120 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Green Wood Location:
1001 Green Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
First United Methodist Church
"GOD'S HOUSE, OUR HOME" CAPITAL CAMPAIGN
Maybe you have heard tidbits of information. Perhaps you have been in on some conversations. It’s certainly not a secret, and here is the full story: Our beautiful church buildings, which cradle the ministries and programs we love and rely on, need some special attention, and now is the time to address it.
Our downtown church building is almost 75 years old. Twelve years ago this church undertook a progressive plan to renovate and modernize the inside space to make it more useful, which we have been enjoying. Now we need to address some of the structural issues of this grand old building. Our steel sash windows are rusting in place, some of them precariously holding together. The promenade area has severe leakage undermining some of the steel I-beams and structural concrete planks. Tuck-pointing this beautiful limestone edifice is an ongoing concern, but we have some major areas to address to completely seal up this building.
We’ve owned the Green Wood location for about seventeen years now and many have experienced its setting as a powerfully spiritual experience, and it is seeing increased usage. The kitchen, the bathrooms, and the floors now need a little TLC.
There are some expensive, long-term issues we need to have in our thinking, like a new slate roof downtown, and a new boiler. Our Trustees have been carefully assessing all of our building needs and have come to the conclusion that a dedicated effort to get some of these items cared for sooner rather than later will be good stewardship of our resources. Deterioration and expense of repair is only going to increase. Addressing these issues now will be more efficient and cost effective.
Therefore, we are launching a capital campaign – God’s House, Our Home – to raise $350,000.
Here is how you can help. Over the next few weeks you will be hearing more about how important our ministry is and the vital role that our buildings play in providing the ministry and programming that changes lives and that we enjoy. We would like you to consider a special gift or pledge beyond your current giving so that we might begin to address our buildings’ needs. By doing this, we will secure our faithful ministry for the next generation and pass on the legacy that has been passed to us.
As a rule of thumb, a capital campaign can expect to receive gifts and pledges over a three-year drive equal to one year of operating budget. For instance, if one gives $5,000 to our operating budget on an annual basis, $5,000 would be a faithful guide for how much to pledge to our capital campaign over its three-year goal.
Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Please read it to help answer any questions you might have.
Thank you for all the generosity you have shown by giving to Christ’s ministry through FUMC, and thank you for your serious consideration to be a lead giver in our “God’s House, Our Home” campaign.
Frequently Asked Questions about the God's House, Our Home Capital Campaign
Q: What are the goals of this capital campaign? A: To raise $350,000 to help us address major property safety, repair and maintenance problems at the downtown church and at Green Wood in order to protect our church home. If we do not address these issues now, we risk having to pay much higher prices for more significant damage in the future. In the case of repairing the promenade (see below), there are safety issues that must be addressed.
Q: What are the priority projects that this campaign will focus on? Downtown church:
• $ 50,000 - mortar tuck pointing of Indiana limestone building shell
• $ 20,000 - sanctuary stained glass windows (operable portion/lower sash)
• $150,000 - steel sash window restoration (classrooms and offices)
• $ 60,000 - promenade wall & steel beam replacement
• $ 15,000 - promenade exterior, driveway replacement and seal, lighting improvements
Green Wood church:
• $ 35,000 - floor refinish & seal
• $ 12,500 - kitchen updates, cabinets & lighting
• $ 7,500 - bathroom updates, counters, sinks, lighting, flooring
Q: Why now? A: The Leadership Council made a decision to approve a balanced budget in 2012. We did this in part because we knew we would need to refinance our mortgage (from the previous renovation projects) when it reached maturity in June 2012. Adhering to a balanced budget meant we needed to forego some of the projects the Trustees wanted to start in 2012 if we wanted to keep our program areas thriving. In our tight operating budget, we have very little flexibility to cut costs without diminishing or eliminating whole ministry areas led by our clergy and paid staff members. As you may recall, we have eliminated staff and reduced both work hours and benefits for our staff in the past. We do not think there is additional room to economize there. Therefore, we need to raise money outside the budget to care for these significant maintenance issues.
