What makes Lookout Mountain home

What's on your summer bucket list? A hike to Glen Falls? A mountain bike ride on the Cloudland Connector Trail? Or maybe a road trip to Nashville to see Alan Shuptrine's new watercolor exhibit?

The season has already kicked off with Community Movie Night. There's another in August and here's 5 reasons you can't miss it. Get ready for the fun, because summers on Lookout are anything but lazy!

New Tennis Courts Dedication this Weekend

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Tennis on Lookout Mountain has a rich and storied past, including local phenom Roscoe Tanner facing Bjorn Borg in the 1979 Wimbledon finals. But things were getting a bit too “historical” with the three tennis courts at the Town Common.

Originally built in the late 1930’s with WPA funds, the crumbling courts hadn’t seen significant repair in at least 50 years. “They’d been patched and had ‘Band-aids’ put on them all these years, but it was time for a complete overhaul,” says Joe Hailey, former Commissioner of Parks and Playgrounds and overseer of the project.

They’d been patched and had ‘Band-aids’ put on them all these years, but it was time for a complete overhaul.

The original plan was to replace the bottom two courts, but an engineering study revealed the top court would continue to impact the lower courts if not completely renovated as well. Poor drainage was putting stress on the retaining walls, causing the courts to migrate slowly down the hill. Construction began in March but weather delays pushed back the projected July completion.

And now, the wait is over. In addition to top-of-the-line lighting on timers, the upper court will serve as a multi-purpose surface with two basketball goals and lines painted for both tennis and four-square. The new courts are built to the exacting standards of the United States Tennis Association, and great pains were taken with engineers to ensure structural integrity.

“Hopefully these courts will last another 50 years,” says Hailey.


On October 18 at 10 a.m., the town of Lookout Mountain, Tenn., will hold a grand opening of the newly renovated courts as well as the dedication of the Marilyn Voges Brown Teaching Court. Brown is a local tennis legend, teaching three generations of players on the Commons lower court.

“I loved the little bitty children,” says Brown, 74. “It was so rewarding seeing them years later. They’d come up and ask me if I still had ‘Charlie Brown.’ That was a target I used to make them hit.”

Several of her students went on to play collegiate tennis, and during her 14 years as GPS’ tennis coach the team rarely saw defeat. Teaching ages 3 through 80, free clinics and private lessons; Brown was on the Commons courts from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. “There were some hot days,” she recalls.

And while she says her greatest pleasure was teaching, she was also an impressive player. Inducted into both the UTC and Lookout Mountain Hall of Fame, Brown was the first woman ever to play on a men’s college team. During her time at the University of Chattanooga, Brown played in tournaments across the country and was even featured in Time Magazine (May 11, 1959).

Of course, none of this would have happened without her older brother, Alan Voges. “He was an excellent tennis player and started teaching me when I was 5 and he was 15,” she recalls. “He worked with me every day and was always so patient.”

Now living in Spanish Fort, Ala., Brown is unable to attend the ceremony due to health issues. Her son, Mitchell and his wife Tina are traveling from Baltimore to accept the honor on her behalf.

The New Fairyland Gateway

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Paris has the Arc de Triomphe. St. Louis has the Arch. It’s time Fairyland got its own grand gateway, but it can’t happen without you.

“This is an incredible opportunity for members of our community to pull together,” says Beautification Commissioner Taylor Watson. “It’s about beautifying our community and encouraging citizens to take pride in what we’re doing. I’m just thrilled about it.”

This is an incredible opportunity for members of our community to pull together. It's about beautifying our community and encouraging citizens to take pride in what we're doing.

The Georgia City Council has commissioned architect Garth Brown to create a master plan for the Fairyland Gateway. His renderings include a beautiful stone pillar entryway at the top of Red Riding Hood Trail and a timber frame outdoor pavilion in the accompanying green space.

The plan must happen in phases. Phase one is purchasing the property on the corner of Lula Lake Road and Red Riding Hood Trail. The Lookout Mountain Methodist Church across the street currently owns the lot; the nondescript brown house used to serve as their parsonage but turned into a rental property years ago. Noticing it was on the market, David Bennett, Vice Mayor and Police and Fire Commissioner, approached the church last spring with this idea.

