March 18, 2019

Dear First Lutheran Family,

To refresh your memory on the story thus far…

After the initial news of the instability of our church roof structure in December, we took the advice of our contractor/project manager and consulting engineering firm to install tension cables across the sanctuary. This work was completed eight weeks ago for the purpose of stabilizing the walls of the sanctuary, which had been adversely affected by the weight of the roof. At that time, measuring devices were installed to monitor movement in the walls and roof. It was mentioned, also, at that time, that we might need to do additional vertical stabilization at some point.

Measurements taken late last week indicate that the roof structure continues to decline. This means two things: 1)The sanctuary and fellowship hall continue to be unsafe for occupancy – no one is allowed into those spaces until we have stabilized the structure further. 2) Vertical stabilization is necessary at this point to preserve the building and to keep it safe for future work to be done in the space, and this work needs to be done as quickly as possible.

This week, Finholt Construction will install six vertical stabilization pillars in the sanctuary. These are not permanent structures, but are necessary to ensure that the building does not collapse. Cost for this work is estimated not to exceed $23,000. We have $23,700 in the building fund that is available to support this stage of stabilization.

We anticipate further costs beyond this phase of stabilization, as we begin to discuss and prepare for more permanent work to be done.

A congregational meeting will be held Sunday, March 31 at 9:45 a.m. in the Carriage House to approve short term financing for additional expenses related to this phase of building stabilization and preparation.

At the meeting we also will talk about our vision for the church beyond addressing the roof issue. Even before the condition of the roof came into play, we have been discussing our ministry and how it is reflected in our building’s footprint. Our congregation has been discussing ministry priorities that seek to widen our welcome and deepen our relationships.

We have talked making our building more accessible, updating bathroom facilities, replacing the elevator, having a centralized narthex or welcoming area, and finding space for the increasing needs of our education ministries. Our building is a vehicle for ministry. We have an opportunity, at this critical time in our congregation’s life, to imagine a building that can reflect the welcome of this congregation to all who seek to worship and grow in this place.

The Holy Spirit is at work as we have been working through our roof situation. How is the Holy Spirit leading us not simply to repair our building, but to re-envision how our history and our future might come together to address emerging needs in our ministry?

Watch for ways in the near future that you will be able to contribute to this exciting conversation. In the meantime, continue to watch and to pray. Consider how your faith, creativity and generosity can help our congregation in our call to lives of worship, witness, growth and service to God, creation, and all of God’s people.

Pastor Chad, Pastor Melissa, and the First Lutheran Church Council

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