NEWS FROM THE BARN – WINTER 2021

Dear Friends,

A LITTLE INTRODUCTION
We moved here to New Jersey, from Switzerland, in August of 2014 with vision for ministry, lots of faith, some savings and a blessing from the ministry and family we left behind.  Very shortly after arrival, the Lord spoke to us and said to “close the doors of the Barn, because the land needed to rest”.  Ha!  Not how you expect to start a ministry.  We went along with it out of “dumb obedience” but found out five months later, over dinner with friends, that this was actually a thing called Shmita and it had begun in September!  Well, you can imagine how cool and wild that was!  We knew that this directive was about the land, but on a spiritual plane, so we got even busier inquiring of the Lord.  The Lord did give us lots of download about how to minister to the land over the course of a few years, but the very next, simple directive He gave us, other than “close the doors,” is that we should simply pursue relationship with Him, and with whomever he would send to our living room.  Well, that tiny core of people consisted mostly of young leaders who were beautiful people, and also at various levels of burn out and woundedness, but still determined to go deeper with God.  We had some beautiful and wild times with each other, following Jesus and they have become Oaks.  Not because of us, but because of the power of the love of Jesus and because they all said “yes” to going deeper and trusting His love.

Now, this Christmas time, we want to thank you for your support over our first season here in New Jersey.  This time last year our family entered a very, very hard season.  We had to make tough decisions for us as a family and a ministry.  Tom took time away for three months to rest and deep dive into a healing journey.  Cori was home with the kids and family and friends sailed in with practical help and encouragement.  At the beginning, a friend came to help while Cori had knee surgery.  Then family came from Switzerland to help during the worst winter months, and there was a lot of shoveling to do last year!  Longtime friends took time for us and true to form, our board was right there with us through thick and thin and we are so very grateful for their wisdom and kindness.  Cori’s family here in Plainsboro were right there with support in so many ways!  Not everyone is gracious when a leader goes through hard times.  We have been blessed to have steadfast family and friends around us for whom we are so grateful.

While our board supported the decisions made in the last year, there were significant changes to the landscape of the ministry as a result.  Most visibly was that our regular home group closed as well as the Feasts and Gent Events… then two members of our core team and board moved to another state!  Not because of the changes, but because God was opening amazing doors for them in so many areas of life.  We sent our friends off with tons of blessing and tears and we see that God has brought a season to a close.  These gatherings, and this couple had been staples of the BYRON landscape for some time, but we had to respect the boundaries that God was allowing us to run up against.  Change.

As Spring came about, we saw that we were approaching another Shmita year and this time, we were wiser about it.  The simple question was “God, what does this Shmita look like for us?”  The answer was pretty simple and came in the form of a question: “What are the components of the Sabbath?”

Peter Scazzero wrote a good article about Sabbath a while back  and the components he highlighted were actually what I had been mulling over with the Lord.  1. Stop. 2. Rest. 3. Delight. 4. Contemplate!

So, this is what we are doing right now.  It’s hard not to plan things in and program this season – even making a program for stopping is easier than no program at all.  Can you relate?

We know a minister who takes time every January to re-evaluate what he’s doing and make sure he’s still supposed to be doing it.  For the years we were at the Stiftung Schleife, it was common knowledge that you didn’t just keep doing something because it was good, but only if God said, “keep doing it.”  And sometimes something really good came to a close.  Sometimes something really good had to wait to be born.  At any rate, I know that these aspects of the Sabbath are healthy and produce long term fruit.  The question is always, how will we walk it out?

True to a Shmita year, we are in a position of relying solely on God for provision and wisdom in how to move forward with what He has entrusted to us.  Our regular donations through tithes came to a halt, but the business is helping to fund the maintenance of the Barn and we believe that we are supposed to invest in the business this season, as well as in our family.  And in truth, hosting these various gatherings through Legacy is fulfilling what God put in our hearts to do, just in a different way.  Hospitality, creativity, community, renewal.  Cori has such beautiful stories of behind-the-scenes things that happen at these events.

LEGACY
What is Legacy?  Just before the first lockdown, Cori started the business, Legacy.  Legacy is the event host vehicle at the BYRON Barn that has brought in weddings, reunions, workshops, etc.  For workshops, Cori pairs up with creative friends who make wreathes, paint, arrange flowers, and other sorts of hands-on creative outlets. She hopes to increase workshop offerings beginning in February.  For larger gatherings, people book the Barn through Legacy, for their parties.

