Stonington UMC’s Building Project

We meet on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:00 pm in the church basement.
OUR NEXT MEETING IS WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18th (an exception to our fourth Wednesday schedule due to Thanksgiving)
Tours of Elwin UMC in Elwin, IL and Mt. Zion UMC in Mt. Zion, IL will take place at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm respectively on Thursday, November 12th.  You are invited to join us as we compile ideas for church plans and aesthetics!
NOTE: All our meetings are open and members of the congregation are encouraged to attend.  If you feel uncomfortable meeting in-person due to COVID-19 concerns, please contact any member of the Building Committee.

HOW TO GIVE TO THE PROJECT: Write “building fund
in the memo of your check or envelop to designate your contribution!

1. Tim B., chair
2. Danny L., vice chair, leader of ‘Financial Considerations’
3. Marilyn D.
4. Cynthia M., leader of ‘Membership Surveying’
5. Leslie D.
6. Laurie L.
7. Rita A., leader of ‘Field Research’
8. Edie W.
9. Jeannine C., secretary
10. Pastor, ex officio



NOTE: Everything quoted is from official minutes, approved as written. The minutes are completed by Secretary Jeannine Covington (for both Church Council and Building Committee). Portions in brackets [ ] are additions by Pastor Caleb. Words in green are minutes taken by Pastor Caleb. Words in red signal where we are currently in the process (see May 15th, 2019 “Ted Frost Meeting”).

From the March 13th, 2019 Church Council Minutes: “Pastor Caleb started a discussion on thinking about whether our church should build a new church or not. After discussion, it was decided to open the conversation to the whole congregation. As there is a potluck scheduled for March 31st, it was decided to hold a discussion after the meal.”

[On March 31st, 2019 – a potluck followed the church service and an open discussion with congregants present ensued.]

From the April 10th, 2019 Church Council Minutes: “Steve reviewed the meeting that was held concerning the church building. There had been an open conversation [on March 31st]. Nothing was decided at the meeting. If it is decided to build a new church, a Building Task Force would need to be formed. A separate Building Fund would be started down the road. Pastor Caleb will contact a conference representative to speak about a project to remodel or build a new church. It was thought that it would be good for a few members to meet with the representative to receive information. Tim made a motion for Steve, Bob, Lyle, and Pastor Caleb to meet with the conference representative after April 15th. Jean seconded the motion. Motion carried.”

From the May 8th, 2019 Church Council Minutes: “Pastor Caleb stated that he had contacted Ted Frost from the conference. Ted would rather come to our church to make a presentation on steps the membership would go through if building a new church or repairing present church. He will come on May 15th at 7:00 pm. Any interested member is welcome to attend. The DS has been told that our church is considering building. Pastor Caleb went over the steps involved in a church building project [as outlined in The Book of Discipline].”

[On May 15th, 2019 – Ted Frost met in an open meeting at the church. Ted is the director of the IGRC Foundation–the investment arm of the Conference.]

From the May 15th, 2019 “Ted Frost Meeting” Minutes: “Ted Frost from the conference met with interested members of the congregation on May 15th, 2019 at 7:02 pm. Ted Frost passed out packets on a “Capital Campaign.” He spoke about endowments. Then Ted covered the steps involved in a successful campaign:

