Archive for Friday, March 30, 2012

No Easter egg drop this year as church’s focus is closer to ground

Children and their parents rush to pick up eggs Saturday, April 23, during GracePoint Church's second Easter Egg Drop event. The event drew throngs of parents and children to the ball fields next to the church, 5425 Martindale Road.

Children and their parents rush to pick up eggs Saturday, April 23, during GracePoint Church's second Easter Egg Drop event. The event drew throngs of parents and children to the ball fields next to the church, 5425 Martindale Road.

March 30, 2012, 3:24 p.m.

Updated: April 4, 2012, 12:00 a.m.

At this time last year, Shawnee’s Gracepoint Church — along with about 6,000 children and parents — had its eye on the sky.

However, with other efforts drawing its attention closer to the ground, the church is taking a hiatus from the helicopter Easter Egg Drop it offered the public for the past two years.

Gracepoint is trying to sell its building at 5425 Martindale Road and also is remodeling part of it to make way for a renter. Punch Boxing and Fitness is scheduled to move into the building’s lower level in mid-April. At the same time, Gracepoint is moving its Give and Take ministry out of the building to a space in the Shawnee Crossings shopping center.

“It was just manpower to pull off the egg drop,” Gracepoint pastor Dave Thornhill said. “We don’t want to stretch our people too thin.”

The city of Shawnee sponsored its last egg hunt in 2008. Gracepoint introduced its egg drop in 2010, when the Easter Bunny dropped about 14,000 plastic eggs from a helicopter to about 3,000 people waiting in a field next to the church.

Last year, Thornhill said, it took about 80 volunteers — plus months of planning and egg-stuffing — to pull off the egg drop, which grew to include about 50,000 eggs.

Gracepoint began exactly 10 years ago Sunday, Thornhill said, and at that time churchgoers met at Mill Valley High School. The church later started leasing the upper level of the building on Martindale and eventually purchased it.

Thornhill said Gracepoint continues to grow and that about 300 people — including a few attracted by the egg drops — now call it their church home. The church also has allowed some community groups to use its space free of charge.

“We’re trying to get to the point where we can build an actual church building,” Thornhill said.

The pastor said the 20,000-square-foot building has been on the market close to a year but hasn’t gotten any interest from buyers. He said they continue to try but that the prospect of selling seems unlikely at this point.

Either way, Thornhill said, the church is committed to west Shawnee.

“This is our community,” he said. “This is where we’re staying.”

Gracepoint youth director Heidi Lindsay said all churches go through changes and that members, including youth, have shuffled around as needed to accommodate them. She said she’d be happy to stay put or to end up in a new building.

“I am involved because it’s about God, and it’s about the people,” Lindsay said. “And our house doesn’t really matter to me.”

Brad Goetsch, manager of Shawnee Punch Boxing and Fitness, said moving to Gracepoint’s building would give the club 10,000 square feet of space, about a third more than its current space at 5437 Roberts St.

Also, he said, the new Punch will have a dedicated outdoor workout space for exercises, drills and classes.

“We can go outside when the weather’s nice and do that kind of stuff,” Goetsch said.

Gracepoint will have Easter Sunday church services, at 10:30 a.m. April 8, Thornhill said. For more information, visit kcgracepoint.com.

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