This is the text of a Minute for Mission given recently in worship by Don Robertson and Donna Taggart, co-chairs of the Mission Strategy Steering Committee, updating the congregation on our two strategic mission projects related to the church building and to the surrounding property. Please take a moment to read, especially if you were not able to hear them give it in worship!

As your co-chairs of the Mission Strategy Steering Committee, here is an update.  Our committee also includes: George Bickford, Jim Halkins, Bob Hunsicker, Belle Marks and Kim Miner, with strong support from both Lindsey and J.C., and very useful input from Bud Newton.

We have been meeting several times a month.  We know all of you are anxious to hear what is happening. It has taken a bit longer than we had hoped and here’s what we know.

Our efforts have included a lot of work to identify and enlist partners that will be necessary to work with us hand-in-hand as we develop our suggested future.  Those partnerships will focus on supporting two initiatives, one related to this building in particular and the second related to our overall property.

As far as the property is concerned, you know we are making progress because anytime you are working to change something, there will be noise and resistance; and we have had lots of that!

In January, three concepts were presented as to what the property could look like.  A community survey brought lots of feedback.  On May 23 there will be an unveiling of the single concept developed from the feedback.  We think you will find noticeable changes and a layout that is very attractive and certainly not dense housing development.  Please plan to attend that event and we will respond to questions.  Keep in mind we are only progressing toward the recommendation of a proposed future layout.

Following the meeting on May 23, which represents the completion of the concept design stage for the overall property, the next phase of our work will focus on the adaptive re-use of the church building.

We recognize that this has taken a bit longer than we hoped.  We began these efforts in early October, 2023.

We acknowledge that you were not getting many details on the current status because, up until now, there were few details we could share. We are excited to share with you today that the feasibility study is now successfully completed, and that study concluded that our space is well-suited to the nonprofit partner needs.

The Steering Committee met with both Session and Trustees in a joint meeting  a couple of weeks ago.  We shared the status of the project with them and the Steering Committee was empowered by a joint vote of those boards to continue to work with the potential non-profit partner to hopefully successfully negotiate a proposed partnership agreement for approval by the Session and Trustees, the congregation, and Lehigh Presbytery.

I’d like to talk for a minute about the difference between secrecy and confidentiality.

We are working hard to be as transparent as possible and keep the congregation abreast of all of the exciting things happening.  But, when working on real estate deals like this, confidentiality is really important.  I have a background in economic development.  The timing of when certain information is shared is critical and, if released too early, it could break a deal.

We continue to be very excited about this potential partnership.  We are mission-aligned with the non-profit and I already shared that the feasibility study concluded that our space adequately suits their needs.

We continue to meet with them and have a shared commitment with the nonprofit partner to identify an agreement structure and cost-sharing plan that is mutually beneficial, both for capital needs to accomplish the renovation and for the church’s annual operating sustainability.

We remain committed to updating you, our congregation, as we are in a position to share more details but right now we are asking you to pray for our efforts and patiently await good news. 

Thank you!

Don Robertson
Donna Taggart
Co-chairs, Mission Strategy Steering Committee