Monday, July 31, 2017

Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column

August 2017: "Cornerstones from Brickwork"

Dear Church,

You may remember a newsletter column of mine from last year that appeared in this very space that told you a bit about the process the church had undergone concerning our education building and how to best leverage it as an asset, including potentially selling it. That was well over a year ago, and despite a price reduction in the interim (and now a second this month), there have been no formal offers on the building. A couple of organizations, including a church, showed significant interest in the building, but only interest.

You may also recall from the monthly town-hall style Congregational Conversations meetings that we have after worship that the board had discussed how best to use the proceeds from the sale of the education building--keeping most of it in an endowment for the denomination to manage for us, keeping a small portion to make needed updates to the main building (which has an awful lot of deferred maintenance and energy-inefficient systems), and cushioning our own savings account.

They were well-laid, thoughtful, and deliberate plans, but at the crux of the plan was the belief that there would be more interest in the education building than there has been, which puts us once more in the position of needing to consider some potential decisions, on top of instituting another price cut this month in the education building--should a sale of the entire property be on the table, with the intent of purchasing new space that better fits the congregation's needs? Should the congregation move to a part-time minister while waiting for a potential buyer for the education building and then return to full staff?

We discussed all of these options at our July Congregational Conversations, and we will be having two more such meetings in August, on the 6th and the 27th. Both will take place during our post-worship fellowship hour, and, of course, all are invited. Additionally, all church members are welcome to observe all board business that is not conducted under executive session (which is typically all business save for confidential personnel matters).

The cornerstone of our church has been, and must always be, the people of God, whose relationship with their creator is made manifest in their belonging to our loving congregational community. How we best continue to build around that cornerstone has been, and will continue to be, a topic of much discussion, and I welcome continuing that discussion alongside all of you.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Eric

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