1. Establish the Vision: What is needed and why.
2. Secure Written consent for the Project – talk to the District Superintendent if decide to build.
3. Charge/Church Conference #1 – Establish a Building Committee to outline scope of plans and estimate cost.
~~~As of September 24th, 2020, this is where we are–we plan to continue with Step 4 below sometime in 2021~~~
4. District Committee on Church Location and Building – will meet with Building Committee for approval of preliminary plans and cost estimates.
5. Charge/Church Conference #2 – approve preliminary plans and cost estimates.
6. Building Committee develops detailed construction plans, cost estimates, and financial plan.
7. District Board of Church Location and Building meets with Building Committee for approval of detailed construction plans, cost estimates, and financial plan.
8. Charge/Church Conference #3 – approval of final construction plans, costs, and financial plan for payment of costs.
9. Sign Contracts and Begin Work.”

OTHER NOTES FROM MEETING: “It would be good to visit some other churches. Everything must be handicapped accessible. The district does not have other requirements. “Trust Clause” would only be used if the church closes. (Property would go to the conference.) Before we start, 1/3 of the required money should be available, 1/3 of the money should be pledged, 1/3 of the amount can be borrowed. We can request funds from the Foundation for money for handicapped accessibility items. “NOMADS” is a group that could help build; we would supply materials. Also, should be able to raise 1.5 to 2.5% of annual budget over 3 years. Foundation could help. We would pay a fee ($9,000 possible). Different parts can be done for various amounts. [Promotional materials like brochures, etc.]”

From the June 12th, 2019 Church Council Minutes: “Those present discussed notes from the meeting with Ted Frost. After discussion, it was decided to put together a Study Group to work on a survey concerning our church building. After results are received by the group, the results will be presented to the council. Suggested members of the Study Group: Tim, Marilyn D, Cynthia, Leslie, Bob, Rita, Shelli, and a member of the Likes family will be contacted by Pastor and Jeannine.”

From the July 10th, 2019 Church Council Meeting: “Pastor reported on the Study Group. He stated that Raymond Likes will serve on the committee. The survey will be created by our August meeting. Surveys will be sent to all church members.”

REPORT OF THE STONINGTON BUILDING STUDY TEAM (SBST) – dated Tuesday, September 10th, 2019:
“Our Work: On Wednesday, August 21st, 2019, the SBST met to begin our work. A membership survey was created and approved. On Friday, August 23rd, 2019, 80 letters were sent out to professing members of the church. On Tuesday, September 10th, 2019, the SBST met to review the results. 43 letters were returned, a 54% return. We read off and collected the responses. Below are our findings:
Renovating the current church structure:
Yes (4 responses, 10%)
No (26 responses, 60%)
Neither circled (13 responses, 32%)
Building a new church structure:
Yes (38 responses, 88%)
No (2 responses, 5%)
Neither circled (3 responses, 7%)
[The rest of the report listed every comment from the returned surveys.]
The SBST’s recommendation to church council: Based on our findings, therefore, it is the recommendation of the Stonington Building Study Team to the Church Council that we should begin the process to build a new church structure. [Report prepared by Pastor Caleb, 9/11/2019.]

From the September 11th, 2019 Church Council Minutes: “Pastor Caleb gave a report from the Study Team. After going over results of the survey, the committee recommended we should begin the process to build a new church structure. Tim made a motion to accept the recommendation from the Study Team. Dee Dee seconded the motion. Motion carried. Will try to have people’s names to be on the Building Committee ready to be voted on at the next council meeting. Approximately nine people should make up the committee.”

From the October 9th, 2019 Church Council Minutes: “A Building Committee needs to be named. Pastor Caleb suggested the Council nominate names for this committee. Ten people were suggested and will be contacted and asked to serve on this committee. The District Superintendent will need to sanction the people to serve on the building committee. This should be done before the end of the year. Suggested names: Tim, Ray L., Danny, Marilyn D., Cynthia, Leslie, Laurie, Rita, Shelli [she said ‘no’], Edie.”

From the November `13th, 2019 Church Council Minutes: “Bob made a motion to approve the following people to serve as the Building Committee: Tim, Ray L., Danny, Marilyn D., Cynthia, Leslie, Laurie, Rita, Edie, and Jeannine [Pastor ex officio.] Jean seconded motion. Motion carried. The committee will meet for the first time in January.”

On Monday, March 2nd, 2020, a written consent by Pastor Caleb was sent to D.S. Bradley Watkins II, asking for charge conference to begin process officially. D.S. Bradley responded that the church conference was waived due to busyness of D.S.’s “dual” appointment right now. D.S. Bradley said we will “need to schedule a meeting with the District Committee on Church Location and Building sometime in the process.” They will come to us. This is best once we’ve gotten our initial game plan together.

[The Building Committee planned to meet on Wednesday, February 19th, but this was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.]