This December was the very first BYRON Barn Christmas Market!  With 40 hand crafting vendors, an amazing food truck, live music, Santa and Mrs. Claus, the fire pit ablaze, and the Barn decorated beautifully, it turned out to be a wonderful weekend!  Foot traffic was good on all three days and both vendors and the public want to come again in the Spring for another market.  Wow!  So, SO thankful!   You can see bits and pieces on the FB event page for the BYRON Barn Christmas Market.

In January, Legacy will host the first “Open Barn” for prospective wedding couples.  Some of the preferred vendors will be there to show what they do best and give couples an idea of what is possible at the Barn.  While Cori has had lots of ideas, there’s only so much she can do on her own. This next phase of Legacy, that started with the Christmas Market, is happening because… (drum roll) the Legacy team is growing!  Darilynn Shaw will be officially joining the team in January and it’s so exciting! She has great experience organizing events and she is a real pleasure to work with.  Darilynn got married at the Barn in May, became a friend, and now is part of the Legacy team.  She and her husband are both creative people but what we treasure most is their hearts.  At the beginning of the Legacy journey, Cori did a weekend long workshop up in Canada with Danielle French.  There was so much wonderful information, but one day Cori asked “when did you know it was time to make your first hire?  Is it when the money is there, or…?”  Danielle’s response was simple.  “Honestly, no.  It was when I was losing my mind because I could no longer keep up on my own.”  And there we are.  Thank you, Darilynn, for your heart and your abilities!  

COMING SOON TO A BARN NEAR YOU 
In January 2022 we are teaming up with Circuit Riders from YWAM for a worship night in the Barn.  We have been hosting the Circuit Riders for the last few years, in various forms.  The first time it was 25 young people as they toured the universities of New Jersey.  After that, we hosted just team leaders while the rest of their group were elsewhere.  We have so enjoyed being a resting place and open arms to land in for them.  We love what they are doing and their wild hearts!  The talks, laughs, and prayer times that happen randomly when they come in do laundry or for a tea are always so special.  What an honor it is to encourage the next generation!  We are also honored that Stephen Nagy, from Eastern Gate House of Prayer, will be joining in on that night!  We met Stephen and his fiancé, Briana, when they were wedding guests at the Barn, and we know that God is orchestrating things!

While some things are slowing down, other things are ramping up.  Starting now, we are beginning a season of fund raising and building!  When we took over the Barn and house 7 years ago, there were already structural issues that needed addressing. We are honored to steward this house and Barn into another 100 years!  Here’s the low down…

PROJECTS AND PARTNERSHIP

  • BARN Roof – In the Barn, there were some minor leaks in the roof in different areas.  However, in the last year, we have had crazy weather!  5 tornados have gone overhead, landing within 3-15 miles from the Barn.  This sped up the roof project!  We are looking at a tin roof that will last longer than shingles.
  • BARN Shower/Washer/Dryer: We also need to install a shower and washer/dryer in the Barn.  This will be useful for the business as well as for guests who come to stay, like YWAM teams or others.
  • BARN HVAC: Our Heating and Air-conditioning is giving up the ghost!  It’s worked well for 30 years and now, it is time.
  • BARN Sheds:  We need a new equipment shed!  The equipment shed is being held up by angels and ground hogs who don’t want to loose their covering.  We need a second shed to store larger items used for our gatherings that are just too big to store inside the Barn.  We’re talking about extra chairs, stage elements, sometimes sofas, garden decoration, etc.  These things need to be moved around and adjusted depending on the needs of each gathering at the Barn.
  • HOUSE Kitchen: The house is old and beautiful, and also needs work.   In general, the whole kitchen needs to be ripped out and re-done.  The electric and walls are criminal, and the layout of the kitchen is miserable.  When we moved in, one of the burners on the stove was already broken and the range was cracked.  Soon another stopped working.  It Is amazing how much we cook and have gotten by with only two burners, but, again, it’s time.
  • HOUSE Entry/Mud Room: Attached to the kitchen is our entry.  It is a 3-season room that’s freezing in the winter, overbearingly hot in the summer and the roof leaks when it rains.  It is time.  The plan is to knock down the entry room, and re-make it from scratch, opening it up more to the kitchen and adding on a larger mud room to house our washer/dryer, coats, shoes, sports equipment.
  • HOUSE Porch: The porch on the house is rotting out between the ceiling and roof due to the particular style of drains that were put in in the 1960’s.  The flooring of the porch is sagging.  It is time.
  • HOUSE Windows:  We seriously need to replace windows that are both drafty and dangerous because they are very difficult to open and then properly close again.

