In his first letter to the church of the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul prays ďMay the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.Ē A church grows out of an abundance of love.
Our mission is to give that love to God, to each other and to our community. As we grow, more demands are placed on our church facility for worship, for fellowship, for teaching and meeting in small groups. During the last year, we have been working to find the best balance of all these needs.
That plan should take into account not only our current needs, but also our future growth for the next ten years or so. Our former architects, Bora, estimated we would need nearly $6 million in expansion funding to accomplish everything on our list. Our feasibility study, completed by ECF this past summer, showed that we can reasonably count on about $800 thousand in pledges. Thatís a lot of money and weíre delighted with your support, but itís clear that we canít do everything at once, and long ago we decided not to go into debt for new building. That decision still stands.
In our discernment phase, we heard from many of you. Five priorities emerged: A gathering space (with commercial kitchen), more meeting rooms, more rooms for education (religious and preschool), more room for administration and storage, and improvements to the sanctuary. Each one of these priorities has strong supporters and we believe each one is important and worth our investment. Thank you.
Right now, we are actively looking for the most effective plan, based on our pledge goal and these priorities. We have established a new architectural sub-committee with church members who have solid architectural experience. We are looking at the work done by other churches in the area and considering new ideas like multi-use and flexible designs. We will be searching for a new architecture firm who can make most effective use of our funds while preserving the character and beauty of our church today.
Our timeline is about fourteen months before beginning an active capital campaign and we hope, with that success, to initiate construction before the end of next year. That may seem like a long time but there is much to do. We will need your support.
Our first goal is to come back to you with a general plan by July. At that time, we hope to have an approach that balances our priorities in a creative way and stays within our financial reality. With that plan we need to set expectations: It is a certainty that none of our priorities will be totally met and it is likely that some priorities will have to be addressed at a later time. That is our reality as a church.
We are so fortunate in the love we have in this church. We believe that this new plan will allow us to express even more love to ourselves and others, even if it is not perfect. We look for your prayers, your guidance, your support and your love as we go forward.