Summer’s in full swing, of which the streaks of excessive heat, long days, and towering fields of corn attest, but it won’t be long, and the familiar patterns of the fall will once again be upon us. This year, however, September brings with it something new: The Generosity Initiative for our Building Campaign. The Initiative will begin on Sunday, August 26th: and run through the end of September, with “Consecration Sunday” being 30 September. The Generosity Initiative Team is once again gearing up for the campaign, and will be meeting July 12th, July 26th, and twice more in August as they finish the work started in January. You may remember we paused our capital campaign process in order to let the Building Committee complete more of the work undertaken at the start of this year with the Architect (Chiodini).
The Building Committee (Milburn Site Sub-Committee) has been diligently working through a rigorous and faithful process about which you’re invited to learn more beginning this Sunday, July 8th at 3:00pm in the Sanctuary. The Building Committee will be hosting the first of four (4) Building Update and Information Meetings, during which they will: 1) share details about their process; 2) the progress that has been made; and 3) begin showing design concepts developed as a result of their work. There will be three more such meetings held on Sunday, July 22nd, August 12th, and August 26th all at 3:00pm in the Sanctuary. The meetings are scheduled to last 60 minutes, and no more than 90 minutes each time. The same information is intended to be shared at each meeting. Therefore, you only need to attend one of the meetings to get the relevant information, but you are invited to attend as many of the informational meetings as you wish.
I’m excited for our entire faith community to learn more about the work of the Building Committee, and to see the design concepts. There is much more to be done, but we’ve come a long way, and now is the time for us to gather together and share in the vision. If you’re familiar with the story of Nehemiah, then you’ll know he gathered the people together, and with clarity about what it would take to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (the vision God gave), he shared everything, saying, “Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem…” to which the people of God said, “Let us start building!” and committed themselves to the common good. I hope you’ll be able to join me and our Building Committee as we learn more about the vision before us, and begin considering what we will commit to the common good.
Progress continues on the design and location of our new church building at the Milburn campus property. We believe that after careful consideration, analysis and prayer that locating the new church on the northeast quadrant of our property is the optimum location. This highly visible location, 13 acre parcel of land offers a number of benefits. Due to the topography of the land, the site preparation costs are significantly less than if we would build in the center of the property. In fact, building in the center of the property would cost over $600,000 more than building on the corner location. This data was provided by Woolpert, Inc. If anyone is interested in seeing their analysis, I would be happy to share the information.
Building on the northeast quadrant will give us access from both Milburn School Road and Simmons Road. Flowing traffic out 2 different locations will avoid bottlenecks as people try to leave church. We will also have easy access to the pavilion that is already in place at the Milburn campus.
While not as glamorous, the corner location will allow us to hook up to O’Fallon water and sewer. Other locations that we looked out would require hooking up to the Caseyville sewer system. Hooking up to the Caseyville system is 10 times more expensive than hooking up to the O’Fallon system ($135,000 vs. $12,500).
The overall savings by locating the church on the corner location is over $700,000. This is money that can be used for the actual building project.
But the most important point about the corner location is visibility for our church. People traveling on both Milburn School Road and Simmons Road will see an inviting church building. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “in the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Our new church building will be a shining light and help us to connect imperfect people…to a perfect God.
It has been some time since the members of O’Fallon First United Methodist Church voted (June 11, 2018) to move forward with the vision “1 Church – 2 Locations,” with an eye toward building a new church facility on the property at Milburn Road. Since then, we have been making steady progress toward that goal. Recently, our work with Chiodini Architecture has been picking up steam, and we are getting close to having plans to present to the congregation.
In designing our new building, we were encouraged to start by dreaming big, before prioritizing and narrowing down those dreams to fit into a realistic budget for our congregation. We were also encouraged to develop an anticipated schedule for Sunday mornings and the rest of the week. After weeks of dreaming, prioritizing, analyzing needs, and exploring alternative ideas, we have narrowed down what we believe we need in a Phase 1 building project, with the potential for a Phase 2 at a later date.
What we have asked Chiodini for is a building that will include:
We made these requests based on a proposed Sunday schedule that would include three individual worship services in our sanctuary: one traditional, one contemporary, and one convergent. It was always our intention to create a single worship space, so we no longer need to hold concurrent worship services. We are choosing to begin with three services to accommodate as many people in our congregation as possible.
This proposed worship schedule will mean we no longer offer a stand-alone Sunday School hour. Instead we anticipate offering Sunday School programs during each of our worship services. This will allow for up to five adult Sunday school offerings at each service, with the potential of growing to 15 or more classes on Sunday morning. We also anticipate offering Children’s Church opportunities at two worship services, with a full children’s and youth Sunday school during the traditional service.
