Stonington UMC’s Building Project


You may watch the worship service on ZOOM (D.S. Bradley Watkins preaching) at 10:30 or wait until 11:15-20 to join the meeting to vote on ZOOM
For instructions to use and vote through ZOOM, click the blue button below.
For more details about the purpose and processes relating to the Campaign Kick-Off and Membership Vote, click the green button below.

We are now meeting as often as possible to move the project forward.
NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, April 28th – 7:00 pm
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.

View Our *Preliminary Plans

HOW TO GIVE TO THE PROJECT: Write “building fund
in the memo of your check or envelop to designate your contribution!
We ask that you do not mingle general offering/tithe and designated money on a single check.

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.
4. District Committee on Church Location and Building – will meet with Building Committee for approval of preliminary plans and cost estimates.
~~~As of February 24th, 2021, this is where we are–we plan to continue with Step 5 below in late March/early April~~~
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].”

From the November 18th, 2020 Building Committee Minutes: “Pictures were displayed from the visit to the Mt. Zion UMC and features pointed out.  Tim had some preliminary information from Jack Trimble.”

The Financial Subcommittee of the Building Committee (Tim, Danny, and Ray) met with church treasurer Bob Steiner on Monday, November 30th.  They discussed the financial situation and possibilities and challenges.

At the December 9th Church Council Meeting, Pastor Caleb motioned to approve for future payments for preliminary architectural plans from architect Dave Lipe.  Motion carried unanimously.

From the December 11th, 2020 Building Committee Minutes: “Tim introduced Jack Trimble [contractor – Blue Mound] and architect David Lipe [Nokomis –].  Jack took questions from those present.  Some of the information gathered during the meeting included the following: (1) Construction on a new building can begin as soon as the current building is demolished and filled in [in terms of preparing the soil.] (2) There could be a raised stage at the front of the sanctuary with steps and a ramp. (3) Plans include using some of the stained glass from the current building as interior windows, such as in the sanctuary wall that looks into the dining area, perhaps the wall that would look out the vestibule, too.  The stained glass would be framed and set into place. (4) Radon vents should be put in during construction since the present building has a problem with radon.  It would be more economical to do so at the time of construction.  (5) Radiant heat would be used in the sanctuary and vestibule [forced air in the rest of the building, hopefully retaining current furnaces.] (6) From the start of excavation to the time we could get into a new church building would be about one year. (7) Jack would recommend starting the project no later than the end of July because of the weather during the winter. (8) David Lipe will prepare a preliminary design for us to look at.  We can examine it and ask for changes to be made until we are satisfied.  At that time, David will provide the church with an 8×10 copy of the design which can be copied and included in a mailing to members of the church.”

From the January 14th, 2021 Building Committee Minutes: “Updated plans were studied.  Topics discussed included: (1) Need to make sure that A/C units do not extend into the alley. (2) A variance will be needed for the sidewalk. (3) Will have to get permission to close off the street in front of the church during construction. (4) The current pews can be used in a new building to start with.  That would be a great saving. (5) Parking at an angel rather than straight in would be good. (6) In floor heating will be used only in the sanctuary.  Forced air will be in the rest of the building. Units we have can be used. (7) Our current swinging doors to enter the sanctuary from the vestibule can be used in a new building. (8) Much of our stained glass can be used in a new building.  (9) Steeple ideas were considered. (10) The current bell will be used.  Leslie had checked on stained glass.  There is a business [in Decatur] that might purchase stained glass that is not used.  We are getting closer to sharing drawings and plans with the congregation for feedback.”

From the February 3rd, 2021 Building Committee Minutes: “Ray reported that he and Tim had attended the last Village Board Meeting.  The church’s zoning requests were granted.  Also, the street request during construction was approved.  Tim stated that the asbestos inspection had been completed.  Items which would need to be taken care of are: the floors in both bathrooms need to be taken up; part of the ceiling in the furnace room needs to be removed.  The bid for this work is $2,930.  The church would be in compliance after this mitigation is completed.  It was decided to ask the Administrative Council to approve moving forward with this.  There was consideration of the color to use for the exterior of the church in pictures which will be shared with the congregation.  The actual color of the new building would be determined later.  The financial presentation was considered.  The letter to be sent to members of the congregation concerning the building project was discussed with suggestions made for changes.  It was noted that the committee will need to ask for additional funds from the Administrative Council to pay the architect fees for work on the project.”

From the February 9th, 2021 Building Committee Minutes: “The church layout was re-examined with possible changes discussed.  Placement of dressing room and exterior doors were noted.  The sanctuary could seat 208 people.  The dining area has room for 84 with capability for an additional 24 in the vestibule.  Tom May had told Tim that our church could meet in the Community Center at no cost during construction.  The colored rendering of the church and interior floor plan were approved to be printed.  They will be sent to members of the congregation along with the approved letter about the building project.  The presentation to the congregation concerning finances was discussed.  The figures given on the information sheet were for a twenty year loan.  At the next Administrative Council Meeting, Tim will ask for $275,000 from the treasury to go towards a new building.  The congregation will be asked to contribute $300,000 over the course of construction.  “New SUMC Commitment Cards” will be printed to distribute in the near future.  They should be ready by February 21st.  On February 21st, the worship service will be very short, perhaps 10 minutes.  Then the presentation of the new building will be made.  That day’s service will be on ZOOM so people can take part even if they are not present in the church.  There will not be a vote taken that day.”

