Continuing the Conversation, part 1

This post will summarize the “Continuing the Conversation” meeting, which occurred June 20.  This meeting was the first follow-on to the big April 29 potluck dinner and presentation “The Next 30 Years.”  The next one will occur July 29.

Greetings in the Name of the Lord, New Lifers!

It is a joy to be writing you.  Yes, the dog days of summer are here, but many things are happening at New Life that you will be hearing about in the coming months. Some of the joy of engaging our future is the conversations along the way.  Furthermore, precisely because of these conversations, our plans are improving! Oh, and before I forget — we’re going to do the next Continuing the Conversation on Sunday, July 29.  Stay tuned for details!

We know summer schedules are difficult, as well as a midweek nights, so we are thankful for the 25 or so people who showed for this meeting.  But I loved the opportunity for an informal and detailed conversation.  The questions were indeed detailed because so many of the attendees had read the FAQ document and were up to speed.  (Please read it if you haven’t already — it covers a lot of helpful information.)

The first thirty minutes of the evening was an update from me.  What had happened since the April 29 meeting?
  • The FAQ was completed and posted
  • The June 10 prayer meeting occurred for the church, the building, and our future
  • As requested, we began receiving exterior photo submissions from the congregation


Oh yes, and the Sr High <=> Elementary switch is now under way!  See if you can recognize this room:

We have big plans for this room!

And if you walk in to last year’s Sr High room, you’ll see it looks quite different as well.  It is on its way to becoming two rooms, and the storage area is being transformed also!

Among the comments we received during the evening last week, I should highlight four items:  the building exterior, the Fellowship Hall, the location for Jr High, and finances.

Concerning the exterior, I showed some of the photos that were submitted from Glenside/Abington architecture.  This has been done to consider a look that is as community-appropriate as possible!  The photos received highlighted the many architecture styles near us.  I noted that perhaps the most uniquely regional style is one that uses Wissahickon Schist, with its one remaining quarry located nearby.  Should we incorporate that, perhaps?  So far the reactions have been positive, but let’s keep the conversation going!

The plans for the Fellowship Hall have been under discussion since the charrette last year.  The original plan was to subdivide it into a youth lounge and flexible space, but this has been met with substantial concerns.  So much so, in fact, that it is difficult to see these plans moving forward.  Instead, we may retain the Fellowship Hall largely as-is, but perhaps dividing the room into three or four areas when needed (instead of just two now), and perhaps making it also a little bit more kid-proof for light gym activities.  These suggestions were received well overall, but of course they are not the final word.

What will happen to the Jr High? We discussed this.  Right now the plan is for them to stay where they are, on the 2nd floor of the Old Weldon Hotel building, above the library.  Accessibility is the big problem with this plan, since we’re not planning to add a lift or elevator to that building.  Perhaps the Jr High could be moved the library (but then we have AdultEd to solve and more), if the library is deemed large enough.  It wasn’t big enough for Sr High, however; we seriously considered that option earlier this year.

Concerning finances, the session met on June 19 to discuss our openness to debt.  What if the capital campaign does not raise all the money necessary for our current building plan?  What we will do?  This deserves a longer response, but let me outline the quick answer.  First, the elders have received guidance from congregation members that has encouraged us to engage upon a second capital campaign no earlier than five years from the campaign this fall.  In other words, a second campaign wouldn’t immediately follow the end of the first campaign.  Secondly, the elders are open to additional long-term financing (e.g. a mortgage) at the end of this fall’s capital campaign, but this would need to be met with congregational approval.  So we’ll see what the Lord provides this fall,  and then we’ll have to decide together how to move on from there!

One final thing to mention is my recent growing excitement for the old beauty that can be uncovered in our building.  There is some wonderful wood and brick around these corridors…


To God be the Glory!
Pastor Mark