The Gathering Space Groundbreaking: Where Learning and Fellowship coincide

May 2, 2024 / Christine Coddington

Eastern Mennonite School embarks on a new chapter as the ground is officially broken for The Gathering Space, a cornerstone project where learning and fellowship converge. With a deep sense of gratitude for the past and boundless hope for the future, we gather together.

“We break ground today for a space where learning and fellowship coincide. With gratitude for the past, and hope for the future, we honor the legacy of those who came before us, and commit to stewarding this new venture with care.”

These words were spoken during The Gathering Space groundbreaking ceremony that took place Wednesday, May 1, marking a pivotal milestone within our EMS community. 

The Gathering Space represents more than just bricks and mortar; the act of gathering nurtures cross-grade relationships builds trust, creates leadership opportunities, and enables us to care for one another. It is the “heart” of EMES — it is our “living room!” As EMES prepares to celebrate 20 years in 2025, the EMS community has indeed “Let the children come”, with celebration as we begin construction of The Gathering Space. 

Envisioning The Gathering Space

With the creative talents of Gaines Group Architects, The Gathering Space will epitomize EMS’s essence of embracing the natural environment. Picture yourself gathering in this versatile indoor-outdoor space, surrounded by flexible seating options. This space will serve as a hub for countless events and activities within our K-12 community, offering endless possibilities for engagement and connection.

During the groundbreaking ceremony attended by the K-12 community, one could envision students and families coming together in this new indoor-outdoor setting, immersed in the tranquil sounds of nature. As children laugh and adults engage in conversation, the room will be illuminated by the vibrant hues of stained glass, crafted by Zac Nafziger in honor of one of our early visionaries, Chris Mast. These colorful rays of sunlight streaming from above will serve as a reminder of the blessings that this space will bring to our community.

Furnishing the space

Ashley Basmajian, EMS parent and PTF member (Parent Teacher Fellowship) shared the collective excitement among families to have a new space for gathering across grades and divisions. Currently, there is a furnishing campaign to help make the space ready with tables, chairs, and audiovisual equipment. The goal is to raise $100,000. Thanks to grants, contributions, and PTF fundraisers in the past, over $72,000 has already been raised. 


Upcoming event: May 18th, EMS is hosting a Fun color run for all ages. For more information please click here.


Litany of Blessing –


In the spirit of growth and community,

We gather today with hearts full of anticipation.

With shovels in hand and vision in our minds,

We embark on this groundbreaking journey.


With faith as our foundation,

And God as our guide,

We break ground today,

For a space where learning and fellowship coincide.


With gratitude for the past,

And hope for the future,

We honor the legacy of those who came before us,

And commit to stewarding this new venture with care.


May this gathering space be a sanctuary of peace,

Where minds are nurtured,

And friendships are forged,

In the spirit of love and understanding.


As we turn the soil,

Let us also turn our hearts towards each other,

Building not just structures, but bonds,

That withstands the test of time.


With every scoop of earth,

We symbolize our dedication,

To the growth of knowledge,

And the cultivation of compassion.


So let this ground be hallowed,

With the dreams of generations yet to come.

As we break ground today,

We pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. 


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