We gathered as a congregation on Sunday, May 19, for a specially-called meeting. After months and months of deliberation – years, actually – and after any number of conversations about the condition of our building, we finally were ready to make some decisions. The Building Leadership Team, along with several workgroups, had highlighted the core issues. The cost of each was carefully estimated. With this information in mind, the congregation voted 216-31 to go ahead with the project. While the vote was not unanimous, it provided a strong indication of the wishes of the congregation to move forward.
As you may know, a few key issues emerged during this process:
- maintaining the basic infrastructure of the building;
- improving accessibility for those with mobility challenges;
- constructing more open, communal spaces on the main floor; and
- enhancing the worship experience by creating a new chancel area, better sightlines, and improved hearing capabilities.
So, what are we hoping to achieve with this renovation project? First, it will mean a new roof and an updated HVAC system. It will mean a new elevator for the front of the building which will get us to our three primary levels. It will mean more mid-size gathering places, including a sliding wall for the lounge. In the sanctuary, it will mean a glass wall at the rear, a mosaic cross at the front, a movable chancel, a hearing loop, upgraded lighted, and new seating. There are any number of additional renovations too – including new library space, and a restored pipe organ – but these are some of the main ones. And because of Zumbro’s strong commitment to mission, we have pledged at the outset to give away a tithe of any funds that we raise to make even more mission happen. You can read more about these renovation efforts by going to
So where do we go from here? We have formed a Capital Campaign Team to lead fundraising efforts for the project. The theme for the campaign is Our Church. Our Future. Ann Beatty and Bob Giere are heading up the team. Others have joined them in the areas of communication, spiritual life, lead gifts, and events. As we move into September and October, we will hold a variety of events to help get the word out, answer questions, build excitement, and invite people to give. These events will culminate with Commitment Sunday on October 27, which also happens to be Reformation Sunday.
With this in mind, please know that giving to the capital campaign is considered over-and-above giving. We will have our annual stewardship appeal going on at the same time. Your faithful support of our annual budget will continue to be a vital part of our congregational life.
In the weeks leading up to Commitment Sunday, you will receive a commitment card with two sides to it. On the one side will be an opportunity to pledge to our ongoing ministry and mission. On the flip side will be an opportunity to pledge to the capital campaign. The capital campaign pledges will generally be for a three-year period.
Where is this capital appeal leading us? The Feasibility Study, conducted by Tom Jolivette of Kairos, estimated that we could raise $2.5M for this project. To reach this goal, and perhaps even to surpass it, we will definitely need to stretch ourselves. Depending on the amount pledged in this campaign, we will adjust our plans accordingly. While we anticipate some indebtedness as the end of the construction process, we have consulted with members of the Finance Team and with financial institutions to ensure that our debt is manageable. After construction is over, we plan to refinance our mortgage. We will make payments through any ongoing gifts to the campaign, and then finally through our annual budget.
After Commitment Sunday, we will move forward to the construction phase. The newly formed Building Construction Team will be working with our architects and builders to set priorities for the project. They will also work to ensure that we communicate with the congregation along the way. Sometime after Easter 2020, we will begin construction in earnest. We expect the process to last until early fall. Worship will move to the Fellowship Hall, and the majority of our meetings will occur on the first and second levels of the building. Because accessibility is a top priority and we need access to all levels of the building, we may start on the new elevator at the front of the building as early as November of this year. Stay tuned.
Finally, I would ask your prayers for this renovation effort. Building projects are a lot of work. This project has the potential to unite us and strengthen our ministry. Yet, there are lots of decisions yet to be made. My advice? Keep focusing on our mission: Our journey of faith leads us to build bridges of understanding and peace, to reach out with compassion, and to share the hope of Jesus.