Here is a brief overview of the proposed renovated space of the first floor:
- An elevator will be installed in an unobtrusive fashion just as one enters the side door. The elevator will make it much easier for people to get from the floor level where sanctuary is located to the level where the restrooms, office area and lounges/classrooms are located.
- The floor level that includes the Pastor’s study, the offices, Gathering Place, choir room will be reorganized. A cozy lounge will replace the Pastor’s office area. The pastor and church office will comfortably fit into the current office area. The Christian Educator’s office will be replaced by a “warming” kitchen. The kitchen will have a window opening into the Gathering Place. The Gathering Place will be enlarged to include the current nursery room and will include room dividers that will create smaller spaces that can be used at the same time. Updated, accessible men, women and family restrooms will be installed. The current lounge area will be subdivided into a choir room and nursery. (The events and activities currently held in the present lounge will easily be accommodated in the lounge that replaces the pastor’s office or the renovated Gathering Place.) This entire area will be heated and air-conditioned.
- As for the sanctuary area itself, an accessible, one-foot high platform will be installed in the current empty space between the pulpit and pews. The pulpit itself will be of the same lovely design and woodwork, but will become a mobile pulpit. The platform area will easily accommodate the communion table, baptismal font, the pulpit, the choir and the attractive, wooden pillars that are used for floral arrangements.
- We are in continuing conversation with the architect and engineers regarding the most affordable, long-time, reliable heating and cooling system. It is clear that cooling the sanctuary will be very expensive, perhaps on hot Sundays the worship service will be moved to the renovated Gathering Place.
- This renovation addresses changes to the sanctuary and first floor of the church. The lower level, including the kitchen and social hall, could become another project. It should be noted that a renovation of our lower level kitchen that would make the area usable, safe and up-to-code will be expensive. Nearly all the current church activities will be possible on the renovated first floor level.
Finally, the decision regarding the renovation will be voted on BY THE CONGREGATION NOT ONLY THE SESSION. Consequently, the leadership of this project (Tom Ochs, Jim Segedy, Pastor Michael and session) will be conducting at least two more congregational meetings before a decision is made.
I would add two more remarks:
- Please be patient as the final renovation possibilities are put into place. You should know that the renovation plans may change somewhat as the project moves forward.
- The final cost will be a close estimate, but not an exact figure.
Finally, and from personal experience, my father was contractor. As I grew up, I became very aware of the issues and challenges a contractor faces as building construction and renovation efforts move forward. My Dad made it clear that church construction/renovation projects were extra challenging because so many people from the church would contribute to the design plan as the work proceeded. I will assume that FPCE will not be different. I hope and pray that a firm, trusting relationship between leadership team, session and congregation will be formed so that everyone voice will be heard and all of us will be aware of the changes that occur. As your pastor, I will make every effort to hear and respond to every concern that is raised.
May God bless us with wisdom and resources as we look into the future. The most important guide will be that this congregation become a more effective mission arm of the kingdom of God that Jesus Christ ushered into this world.