From the February 18th, 2021 Building Committee Minutes: “Pages showing the PowerPoint slides for Sunday’s presentation to the congregation were viewed.  Plans for how to present the building project were shared.  A sample of the Commitment Cards were viewed.  Suggestions were made for changes.  Members will be asked to return their completed cards by March 15th.  Tim had received one bid to demolish the church and prepare the site in the amount of $46,000.  The meeting with the Conference representatives is set for February 24th.  Tim, Danny, and Pastor Caleb will represent the committee.  A second invoice for $2,145 has been received from the architect.  The Administrative Council will be asked for funds to cover this bill.  A roll up door for the kitchen which would separate the kitchen from the dining area was discussed.  Those in attendance didn’t think it was necessary.  Floor coverings were brought up.  These would be carpet in the sanctuary, vestibule, and offices.  The other areas would have vinyl with concrete in the kitchen storage.  (The carpeting would be in large squares which could be removed and replaced if an area was in need of change.)  It was noted that although some building materials have increased in price, others have decreased so the bid we are using is not too far off what the actual cost would be.”

From the February 25th, 2021 Building Committee Minutes: “A report of the Conference Presentation was made.  The meeting had been conducted on February 24th on [LifeSize] with Tim, Danny, and Pastor Caleb representing the committee.  The D.S. and District Committee on Building and Location represented the district.  The proposal for a new church was approved.  In the future, on a Sunday morning, the D.S. will be in attendance at a worship service at which time a vote will be taken.  Discussion of possibly having memorial and member plaques to place in a new church was held.  As the building project proceeds, it was suggested to keep members apprised of the progress towards the goal, perhaps with a model of a thermometer showing donations.  May want to give members quarterly reports of their individual giving, also.  During the service on March 14th, the official start of the capital campaign will be recognized.  Perhaps a congregational vote could be held on March 28th.  Tim reported that he is getting another bid on demolition of the building.”

From the March 3rd, 2021 Building Committee Minutes: The fact that there will be a change in pastor at the end of June was discussed.  Members shared their feelings about how that should or should not affect the work of the building committee.  It was decided the committee will stay committed to the building project.  However, we will slow the process down to give the congregation a chance to learn a bit more about what changes are coming to our church.  The possible date for a congregation vote will be set at a later time.  Cynthia passed out a list of names of people in a group church picture taken in the 60’s.

From the March 24th, 2021 Building Committee Minutes: Pastor Brennan joined the meeting via ZOOM.  Tim reported on the pledged amount for the project to this point.  It is a good beginning.  It was decided to include a letter about the progress in The Church Chat.  Also, pledge cards will be included since with so many people not attending services due to COVID concerns, many members have not received cards yet.  Jeannine and a couple other people will go through the names of former members to make a list for the Memorial Plaque.  A letter explaining what we wish to do will be sent to their family members at a later time.  We will need to get additional bids for financing the loan for the building.  Scott Bank has asked to have the farmland appraised and make a bid for the loan.  It was decided to wait on having an appraisal done.  The committee will ask the Church Council for approval for the $1,000 cost of the appraisal for when it is done in the future.  It was suggested to have a display showing the church rendering at the pie and ice cream booth during Summerfest to put the plans of our church out into the community.  It was noted that when writing checks it is important for people to note on the Memo line if the check is for the Building Fund.  It is helpful if separate checks are written for Building Fund, Benevolence, Budget, etc.  There will be two votes held.  The first vote will ask members for approval of the plans for the new church building and the financial plan.  A second vote will be held approving the start of the project.  The first vote will be held in April if the District Superintendent is available. [Yes, he is.]  If people feel there needs to be an additional informational meeting held one can be scheduled.

From the April 7th, 2021 Building Committee Minutes: A letter will be sent to members of the congregation to inform them of the upcoming vote on April 25th.  Members who wish to participate from home will be allowed to vote over ZOOM.  A suggested letter and a list of names and addresses were examined.  Tim reported that there has been an increase of $37,742.24 in the bid from Jack Trimble due to increases in building materials.  He is still waiting on the mechanical final bid.  The Scott Bank has stated they would loan the church the money at 3.5% interest.  A review of money collected so far for the church project was shared.  There are more pledges expected.  Of interest, Tim had been in contact with Verdin Bell Company.  The representative told Tim that if a bell like we have now were made today, it would cost $50,000.  We will be using our current bell in the new building.  Tim had a brochure for bronze plagues.  Placing an ad for the church in the Summerfest program book was discussed.  Laurie and Steve will take care of the ad placement.  At the church’s pie and ice cream booth there should be a picture of the new church on display to share our plans for the future with the community.


What to Expect Coming Up . . .

1. Architect Dave Lipe from Nokomis (see his website at is authorized to work on PRELIMINARY building plans. [12/11/21]
2. The building committee will meet as soon as these plans are made available to receive them. [1/14/21]
3. Copies of the plan will be mailed out to all professing members and constituents of SUMC. [2/3/21]
4. The Building Committee must meet with District Committee on Church Location and Building. [2/24/21]

5. A formal congregational meeting (Church Conference) and formal vote of the PRELIMINARY plans will be made by the professing membership (will have to be both in-person and on ZOOM) to accommodate everybody.  This is limited to PROFESSING MEMBERS of the church as per Book of Discipline rules.  Everyone has a voice. SUNDAY, APRIL 25th
6. Architect Dave Lipe will finalize the plans according to our–SUMC’s–suggestions.  The Building Committee will meet to receive the FINAL architectural plans.
7. The Building Committee will meet with the District Committee again to tie up lose ends and approve the FINAL plans.
8. A Charge Conference will be held (Church Council + District Superintendent) to approve the FINAL plans and financial plan.

Contact Our Building Committee Chair using this form.