Each person is a unique creation of God and, through grace, is a child of God. The people of First Lutheran Church welcome all because God welcomes all, without regard for race or culture, sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status, physical or mental challenges, imprisonment, addictions, socio-economic circumstances, or anything else that too often divides us. First Lutheran Church is a spiritual community that celebrates the gifts of God that can empower us to engage in the struggles of life, to care for each other, and to serve Christ where we work and live. Our unity is in Christ.
In early 2017, a Building Committee was commissioned by the Congregational Church Council to examine recommendations given by the Visioning Team for Accessibility & Worship. The committee concluded that our current facility is preventing us from fulfilling our mission of being a fully welcoming congregation due to numerous shortcomings with regard to accessibility.
Accessibility needs were identified with our worship space, restrooms, kitchen, nursery and Sunday School area, as well as compliance, safety and accessibility issues in other miscellaneous areas. (Read more about our specific needs in these areas.)
The Building Committee worked for over a year with architectural firm, RDG, to develop a preliminary building plan that would address the welcoming, accessibility and safety issues of our current facility. (Read more about the proposed plan.) The preliminary plan was drafted and presented to the congregation in November 2017. At a congregational meeting on January 28, 2018, a motion was approved to develop formal building documents in association with RDG and would cover renovations in the areas of need. In April of 2018, the Congregational Council approved a contract with Hampton Enterprises to be the General Contractor for the building project. Hampton evaluated the design proposal and provided a cost analysis of the project by area.
Meanwhile, in early 2018, our “Called to Welcome” capital campaign, coordinated by Walsh Fundraising, raised $2,727,726 in pledges from the congregation for the building project.
On July 7, 2018, at a joint Building Committee/Congregational Council retreat, it was decided to recommend to the congregation that First Lutheran proceed with all areas of the building project at an approximate cost of $3.998 million.
A vote by the congregation on July 29, 2018, took place on two motions made by the Congregational Council. One motion was for approval of the building project and the other motion was to approve financing of the project. Both motions were unanimously approved by the congregation. Thus, the Welcoming and Accessibility Building Project is moving forward!
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and every. Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:20-21
WHAT'S CURRENTLY HAPPENING WITH THE PROJECT?
Now that the weather has been cooperating there has been quite a bit of progress on the building project. The kitchen is now finished and is a great improvement. There is a lot of room for anyone to work and move around, there is ample storage for supplies that used to be spread all over the church, and most importantly, the space is safe and accessible. We are blessed to have this new space available to us and we look forward to using it for our fellowship and service.
All of the major work in the education wing has been completed. What remains is largely finish work and that space should be available soon. You may have noticed the roof over the courtyard where our deck used to be. This area will contain the new bathrooms and nursery. The footings and roof for that area are completed and work is continuing daily. Our project manager told us the courtyard was by far the most challenging part of the project so getting that done may mean that most of the unexpected surprises are behind us.
Since the main entrance has been blocked off we are now using the northwest entrance as our primary entrance. The new ramp has been installed and a permanent railing will eventually be installed there as well. In the Sanctuary the organ has been protected and demolition has begun. Work on the structure for the new choir transept has begun outside. Some minimal cuts have been made in the outside wall, but the contractor told us the full wall won’t be removed until as much of the new structure as possible is in place.
It is exciting to see so many changes and now as some of these spaces become available again we can look forward to determining how to best put them to use.