RSVP for Celebration Sunday Brunch
RSVP for Celebration Sunday, March 1
The Trinity Project: Becoming One
In June, 2017, our Board of Trustees empowered the Study and Building Committee to address current and future strategic facilities needs. These prioritized needs included: additional parking, a connection link to unify our separated buildings, and debt reduction. Intense focus and consultation with Good, Fulton and Farrell Architects and MEDCO Construction have provided a viable plan to accomplish all three prioritized objectives.
The project allocates seventy-two “close-in” parking spaces and two new entry points with less exposure to weather conditions. These ground level entry points allow for ease of entry and accessibility.
A Connection Link to Unify our Separated Buildings
The HUB (Helping Us Belong) Connection Link, is 8,800 square feet of space with centralized gathering areas, fellowship space, additional restrooms, with an expanded and secure courtyard, as well as play areas. It unites all of our buildings. It is envisioned as a focal point for gatherings to worship, study, and serve, and then disbursing to be followers of Christ beyond the walls of our church. The new gathering areas and entries will have new spaces to allow persons from all four worship services and Sunday classes to have a HUB where paths cross nurturing old friendships to flourish and fostering new friendships. Cost projections for all described construction (including the additional parking and the HUB Connection Link) is $2.9 million.
With God’s help, and through the generosity of the people of First UMC as well as sound fiscal management by our church leadership, we plan to fully fund the $2.9 million parking and facility expansion (incurring no additional long-term debt) while retiring a substantial portion of our existing debt.
Our current debt of $4.1 million is being well serviced through our tithes and offerings. Our debt service to income ratio is closely monitored and within safe ranges. Currently, $483,000 is paid annually toward principal and interest. The vision for the upcoming campaign is to eliminate a substantial amount of the existing debt in order to invest less in mortgage and more in expanding missions and ministries. Accelerating the retirement of our current debt would result in more ministry and less mortgage.
Now is the time…
The time is now for another strategic and visionary construction project to enhance and expand our ministry presence in the community. As a means of responding in a strategic way at this time, our congregation is engaging in a capital campaign. Our goal is to accomplish all three objectives (parking expansion, new construction, and debt reduction) through three-year capital commitments beyond contributions to the annual budget.
Our church mission statement, Taking Christ into our lives and out into the world, has never been more evident in our hearts and lives than now! What a joy it will be to move forward together and be a place where Christ is proclaimed and served in all we do.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why now? Our First UMC has been methodical and visionary in each of our capital campaigns. Since 2001, this will be our fourth campaign for major construction.
2. Why now, with the denomination in tension? The issues facing the United Methodist Church are multi-faceted and not singular. We cannot and will not delay ministry and mission while the denomination re-images itself.
3. How can you say that? Who will we be? Our Rockwall Methodist Church has gone through multiple unions, merges, and separations since 1856. We have been connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church South (1856), the Methodist Church (1939), the United Methodist Church (1968). We neither can predict how the United Methodist Church will restructure itself nor can we cease to be growing and reaching people for Jesus Christ. Our church will be here. We will be here. The needs for our community will be here. We must remain focused and engaged in our primary task: Reaching people with the love of Christ.
4. Project Costs? Project costs will match the offerings and pledges received. Debt reduction is a key part of this project.
5. No new debt? No new permanent debt! An interim construction loan may be needed to be paid in full early in the three year period. Currently, our current debt will be paid in full in thirteen years (think of your home mortgage). The more funds we can direct to debt reduction, the shorter the debt service, and more offerings for further debt reduction, mission and ministry.
6. What is our financial health?The operating budget continues to grow with the generosity of our church family. Our Finance Committee and Church Council work hard to maintain our financial strength. Details are available through Gary Hancock, Director of Finance and Administration.
7. Where can I park? The new site plan allows seventy-two new close-in spaces for those who need it most.
8. Accessible?Improved drop-off and entry points, no curbs or tripping hazards, only 2 steps next to a ramp in the main concourse.
9. What if I have more questions? Rev. Joe Pool will be available Sunday, Feb. 16 at 12 PM after worship services for any additional questions you may have. Questions may also be directed to our Campaign Co-Chairs, Tom and Joy Hosey and Kirk and Palmer Ragsdale; and Gary Hancock, Director of Finance and Administration, at any time.
We are asking you to do three things: Pray, Engage, and Respond.
Pray: We will not be able to reach this goal without God’s help and the faithful prayer of everyone in our church. Begin praying this prayer, Lord, what do You want to do through me?
Engage: Being a church for the community requires more than our prayers, it requires our active engagement. Commit during this season to being present for worship, engaging in a Sunday school or study, and actively loving and serving your neighbors at every opportunity. Mark your calendars and make plans to attend these upcoming special Sundays:
Respond: Pray earnestly about how God wants you to give sacrificially to the initiative above and beyond your regular ministry giving, and then boldly and faithfully respond. God doesn’t call us to an equal share, but God does call us to an equal sacrifice. Only God can lead you into what would be a sacrificial gift for you.
Mark your calendars and make plans to attend these upcoming special Sundays:
Sunday, February 9 – Gratitude Sunday
We’ll be invited to express our gratitude to God as we consider the ways that God has impacted our lives for the better through our church community.
Sunday, February 23 – Ministry Sunday
We’ll celebrate the life-changing ministries of our church and the inspiring stories of how individuals and families have been blessed by God through these ministries.
Sunday, March 1 – Celebration Sunday
We’ll have two special services at 9 AM and 11 AM and hear a special announcement about the status of The Trinity Project: Becoming One. A brunch will be served following both services.
Sunday, March 15 – Commitment Sunday
Commitment cards will be received during worship as we offer the response God has led each of us to make.
Sunday, March 29 – Announcement Sunday
We’ll celebrate the faithfulness of God and the collective generosity of First UMC Rockwall’s family as we announce the grand total of the three-year commitments received.