From estimates that builders have given, we are looking at $300,000.00 for the entire project.  

Oddly, this does not look impossible.  Gospel Fellowship Church was able to buy this wonderful property in the 1980’s.  There was so much provision and creativity that went into paying off the mortgage!  And now, breaking it down, by thousands, it actually doesn’t seem like a massive sum.  If 100 people gave $1,000.00, 5 people gave $5,000.00 … and so on and so forth.

We invite you to partner with us as we invest in this Community Center, full of creativity, beauty, restoration, joy!  There is still a little time, for our American friends, to get into this years’ giving with tax receipts!

Please stay tuned with us as we video document our journey!  It’s a much better way to include you in what’s going on and what’s coming!  You get to SEE what’s happening and how your partnership is serving the community.  We will also share this Newsletter in video form on our Website and Social Media channels. Check out IG, FB, YouTube for recent and upcoming videos! 

RE-FORMING OUR BOARD
God sent us the best board for our first season here!  They were hand-picked for re-establishing community and ministering to the land.  We saw them grow into solid oaks and we value the portions that they brought into this last season.  As we prepare for a new season, we are asking the Lord to help us put together a new board for the new season of expansion and growth.  Some members may stay the same or take on different roles in BYRON.  We know that God has the right people to join with us and help see the plans to fruition.

SEKINGERS
Leeland is doing well at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart where he is in 3rd grade.  His teacher dubbed him a “Social Beast” since “social butterfly” wasn’t accurate enough.  We are pleased with his progress and so glad he can be there at PASH.  We especially love the focus on gratitude at school.  Lee already has a gift of encouragement, and it pumps that gift even more!  Lee still plays drums really well and it’s always great to hear him practicing in the cellar.  This summer, Lee tried a soccer technique camp.  It was his first time trying anything with soccer and before camp started, he began badgering us for goalie gloves.  Days into camp he was still asking.  “No Lee, you don’t need those.  You’re learning basic soccer skills now.”  After 2.5 weeks, the coach had a word with me.  “Lee has very good hand/eye coordination and he’s always volunteering to jump into the goal!  Nobody does that!”  Fast forward and Lee was offered a place on a travel team (Surf Mercer) as the Goalie!  Now, he needed goalie gloves!   We felt that this was a great opportunity and we’re so happy to support him.  So, this Fall he had regular team practice twice a week and goalie practice 1-2 times a week.  Go Lee!!

Lilli started at a new school this year after a year of homeschooling.  She is now a 6th grader at the Waldorf School of Princeton.  This has been a wonderful change for her.  Lilli was always very social, but a deeper confidence has grown in this smaller environment.  She is playing a bit of catch up in Math, after half a weird covid-year at public school and then a year of homeschool, but she is making progress and we are so glad.  Lilli was the first to try her hand at soccer last Spring.  She joined a local recreational team and showed some skill so we asked how she could try out for the travel team (like the one Lee is on) in her age division.  So, they sent us to one of the local colleges where they practice on the fields for a try out.  Turns out, it wasn’t the girls Surf team, but a league higher!  The coach asked her to come again that week and, in the end, offered her the chance to train with them this year!  The coach saw that while Lilli was very “raw” in skills, Lilli had great determination and was a hard worker.  At first Lilli was disappointed because she wanted to play in matches.  But after considering how this will actually further her much more, she decided to do it and we are so proud of her for thinking ahead!  Lilli ran Cross Country at Waldorf in order to gain stamina for soccer as well, so, add in two more soccer practices and three CC practices a week and we were driving A LOT!

