What a joy it was to be back in the House of the Lord with you this past week! BUT THERE’S MORE... WE GET TO DO IT AGAIN THIS WEEK! We praise God for His continued protection over our community as we have not seen any significant increases in infections in N. Brevard.
I want to thank those of you who came to worship this past week for maintaining physical distance and limiting our time in the facility. Everything went smoothly and safely. I know it felt a little odd and we all want to hug each other but remember the time will come for that. Everything went so well that I have been able to help a number of other pastors in our convention think through their plans to reopen based on our experience.
Reflecting on the past few months and all of the decisions that have needed to be made, I keep thinking about Proverbs 3:5. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." The truth is we have been given the test concerning how to get through this season without ever being given any instruction as to how to do it. The true blessing of this time has been the increase and diligence of my prayer life. There have been multiple times that my understanding has been depleted and I felt inadequate to get through these last few months. Time in God’s Word, drawing near in prayer, and seeking Godly council of others has been a tremendous help. I want to thank you for your prayers and graciousness to your pastor, and I hope and pray that as you are overwhelmed and anxious giving these trying days that you would seek to trust in the Lord to guide and steady you.
I know many of you are seeking God’s wisdom even now as you discern when to join us in worship again. Know that I am praying for you as you wrestle with that decision. This past Monday I received an apologetic call from a dear member who was not comfortable coming on Sunday. I responded that there is no need to apologize because we understand everyone is facing different circumstances between their health and the health of those they care for. We truly do know that everyone wishes they could join us in person and in time will.
If you are led to gather this week, I want to remind you of what to expect as we are still in Phase 1 of our plan to return to regular worship.
- We will gather for a shortened worship only service with precautions for distancing within families throughout our sanctuary.
- We have placed green tape on the top rail of pews where we would like you to sit in order to maintain spacing. We ask that you sit in these areas first with those in your household or those who you have been regularly interacting with over these weeks. Once the “green zone” seating has been fully occupied we can begin to sit in other areas with spacing of 6’ maintained.
- There will be no nursery or preschool during the service so children must sit with families.
- Interactions will be limited and there will be no choir, greeting time, “passing the plate,” or handouts.
- Offering plates will be located at the front and back of the sanctuary where you may place your tithes and offerings as you come in or leave.
- Please arrive no sooner than 15 minutes before 11 am and leave promptly as the conclusion of the service.
- Please refrain from handshakes and hugs we encourage you to maintain 6’ distance and to have conversations with others outside if possible.
- There will be no other activities to meet on campus throughout the week.
Proverbs 3 not only encourages us to “trust in the Lord” but gives us a great promise when we do, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” God will make clear to you how you should go! With that in mind, would you please join with me in considering and praying over an overdue project that is needed for our “Family House” where we gather. As I have been speaking with others in the church and praying about how our ministry can keep moving forward for God’s glory during this time, it is apparent that there would be no better time than now to remodel our kitchen. We are not using the kitchen right now and meetings are limited so renovation would not interfere with ministry activity. Also we are beginning to work on the fellowship hall and kitchen flooring so it would be ideal to address the kitchen.
I have been praying about this for weeks and talking with some of our ministry leaders and kitchen team to develop a plan that I know the church would support. But with not fully gathering right now we find ourselves at odds at how to move forward as we normally would. I have consulted with the Deacon Chair and Church Treasurer about how we could move forward and the consensus is to lay out the plan to the Building and Grounds team, Admin team, and church membership for feedback. We believe that we will find overwhelming support and enthusiasm as you see the plan for the much-needed transformation. I am attaching the facility update here for you review. Would you pray about how God would lead our church family in this project, how you might financially give a gift for this project, and how this project could be used to improve our ministry and reach more people for Christ!
In His Grace, and for His Glory,
Pastor Bob Wilson
I want to update you on some of the projects happening around the church and get your feedback. With limited meetings happening on campus right now this is a good time to tackle some things that need addressed.
1. Sanctuary Painting. If you were here Sunday you may have noticed that we painted doors and the modesty paneling behind the pulpit. Mike did a great job freshening these areas with a white coat of paint. As he is available, he is continuing to work on the trim areas of the sanctuary.
