GRACE NEWS Special Edition – July 2011

Dear friends,

Given the importance of the recent survey and congregational meeting, it was decided to send out this special newsletter. A regular newsletter with other important church information is planned for later in the summer.

Morris Smith, Chair, Central Board.


“Every Family Consultation” Survey

In order to determine the views of as many of the Grace “family” as possible, Central Board approved a congregation-wide telephone “consultation” regarding the facility options being considered.
Twenty-five members of the congregation assisted with the consultation, successfully contacting 72% of our church list. The survey team reported that people were generally well informed about the three proposed options and appreciated the opportunity to discuss them and related issues. Thanks to everyone who took the time to do the telephoning and to everyone who participated. But a special thank-you is due Greg Yelland whose professional expertise was invaluable.

Survey Results
Of the 264 people who expressed a preference, 141 or 53% felt that retaining the current sanctuary and rebuilding on the existing site was the best choice for the congregation. Those who preferred other options were fairly evenly split between renovating the existing structure (23%) and building a new church on a new site (24%).
But what was very interesting and important was that most people, regardless of their own preference, could “go along with” another option if that was the will of the majority. For example, only four respondents indicated that they “would have difficulty” going along with the “rebuild on the current site” option.
Those who expressed a preference for a renovation of the current structure often spoke of the cost of the other options as being more than they felt the congregation could/should spend on a building project. Those preferring a new church on a new site often raised parking as an issue with the current site.
The respondents preferring the “rebuild on the current site option” spoke of their desire to retain a downtown presence as well as a desire to preserve the current sanctuary. They also expressed concern about the high cost of a new building in a new location and felt that additional parking space could be found in the future.

Coming to a Consensus

The results of the consultation were presented at a congregational meeting following worship on Sunday, June 26. After the presentation, the congregation was asked to consider a motion affirming the preference for keeping the existing sanctuary and rebuilding most if not all of the rest of the church on the current site. Following a good discussion, those in attendance voted 115 – 8 for the motion. The motion also called for all future facility planning be based on this option.

Financing the Project
Survey feedback and discussion at the congregational meeting suggests there is also a consensus that the funding for the redevelopment of our church building needs to be assured before we move ahead. The fund raising committee that was formed over a year ago has deferred any fund raising activities until after the congregation decided which option it preferred. Now their work can begin in earnest!

Project Scope and Design

Choosing to rebuild on our existing site is only the first of many decisions that will have to be made. As was illustrated in the work done for the Options for the Future Committee by Bexson Construction, there are several good design possibilities for the existing site with cost estimates ranging anywhere from just over $2M to $2.7M based on 2011 construction costs.
It is most important that we give everyone who is interested, a chance to get involved in this exciting “once in a lifetime” opportunity to create a new church facility. How best to involve everyone is one of the first decisions that will need to be made. Stay tuned!
Local engineering and construction firms with the capability of taking on a project like ours are being contacted regarding possible involvement.

Resolving the Parking Issue

Ken Kay on behalf of Central Board has been working with realtors and owners of property immediately west of the church to see if one or more of these lots could be purchased for future parking space. We are pleased to announce that a sales agreement has been signed to purchase the house and lot immediately west of the church. To expedite the transaction, the actual purchase is being made by two of our church families who intend to donate the property to the church at a later date.
As the house has been used as office space for several years, it may well be very suitable for temporary office space during a future construction project.

Some Frequently Asked Questions
When will a final decision be made regarding this project?

Once it becomes clear that the congregation can and will financially support this project, several authorizations and approvals are required. For example, the Board of Trustees must seek the approval of St. Paul Presbytery.

When will construction start?
Most optimistically, the earliest that any demolition and construction could start would be in the spring of 2012. But there is much work to be done before construction can begin. A later start date is more realistic.

Do we have any money saved for this project?

The congregation has about $133,000 in its “future development fund”. There have also been some recent pledges and donations made in anticipation of this project.

How long will construction take?

We have been advised that a project like this could take approximately 10 – 12 months to complete.

Are there plans for “temporary accommodation” during construction?
Possible office and worship space alternatives are being explored. If anyone has ideas about possible alternatives, please don’t hesitate to pass them along to Ken Kay or any member of Central Board.

How can I get involved?

If you would like to get involved in this project, please let us know. You can do so by contacting the church office at 780 875-8959; by email to graceunited.news@gmail.com or by speaking with a member of Central Board.