The city already owns the property on the other side of the street, which features a gazebo and sidewalk winding through daylilies and hydrangeas – all maintained by the Lookout Mountain Beautiful Garden Club. The new stone pillars would stand on either side of Red Riding Hood.

The church has graciously given the town until December 31 to raise the $150,000 it will take to purchase the lot and demo the house. With current budget constraints, 100 percent of the money must come from private donations, says Bennett.

So far $25,000 has been raised, and city council members urge people to dig deep by the end of the year. Once the goal is reached, fundraising for phase two will begin. The city will need an additional $125,000 to complete the Fairyland Gateway as envisioned by Brown.

The City Council has established a special fund through the Chattanooga Community Foundation and donations should be designated to the “Fairyland Beautification Fund”. All contributions will be tax-deductible.

“We hope people will reach down in their pockets to help us get this dream started,” says Watson. “With Christmas around the corner, let your donation be a gift in someone’s honor.”

Please mail contributions to the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, designated as “Fairyland Beautification Fund.” If your donation is in the form of financial securities, please contact Rebecca Underwood at the Community Foundation, 423-265-0586.

Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga
1270 Market Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402

Why I Love Lookout - The Garvichs

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Brady Garvich has always been one to do something different. When he and his wife Whitney were looking for houses they looked on Signal Mountain, where Brady grew up, and in North Chattanooga, which he called home for several years as a bachelor. But having several close friends on Lookout, they decided to give it a try.

“We’ve been blown away by how generous people have been,” says Brady. “The day my dad was helping us move, we were driving down the mountain and he said, “I understand why y’all moved up here; it reminds me of the Signal you guys grew up in.’”

We’ve been blown away by how generous people have been.

Whitney had a similar impression. “Everywhere we went people wanted to know why we moved up here, they were so excited,” she says. “That really was my first impression of the community. That sealed it for me. I thought, ‘I want to be a part of this.’”

Having lived in seven cities since college, Whitney longed for a place like her hometown of Hudson, Ohio – a small town 40 minutes from Cleveland. Growing up, the streets were filled with kids and the community revolved around whatever activities the school held.

“Everybody watched out for everybody else’s kids – that’s how Lookout is,” she says. “Everyone looks out for each other.”

There hasn’t been a day that they’ve second guessed their decision. “From the time we moved up here it’s been really easy,” says Brady. “It bucks the convention that Lookout Mountain is pretentious or closed.”

From the time we moved up here it’s been really easy. It bucks the convention that Lookout Mountain is pretentious or closed.

Their smooth transition says a lot about Lookout. When they moved in 2013, it meant a new school for daughter Kailey, who had just finished first grade at Normal Park. They also had recently welcomed a new addition, Reilly, who now attends Good Shepherd School. This November the couple will add one more to the fold.

“The schools have been one of the best things, just in terms of grounding us in community,” says Whitney. “You really see how the community comes together to support every student and whatever functions they have going on.”

With such a hectic pace, convenience is important to the Garvichs.

All of your needs are met within one mile from home,” says Brady. “There’s great churches, great schools, social life. It’s just really easy to connect with people.

“Now especially that we have such a great group of friends up here, it really feels like we’ve got a second family,” adds Whitney.

While they both find Lookout “surprisingly convenient” to downtown, the Garvichs like the quiet retreat that Lookout offers. “It’s almost like you’re disconnecting up here,” says Brady. “You get up here and can turn everything off because you’re not in the city.”

3 Sisters Festival Returns to Ross' Landing

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They say the best things in life are free. That certainly holds true this weekend when some of the best bluegrass bands in the country convene at Ross’ Landing for the 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival. The completely FREE event is a gift of the Fletcher Bright family.

Bluegrass runs deep for this Lookout Mountain family thanks to patriarch, Fletcher Bright, who’s been playing in the Dismembered Tennesseans for nearly 70 years. The idea for a free concert has always been a dream of his son, George, a talented guitarist. But the name came from the sisters – Lizzer, Ann, Lucy – who admittedly have no musical aptitude.

