- Renovate the Fellowship Hall,
- Do needed maintenance on our Sanctuary and Mission Center, which includes upgrades to our heating and cooling system to make it more energy efficient, and
- Pay off the mortgage on the property adjacent to our campus, which we purchased in 2015.
With these changes, we’ll be making room for mission, community, and faith, and we are guided by God’s call in Micah 6:8 for this important work. Our capital campaign project will enable us to continue to:
- Do justice, carrying out mission work that meets deep needs in Durham and beyond;
- Love kindness, building relationships of care that knit us together as a community; and
- Walk humbly with God, deepening the faith that sustains us as we serve and support one another.
In the weeks ahead, we’ll have time to think, listen, and talk about how the work God does through Westminster can be expanded through this project. We ask you to prayerfully consider your gift to Making Room prior to April 22, which is Commitment Sunday.
- Gratitude Sunday: March 18 – Reflecting on what we love most about WPC
- Ministry Sunday & Celebration Breakfast: April 15 – Celebrating our life-giving missions and ministries. RSVP for the Celebration Breakfast.
- Prayer Walk: April 21 – A dedicated time of prayer for Commitment Sunday
- Commitment Sunday: April 22 – Dedicating our campaign pledges during worship
- First Fruits Sunday: May 20 – Giving the first installment of our pledged gifts
- Announcement Sunday: June 10 – Announcing and giving thanks for the total commitments to date
Maintenance projects can begin this spring. Sanctuary and bathroom upgrades can begin later this summer. Construction on the Fellowship Hall renovation could begin by March 2019, depending on the planning and approval timeline, and will take around one year to complete.
Fellowship Hall History
Our present Fellowship Hall was built in 1967, and it served as both the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall until 1987, when the present Sanctuary was dedicated. During those twenty years, the congregation gathered in the Fellowship Hall for worship, baptisms, weddings, funerals, meals, and celebrations.
The Fellowship Hall plays a crucial role in the life of this church. But, due to its age and lack of major renovation, it does not help us fulfill our vision to build and nurture a community that supports Christ’s work in the world. It can be difficult to access, and many members have trouble hearing while inside. The building’s poor sound and lack of technology make it difficult to use for lectures and larger classes or to offer to the Durham community. The kitchen, serving area, and bathrooms are small and in poor condition. The diminished functionality of the Fellowship Hall also places additional pressure for space on the Mission Center, already at capacity itself. We need spaces that will better equip us to answer God’s call to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
From March through August 2013, a Fellowship Hall Committee explored options for changes to the Fellowship Hall, which led to a two-year strategic planning effort. The strategic plan that resulted was approved by the Session in June 2015. With great input from the congregation, the strategic plan provided a renewed focus on how we are to live out God’s call in Micah 6:8.
Reviewing Our Facilities
In the fall of 2015, a Facilities Review Committee formed to build a facilities master plan that would include both our historic campus and the land we purchased in March 2015. This committee studied the strategic plan and reached out to WPC groups to assess congregational needs. Regarding the Fellowship Hall, members agreed that the size of the space, its acoustics, and lighting were all inadequate. View a comprehensive list of identified needs.
Using this information, the committee worked with architects and received congregational input on a draft of the facilities master plan at feedback sessions in fall 2016/winter 2017. Members shared invaluable feedback on how to preserve the intimacy of the Memorial Garden and placement for a potential multipurpose building.
A Feasibility Study
The architects revised their recommendations and the Session approved work toward a feasibility study to examine the possibilities for a capital campaign in April 2017. The updated facilities master plan was paired with a statement of opportunity and presented to members during the feasibility study. The study’s findings were shared with the Session, one of which was that the Fellowship Hall was the clearest priority and a multipurpose building would be part of later conversations.
In November 2017, the Session approved the recommendations that resulted from the study’s findings:
- That we move forward with a capital campaign,
- That we appoint a Capital Campaign Working Group to revise the current facility proposal, and
- That we build a Campaign Leadership Team and timeline.
The Working Group’s recommendation for the revised facility proposal was approved by the Session at their retreat on January 27, 2018.
Q: How will an updated Fellowship Hall better serve WPC and the community?
A: An updated Fellowship Hall will accommodate community events we can’t hold now; allow groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Nar-Anon to meet in a private setting; accommodate church-wide gatherings; and better support our youth, Scout Troops, preschool, La Nueva Jerusalen, and many other groups. An updated Fellowship Hall will ease preparing meals for the congregation and community, and will enhance our strong Christian education and worship programs. Improved sound, lighting, technology, bathrooms, parking, and ramps will make our campus more accessible. A more efficient heating and cooling system will help us be better stewards of God’s creation. These improvements to our campus will help us better live out our mission to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
Q: How much should my commitment be?
A: Your commitment to Making Room is a decision you’ll make through prayer and discernment. Not all gifts will be equal in size, but they can be equal in the sacrifice made by the giver.
Q: What about my annual pledge to WPC’s operating budget?
A: Your gift to the capital campaign is above and beyond what you give to the operating budget, which funds the missions and ministries our community relies on each year.
Q: When do I make payment on my commitment?
A: We will make our pledges on Commitment Sunday, April 22. Pledges to our capital campaign are payable over a three-year period, and we ask that you make the first payment on your commitment on First Fruits Sunday, May 20.
Q: When was the last time Westminster had a major capital improvements campaign?
A: In 1995, to extend the ends of Mission Center to add the Parlor, Music Room, and Youth Suite.
Q: Will this project increase maintenance costs or strain our finances?
A: We anticipate that maintenance costs will stay the same or fall, as more energy-efficient buildings reduce the utility bills. Our operating budget is in a healthy place, so we do not expect this project to place undue strain on Westminster’s finances.
Q: What if there’s a gap between funds raised and project costs?
A: If the need to take out a loan to cover project costs arises, the congregation will vote on how to move forward. We also have the option to defer certain improvements.
Q: Who is leading our capital campaign?
A: A whole team of volunteers and staff are helping to guide this process with support from our consultant Tom Norwood of Horizons Stewardship. Feel free to talk with anyone on the team, ask questions, and let them know if you would like to be involved in helping run the campaign.
- Vision Brochure – Provides an overview of where we’ve been, what the capital campaign project will entail, and how it will change the way we are able to be in ministry
- Newsletter Articles – Archive of our communication about the capital campaign
- Devotional Journal – A 21-day devotional to help us prepare our hearts and minds for the challenge before us in this capital campaign