1. Why is the Second Century Committee proposing a reconstruction of the north wing?
The north wing of our church is in poor condition. The HVAC system does not fully function, the building leaks, the electrical and plumbing systems are antiquated, and the décor is no longer inviting. There are several reasons the SCC is making this proposal:
• The repairs required each year to address various problems are costly.
• Because it is dated, the space is underutilized, used far less than the newer south wing for example.
• Most importantly, the rebuilding the north wing represents an opportunity to create a new future for our church. New space will be an important tool in realizing our vision for ourselves, our community, expanding our membership and furthering our missions.
2. When completed, what functional spaces will be in the north wing and how does that support our vision?
Our vision is a community where people connect to the life-changing love and hope of Jesus. In order to realize that vision, we must bring more people into our church. More particularly, our strategies for growth include connecting young families to VBUMC and its ministries, and reaching out to the disconnected and unchurched. This new facility will help us to have a greater impact in the lives of those we seek to serve.
Central to these strategies is the notion that people should feel comfortable and welcomed when they come to our campus. The overarching design point of the north wing project is to provide exactly that space: a place where people can gather in fellowship and participate in a community that shares the love of Christ.
For example, the new north wing will have a gathering space just inside a new, prominent entrance to the church. It will serve as a central point not only for people to socialize, but also where people will have easy access to the sanctuary on one side, and a large multipurpose room on the other. The multipurpose room will not only serve as a fellowship hall, but also will be suitable for hosting services outside of the sanctuary. As part of the first floor structure, we will also have a new kitchen which is both larger and laid out more efficiently than our current kitchen.
The upper floor of the north wing and some renovated space in the south wing will provide additional adult classroom space as well as a large space dedicated to our youth ministry.
3. What is the estimated cost of the project?
The architect’s estimate for the total cost of the project, including construction, architectural fees, interest on a construction loan, and the “soft costs” necessary to fit out the space will be approximately $5.2 – $5.5 MM.
4. How much do we currently have in our building fund?
Due to the generosity of many of our members who contributed to a previous capital campaign and with revenues from the north parking lot, we have $2.3MM in our building fund. All of those funds will be available to this project.
5. Will a portion of the money raised in this campaign go towards missions, as it did in the previous campaign?
Yes. We will once again tithe 10% of the proceeds from this campaign to missions.
6. How will we pay for the remaining cost of the new north wing?
To cover the full, estimated cost of the project plus the 10% tithe for missions, our hope is to raise $3.2MM in our “Changing Lives Through Hope and Action” campaign. Any remaining amount would need to be financed with some relatively short term debt. Our finance committee has determined that we can afford a prudent amount of debt without financial stress.
7. The church has some real estate assets. Can we use those or should we use those to help pay for the project?
It is possible that we might need to borrow in order to complete this project. If that is necessary, then we might consider using revenues from the parking lot to assist in repaying the debt. So in that sense, some of our real estate assets could be employed in the service of this project.
As for the “18th street” parcel, that asset is not liquid, at least not at the moment. There is a possibility that we will receive an offer for this land, and there are rumors that it might even be soon. Whether to accept such an offer and what to do with the proceeds is a very complicated set of decisions that would involve not only the congregation and its leadership but also the district. Moreover, the sale of the property would trigger a relocation of Potters House as well as the need to find additional parking for the church, since we would lose the parking currently available to us on Sundays on the west side of Pacific Avenue.
Given the complexity of the 18th street deal as well as the currently unknown costs that we would bear should we sell the property, the proper course of action is to undertake this campaign without any consideration of the 18th street property. Regardless of how that transaction proceeds, we need to fund this project from other sources.
8. What about the people who fulfilled their pledges in the last capital campaign? Wouldn’t they be “giving twice”?
We are very grateful for all of the generous support our church has received in the past, both in the 2008 capital campaign as well as in the more distant past. Particularly in light of the difficult circumstances surrounding the great recession, those who fulfilled their pledges showed remarkable generosity and dedication to our church. Thanks to them, we have a good financial base upon which to launch our new campaign.
Our consultant from Horizons Stewardship has shared with us that it is very common for churches, when they have a vision for a significant project, to conduct a second capital campaign in order to raise the needed funds.
This new campaign is centered around prayer. All we are asking is that each person in our congregation pray on the question “Lord what do You want to do through me?”. How much anyone contributes to this campaign is a very personal and individual matter, and should only be done in response to how God is answering that prayer for him or her.
9. What about Potters House, which also needs renovation or replacement? Does this impact that set of decisions?
As a practical matter, any near-term decisions regarding Potters House would likely be undertaken in the context of an offer on the 18th street parcel. As much as Potters House needs repair or relocation, we need to take action that will help expand our membership and support various other ministries that depend on having adequate facilities in the main church proper.
In addition, the church is currently studying how to better support the Potters House mission, and a report is due to the Second Century Committee in February. The recommendations of that report will be used to develop a strategic plan that contains some goals for Potters house, both in terms of facilities as well as in terms of scope of ministry.
10. How long will the “Changing Lives Through Hope and Action” capital campaign last?
We are asking the congregation to make their pledges by “Commitment Sunday”, which is May 21st. Pledges will be payable over a three year period starting on our “First Fruit Offering” Sunday, which is June 4th.
11. What is the process for making the decision on whether and how to move forward?
Once we have received pledges from the campaign, we can be confident as to how we might pay for the project. If there is a shortfall between the anticipated cost of the project and the funds available, the Second Century Committee and the Finance Committee will recommend whether to scale back the plans, borrow some money, or a combination of both. The architect will then create construction documents and send the project out for bids. The SCC will develop a financial plan which would include a construction loan and additional debt (if needed). After the architectural drawings are completed, construction bids have been received and a financial plan created, the SCC will present them for approval by the District Board of Church Building and Location (required by our Discipline). It is at this point, when all information and plans have been vetted by the SCC, that everything will come before a special called Church Conference. At that conference, every member will have the opportunity to vote on the final proposal. Only then, if approved, would construction begin.