“The music gene was sexist in our family,” laughs Lizzer Graham. “My youngest brother Frank is a professional pianist. So the name is sort of tongue in cheek."

While she’ll never play more than an elementary song on the piano, Lizzer has a deep appreciation for good music, with memories of her dad playing the fiddle going back to when she could barely walk. This year she’s particularly excited about Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Steel Drivers, The Devil Makes Three and, of course, the Dismembered Tennesseans who will play both nights. But the best part, she says, is the atmosphere.

I love being outside with friends and family and seeing everybody come together to celebrate the music,” she says. “It’s like a big family reunion.

Now in its eighth year, organizers hope they will continue their streak of not having a single rain drop during the festival. In addition to hats and t-shirts, this year they will sell limited edition letterpress posters by local talent Brian Murphy, who hand letters all of 3 Sisters signage.

Beer, wine and delicious food will be served from vendors such as Lupis, Good Dog and The Grilled Cheese Emergency food truck (so coolers are discouraged). But bring your blanket or chair and plan to enjoy some extremely talented musicians.

“The great thing about bluegrass is it isn’t synthesized or digitized like most of today’s music – it takes a lot of talent to play,” says Lizzer. “I think it takes me back to a simpler time.”

I think it takes me back to a simpler time.

Friday, October 3, 6:00 - 11:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 4, noon to 10:00 p.m.
Full Performance Schedule

Fletcher Bright and The Dismembered Tennesseans Release New Gospel Album

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In an unassuming brick house on Lookout Mountain lives one of the finest fiddle players in Tennessee. Fletcher Bright was honored in 2005 with Tennessee’s Folklife Heritage Award, and has taught fiddle workshops across the country and abroad.

For nearly 70 years he’s made bluegrass music with the same band, The Dismembered Tennesseans. The members have changed over the years – banjo player Ed Cullis is the only other original player – but their sound remains true to its Tennessee bluegrass roots. Together they’ve played Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center and have been profiled on national television.

Of course you would never guess any of that when talking to Bright. “We like to say we play bluegrass for people who don’t like bluegrass,” he jokes.

As consummate entertainers, the six-member group could easily be named Chattanooga’s favorite band. They’ve headlined virtually every celebration, fundraiser or festival in town. Playing about 75 gigs a year – many local – they’ve exposed untold numbers of people to bluegrass.

In 1945 when a “rag tag” group of McCallie students started the band, bluegrass wasn’t even a coined term; it was just called hillybilly music. Bright started with the guitar but was captivated with the fiddle after watching a live performance. With no teacher or sheet music, he learned everything by ear.

Fiddle players used to seem jealous – they didn’t want to share much,” he recalls. “I didn’t have a tape recorder at first where I could record it and learn at home. You had to listen very carefully.

Thankfully things are different today. In fact you can easily take their sound home with you as the band has released its first gospel album in 25 years. It’s the band’s 12th album, including one recorded with the Chattanooga Symphony several years ago.

You can also catch them live at the 8th annual 3 Sisters Festival, held October 3 and 4 at Chattanooga’s Ross’ Landing. Regularly attracting national talent, the concert is produced free of charge compliments of Bright’s real estate firm, The Fletcher Bright Company – one of many gifts he’s given to our fine city.

To order your copy of The Dismembered Tennesseans, I’ll Fly Away, visit their website.

To see The Dismembered Tennesseans live, don’t miss the 3 Sisters Festival on October 3 and 4. Performance schedule.

LMS Carnival on Tuesday

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Next week the Town Commons will be transformed. Instead of soccer fields and baseball diamonds, there will be booths and bouncy houses as far as the eye can see. The afternoon air will be filled with the scent of burgers, Bone's BBQ and Mr. T's pizza, and no one will be safe from the silly string or snap n’ pops. And while the Lookout Mountain School Carnival is all about the kids, it’s the parents who make it happen.

“Virtually every family in school contributes in some way, as well as faculty and staff,” says Jenny Stickley, this year’s co-chair along with Karen Leavengood. “The city’s maintenance workers spend the week setting up for Carnival and are ready at 7 taking everything down. Off-duty policemen help with security. It really takes the effort of the whole town to put this thing on.”