Trixi is also at Waldorf, and it has been a game changer for her.  She is part of a “pack” and really feels like she belongs in this little school. This makes my mamma heart so happy.  In the Fall and Spring, they have a gardening class, they do pottery, they are out and about in the woods on a regular basis… it’s right up her ally!  Trixi has always struggled in Math and in this small environment, she is really seen, and the Math teacher (who also teaches recorder) agreed with my concerns about her progress.  While in previous years my concerns were waived off, this teacher said “no, I believe you are right, that it’s a processing issue, not a confidence issue.”  So, in January, Trixi will start testing to see if Dyscalculia is in the mix of her learning experience.  If so, she will be afforded tools and learn skills so that she can make it through much better.  Again, we are so grateful that our girls are in this school where she is seen.  Trixi ran Cross Country this Fall as was the fasted kid on the co-ed team!  In their first meet, she came in 3rd after two boys on the other team, which was a well-trained team!  Trixi has always been fast and it’s so cool to see her run in a different way!

Cori is still teaching the Theatre Arts course at Princeton Academy, in the upper school and in the New Year, musical rehearsals for Pirates of Penzance will begin and run till the end of April.  This year she will start working with 3rd and 4th grade from time to time as well and she is looking forward to it very much.

Tom came back from his sabbatical with 3 priorities to focus on: 1. Invest in his Marriage/Family, 2. Find a new job, 3. Start Pitstop Pioneers. Last spring, he built a fire-pit and started to invite people out of isolation to come together for community, conversation, food and fire. That was his response to Covid! The fire-pit serves as a backdrop for recording his Pitstop Pioneers Videos, where he shares poetry, the people in his life, and perspectives—raw, off-the-cuff, and always from the heart!

While there has been much driving for us this school year, it’s been worth every mile to watch the kids grow and find their stride.  Being that BYRON activities had already stopped, there was no conflict or racing back and forth so as not to “miss” something at the Barn.  We were all right where we needed to be!  How’s that for God’s timing!?

In closing, we want to say how much we love all our friends and family around the world and look forward to seeing you all again before too long!  The BYRON House kitchen will be open for guests!

If you feel called to give financially into the growth of BYRON, we would be honored to have you in the family of supporters.  If you have skills that you would like to bring in as building projects happen, please reach out so that we can plan accordingly!  If you want to join us in other ways, contact us and let’s talk!  It is time.  

At your service,
Corinne and Thomas

Donations can be made by cheque to BYRON at Gospel Fellowship or by PayPal

PROJECTS AND PARTNERSHIP…

Projects – We are actually moving forward with some building plans now! For 5 years we’ve been laying a foundation with great stuff happening. Now, it’s time to build on that foundation. A few of us broke the ground up and now it’s time to build on the prepared land. We see God pulling pieces together, so we are ready to take some steps of Faith as well. We are getting together details for the first Tiny House, a She-Shack, a Covered Deck at the back of the Barn, putting a shower into the Barn and running gas pipes to the BYRON kitchen for a new large stove/oven! We will be turning the former nursery school rooms into creative spaces, and lovely areas to enhance what we can offer as Legacy Creative Events. We also need to update the BYRON House Kitchen. We host so many things in our house as well as the Barn and a kitchen overhaul is overdue! We are also wanting to make a great living space in the BYRON House cellar so that interns or other guests can be fully independent with a kitchenette and bathroom and better windows. For these projects we have a small Team of the BYRON Family in place who are well versed in money, research and fund raising so that we can approach the different items well and in the right time. We will reconvene next month with more details so that we can make a clear plan, budget and time line going. We are having specific Fundraiser and we hope you’ll consider partnering with us as we get this place in order so that we can do what we’ve been doing – except better!

Partnership – We are asking God to bring in all those who should be with us as we enter into the building season! The Pioneers, Entrepreneurs, Creatives, the Worshipers, those who are ready to step into another aspect of church… 4 years ago we received a prophecy that BYRON would a place for David’s Mighty Men. When you look at who those people were, it’s pretty funny! The Bible says that 400 men gathered unto David that were distressed, in debt and discontented; and David became their leader. They were trained and transformed into comprehensive men of God who sharpened each other rather than competing against each other. Under David, they learned how to walk in relationship, worship, and to become men of purpose. When they finally exited the Cave of Adullam, they were referred to as “David’s Mighty Men of Valor” and together they fought to establish and stabilize Israel. That is what we want to see happen with the women, men and kids at BYRON! We are here to minister first to the Lord and then to serve people and His purpose as far as he allows our reach to be. If you’d like to join us by investing in the lives of those who come to BYRON, please consider praying for us and also contributing with a Financial Donation to the next BYRON Projects. As we get the details together, we will be looking for individual and corporate sponsors to match donations, donors, etc. If you’d like to partner with us as we move forward, you can do so in different ways…

