Josh joyful'

When I imagine how Josh, our son who passed away in January of this year, would greet the notion of Orlando Grace Church constructing a playground in his memory, I think this image, one of my favorite ways of remembering him, best captures the essence of things. At least I hope it does. Or maybe this one:

Josh Happy in hole

Either way, “The Joshua Place Playground,” a happy place for children for generations to come, Lord willing, gets assembled and constructed the weekend of Friday, November 14, and Saturday, November 15, of this year. So far we have seen over $21K come in towards this $25K project. We learned this past week that the playground company plans to donate the sign for the area! It will read:

The Joshua Place
“Be strong and courageous!”
Joshua 1:9

I don’t even want to tell you how much that little detail normally costs. Many thanks for the sister who went to bat for us on that one!

Have to admit, I swallowed hard last Monday in our initial planning meeting. The city has approved our site plan. The equipment gets ordered this week. BUT WE WILL NEED AN ARMY OF VOLUNTEERS COME NOVEMBER. I’m calling on the terrific people of OGC, Josh’s beloved coworkers from the restaurant service community, and anyone else, family and friends alike, who want to help The Joshua Placeon either or both for all or a portion of those two days, to let your intentions be known. All you have to do to sign up is respond to this post. Or, if you prefer, you can email me at I really, really, really need you to let me know if you are coming. We can’t afford to have too few volunteers (a minimum of thirty per day are required). But we can’t really afford to have too many as we don’t want folks just standing around with nothing to do. So please, take just a moment before leaving this page to respond. If you can’t come, but would like to donate some food and refreshments or to help out in any other way, that would be great to know too.

We will need your energy, your back, your tools, and your heart to get the job done. We will feed every stomach that reports for duty. If you have any questions about the project, one of our deacons is on point, but for those of you outside the OGC community, feel free to contact me and I will be happy to try and answer them. By the way, a proper dedication of the playground will be scheduled once the project is completed and the fence around it erected. More on that in the future.

May I say this to close? As Nancy and I continue to walk through the grieving process this challenging year, we are so grateful to the masses of folks who have added to our comfort in so many ways. Our huge thanks in advance for everyone who will help make the playground a reality. We anticipate this aspect of our journey to contribute to our ongoing healing in the most significant of ways. SDG!

The Joshua Place Playground Update

The Joshua Place

Good Friday. A day of remembrance. The day death died because of the death of the Son of God. I look forward with anticipation to worship this Sunday and remembering the hope of the resurrection from the dead.

Ironic to me that this Good Friday marked the three-month anniversary of a death we continue to mourn – our beloved Joshua. It seems fitting that I would mark that occasion with an encouraging update about our progress on a playground in his memory. Thank you for your patience, family, friends and fans of Josh alike, as wheels in churches tend to turn slowly and we at OGC can be no exception.

I am so very thrilled to report that to date we have received into the fund a whopping $18,192 dollars! God is so good. The budget for the project, even with us doing the “sweat equity,” is $25,000. Yes, safe, durable playgrounds are that pricey!

Last Monday night, our elders agreed on the following in terms of how to proceed from here:

  1. Opportunity for anyone to contribute to the fund will remain open until June 1.
  2. Our deacons will continue to do the prep work involved in getting our ducks in a row for building the playground.
  3. Construction of the project will likely occur in November of this year, after the hot weather breaks. Adequate notice will be given as to the times and dates so anyone who would like to help with the construction will be able to do so.
  4. Construction will be followed by a dedication service as the playground opens for use.

Would you pray with me for the remaining funds to come in? If you have yet to make a gift, you can do so by writing your check to OGC and indicating on the memo line your designation for the playground. My thanks to you in advance.

One reason for the delay in building the playground, other than the funds, is that starting April 20, after the Easter service, Nancy and I will be on sabbatical for two months. There simply wasn’t enough time to try and pull this thing off in the cool of the Spring. So we pushed things back. Again, I thank you for your patience.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me when I return in June or check in with the church office.