From the July 29th, 2020 Building Committee Minutes [First meeting of the Committee]: “There was a brief discussion of why we are planning a new building. Answers included: the present building is falling apart, a new building might attract new people, we want to keep a UMC presence in the community, and we want to inspire people. A new building could provide better accessibility and have room for outreach in the community. More natural light and better lighting in the sanctuary would be a positive goal. It was decided we should get an idea of the cost of a new church from Jack Trimble. We are not locked into a certain architect at this time. The beautiful stained glass in the church was discussed. We could possibly use some in a new church, make Christmas ornaments out of some of the glass, and sell some. Subcommittees were suggested to manage this project: 1. Field Research (visit newly built, similarly-sized churches.) 2. Membership Surveying – Keep the congregation informed and give the congregation a chance to express their opinions. 3. Financial Consideration – 1/3 of the money would be needed upfront, 1/3 of the money in pledges, 1/3 of the money in loans. 4. Location Consideration – After discussion, it was agreed to tear down the current building and build a new church on the present site. Subcommittees were set up: 1. Field Research: Marilyn Dixon, Laurie, Rita [leader], and Jeannine. 2. Membership Survey: Cynthia [leader], Rita, and Jeannine. 3. Financial: Tim, Danny, and Ray. Leslie will check into village ordinances as needed. There will be a survey to give members of the congregation a chance to express what is important to them to take from the present church to a new church (i.e. from the sanctuary or the kitchen). It was suggested that lists of memorial items be made. For memorial items that cannot be moved, it was suggested that families could be notified and asked if they would like to purchase the same item for the new building (i.e. doors). The memorial plaques from items not being moved should be on display in one place in the new church. Tim was elected as chairperson of the Building Committee. Danny was elected as vice chairperson. This committee will meet the 4th Wednesday of each month. Meetings are open, and anyone can attend. [These minutes were posted in full in the September 2020 Church Chat.]”

From the August 26th, 2020 Building Committee Minutes: “It was decided the survey will be included in the September newsletter with responses due by September 20th. This will make it possible to share all responses at the next Building Committee Meeting. Pastor Caleb reported on the Field Research Team visit to the Tower Hill Free Methodist Church in Tower Hill. In looking ahead, the committee will need to decide what the capacity of the sanctuary will be, seating the same number of people or less. Tim has been in touch with Jim Montgomery and Jack Trimble for ideas for a church. Hack may be able to attend the September meeting. Also, Tim will contact a gentleman about demolition cost. It was suggested to consider the floor of the new building carefully so that people’s feet will not get cold. Storage of items during construction and where to hold services will be discussed in more detail in the future. [These minutes were posted in full in the September 2020 Church Chat.]”

[The first Congregational Building Survey said: “In an effort to keep our entire congregation involved in the building process of our new church building, the Building Committee would like to receive your feedback on the following items: (1) Please list any items from the current church that you would like to see retained for the new building. (List specific, moveable furniture and decor.) (2) In addition, it has been suggested we attempt to keep some of the stained glass windows.  One idea was to use some of the stained glass for Christmas ornaments.  Any additional ideas would be welcomed.”]

From the September 23rd, 2020 Building Committee Minutes: “Tim introduced Jack Trimble of Trimble Construction to members of the committee.  Tim handed out sheets showing current dimensions of areas in the church along with an idea of a floor plan with new dimensions for the new building.  Jack took questions and suggestions for a new building as well as making his own suggestions.  Included in the discussion: It would be easy to keep and use the sash of some of the stained glass windows in the new building.  Some of the current basement area could be used for mechanicals (i.e., furnace, hot water heater, etc.).  Those present liked the idea of a vaulted ceiling.  The furnace and air conditioners from the current church could be moved to a new building as they are not too old.  Items could be hung on walls to absorb sound in the dining area.  Hot water heat in the floor can be used.  Power lines will be moved underground with new construction.  Jack will check with the village to verify the building can go up to the property line.  He will work up a plan using the information discussed and a cost estimate to give us an idea of the price for the project.  Jack said after plans are further along, a draftsman would draw up a plan.  There was a report on the visit to the Bissell UMC earlier in the day.  Cynthia presented the responses from the Building Survey.  The responses will be shared in a future Church Chat.  It was decided to put a reminder of the steps that have been taken, where we are, and what is ahead on the church’s website. [These minutes were posted in full in the October 2020 Church Chat.]”

From the October 28th, 2020 Building Committee Minutes: “Cynthia stated that copies of the responses from the Building Survey along with an additional page are available at the back of the church.  An additional page had been included which addressed the topic of the stained glass windows and a timeline of steps taken so far.  Tim reported that Jack Trimble was still working on his report.  Tim had spoken to a representative from Morton Buildings.  They could do a site survey for about $2,500.  After that, they could be more involved with architects, etc.  Any fees paid to the company would go toward the construction costs if we chose them for the project.  Tim presented sample financial figures to show an estimated effect on the annual church budget with a building project.  Possible financing options with banks were discussed.  Pledges from members of the congregation were discussed.  Different payment options that would work for members such as monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. were discussed.  Possibly two year pledges would be asked for.  Renewals could be made after that if necessary.  Pastor Caleb will check into pledge cards.  Documentation of donations will be important.  When the committee has more information on the project, promotional material will be sent to all members.  A Financial Committee made up of Tim, Danny, Bob, Steve, and Ray will work on numbers when there is more information.  The next meeting will be November 18th, 2020 [an exception to our fourth Wednesday routine].”

OUR NEXT MEETING IS WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18th, 2020 at 7:00 pm in the church basement.

Contact Our Building Committee Chair using this form.