  • Monthly, which helps us to pay for the needed repairs to large items like heating and plumbing issues that need Upgrades after 30 years
  • A one-time gift toward a particular project
  • Become a Sponsor who will match the combined donations of a larger group of people

Prayer – Please pray for us!  We need:

  • Administration/Book Keeper – We need a volunteer who can help us pay the BYRON bills and do our general monthly book-keeping, just to keep things up to date so that it’s easy to pull together at tax season. Tom and I are barely keeping up with the admin and it takes a lot of our time and energy – especially Tom! We’d like to be able to have more energy and wiggle room to focus on the building season, the arts, pastoral aspects and developing the Internship.
  • Kids Pastor – We need someone who is passionate about kid’s ministry! We have a growing number of kids and we want them to grow in God the same way we are. We are praying for someone who fits in with our quirky bunch and really wants to run with this and take BYRON Kids to the next level!
  • Builders/Volunteers – We are in need of people with building experience who could come at set times for set projects as part of a team. Also, a Project Manager for each project (She Shack, Covered Deck, Shower, Tiny House, BYRON Kitchen).
  • Byron Project Finances

We thank God for you and for His faithfulness to our family and yours,
The Sekinger’s and the BYRON Team

COMING SOON TO A BARN NEAR YOU…

Creative Worship Gathering – This August we will have the honor of hosting a gathering of friends – a few other couples we’ve come to know who are also pioneering things in a similar direction as us… In another form this might have been called a “round table” but it will be a time of worship, creating, prayer, feasting, and breathing on each other and encouraging what God is doing in our regions. We are all really, really looking forward to this!

Britt Music Studio – We are happy to see our BYRON Crew picking up their gifts and talents and stepping out. One such is Jon Britt, who will be giving drum/percussion, voice, piano and guitar lessons in the Barn and we are thrilled. The Barn should be full of LIFE! If you need lessons go to Jonathan Andrew Britt!

Harvest Fest with Soap Box Race – We will partner with our contractor (from the flood) to host a build-it-yourself soap box race – One for grown-ups and one for kids! We will be getting the details set in the next weeks or so and we are so excited! See you in October!

Pop Up Art Gallery – In December we will have our second Pop Up Art Gallery with live music and drinks to ring in the Advent season. Artists who’d like to show this year can contact us at info@byron.us for more information!

SEKINGERS…

Last Summer was our first trip back to Switzerland as a family! It was such a wonderful time and a little hard to come home but it was refreshing to see family and friends, swim in the lakes, eat Migros Burrebrot, Gipfeli, etc etc etc. What an amazing time.

Tom went to Israel for the first time with his long-time friend, David. After trying to juggle a full-time job at Trader Joe’s, Property Management & Maintenance and pioneering different aspects of BYRON as a Fellowship and Ministry, he developed some health issues, which is the result of constantly trying to do too much at once. It was a wake-up call that he needed in order to make some drastic changes in his lifestyle and to build a healthy daily routine. He is excited to see his new plans unfold and feels much better and at peace; to sum it up: less is more!

Cori started Legacy Creative Events and has started booking weddings, directed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart (boys school) and has just become part of their faculty to pioneer a Theater Arts program for the Middle School.

Trixi had a rough year in 4th grade. Socially and academically she was challenged as well as in dance class – she took Contemporary because it was less “princessey”. She was in the hospital with pneumonia before Christmas and over Christmas had a broken foot. She missed lots of dance rehearsals and was petrified of messing up. BUT she pulled it together and even said she’d like to continue! We are making extra efforts with play dates so she can foster closer friendships. Her confidence is returning. She’s a cool kid.

Lilli just finished 3rd grade and will be leaving the lower elementary school for the upper. She feels a bit sad about that. She’ll be a small fish in a very big pond which is not cool for her. Performed in the dance recital with her ballet class – she has the best posture and arms of them all. Would like more challenge and feels annoyed that she has to learn the boring basics. Lilli finished strong and is happy to have more time with friends this Summer. She took over the baking of Leeland’s birthday cakes and lead many of the games. She’s a natural leader and is now learning how to be a good host. Maybe she’ll partner with me for Legacy?

