Greetings in Christ!
This handout is to walk us through an update on our massive Church Renovation Project. We’ll start with a review.
In 2017, the Diocese of Lansing convened the Witness to Hope campaign in order to raise some much needed funds for the great work of their ministry. Holy Family and about 11 other parishes in our diocese piggybacked onto that campaign in order to use the diocesan fundraiser to raise money for Holy Family as well.
Our campaign raised $4.2 million, Praise God! The amount that the diocese received from this was $1.3 million, leaving $2.9 million for our church renovation. A plan was created that added a couple items to the church, but it was decided that it would be a lot of money for not enough results. Thus, a new plan was created that would renovate the church completely but would cost somewhere around $4.8 million.
When I arrived here in July of 2018, that is where we were. The Bishop had shared with me that getting the project going was my top priority and I have treated it that way ever since. I gathered a lot of information, learned as much as I could and then made an earnest attempt to raise more money in the hopes that it would get us to $4.8 million.
Your generous and giving hearts kicked into full gear and we launched the Restore the Temple campaign, and in the end we raised $3.5 million in total pledges and gifts through the two campaigns toward the church renovation. The floor plan was redesigned to fit that budget and now, we are seeking approval from numerous diocesan committees to proceed and begin building in the fall of 2019, preferably September 1st.
We hit a couple of road bumps: the meetings to get the approvals for this are spread out and its not simply a matter of popping in when we are ready. Then, like everyone else, the diocese got hit by the flu bug and we lost a meeting.
However, here we are now. As of the typing of this letter, the diocese has approved the financial loan package, contingent on our pledge status come August. They also approved the general direction of the plan, which allows us to take the next steps for approval through the construction office and the liturgical design committee. We will continue to push forward through this process in anticipation of formal approval later this summer…Come Holy Spirit!
At this point, we have a few challenges and I’m asking for your help.
Do we have enough money for this? Barely and kind of…stick with me and I’ll explain.
Why do I say barely? As I’ve stated in communications with you in the past, we lost a lot of our savings over the past few years in order to cover payroll and other gaps in the budget. The safety net is no longer there and, as a result, we have almost literally the exact amount required to pay for this.
Why kind of? Because that exact amount that we have? Well, it comes in over the next three years and contractors do not prefer to be paid three years after they finish their job. This is where the diocese is bending over backwards to help us, guiding the finance committee and I to make sure we have all the financing we need to get done what we need to get done. They do this because they believe we will be able to pay back the bridge loans necessary to get the project done…praise God. I can’t tell you how completely and beautifully the diocese has assisted us in this.
Why are we doing this if its so close financially? Why not just wait?
Because you were told in 2017 that, if you raised amount X, you would get a renovated church starting in July of 2019. Obviously, that did not happen and, while understandable, it is a shame. You raised money based on the commitment that you would get a renovated church and it is my intention to be sure that happens. Honor demands it, as well as the innumerable practical concerns and issues with our current church.
How can I help?
First, pray. I really, really would love to see the people of God at Holy Family storm Heaven with prayers. Scripture reminds us constantly that God needs to be the source of our efforts and strength.
Second, the more money we present now, the less we’ll have to borrow from the diocese as bridge loans. If you pledged, I ask you to please stay faithful to that pledge as your conscience allows. I know I broke some hearts with the new plan and some of you have cancelled your pledges. I respect your conscience. Some have not gotten yet after their pledges and it would help me to know your intention so we can readjust our finance plan accordingly.
If you did make a pledge and simply forgot, it would be impossible to overstate how helpful it would be to our parish family if you would get after it right away.
If you made a pledge and can accelerate it, that would help us an immense amount.
Again, we have the money, but the money comes in three years whereas the bill will come in one. The more money we have on hand over the next year, the less money we will have to borrow from the diocese as a bridge loan.
If you are in a position to help us in any other way, I invite you to do so by donating to Restore the Temple campaign here at our church.
I want organ pipes in the church, can we have a fundraiser for them?
Bless you! I want them there too and, God willing, we will have them soon. Everything will be prepared for them in the renovation so that moving them will be as easy as possible. The issue is, we need every penny we can get for the project itself, so this puts us in the position of having to finish the church first, then go after what I affectionately call “The Big Four”:
1. Organ pipes moved into the sanctuary
2. Parking lot
3. Baptismal font
4. The covered drop off at the main entrance
So, there it is. I am working very hard and sharing everything I know with you every step of the way. I am VERY excited about this: our new church will be gorgeous and give us an opportunity to do so much more good. Please pray that all who can help do so in order to help us meet the mission the Lord has given us.
I love you all,
Greetings in Christ!