Thursday, February 12, 2015

Growing Stronger

Dear Plymouth Creek Members and Friends,

God’s blessings to you, always! It’s a cold time of year, but exciting time in the life of this church. We’re writing today to share why we believe that, and ask for your support.

To begin, please plan to attend a special congregational meeting after church on Sunday, February 22nd. We have an important issue to discuss and vote to take. The rest of this letter is our attempt to explain what we’ll consider together.

Perhaps you recall that over three years ago, we held our first capital campaign in awhile. The parking lot was a mess. We needed new sanctuary windows. None of this was the fun stuff of church, but it mattered. You responded by pledging over $90,000 to be paid by December 2015, nearly all of which has been collected so far. Thank you, and well done!

But even then, we knew more work remained to strengthen our church and its facilities. Most especially, we understood we needed to make decisions about the child care center- Yellow Brick Road- that resides in our building. 1Their rent represents over 20% of our budget, and they do high quality work. So it’s an important ministry partnership to maintain! Nevertheless, their 45+ kids running daily through our hallways, bathrooms and fellowship space cause significant building stress. That, we knew, was our number one long-term challenge to solve.

Besides, with both of our growth, we’d been increasingly feeling pressed for space. So early last year, the Board agreed to engage YBR in conversation about expanding our building together. Our upcoming meeting will outline the plan we’ve created. Here’s the short version:

11 new or renovated rooms and bathrooms, built onto the building’s west wing.

Dedicated child care space that removes YBR’s operations from our main centers of activity, while fully usable on evenings and weekends for enhanced church ministry.

Further upgrades to church facilities- kitchen, windows, AC throughout the building.

17 new YBR slots created for kids from low-income families on scholarships.

By the way, that last point is a really big deal! After all, much research shows that few programs prove as effective in fighting generational poverty as investing in quality preschool for disadvantaged children. The return on investment is at least 9:1 for society, through lower crime rates, increased college graduation, and more. In other words, if low-income kids get scholarships (valued around $14,000/year), and if quality centers like YBR make space, their life trajectory changes. They don’t just beat the odds; they change them.

With help from IOCP’s Caring for Kids Initiative, we can find local kids who need quality care and scholarships to fund it. YBR is committed to welcoming up to 17, and through that becoming a local leader in quality, low-cost child care that lifts kids out of poverty. If all slots are filled, that represents $238,000 annually invested in a better community, simply by opening our space. Plus, the expansion would allow YBR to pay the full mortgage increase, covering this construction. And we’d sign a 20-year lease, stabilizing their impact on our budget.

That’s the vision: changed lives for low-income neighbors, a stronger church fiscal outlook, enhanced growth and service opportunities, a more attractive, longer-lasting facility.

We still need to apply to Church Extension for financing, with whom we’ve had good conversation so far. That’s another reason we write. As mentioned, YBR will pay the ongoing financing costs through increased rent. But for any loan, Church Extension requires a 10% down payment on the total project. We’ve just finalized building design and bids. Our builders’ estimate is $550,000. Therefore, we’ll need $50-60,000 cash on-hand in order to apply.

That may sound like a lot for our church, especially since we’ll need to apply soon to be ready for a new school year in September! YBR will pick up some of the down payment, but they’ve been paying the design costs so far- $15,000 and counting. So the question is whether we can raise enough money now to present a viable application…

Another step in that process, by the way, is congregational approval, and we’ll vote on February 22nd (all current members are eligible voters; you can vote by proxy if you’re away). We’ll have drawings, 3-D renderings and more pricing details available for your consideration. But we also know the funding question will be on your minds. We’re confident that with YBR’s stable history, business plan and growing demand, we’ll be able to make the payments. What we don’t yet have are commitments from Plymouth Creek members and friends to cover the down payment.

So we’re asking today- Will you give generously to make this vision possible?

Click here for a pledge card that you can print or pick one up at church. (To print our the pledge card, Click on "Printable Version" found at the bottom right of your screen and then print from your browser:  Menu - Print or Ctrl + P)  G
iven the short window for 2015 construction, immediate cash, check or stock transfers will help most. But we’re also aware some budgets may need more time to fully contribute what you’d like. Please simply let us know before February 22nd what you can give, and how or when you intend to do so. We’ll make it work. Forgive the urgency, but in advance, Thank You.

Because we feel poised to write Plymouth Creek’s next remarkable chapter, by opening more room to grow and serve! Like other new ventures that have arisen in our midst the past 35+ years, this one will be an adventure in faith, trusting God’s guidance and provision. Indeed, we believe that with your, YBR’s and God’s help, we’ll brighten the light shining from our church, while making a huge dent in the poverty increasing around us. In short, we’ll expand Christ’s Table broader and bolder that any would expect possible from our small, intimate church. Well, any but us. And God, who bet it all on our future thriving. And still does.

Grace and Peace,

Shane Read more!