A unique three-way conversation has protected a Grace Brethren resource for use by one agency, while en- abling another to move on to expanded ministry.
The Grace Brethren Investment Foundation (GBIF) will purchase the International Missions Center in Winona Lake, Ind., from Encompass World Partners (formerly Grace Brethren International Missions) this summer. In a separate agreement, GBIF will lease the facility to Grace College and Seminary.
“The sale of the International Missions Center forms part of a strategic plan to underwrite the ongoing costs of relocating the mission headquarters to the ethnically diverse region of northeast Atlanta,” officials at Encompass announced earlier this year.
A number of Encompass offices will remain in Winona Lake, Ind., where the organization has been headquartered since the late 1940s. An area in the Missionary Residence will be renovated to accommodate administrative offices.
Administrators at Grace College had eyed the building, which is located strategically close to campus, when it first went on the market.
“Since we were getting ready to break ground on a new dorm, it was not a good time for us to purchase it,” admitted Dr. Bill Katip, provost.
But the staff at the Grace Brethren Investment Foundation felt the 23,000-square foot office building could continue to be used by a Grace Brethren ministry, so offered to buy the building and, in turn, lease it to the college and seminary.
“We wanted it to stay in the Fellowship,” said Ken Seyfert, vice president and executive director of operations at the GBIF. “It was in Grace’s best interest to have this facility,” he added.
The GBIF will purchase the building for an undisclosed price and will lease it to Grace for a five-year period. At that time, if Grace is in a position to purchase the building, the Foundation has agreed to provide financing, according to Seyfert.
The building, located at 999 College Avenue in Winona Lake, was built in 1970 to house the Free Methodist Press. Encompass World Partners purchased the facility in 1997.
Grace Seminary offices, which have long been located in McClain Hall, will be moved to the building, along with the graduate counseling program, according to Katip.