officially “moved in” to the building in the fall of 2015, and have made great use of the space ready for activity. The building offers an array of beautiful offices and conference rooms to match the needs of our congregation. The large conference room has proved uniquely valuable as a medium-sized space for classes and meetings. It has also been invaluable as a second space in which a Sunday fellowship meal can be served—relieving serious scheduling pressure on Fellowship Hall. In addition, the church has made 1710 our home base for outreach activity. The metro outreach staff moved their offices to the second floor in the fall of 2016 and our resident interns moved from their apartments in 1716 Spruce to the top floors of 1710 in January 2017. It is our hope that increased collaboration and synergy gained will bring increased effectiveness to our outreach work.