Rector's Ramblings July 26, 2017
Some of you will remember the show, Extreme Home Makeover, which was very popular ten or so years ago. The producers would find a family with some kind of need, build and furnish a new home in a matter of days, and then present the home with great fanfare. We had one of the homes in the last town I served in, and it was truly amazing to see how much a large group of organized people could do. It was almost like an Amish barn raising. Each episode included the arrival of the family, who were shielded from seeing the home right away by a large bus. In anticipation of the unveil, the crowd of volunteers and the new homeowners would start chanting, “move that bus, move that bus!” It was high drama and often accompanied by tears. It was feel good TV at its best.
There was a similar sense of anticipation as we gathered on Sunday to hear the feedback from our Master Planners about what we might consider for our future. During the introductory slides that recapped where we had been to get to this point, there was a sense of wanting it to click on through to the juicy part, the findings from five months of listening, data gathering, and brainstorming. Granted, they had large photo boards visible from the start, but the anticipation was real, nonetheless. Everyone restrained themselves though; I heard no chanting of, “click that mouse, click that mouse!”
What I saw in the room and heard after the presentation was a great deal of positive affirmation for the work our planners, and our Master Plan Committee and Vestry’s efforts to think strategically about what we might need to consider for the future of our ministry at Christ Church. Interestingly, no one publicly asked how much the suggestions would cost, which I take to be a good sign. It means that people generally like the direction of the vision, and also understood that it was conceptual. As our planners said, the Master Plan is almost a wish-list of sorts. It represents an idealized future and a host of possibilities that may or may not be realized in the years to come.
If you were not able to attend the meeting because you were out of town, be sure to visit the website for our plan: www.ccfssiplan.org. You can find all the information from the presentation and all the slides that were shown. If you would like some explanation beyond what you can find on the website, be sure to let me or one of the wardens know and we can certainly walk you through the high points. I’ll cover those briefly here, as well, just to help get the word out about what we learned from our Master Plan Process:
- Frederica Road needs to move to the East. In order to keep our campus “centralized” with the historic church as a vital part of the campus, we need safe and ample parking out front. We want to eliminate parking on the road and crossing the roadway. The planners suggest that we can move Frederica Road towards the Memorial Garden onto land we own. We’re going to keep exploring the feasibility of that project as we move ahead.
- We can create the space we need for worship, program, education, and more in the basic footprint of our current parish hall building space. It will involve a two story facility, but we can do it. We also have the room to create a worship space that would be flexible and allow more than 300 people to be seated comfortably at the same time. The planners worked very hard to listen to what we need now and project where we need to be in ten years, so that we have the right size facilities for our ministry.
- They suggested some other interesting possibilities, like an outdoor pavilion that can be used for church events, but also rented for public events and weddings. There was a great deal of support for this particular idea. They also showed us how we could create a Dodge Memorial Garden adjacent to the Wesley Memorial Garden, including space for a labyrinth and stations of the cross. In addition, they suggested the placement of a field that could be used for sports or picnics or even overflow parking for large events.
- The plan also took into account our desire to respect the natural elements of the island. They worked hard to disturb as few trees as possible while making room for growth, especially sparing oak trees to the extent possible.
There are other facets and specifics in the plan, and I hope you will look at it, spend some time with it, and pray about it. The Vestry is going to do just that. We’ll pick up the plan again at the end of September and decide what our next steps might be. In the meantime it would be very helpful to hear from the congregation about what elements of the plan you really like and which ones you think should be priorities. We will certainly be coming back to the congregation for formal feedback, but the informal, individual feedback is just as important. I hope each of you will let us know your thoughts when you get a chance.
I am very pleased with the results of our Master Planning. It certainly helped us answer some questions and gives us a vision of how we might move forward. I am grateful to our Master Plan Committee (Susan Shipman, Tony Kreimborg, Scott McQuade, Nancy Stoddard, Sandy Rice, and Rip Graham) and our Vestry for their hard work and diligence during the master planning process. There were a lot of moving parts and a lot to be done. Susan, in particular, joined me in regular contact with the planners throughout the process, and her input and guidance was invaluable. Now we can all continue the work of discerning what comes next, a process that will take time and much prayer. I look forward to this next stage of our journey together.
Almighty God, we thank you for making us in your image, to share in the ordering of our world. Continually receive the work of our hands in this place, set apart for your worship, the building up of the living, and the remembrance of the dead, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCP 567