It really takes the effort of the whole town to put this thing on.

The LMS Carnival is one of Lookout Mountain’s longest standing traditions. As to be expected, the 67-year-old event has changed quite a bit over the years. “I remember when Krystal hamburgers were a nickel, tickets cost 10 cents and everyone warmed themselves near drums with big fires,” recalls Julie Hailey, who participated as a parent in the early ‘70s.

Once held on Halloween as an alternative to trick or treating, the Carnival was a lot chillier than today. For the inaugural event, Lake Winnepesaukah lent their train and airplane rides. As the event has evolved, the level of community involvement has remained the same.

One of the longest running booths (besides the Carnival Kitchen) is manned by Gwin Tugman. She started in 1988, the same year she co-chaired the event. “The people for the Children’s Corner fell through so we had to run it that year,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘Hey, this is fun,’ so I just kept doing it.”

Children’s Corner remains a top money maker for the Carnival (selling the aforementioned silly string and snap n’ pops) as well as the Carnival Kitchen, which stocks homemade cakes and other goodies. A recent addition is the parade of LMS students from the school to the Commons, all dressed in their Carnival t-shirts. And the warmer weather allows for one of the most popular booths – the Dunk Tank.

There’s also a King and Queen of Carnival, earning the title by selling the most coupon books. Last year’s Queen, Charlotte McGinness, best sums up why Carnival remains a huge success.

“I like hanging out with all my friends. There’s room to run around; we can all eat dinner together. And if you go to LMS there’s no homework that night. You can just be free.”

Lookout Mountain School Carnival
Tuesday, September 23
3:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Rain date, Thursday, September 25

Own a Little Piece of Lookout

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Community. It’s the word people use most when asked why they love living on Lookout. But a picture’s worth a thousand words.

That’s why LMS students have dedicated almost six weeks’ worth of art classes creating community-themed murals on canvas, to be auctioned off during the LMS Carnival on September 23.

Each class has painted their own collaborative masterpiece, representing things like Point Park, Sunset Rock, a Lookout neighborhood, even the Carnival itself. Kindergarteners personalized their painting with fingerprint flowers, while third graders are learning complex concepts like figure drawing and proportion to capture the action of a Commons baseball game.

“We’ve had to combine about three lessons into one each week,” says LMS art teacher Toni Gwaltney. “These kids didn’t even know how to use acrylic paint. We’ve really had to stretch ourselves.”

Of course, stretching is nothing new for Gwaltney, who has expanded the artistic vocabulary of LMS students for more than two decades. Utilizing watercolor, clay, tempera, tissue paper and even “kitchen drawer junk” she has linked Picasso to math, Impressionism to science. She’s even integrated fractions into her lesson plans.

“I regularly ask the other teachers what they’re covering so we can integrate it into art class,” she explains. “Art inspires passion and get kids interested in other subjects – it can help make connections to the real world. I think you have to get emotionally involved in what you’re learning. Otherwise, who cares?”

Art inspires passion and get kids interested in other subjects – it can help make connections to the real world. I think you have to get emotionally involved in what you’re learning. Otherwise, who cares?

The idea for the banners came from Boosterthon Chairman Heather Biebel, who approached Gwaltney last year. The main tag line for Boosterthon this year is “community,” and all teachers try to incorporate it into their lesson plans throughout the year.

The four-foot wide works of art will be displayed at Carnival next week, but you can submit an early bid by emailing lookoutmountainschoolpta@gmail.com (include the amount and name of mural). Early bids will be accepted via email until Monday, September 22 at 9 p.m., or you can bid the day of Carnival. The auction will close at 7:00 p.m. on September 23.

If you can’t manage to get your hands on the real thing, be sure to order commemorative note cards, mugs and magnets featuring images from the different murals. LMS parent Kristi Murray will be taking orders at the Marketplace booth during Carnival, or you can pre-order (click here for an order form).

The money raised from the community banners will directly benefit each LMS student, going toward programs not funded by the state such as science lab, daily PE classes, the Writing to Read program, and of course – art classes.

If that’s not a real-world integration of “community,” I don’t know what is.

To preview the murals or access the order form for note cards, mugs and magnets click here.

