Facilities Plan Update

Dear Friends,

Over the past several years our church leadership has been looking at four major areas of facility needs in our church. This past February, our Focus First Leadership Summit affirmed the need to move forward on the vision set out by the congregational feedback.

Imagine a gathering space where people from our six different Sunday morning worship opportunities have plenty of room to visit, get to know one another, and connect over common interests.

Imagine additional space for our Children’s Ministry, including an indoor playground visible from this central gathering space to keep our “children first” commitment visible and tangible for members and visitors.

Imagine a multipurpose venue to accommodate the continued growth of The Gathering, as well as to provide a space for other worship opportunities and to offer a large, flexible space for churchwide events, education, and programs.

Imagine a more user-friendly building layout where first-time guests can quickly and easily find their way to multiple worship spaces, Children’s Ministry areas, special event venues, and a visitor center that welcomes and informs our growing community of visitors and new members.

Can you see it? I know I can. So where are we now in realizing this vision?

In 2014 our Charge Conference elected a Building Study Committee to conduct an extensive study of our facility needs. In 2015 our Trustees voted to engage HH Architects, a nationally renowned church architectural firm to help put their solutions-oriented ideas into a more tangible form. The resulting master plan concept includes the input of both staff and lay leadership, gained through extensive research and interviews with all the ministries of our church.

With changes to our physical facilities identified as our primary area of focus during our Focus First discernment process, the dedicated work of our Building Study Committee enables us to move forward into the “due diligence” work required to address logistics, cost, and fundraising. This means engaging a construction consultant to detail costs, logistics, and timelines — as well as a capital campaign consultant to conduct a financial feasibility study.

It’s very important here to understand that no decision to move forward on constructing this exciting vision has yet been made. From the work and recommendations of these consultants, we’ll be able to create more detailed presentation materials and documents and offer specific opportunities for your consideration, input, and eventually, your vote as prescribed by The United Methodist Book of Discipline.

If you have additional questions for the Building Study Committee to address in their coming meetings, we’ve created a special place for you to send in your questions and comments as we move forward for consideration throughout this process. We are committed to clarity and transparency in this process. To share some of these issues and answers we will create a curated list of Frequently Asked Questions.

These are exciting times for our faith community, and I am so thankful to be in ministry with you at this time, in this place, and with this opportunity to create this legacy for the spiritual growth and discipleship of many First Church generations to come.

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor


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