Proverbs 8:17 – I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
Mattoon is truly a unique community and the village board, along with the Town of Hutchins, has supported our mission in so many ways we can’t thank them enough. Recently, class pictures were hung back up in the hallway of our newly acquired building showing those who had graduated from the Mattoon school over the last 100 years. As I stood gazing up at the photos, it came to me that each of them had somehow played a role in where Shepherd’s Watch is today.
We presently have key people in strategic positions in various organizations that are endeavoring to make Mattoon and it’s surrounding area a place in which we are proud to live. And that endeavor has ignited a can-do attitude into the people of this community and helped unite us together.
Consequently, there is much to give thanks for as I reflect on the amazing journey which has led Shepherd’s Watch to acquire final ownership of the vacant Mattoon elementary school building. The experiences we’ve shared along that journey had allowed us to learn such things as patience, perseverance, and a deeper understanding of contentment as we awaited the Lords timing. These lessons are ones we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.
And now, as God has ordained, it is time to set out on yet another journey. This time, however, it is not a journey of acquisition, but one of mission to support and address the needs our community, whether physical and/or spiritual as God directs. If you have any questions or ideas please feel free to reach out to us. Thank you and God Bless!
The building, intended as a high school, was completed and in use by 1952. In 1955 an addition was added which doubled the size of the building.
The Mattoon school territory was assigned to Antigo and the high school students began attending there. The building then became the elementary school.
An entry way, small storage building and a gymnasium were added onto the property by the School District of Antigo.
The Antigo School District closed the Mattoon School and a group called GMAUA was formed and many of us fought hard for a year to keep our school open.
Feeling God’s leading to do mission work, Wade Reimer offered to buy the property with the intent to open a Christian community center and school.
One day away from closing it was found Antigo did not possess a deed to the school. A lawsuit then ensued to determine who owned the vacant building as we continued to pray.
With the suit ruled in Antigo’s favor, they again offered to sell it to us with a no compulsory education restriction in the deed. We and the Mattoon board declined that offer.
The Antigo School board voted 9-0 to a limited 2 year (no school) deed restriction and the property officially became Shepherd’s Watch Community Center, Inc. (a 501 C3 non-profit organization).