For the past 13 years, the community called Flatlanders Inn has welcomed over 130 people through its doors. People came for a variety of reasons but nearly all recognized their need for support, care, and help on their journey. We need each other… and we need God. This was a foundational reality on which Flatlanders was built. This was what made it all worthwhile.
As of June 30, 2020, Flatlanders Inn as we have known it is finished. The doors are closed. Since the decision was made to close Flatlanders and proceed with an offer from Millar College of the Bible we have been focussed on helping the last residents of Flatlanders transition into new places. This process is nearly complete. People have been moved, new places found, support offered and given.
This decision to close Flatlanders was a big one and the Leadership Team of WCV felt the weight of it. It was undertaken very carefully, circumspectly and prayerfully. Thank you to everyone who contributed their thoughts and prayers to this process.
We believe that in the long-run this will be a positive move for WCV. We also recognize that it is a very difficult thing to close a ministry like Flatlanders and that the weight of the decision would be most keenly felt by those who were living there.
There are many factors that brought us to this point. For the past few years we had identified the critical need to get more leaders and support in Flatlanders in order for it to thrive. The difficult events of the past two years had left us in a very precarious situation. While we knew we needed more leaders, crisis management took precedence. Sadly, this meant that we weren’t able to put the time and energy into Flatlanders that it needed and deserved.
Our decision making process seriously considered other options (like getting an outside agency to manage the property, hire a director, and 6 other options). None of the other possibilities had the guarantee of financial stability and each of them would have required significant investment of leadership capital – which frankly, we just didn’t have.
We are incredibly grateful for the work, love and impact of Flatlanders over the past 13 years. There will be more detail to mark this important ministry later this summer. In the meantime, we simply say a big “thank you” to all those involved over the years.
A special Thank You to Jeff and Amanda Leighton
Below is a “thank you” given to Jeff and Amanda on July 2 at WCV’s online gathering.
Jeff moved into the building at 782 Main St. before there was a Flatlanders. But there was a dream – a God-shaped opportunity. Then in Mar 2007 Flatlanders opened and Jeff was right there, in the middle – helping envision and then putting legs and heart to that vision.
Amanda, was there too, at the beginning – also captivated by the vision. Soon afterwards, they were captivated by each other.
I think they were Flatlanders Inn’s first romance getting married and moving out for one year to the Bunkhouse at The Farm. They moved back a year later with a conviction that they would build their life here, in this space, with whomever would enter these doors. Over the past 13 years, they have done just that. While they have built their own family (James & Merrick), they’ve followed God into community with over 130 people. Jeff & Amanda, along with others, would welcome, guide, care for, organize and lead these strangers become friends along the way. Building a home.
By home, I mean, of course, the relationships more than the space. It is this way because FL is a God-breathed idea, enfleshed by people like Jeff & Amanda. These timber and brick walls will begin to house a new idea, but Flatlanders will continue in some way shape or form in the way people like Amanda & Jeff live their lives. This happens through the ways they welcome the stranger, those who need a lift, a friend, an ear. It is Rhizomatic in that way… like Kingdom quack grass sending out roots wherever it goes – spread as people come and go.
This is the work the Jesus commissioned us to do. It is true we all need saving and Jesus provides the way for this to happen. But that salvation is discovered, lived out, activated and multiplied through real lives. Never in a stagnant individualized only save my soul kind of context. Jesus lived a real life in a real place in Palestine 2000 years ago and his life and salvation is walked out in countless followers throughout the millennia, including in faithful followers who are captivated by his mission and what he does in the lives of those who encounter him – lives like those Jeff and Amanda have lived in these 4 walls for the past 13 years or so, and will continue to live in their own place now.
So, thanks for living a Kingdom life in this place. Thank you for tending the relationships God has sprouted here. Thank you for being good neighbours. Thank you for being faithful witnesses of Christ’s hospitality to the stranger, the wanderer, the lonely. Thanks for modelling a Flatland life. We know there have been tremendous joys and pains along the way. We are really grateful to you both and we know that in some small but important ways the rough has become smooth, the crooked has become straight and the mountains and valleys have become a Flatland on which God’s glory resides because of you and your faithfulness.