(as shared with the congregation on Nov. 22, 2015)

It’s been a long journey since first we came before you with a dream about renovating and updating our building.  Eighteen months or more of gathering ideas and drawing plans and raising money and re-drawing plans and gathering more ideas – if you’re anything like me, you’re getting anxious to have this building renovation project done!

I wanted to let you know that we are really getting close now.  The structural and mechanical engineers have been all over the building for the last two weeks, and especially up on the roof.  The rains we’ve had recently have been the perfect opportunity to see just how much water collects up there and to marvel that none of it is, as of yet, getting in the building.  But we know drainage is an issue, and we’re going to get it fixed before it does any real damage. The contractors have been here: demolition, concrete, heating and air-conditioning teams have all been onsite.  And our Project Director Joe Lapaglia tells me they are right on the verge of a facility plan that aligns our building with our ministry, and addresses our maintenance issues as well.  They’ve been working non-stop on our REACH project these past few weeks, and they’re just about there.  Joe’s pretty excited; the team is pretty excited; and we’re all meeting at the end of this month – Advisory, Kitchen, and Interiors Teams – to see what they’ve got.  When we meet on Nov. 30 we anticipate a final design and pricing options, and we’ll let you know as soon as we do.

Meanwhile, on this side, we’ve been working on financing.  We’ve talked to four local banks and two regional lending institutions, and we’re getting the pieces in place to take the best package to the District Board of Building and Location in December, and to bring it to the church in January.

As you know, the decision to move ahead and do the renovation is a vote of the church conference, to which all are invited, and at which all members present can vote.  As soon as we have the final design, final price, and financing approved, we will set a date and let everybody know.

I want to thank you for your patience, and your willingness to show us grace as we struggled with the most challenging facility issues and a limited budget.  The good news about it taking so long, though, is that the longer we’ve waited, the more pledges have been collected, and the larger the fund has grown.  And we all understand that the more that is collected at the front end of the campaign, the less we have to borrow at the back end.

So, even as I bring you this update and optimism, let me also offer this challenge:

  1. If you haven’t had a chance to make a pledge to the REACH campaign, or if you made a pledge but haven’t yet made the promise a reality – consider doing that now.  Reaching our campaign goal is essential to the success of the project.  And reaching it sooner lowers our overall cost.  If you can catch up your pledge by the end of the year, you not only enjoy the tax benefit of your charitable donation, but you move the project forward, and reduce our debt.
  2. If you have been giving to the capital campaign, we are deeply grateful.  Your faithfulness and generosity are what make all the difference.  I invite you to consider making a special Christmas gift to your church this year – an additional surprise gift, if you’ve got it, just to push us a little farther ahead and keep future debt to a minimum.  Again, all gifts postmarked before Dec. 31 count as a year-end tax deduction.

We’re getting there, Church!  We’re finally going to see the fruits of our labor and the rewards of your generosity.  And in this season of Thanksgiving, we are thankful to YOU for being such a caring, sharing, giving, Church!

Please be in prayer between now and January, for our Aspen Advisory Team, which includes:  Belinda/Dave Green, Phil Fahs, Mike Ford, Jeanette Hampson, Bill Gillespie, Jim Logan, Chuck Herr, Terry Burke, Julie Miller, Jill Meseke, and Pastor Sara.  Also included are additional members of the kitchen and interiors teams: Sadie Jones, Ginny Fahs, Nick Stabler, Jan Miller, and Carol Frost.  (Note: this is a different group than the Trustees Committee.)