Creating Community Space in Edgewater, MD

Mark Paepcke and Chuck Shellem took the bold step to join the Advanced Financial Academy as our only lay students.  They both attend St Andrews UMC in Edgewater, MD and they have a vision for how their church can expand the ways in which they serve the community.  Below are some details of the project they are spearheading.

Our team is me, Mark Paepcke, finance chair of St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Edgewater, Maryland and Chuck Shellem, former Council Chair. We are excited to share our vision in establishing a 501(c)3 for our thrift store mission that has been critical in helping families find clothing, housewares, furniture, and toys for the kids over the last 25 years.           

This mission has touched many lives and helps us fund our food pantry as well through providing cash for grocery gift cards on top of the food donations.

We will use an Advisory Group made up of students, regular customers, local businesses, and of course our church members. They will brainstorm and build on the idea and be charged, with and accountable for, engaging others in forming sub-groups for fundraising, structure and permits, inventory management, space planning, and volunteer management.

Ultimately, our vision is to create a community space that shares in St. Andrews Mission to be a welcoming space and resource for all people. There is a definite need in our community for this important mission and we want to expand to meet it. 

For this project, we have already started the following activities:
1. Market Research on the different way thrift stores, consignment shops, and antique stores run and market their business so we can learn best practices.
2. Drawings and research on supplies and construction costs have begun…envisioning a storage, sort and drop off area as the first step, and then the main store to allow for enough space to move around and rotate inventory. Also, a work space to engage the high school kids looking for volunteer hours to assist in the ecommerce aspect of this as
3. Business Plan outline developed.
4. Establishing the first meeting of the Advisory Group made up of Students, teachers, local business, and our church members
5. Reviewed the 501(c)3 paperwork and checklist

As mentioned above, the Advisory Group will be provided with some of the ground work elements, and then be asked to brainstorm on the different areas around fundraising, space planning, volunteer management, construction and structures, but most importantly, activities and engagement ideas that ultimately makes the church and the thrift store the hub for creating a community space that is welcoming and available to all, thus making disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world, or at least our part of it.

We believe that the church will benefit financially, but more importantly be the mustard seed from that parable that even though it is the smallest of all seeds on earth, “when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

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