The Board is gathering information about interest in serving on Work Groups focused on the restoration project, and if we see there is not enough support (both financial and in-service) – that we don’t have enough resources to do it – we won't be going through with it. However, based on the responses from the first survey, we have reason to be optimistic that the support will be there.
Financially, the Fellowship’s members and friends already made a commitment to support the work of our standing Committees that is essential to our congregational life when we voted to pass the 2020 budget. We’ll renew our commitment with the 2021 budget, including any increases Committees submit to the Board.
The Board is looking at many aspects of the restoration proposal – including the impact not only on our congregation, but the neighborhood and the community. Investing in the restoration of the exterior of our church building is part of addressing practical goals – maintaining and upgrading our church home – a building that is in need of some immediate repairs, and anticipating repairs that will be needed in the next 5-10 years. It is also part of working to advance our goals and the goals of the city – to improve the aesthetics of our buildings, located in the Jackson Park Historic District. Investing in upgrading our interior space – with accessible bathrooms and a lift that allows access to the lower level – will benefit not only our congregation, but other groups that may be able to use the space more easily with handicap access.
The Board is looking at this as an opportunity to determine if we qualify for financial resources that would help us achieve those goals. If we don’t qualify, or if we don’t generate sufficient funds, we will still need to work toward these goals – but we would be doing it on our own, without the financial support available to us at this time.
If you are interested in learning more about the impact of physical upkeep of a neighborhood – and how it improves residents’ perception of the neighborhood, its’ safety, and their satisfaction in living there, you may wish to read this article from the Journal of Environmental Psychology: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272494414000139
The Board and the Work Groups being developed for this project will work together to address these issues – and also to coordinate internal and external communication to keep our Fellowship community, our partners, our neighborhood and our Dubuque community informed.
The external work of shoring up our building will make it safe home for us in years to come, the belfry might make our building more eye catching and thus make our Fellowship more visible, and the internal restorations will mean that we can make much more use of our space than we’ve been able to – due to lack of access to half of our building. By expanding our usable space, we will hopefully be able to stay in our building as our Fellowship grows. However, if we do outgrow the building, the improvements we’ve made will definitely improve the resale value, making us better able to afford a larger building.
A new Long-Range Planning Committee convened in March 2020, and will play a critical role in engaging the congregation in charting the course for the Fellowship’s future. Developing a plan for realistic membership growth will be an important part of our vision for that future. NOTE: The last Long-Range Planning process was in 2004, shortly after we bought the building.