From Pastor Mike: “ROOTS, And Growing for the Future”

To everything there is a season,

A time to plant, a time to reap,

A time to build up,

A time to stop and regroup…

A few months ago, my expectation was that the October newsletter article would be filled with news about our capital campaign and emerging plans for changes to our building.

But…it didn’t happen.

After two and a half weeks of “Focus Group” meetings, staff and council realized several things.

First, the meetings were sparsely attended. There was no way we could get an accurate reading of the attitude of the congregation towards the proposed changes from such a small sampling of members.

Second, the reactions we did receive ranged from real excitement about the proposal to opposition to changes in our building layout. All of this can be expected in this type of discussion, especially at the beginning of a campaign. But with so little opportunity to discuss the pros and cons with more members, no clear direction could be determined.

Third, many were concerned about the cost of a campaign consultant.

Fourth, simple timing.  National unrest, hurricanes, and a call to provide relief to those in need makes this a hard time to consider changes that we can, in the end, live without for the time being.

Finally, there is also some misunderstanding floating around “out there.”  Some folks, who had not attended groups, thought the entire amount for the campaign would be directed toward the modifications on our main floor. In actuality, much of the campaign was to be directed at: Phase One costs, the replacement of our three front doors, and other modifications that are strong needs (see below):

Phase I Costs (completed)—$296,000
Front Door Replacement—     101,000
Elevator Replacement—            25,000
Outdoor Sign—                           40,000
Total :                                       $462,000

Phase One costs and the Front Door replacement have been covered through our savings/endowments, and our constitution requires that we repay this loan to ourselves. The elevator and sign would be “new” costs.

The rest of the campaign would be directed toward the modifications to the main floor. These modifications, including architectural costs, project management, cleaning, and equipment for the modified work areas would be $586,000.

The firm we contracted to help raise funds has a practice of locating a consultant in the area being served who then works with the staff on a daily basis. As you can guess, this is not inexpensive, but we should note (as we have released the consultant) that there will be a cost to raising money (unless a lot of volunteers rise up) regardless of how we do this. Your staff is working far too hard to suddenly be expected to become a fundraising committee.

So, we now are in a situation where we need to consider, as a congregation, the direction we will take in the months ahead.

Speaking for the staff, we see great benefit in pursuing the plans. This congregation aches for spaces where simple conversation and relationship building can occur. Because of this, we are willing to give up the niceties of personal office space and work in a smaller, group setting. We feel that creating “ministry space” out of our current “work space” will result in great benefits to the congregation.

This idea was borne out of a process that has now been going on for several years with trusted members and staff brainstorming and injecting input into the question: “How can we live a better life together?” Whether or not this renovation occurs, I remain committed to continuing to ask, and answer, that question.

In the meantime, note that we are still paying for the work that we have approved as a congregation. Donations to our “Building Fund” continue to make those payments, and I encourage you to consider helping us in this area. (However, please don’t take money from your “Unified Fund” donations to do this!)

Finally, I don’t consider this, ultimately, to be a negative step for Trinity. Life is a walk, a process. We’ve simply taken a step back. Sometimes? That’s the only way to see what lies ahead with clarity.

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