Should we stay or should we go?*

After more than a year of study, careful deliberation, forums and meetings, our Long Range Planning crew has published a draft of the Long Range Plan. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the LRP team: Colleen Bryan, John Collins, Coral Cosway, Jim Harlin, Nicky Montieth, and Maryanne Thompson. When you see these folks, thank them! They’ve put in countless hours and have done a great job.

Now it’s your turn! Please take some time to read through the proposed plan. If approved, this document will set our direction for the next five years, so it’s important for everyone to make their voice heard about it. Comments and questions can be sent to the Long Range Plan team ( Forums will be held in late October and early November so you can ask questions and give feedback in person. In early December we will hold a special congregational meeting to vote on whether or not to adopt the plan. More information about the meeting will be available soon.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting some aspects of the plan.

This week: Our building. There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt over the last few years about our building. Should we stay in the building, move to another building, tear down the current building and re-build, or spin off a satellite church? The LRP team considered all these options, and heard resoundingly that we should stay where we are and renovate. A lot of members and friends (myself included) value our identity as an urban sanctuary. We like being in town, even if we don’t live nearby (although many do). We are embedded in the community of Capitol Hill. Many of us also value and appreciate our historic building.

So what does it mean to stay in our building? The building does need some work. We’ve deferred maintenance to the exterior and mechanicals, and the interior is dated and, frankly, a little ratty in places. The Long Range Plan proposes that we embark on a capital campaign to raise an estimated $1.3 million for the renovation. Oh, maybe I should have told you to sit down first. But don’t worry, we’ll ramp up to a campaign, make sure we’re ready to embark on it (or as ready as we can be!), and get outside consultants to help us through the process.

Details about the proposed renovation can be found in the plan on page 2 in the Executive Summary and pages 24-25, Facilities. Cost details are in Appendix C, pages 35-36. Many of the recommendations are ones you would expect--new chairs and carpet, tuck-pointing, remodel the first floor kitchen, more religious education space--and some you might not have thought of--solar panels, a playground. Lots to consider.

I hope you’ll take time to ponder these recommendations. There is a lot in the Long Range Plan, not just about the building but also--and more importantly--about what goes on in the building. I believe we’re already a fabulous church, and we have even greater potential. Does this plan correctly outline the direction we should follow? It’s up to you. Please participate!

*Tip o’ the nib to The Clash.