For those who weren’t able to make it this morning, here are my brief comments from this morning’s groundbreaking for the Grand Project in Escondido. I’m grateful to Councilwoman Olga Diaz, Councilman Mike Morasco, and Supervisor Kristin Gaspar for their participation this morning. It is so inspiring to see all God is doing in Escondido right now.
GROUNDBREAKING COMMENTS – THE GRAND
March 31, 2019
Thank you, Supervisor Gaspar. What a beautiful day it is to be outside, looking at the corner of Juniper and Grand, anticipating what it will look and sound like less than a year from today.
The vision for the Grand began with a simple quest for the church to locate space to expand. It ended with the opportunity to help revitalize a city. The Grand will be one-of-a-kind facility in the United States, a project that really does pull together the entire community.
That is what makes this project unique. Community partnership. This project has the support of the Planning Department, New Vintage Church, Escondido Chamber of Commerce, Christian and Secular arts communities—numerous arts educators of our city—the vast majority of downtown businesses, and citizens. Perhaps there are many development projects that have that wide of a base of support. I see it as a modern miracle—a beautiful example of what can be done when all people of our city aim at the common good. Good things happen.
We have engaged the community beyond the church from the very beginning of thinking about this project. Members of the arts community helped us conceptualize and design the theater. Coffee providers have helped conceptualize the corner coffee shop. The Grand will be building the community has designed together (with the help of some of the best architects literally in the world).
At the same time, New Vintage Church is unabashedly a Christian Church. We are proud of who we are, and, at the same time, we love the people of this community without condition or pretense, regardless of their faith perspective.
In the seven years of our existence (we turn 8 on Easter of this year and will celebrate at the California Center of Arts), we have cleaned the beds of Escondido Creek, and parts of our surrounding neighborhood that some wouldn’t touch. We provide shoes to children in need at local elementary schools, and Christmas gifts for the elderly. We support children, whether orphans and those in Foster Care in San Diego, or children in the 3rd world. Through our partnership with the San Diego Blood Bank, we have given our blood to this community… literally.
I say this because I want you to know we love this city. We love the people of this city. And, we do these things because we believe in Jesus, who told us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to do good to those around us.
We view the Grand Project, including the Restoration of the Ritz Theater to it’s former glory in both use and design—as a radical act of service to the city. We are willing to take on the sizeable cost of doing so, while upon its finishing playing the role of host and community servant.
Our vision is to produce a project the citizens of this city will look at 5 years from now and think, “That was the best thing that ever happened to Grand Avenue,” and enjoy for years to come, as a transformed and pivotal corner in our city is defibrillated to once again pulsate with life.
In less than a year from now, our hope now becoming reality is they will come to this corner to enjoy art, the activities of their children, a good movie from a bygone era, original music, a great cup of coffee with a friend, or to learn how to play an instrument, and perhaps, encounter the love of their Creator. Any place where someone can do all of that is special. In fact, it’s Grand 🙂
Now, I’d like to thank some people who have brought this vision forward.
- Thank you to the Escondido City Council both past and present, for your support. It’s been unwavering and unanimous.
- Don Romo and the entire team at Erickson Hall Construction, who have embraced the special nature of this project and have been willing to work quickly and honorably to put us on a timeline that made the project doable. They’ve worked tirelessly and have been a reassuring voice throughout the process. May God bless you.
- I’d also like to thank Sabrina Covington, of Covington and Associates. Her tireless work and personal encouragement throughout this project has been invaluable, and has made her far more than just a realtor, but a true friend and partner in this project. I’m so thankful God crossed our paths.
- To the Solomon Foundation (Vice President Dave Hamilton is here today), who is financing this Grand endeavor, thank you for your faith in me, our church, and this community. Your financial and spiritual partnership has catalyzed this vision.
- To the New Vintage Church Board of Directors, without your faith and fearlessness we would never have been allowed to pursue this dream. Thank you for having the courage to say, “yes,” numerous times over the course of the last 18 months or so when fear could have won the day over faith. Your partnership in the Gospel means the world to me and our church.
- Thank you, New Vintage Church, for your willingness to give sacrificially, to consider others better than yourselves, to remain positive and determined when challenges have arisen—and for the willingness to try something that hasn’t been done before…there is no church like you, and I’m honored to be your Pastor. Our best days are headed our way shortly.
- Lastly, to my wife Emily, and my three daughters—Anna, Olivia, and Norah—thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made over the last 18 months or so. Without your constant encouragement and support, frankly, I might have thrown in the towel on this months ago. Being your husband and father is the greatest earthly privilege I have. I love you.
Lastly, I’m proud to announce that as of this morning, we have launched two new websites. The first is freshened newvintagesd.org, and also one dedicated solely to the The Grand Project – thegrandproject.org. There, you can find all of the latest information on developments regarding the Grand. You can also reach out regarding use of the Grand, and see what events are coming to the Grand. So, check it out when we are done here this morning.
Now I’d like to turn things over to Supervisor Gaspar.