Lookout Mountain Mother Shatters the Silence

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It's a disease very few want to talk about. So treatment, let alone prevention, can be tricky. That’s why for the past nine years the MCR Foundation has been working to break the silence of Eating Disorders, or ED. This weekend, you can do your part by participating in their annual event, A Walk for Cammy’s Cause.

“There’s a stigma to eating disorders,” says Jan Robinson, chairman of MCR Foundation. “It’s still not talked about; people view it as shameful. I feel like the average Joe doesn’t say ‘I’ll walk for eating disorders.’ But supporting it doesn’t mean you have it, and there’s nothing wrong if you do.”

Instead, walking for MCR supports the promotion of positive body image and shoring up self-esteem in a world bent on breaking it down. MCR provides hope in seemingly hopeless situations, meaning women (and men) don’t struggle in silence.

The longer it goes on the harder it is to treat,” says Robinson. “Getting help as quickly as you can is paramount, and preventing it is even better.

MCR began in 2006, shortly after Jan and her husband, Wejun lost their daughter, Mary Cameron Robinson (Cammy) to complications stemming from a 14 year battle with all three disorders. After many years of therapy and time spent in a treatment center in Arizona, the vibrant 26-year-old seemed to be on the road to recovery. She had met the love of her life and they were planning to marry. Then one morning, Jan and Wejun got the phone call that Cammy’s heart had stopped and she was on her way to Erlanger.

The idea for a foundation came from Cammy’s best friend, Ashley Yates. She approached Jan about six months after Cammy’s passing and the two women dove right in, coordinating the first walk in September of that year.

Today the Foundation has become the foremost authority in the tri-state area for E.D. In addition to teaching positive body image curriculum in middle and high schools, Jan works one-on-one with anyone who calls.

“I’m leaving here to meet with a woman who contacted us after seeing an interview I did on TV,” she says. “One of the most rewarding things is when I can tell someone there’s hope for their child or their wife. It’s not necessarily going to be easy, but people do get through this.”

MCR also hosts “Talk Abouts,” small group gatherings aimed at educating parents, grandparents, counselors and even doctors and dentists about the warning signs of E.D. Usually held in someone’s home, the sessions encourage questions and educate in a non-threatening setting. “We’ve had doctors say, ‘I didn’t know that,’” says Robinson.

This November, Jan and her family will also be the subject of an international book by Spanish photographer, Laia Abril. The photobook, titled The Epilogue, is a somber look at the collateral victims of eating disorders. Her statement in the book perfectly sums up her passion for the work she does through MCR.

“I finally allowed myself to understand that everything I did, I did it with love, and I would never have hurt her in any way, knowingly. People said: ‘You would not have done any different.’ But yes, I would have.”

A Walk for Cammy's Cause. Saturday, September 6 at Coolidge Park. 9:30 a.m. registration; 10:00 a.m. walk.To register visit MCR's website

Brow Wood Redefines Living in the Later Years

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You can call Brow Wood many things; just don’t call it a retirement community.

The word ‘retirement’ kind of bothered us,” says founder Frank Brock. “It seems to say that you’re giving up. We use the term ‘active adult living community.’ The big difference is people get to make all their own choices.

In a retirement community, people don’t own their homes and it’s the operator’s call of when they move up to the next level of care. At Brow Wood, residents make their own living choices – and they have plenty to choose from including architecturally designed homes with stunning brow views, open concept one-story townhomes, and monthly rentals for those who don’t want the burden of home ownership. Home health is available to anyone on the property, and the HOA fees include lawn service.

But the most exciting aspect of Brow Wood will begin this month, when its state-of-the-art assisted living facility is slated to break ground. With 49 rooms, including 15 dedicated to memory loss/mental impairment, the $10 million complex represents one of the largest investments on Lookout Mountain in 30 years outside of Covenant College, says Brock, who served as college president for 15 years.

The Village at Brow Wood is one of the largest investments on Lookout Mountain in 30 years, outside of Covenant College.

Dubbed The Village at Brow Wood, the facility will be a resort-style luxury community providing daily care for residents including nutrition, safety, and health monitoring. Every aspect is thoughtfully designed with unequaled attention to detail. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the Village’s commitment to cutting-edge technologies.

