What a day! This parish is a great place if for no other reason, for its courage to act in faith even when it seems difficult. Today we made a big decision. Today the largest number of people that I have seen at a vestry meeting was excited and encouraged to be together and to be church.  Today we made a tremendous decision to move forward as a community of faith and in faith! We have agreed to follow the direction of a new team under the direction of the Wardens; “The Raising the Roof Team” will work aggressively over the next weeks and months to help us fund the $1 Million Dollars needed to expand our facility. They are planning a 10 year plan and will challenge us all to step up and do what we can to help grow this parish.

Again today we were treated to a presentation by Norm Becker which showed the possibilities for our space. He has put together a plan which gives us the following; add over 100 spaces in the church itself, add a half story to the hall which would give over 3000 square feet for nursery, Sunday school, and multiuse space, renovate the Wellwood hall making the kitchen larger and raising the floor level to the same as the church, adding an addition at the back for additional office space, a basement area below the office space, an elevator to access all three levels, new bathroom facilities, a renovated sanctuary including a new sacristy, a load of storage space throughout, a parent’s room/crying room in the expanded church, insulating the hall and adding in-floor radiant heating in the hall and in the new portions of the church, add a total of 7500 square feet to our facility and keeping heating and cooling costs at the same level as today.

We were impressed by his presentation to say the least. We were also impressed with the hard work and dedication of the Markus Team and all of its sub teams. There was no mistaking the commitment there folks had to their work and the love they all have for their church. Under the careful direction of Scott Shields this ten member team took the diligence and care to look at all options before arriving on the plan that we saw delivered today.  What is more impressive is the fact that the Markus Team also widened the input of church membership by creating 6 teams and in turn over 40 people we involved in this very important process.  I want to say thank you to the over 40 people who offered themselves in this important ministry.  Your work and dedication paid off today when the congregation was witness to the fruits of your labour. Alan Cohen writes, “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. I like that, I like the thought that leaving the familiar and standing in this unknown place is where life is. We gain life in this movement forward. Our power to love is rooted in change and we can be thankful for the change that we see happening at St. Mark’s by-the-Lake

 

So now we hit the grown running.  Now the Raising the Roof Team will work to bring this a place of reality as soon as possible.  Now we seek to make the church ready for the many who are out there waiting to join us on the journey. Many thanks to all of you who were there today for your good discussion, your excellent questions and your courage to vote to move ahead. May God be with us all as we journey together.