We also anticipate moving our Learning Tree Preschool and PMO (Parents’ Morning Out) ministries to our new facility. This move is based upon strong recommendations by our architect, driven by our need to have children’s Sunday School space in the new building. The architects have explained that by having the Learning Tree and Sunday School share space, we will save on cost. They also tell us it would be very cost-prohibitive to renovate our existing Smiley Campus space to the point of meeting state licensing code. We do, however, anticipate keeping a PMO program at the Smiley campus. This is possible because the PMO is a program we can operate under less stringent regulations.
Regarding our kitchen, our long-term plan is to have a fully commercial kitchen in our new facility. As we begin looking at costs, we are preparing for the possibility we may need to start with a catering kitchen. This kitchen would be usable in every way but would not have all the commercial grade food preparation, storage, and clean-up equipment. We would work very quickly to raise the needed funds to purchase the commercial appliances we desire.
Under this plan, our student ministries would remain at the Smiley Campus. Eventually, we have the option for a Phase 2 build that would place a gymnasium and ample youth facilities at our Milburn location, but at the moment that is far outside our budget. It makes sense to leave the youth across from the High School and to allow them to grow into an expanded and upgraded space in their current setting. In this model, our biggest challenge will be to find creative ways to keep the congregation and our youth connected in tangible ways on Sundays, at special events, and on social media.
We will continue to connect as a good neighbor at our Smiley Campus by hosting the many different community groups that use our facility. We also anticipate extra space being freed up to be used as a mission center to reach out to those in need in the community of O’Fallon. We don’t know what these new ministries might be at the moment, but the open space gives us incredible opportunities in exploring the needs of our community and matching those needs with the gifts and passions of our members. Conversations have already been underway with city leaders in finding ways we can partner in ministry.
We have met with Chiodini weekly for the past few weeks and seem to be settling into a plan that offers options to meet all these requirements. Some of the details are still being worked out as we consult with audio/visual consultants on sound and video requirements, as well as looking at anticipated final costs with our General Contractor. We hope to have some visuals ready to present later this summer as we hold a number of question/answer sessions with our entire congregation.
We anticipate moving into our “Connect” generosity campaign late in the summer as we begin to present the full vision of our new space and how it will help us reach a new generation of Christians – meeting our mission of connecting imperfect people to a perfect God.
If you have any questions, please feel free email Pastor Don or Pastor Becky.
You may be wondering what’s happening with the building project at the Milburn site, and if you’ve driven by the Milburn property recently, you may have seen an backhoe and a few other trucks at the site doing some work. Let me share with you some of what’s been happening….
Our Architect, Chiodini, has been working to survey the Milburn property site, and during the evaluation we received a letter (March 22nd) from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources informing us that we have 2 archaeological sites which are potentially significant on the Milburn campus property. The Illinois State Agency Historical Resources Preservation Act (20 ILCS 3420) requires that the church conduct an archaeological survey prior to commencing any building to determine the extent of archaeological deposits. This slowed the architectural process of determining the best location of the church building on the site, because a “Phase II inspection” must be done before proceeding.
Both sites are registered with the Illinois Historical Preservation Office (IHPO), and have yielded materials indicative of the potential presence of significant archaeological deposits associated with the late prehistoric inhabitants of the region. As such, these sites are considered to be potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). For a site to be eligible for listing on the NRHP, it has to be demonstrated that it contains intact subsurface deposits. Therefore, the purpose of the Phase II work is to determine whether or not the deposits are indeed present.
SCI Engineering has been working with Archeologist, Don Booth to conduct the Phase II inspection of the 2 sites since May 2nd, and they should be finished with their work this weekend. One site (the smaller of the two) is near the corner of Milburn School Rd and Simmons Rd; the other site (the larger of the two) is on the high ground along Milburn School Rd. (see map). They are performing background research, field investigations, and laboratory analysis of collected artifacts with reports, and preparing for curation of any artifacts found on the site.
At the smaller site, SCI found a number of items including the arrowhead pictured, which is estimated to be approximately from 600 A.D., and a spear point (believed to be several thousands of years old—from the Mississippian er; the same time Cahokia Mounds was built), and pieces of stone that were removed by an Indian making tools, arrowheads, etc. Everything SCI finds is bagged and the location where it is found is annotated. At the conclusion of the work, all the artifacts will be sent to the Illinois State Historical Preservation Organization (SHPO), who are chartered to manage the historical findings in the state for safe keeping
The good news is, thus far, the discoveries are not enough to keep us from proceeding, but we’ll have to wait for the work of Mr. Booth and SCI to be completed, reported, and filed with the State agencies to know for sure. In the meantime, the work continues, and although slowed, progress continues to be made. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Larry Strube (firstname.lastname@example.org), Chair of the Building Committee, or Pastor Don (email@example.com).