Q: Didn’t we take care of these building issues in past extensive renovation projects? A: Twelve years ago we made the decision to invest in improving this space to make it more usable. Now, we need to repair and maintain some of the areas that were renovated ten years ago and we need to address some other basic structural issues.
Q: Why haven’t these maintenance needs been dealt with before now? A: We have taken on as many of these projects as we could in the last several years, given the economic constraints. Some of the big projects, like repairing the Promenade, required extensive evaluation and appraisal before we could even identify options. The needs of this old building are often unique and hard to fully comprehend and price.
Q: Why is it important to take care of these projects now? A: We believe this is a situation where we pay now or pay more later – because cost of materials and labor for these required projects will just continue to rise and the problem areas will deteriorate requiring more extensive repair. Some of the issues have been postponed long enough that they now present safety issues.
Q: Why didn’t we include needed repairs in the annual budget? A: We have decided to live responsibly within a balanced budget. In so doing we are being very transparent about the costs and the needs to maintain the value of our properties by using a separate capital campaign.
Q: What guideline should I use in thinking about how much to give? A: Everyone’s situation is different. A rule of thumb in capital campaigns is that one should be able match their annual operating pledge over the three years of a capital campaign. For instance, if one pledges $5,000 annually for our operating budget, a three-year pledge to the capital campaign could be $5,000. In all cases, we understand that giving to the capital campaign is sacrificial giving and should not reduce your giving to the church’s annual budget. Also, as we hear on NPR, what is almost as important as the amount is that everyone participates in some way. No gift is too small, and no gift is too large.
We encourage people to pledge – it improves our ability to plan and predict our income in order to meet the day-to-day needs of the church operation, like any organization.
Q: Will we have to make our full donation in 2012? A: The sooner you can honor your pledge, the better. We believe scheduling much of this work in 2012 will allow us to reap the benefits of an improving economy where contractors and laborers are still eager for work – prices may be lower now than in the next year or two.
However, if you can donate some amount in 2012 and some in 2013 and 2014, that will still be very helpful in funding the many needed projects that our Trustees have identified.
Q: Does this donation replace my annual pledge? A: No. This is expected to be beyond your normal or pledged gift.
Q: We aren’t able to help this year; what can we do? A: Make a pledge to give in 2013 or 2014; or make the church part of your estate planning.
Q: Why don’t we pay off our $1.3 million mortgage debt first, before we do more renovations? A: The $350,000 worth of capital improvements are for work that we need to do in the very near term, due to serious building maintenance or safety issues. The FUMC Mortgage Committee has recently negotiated an attractive long-term rate with our current lender, which will be renewed in May. Given that we can repay the mortgage back incrementally at an attractive fixed rate, at the present time it makes the most financial sense to pay for those improvements from a Capital Campaign as opposed to raise funds to pay down the mortgage.
Q: In our own families, sometimes we fix things up when we’re getting ready for something like a wedding or a graduation party. Are we getting ready for something? A: We are welcoming community members and visitors more now than ever to music programs and lectures and children’s programs. We are getting the church ready for the next generation and our third century as Methodists in Ann Arbor.
Fifteen years ago, we determined that we needed to stay in our current location in downtown Ann Arbor. We undertook a significant renovation in order to remain here. Today, we are honoring that decision by taking steps to continue to make the space safer and more usable.
Our church has been active in ministries that impact the world. None of these ministries is possible without our building. We gather here. We strengthen here. We grow here. We commune here.
If you have further questions about the campaign, please feel free to contact one of the committee members listed below.
Capital Campaign Committee:
Maria G. Bertram, chair
John E. Dahl, treasurer Mark D. Baily
Anne M. Cox
Robert W. Simmons
Rev. J. Douglas Paterson
As with any financial commitment, we invite you to also consult the Contribution Policy developed by our Finance Committee.
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