Lee just had his belated 6th birthday party – about 13 boys and 2 girls for a Bey-blade party. Best. Party. Ever. He was inviting new friends even up to the night before! Mr. Social strikes again. He performed in the dance recital with his Hip Hop class and showed, for the first time, that he actually knew all the moves. Finally started losing teeth and one had a root so long we had to get it pulled! Looked like a shark tooth – about the coolest thing for a 6yr old! He will be attending Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart next year.

We are so grateful for Mom, “Grandma” Margaret. She is a constant support and help to us as a family. The kids each have an afternoon with Grandma, which they guard jealously, and its been great to have Mom just a short walk away. She still ministers weekly at the local rehabilitation center, has a busy schedule, but still has time for us.

THE BARN FULL OF LIFE…

BYRON has had an amazing and busy year! Last August, as we prayed and asked about the upcoming season, a very clear word came: “It’s Building Season and it will be a high learning curve year! If you choose not to embrace this, you will have a longer season of maintenance than you’ll be comfortable with.” When you’re out mowing and praying in the zone, you blurt out things like “YES! We’re in!” Over time, as that learning curve aspect comes more into the picture you start to feel overwhelmed! HA! But it’s so amazing that God gave us the heads-up months before, so we know that He will see it all through. And there are building plans.

Let’s have a look at what’s been going on in the past year… The stats tell the story:  In 2018 we hosted 45 guests from 5 nations including 26 missionaries from YWAM and 3 interns! Of those 45 guests, many were from our homeland of Switzerland, some from the USA. Wow! It’s everything from friends who come and spend time with us while touring the larger New York/Philadelphia area, to someone who needs one night in the Manger (room in the Barn) to pray and be with the Lord, to who knows what!? We had 7 Evensong & Feast’s, 18 Sunday Gatherings, 27 Home Group Meetings, 8 Gent Events, 5 Faith Art & Culture Events (including our annual Harvest Fest and our 1st Art Gallery) where we draw people from our local community and from farther afield. BYRON has definitely become known as a ministry of hospitality!  It was wonderful to have everyone here and we have many touching and very fun memories of 2018.

Interns – We had the privilege of simultaneously hosting an Intern from Germany, and one from Switzerland plus a non-live-in Intern from Princeton Seminary (whose wife is Swiss. No joke). It was amazing to see these precious folks jump out, take risks, grow, and leave with a medal of sorts. It’s always an honor to journey with someone and get your hands dirty together in practical and spiritual ways. Aside from their personal journeys, they are submerged into this pool of community and visitors and cooking and hard work and hospitality. It’s a very special time and we see clearly that this area of Interns will and should continue.

YWAM – We had the pleasure of hosting a team of Circuit Riders twice and getting to know Brad and Tory La Chapelle who lead these teams through the college campuses of the North East. We are so excited and grateful for what they deposit in this territory and we love their hearts! It was lovely to share time with them alone in April and hear the glory stories.

Gent Events – These nights have become a standard here at BYRON and a real place for guys to meet up and be together. Tom always encourages the guys to get involved with a “passion.” They don’t just try to find stuff to do, but rather they do cool stuff lead by a guy who is already up to his ears in that particular thing and he passes on his love and skill to the others. There’s been archery, beer brewing (which lasted 3 months – Mix, brew and drink) and other great stuff.

Guests – We continue to have guests from Switzerland and Germany as well as other places in the USA. We just had some old friends from Switzerland come and visit who we’ve been close with since the ICF days, as well as Corinne’s family from Geneva. At the moment we are hosting a friend whose family is moving up to the area in order to be part of the BYRON Fellowship and ministry! They are from Pennsylvania and we are all so excited to have these friends closer and be a full part of what’s going on at BYRON.

Legacy Creative Events – Last Summer a cool thing happened; we hosted a wedding reception! Corinne and Thomas were talking about the next season coming up; come September, all the kids would be in school for a full day and Corinne was praying about a good job – a job that could be done while the kids were in school, that could make use of her odd set of skills, and wouldn’t conflict with BYRON but would, maybe even, bless the ministry as well as the family. This is happening! Corinne has started a business called Legacy Creative Events to host special events in the Barn. Weddings, special Birthday parties, Mitzvah’s, graduation… as well as creative workshops like Flow Painting, wreath making, beer bread, and more! While the large functions take place in their own right, the smaller workshops can fill in the gaps. We’ve already had a huge 50th birthday party with a band flown out from CA, two weddings booked and two Barn tours in July. Corinne has been busy bringing the details of the business together in the Barn and also on paper/website. Check out her FB page Legacy Creative Events!

