Pastor Bob's Building Blog

Well, we're off! The Project Management Team met this week and made some decisions about our building project that I'm eager to share with you.

We reviewed the results of the planning study that the Steier Group conducted. I am very glad the Session chose to engage in that study. It showed us, first, how strong the support is for doing this project and conducting a capital campaign to fund it. Second, it showed us which aspects of the project to pursue and which to let go.

In the final report from the planning study[1], you saw the strong support for these seven projects:

  • Finishing the installation of the siding and replacing all windows
  • Improving the HVAC system
  • Connecting to the city's sewer system
  • New floor and wall treatments
  • Restroom improvements
  • Expanding and improving the kitchen
  • Creating a new commons area near the sanctuary

And so we intend to pursue all seven of these. These projects either restore our building to its previous level of attractiveness and good condition, or they create a more welcoming environment. For example, improving the restrooms is not strictly necessary – unless you want people to feel at home, welcome, and eager to return! Likewise, the new commons will create a new gathering space outside of the sanctuary, will make it easier for guests to find our front door, will make access to the building easier (especially for the disabled), will increase the amount of natural light in our gathering space, and will make the sanctuary and the offices easier to find. In other words, it improves our hospitality.

One project did not receive as strong a level of support, but the Team decided it needs to be included: an improved child care area. Repurposing the Bride's Room and the Groom's Room as a child care area has several benefits: it will be easier to find, it will be closer to the sanctuary, it will be larger, and it will be more modern (including having its own dedicated toilet). In other words, doing this project both serves our desire to be more welcoming and our desire to be attentive to the needs of the future. Besides, it was the least expensive project on the list.

So the Team decided to pursue the seven projects with strong support, plus the child care facility. Now, all this will cost a lot of money. So we will be borrowing up front, and conducting a capital campaign to pay for as much of it as we can. Whatever we don't raise in this capital campaign, we will be paying off over time. This is what businesses and families do when investing in the future. Kathleen and I took a home equity loan to make improvements to our house. Businesses borrow money to upgrade, knowing it will result in more business. We are dropping the projects that did not seem as urgent to our concerns for mission and hospitality (sanctuary windows to the courtyard, patio behind Fellowship Hall), while planning to invest a significant amount in those that will serve our mission and hospitality. In a few weeks you will see a Case Statement from us that will describe how these changes will support the future of our mission as a church.

Several days ago I listened to several members of our church describe what the church means to them. All of them talked about the sense of community they have experienced. They also described the importance of our mission in this city. None of them said that the reason they are part of Presbyterian Church of the Master is the building. Yet all of them understood that the building serves our mission. Just as your house is not your family, you nevertheless want your house to be a good place for your family to live and a good place to welcome friends.

That is what I have heard from you that you want of your church building. You want it to be a place where your family is secure and comfortable, and a good place to welcome friends. Community, mission, and hospitality: all these will be served by the project we are beginning. This is how we start our second fifty years.

Pastor Bob

Sermon for April 10: Another Dawn
Sermon for Maundy Thursday

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