2. Fellowship Hall Flooring. I am beginning to prep the floor in the fellowship hall for work. I have made an executive decision with consultation of the deacon chair and vice chair / treasurer. We previously ruled out an epoxy coating over the existing Vinyl Asbestos Tiles (VAT) because of cost in favor of carpet tiles. The carpet tiles have since become more expensive than originally quoted, and I was able to receive a factory direct wholesale discount from an epoxy coating manufacturer. This made the cost well under what we had previously been quoted and well under the carpet tile figure. I have been in contact with the technical team for the manufacturer and received instructions on how to apply the coating to encapsulate the VAT. This flooring will be better suited for the fellowship hall environment and is very durable and repairable. This is the same product that has been used at the Seafarers building and has held up very well. The cost for the material was $3000 delivered. That will allow for 2 coats of base (the color) a layer of flake (this gives a little texture and the “terrazzo” look) and a seal coat of clear. This will be a uniform floor in the fellowship hall, kitchen and utility closets. We will later install commercial carpet in the classrooms and library. The cost of this project has been approved by the church for $7500 from a designated fund for facility improvements. We should be well under that amount. I think all of you and the rest of the church will be very happy with this flooring solution.
3. Kitchen Remodel. With the floor being replaced in the kitchen and limited meetings on campus right now due to the virus, it would be the ideal time to remodel the kitchen. This is a project that we have discussed many times and needs to be done as our kitchen is very dated and an eyesore to visitors who see it immediately when entering the building. I have been in conversation with the ladies who oversee the kitchen (Jeannie, Bonnie, and June) and have asked them what they need / would want in a kitchen remodel to best serve the church. Here is what has been discussed.
• Demo and Wall Work. Bob McCandless and Dallas Lee did a wonderful job on the east wall of the kitchen adding a header and removing the dated green tile. We would want to do a similar remodel on the north and west wall before adding equipment and cabinets. Cost approximately $1500.
• New Cabinets and Countertop. Our cabinets are very old and look bad. They are very basic made from plywood and the wood is delaminating in many places. The current layout of cabinets is the best use of space. I can obtain cabinets at wholesale pricing through my woodworking company vendors. A new countertop would be installed as well. This would cost approximately $5000.
• Deeper Sink. Our current sink is a residential depth unit which makes it difficult to wash large commercial pots used to serve our church family efficiently. A commercial sized 12” depth sink would be approximately $1000.
• Serving Area. Our steam table is over 40 years old and does not function properly. This is a unit that is very important to the ladies who serve in the kitchen. The proposal here includes a new steam table unit and stainless counter serving cabinets in a similar layout to what we currently have. Cost is $3500.
Range / Ovens. Our range has served us well for many years but is honestly at the end of its serviceable life. Many of the parts are no longer available and it has a considerable amount of rust inside the unit. It is very finicky and a constant source of angst for those who work in the kitchen. The kitchen workers have asked that we switch from an electric range to a gas unit as it would perform better and cost less to operate. The purchase price for a commercial gas range top unit is also much lower than an electric unit. I am currently consulting with the gas utility to see what the cost to add service would be, so that cost is unknown at this time. The kitchen workers have requested that we replace the current double commercial unit with a double convection oven and a single commercial range. The convection cooking and extra capacity would make their work much more efficient and the price for this layout would be similar to the price of a double range with two convection ovens.
• Gas unit would cost approximately $5500
• Electric units cost approximately $9000
The cost to remodel the Kitchen with gas range / oven would be approximately 16,600 (installing the gas line would be an additional expense. I would estimate around $2000). So for under $20,000 we would completely refresh our kitchen with new commercial appliances sized to feed more than 100 people at a time. I would oversee the project and the work would be completed by myself and volunteers. I have experience with remodeling and a full woodworking shop. We have a number of men who have expressed a willingness to pitch in on these projects in the past including some of our newest members and regular attenders. Volunteer labor along with commercial discounts makes this project very reasonable and would be a great benefit and improvement to our ministry years to come.
To finance the project, I will suggest to the Administration Team that we make use of funds from our previous years holdings (undesignated reserve funds) along with encouraging members to give specifically for the project. Many have expressed interest in giving to a kitchen remodel in the past and I would challenge the church to raise at least half the amount ($10,000) through designated giving.
Our previous years holdings account currently has $78,557 that means if we received no direct funding, we would still have nearly $60,000 in this reserve fund. Our giving this year through the virus outbreak has been down a little bit, but we have been able to keep our spending close to the level of funds received. The current forecast is that the church will not see a significant deficit due to the virus and we have been blessed to have adequate reserves to weather this season and invest in the ministry.
Thank you for looking over this proposal. If you have any questions please let me know. Because of the virus we are not able to process this through normal means so I am asking for feedback from this team, the finance team, and the church body. I have consulted with many of our members already and I do not foresee that anyone would be against moving forward with this project.