The South – God has opened up friendships in the South with other creatives in ministry and we are so blessed. Some old friends of Corinne’s family have become friends of ours and we are so blessed that John and Mary Ann Heiss continually come to visit, call us up, open their home to us, and invite us into crazy fun stuff! We are taking opportunities to partner with our friend, Stephen Roach (pod-caster of Makers and Mystics, head honcho of The Breath and The Clay) for various events in the North East and who knows where else? The Breath and The Clay has been a true source of encouragement and relationship-opener for us. We are planning a time with Kamran and Suzy Yaraei soon and look forward popping open some of heavens doors with them!

Flood – In February, while Tom was in Israel, we had what we now refer to as The Great Flood! It was a three-story flood, starting in an attic, streaming down the walls in the Great Room and running down every crack in the floor into the cellar and even out the side of the barn into the grass!!!! It was truly amazing and awesome. You know when you encounter something so big and out of your control, you just have to be in awe? That was it. The adrenaline kicked in and Corinne was running furiously to get paintings off the wall (still up from the exhibit), figure out which valve turned off the water and stave the water in the cellar from going too far into the other rooms. Didn’t work entirely but wow! What a morning! Miraculously, a plumber was able to come out within 20 minutes of the call, a drying company was out in the afternoon, no paintings or pottery were damaged, a building company was referred to us and the insurance company was wonderful! Part of the floor in the Great Room had to be ripped up because it was so saturated, as well as 3 bathrooms, one wall in the Great Room, one wall in the Kitchen, and two rooms in the nursery got new flooring. Oh, and the Great Room got a whole paint job. Wow!

Nursery School – We have hosted It Takes a Village Christian Nursery for 5 years now! Before that, Marion Key was in the Barn doing the same thing, but under a different name. Gospel Fellowship had started a nursery school and Marion came in as a teacher’s helper and then took over in time. She made it her own after we came, and she and the kids have been such a part of landscape here. As of September, there will be no more school! Both she and us felt like a shift was at hand and we are all taking the plunge into the unknown. We want to say how much we admire Marion for all that she has poured into the local preschool aged children here and sowed the Gospel into the homes of people who don’t know Jesus. We bless and release her with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other!

PROJECTS AND GROWTH…

The Next Project – As the year closes, we are making plans for the NEXT YEARS PROJECTS. A big one, and one that we need to get a move on with is overhauling our cellar. We have had the joy and privilege of having interns and guests with us on a regular basis. The Manger in the barn, and our cellar have worked till now but in order to continue welcoming these wonderful folks we need to re-work the accommodations. Practically this will mean redoing walls, dealing with leaks in the old stone foundation and putting in a small bathroom and kitchenette in the cellar so that our interns or guests can be fully independent while they stay with us. Having an open home has been amazing and we’ve loved sharing our home and family with so many beautiful people. We are also challenged to bring it to the next level!

We are also making some small but needed INVESTMENTS into the Barn with a paint job in the Great Room and fixing some plumbing in an upstairs bathroom. We are actively planning on renting out the Barn more often for special parties like wedding receptions, etc. and are looking forward to welcoming more people onto BYRON land! We love it here and know others will too. Our goal is to grow more finances so that we can re-sow it back into the things we are called to do each season as a ministry. The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-28) has come to mind so often in the last months and we are ready to be the servant who took what was given to him and make more out of it to honor the Master.

Partnering – If you’d like to join us by investing in the lives of those who come to BYRON, please consider praying for us and also contributing with a FINANCIAL DONATION to the next years’ renovations. We thank God for you and for His faithfulness to our family and yours.

Glad tidings,
The Sekinger’s and the BYRON Team

COMING SOON TO A BARN NEAR YOU…

Courageous Hearts – You’re invited to join us in the barn for a day of creativity as we welcome our friend Stephen Roach for COURAGEOUS HEARTS. Whether you’re an artist, a business person, or a stay-home parent, developing creative skills and encouraging divergent thinking is crucial to breaking into new territory and moving forward.

An Evening of Music, Art & Poetry – After a day of creative learning, community and good food we’ll have round two in the Great Room with a CURATED POP-UP ART GALLERY, live music and refreshments! Bring your friends and start the last month of 2018 in a special way!