“The technology used will allow doctors to ‘see’ inside the daily lives of their patients,” says Kevin Kuykendall of Thrive Senior Living, an Atlanta firm hired to operate The Village. “With the data and information we will provide, they will be empowered to better manage their patients’ lives, having a direct impact on the resident’s quality of life.”

State-of-the-art personal call systems allow residents in distress to simply press their personal alert pendant for rapid assistance. Those with memory impairment will benefit from discreet 24/7 monitoring systems, which feature advanced motion sensor technology that is capable of “learning” the daily activity patterns of residents, sending an alert to caregivers in potentially urgent situations.

The Villages is also on the cutting edge of non-pharmacological intervention, such as a specialized computer program that presents new ways of helping residents sustain treatment from third party healthcare providers for longer periods of time. Senior friendly exercise equipment will help foster purposeful living, with machines designed to enhance strength, range of motion and cardiovascular conditioning. Finally, every resident will undergo a comprehensive assessment at the time of move in, after the first month and every quarter following that.

“What attracted us to them is they specialize in smaller, boutique facilities,” explains Brock. “We share the same vision. They create home-like environments in their facilities and believe in the importance of hiring people who view taking care of older people as a calling. When you walk in, you just feel it’s different.”

When you walk in, you just feel it's different.

Everything within the Brow Wood property is geared toward community and convenience. Separated by Scenic Highway, the woodland side will house The Village at Brow Wood, up to 40 townhomes and a commercial area that might someday feature a doctor’s office, sundry shop, beauty parlor and eatery. On the brow side, up to 50 homeowners have access to a bocce ball court, outdoor pavilion with fireplace, fishing pond and impressive community garden.

“I learned from Covenant that outdoor spaces foster community,” explains Brock. He moved into his three-bedroom home last July, one of three homes already built. So far 21 lots are sold or under contract, with several planning to start building this fall. With all the types of housing available, Brock hopes to attract people from all walks of life.

“We want to cover everyone from pastors and professors to doctors and lawyers,” he says. “We feel that diversity represents how the Lookout Mountain community already is, and we want to stay true to that.”

For more information, visit www.browwood.com

Good Shepherd's Mass in the Grass

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This Sunday, The Church of the Good Shepherd will knock down the walls of their typical worship service…and blow off the roof. That’s because they’re moving the liturgy onto their front lawn with Mass in the Grass, an open-air service featuring the music of the Dismembered Tennesseans. Everyone is invited.

“Often there’s a real barrier for people approaching a new worship community because they don’t know what’s inside the walls,” says Rector Robert Childers. “When you do something without walls it says ‘come on.’ I think it’s important to open the year with this type of celebration. It sets the tone.”

Often there’s a real barrier for people approaching a new worship community because they don’t know what’s inside the walls. When you do something without walls it says ‘come on.’

The service is BYOB (bring your own blanket…or chair), but kids often scale the trees for a better view. In the sloping green amphitheater in front of the church, people will recite the Nicene Creed in shorts, sunglasses and flip flops.

“There’s a wonderful feeling of openness and community that sometimes you can’t get within church walls,” says Childers. “It’s inspirational on my end to look out and see that happening, and then try to hold onto that and bring it inside.”

The idea for Mass in the Grass came three years ago, when Director of Music and Organist John Wigal suggested utilizing the talents of choir member Fletcher Bright and his bluegrass band. This year, another parishioner will offer his gift of the grill. Ryan Coulter, chief smoker for Rolling Smoke Food Truck, will prepare a barbecue lunch after the service. (No reservations required.)

While relatively new, it’s quickly become one of the favorite services of the year – an informal celebration of the end of summer and the start of a new church and school year. In addition to welcoming new worshippers, Childers hopes it will also spark something new among lifelong church members.

I’ve realized that even a physical move of a few yards allows you to see the worship service, yourself and each other in a different light,” he says. “It pushes you in a different direction and offers a new perspective. I can’t predict where it will go, but I know it will open up new and holy possibilities of how we live together, and how we live our life in Christ.

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