Tuesday, June 22 2021
This month’s edition of The Chronicle is the final one that our parish administrator Tieran Sweeny-Bender will be editing for us, and we offer our deepest thanks to him for all of his hard work during the last seven months! Tieran joined us in December, working remotely from his home in Seattle since the pandemic forced the closure of the church office. He has truly been an asset to St. John’s | San Juan in the time he’s been with us, and we wish him all the best in his last year of college and whatever the future holds beyond that!
The last month has been a whirlwind for us at St. John’s | San Juan. We completed a successful capital campaign, and have been working through the details on moving forward with our building project. The outrageous spike in the cost of building materials has given us pause (making the bid for the project from our general contractor almost three times as much as the estimate was at the end of last year), and we are regrouping, getting input from the governing bodies of the Diocese, as well as figuring out what is possible with FORMA and our architects at KMB.
At the same time, we are continuing to resume in-person ministries, having resumed the Sunday Eucharist in both English and Spanish both in-person and online, and now having re-opened the Wednesday Eucharist for in-person worship as well (though space is limited, since there’s no ventilation in the Chapel). Once Thurston County moves to Phase 4 of the Healthy Washington plan, we will evaluate the guidance from offices of both the Governor and our Bishop, and make plans for resuming more of our in-person ministries. In the meantime, the in-person ministries we have already resumed will continue, and we look forward to resuming more of them in the near future.
Thank you for your patience as we work through all these details. We definitely have glimpses of what life will be like when the pandemic is fully behind us, and I’m as eager as anyone for us to just be there already. But we have further yet to travel, even as the end is in sight. Thank you for being part of this journey with us, and I look forward to seeing you again soon at church.
Tuesday, June 22 2021
Welcome to the first week of Summer! If the temperatures predicted for this weekend are any indication of how my summer will go, I should be completely melted by July 4!
If you were not in church or did not live stream the service on June 20th, what I say may be new to you. My apologies for repeating what those who were at church or who did stream the service heard. Here’s most of what I said:
I am here to tell you that we have finally received the actual bid for replacing the roof. To say that we were (and continue to be) flabbergasted is totally accurate! You know that feeling when you wait and wait for something, and then you actually find out what it is, you are so stunned that you cannot wrap your mind around what’s happened? Well, that’s what those of us on the Vestry executive team felt on Saturday when Lou shared the actual bid for replacing the roof.
WOW! Please make sure you’re sitting down and take a deep breath before reading on…
The bid is almost double the figure that the Vestry and the Capital Campaign have been using for the past year. We are now looking at $1,825,000 for just Phase I of our renovation (versus the figure of $1.2 million we had been using). The amount covers the roof, the seismic upgrades and basic electrical work. With sales tax, the total exceeds $2 million. Much of the increase is because of supply issues created by the Covid pandemic. Steel, wood and insulation product costs have skyrocketed! For instance, one sheet of ½” plywood now sells for over $80, and you know, there’s a lot of wood in our roof!
Oh, and if that’s not enough, this bid does not include anything for the Phase II renovation of the worship space.
I know this is a lot to grasp. It’s taken Vestry leadership a few days to work through the ramifications of this news through emails, phone calls, and in-person meetings, and finally to brainstorming options. And, at the Vestry meeting on June 17, the Vestry itself came to the same conclusions as the leadership team and supports the next moves.
Holy moly, we need to talk! And I’m here to say that the best place to get totally informed will be at the Congregational Meeting scheduled for this Thursday evening, June 24, at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. This second meeting, originally planned to talk about our budget and shortfalls therein, has been appropriated by the matter of the roof. Please, your presence at this meeting is vital to understanding the path the Vestry is considering and to be informed on where we hope to go from here. I’m sure others in this Chronicle edition will also be talking about these issues. Registration options are many: through the Realm App; in the recent Messenger newsletters; and also by clicking here.
Your prayers for St. John’s | San Juan, for our Capital Campaign committee, and for guidance for the Vestry are very welcome. I look forward to seeing you on Thursday evening!
Blessings & peace!
Tuesday, June 22 2021
Junior Warden’s Report – June 2021 Chronicle
“The building needs work. You gotta get a new roof, and all sorts of infrastructure. While those things may not sound important to some, they are the house that help
For you, the roof, and all that it represents in terms of the building, can help to make the difference…”
– Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Discernment & Decision
Part I Bid
* The original estimate did not break out electrical separately, it was assumed in the roof estimate.
Why so much higher? How could we have been so far off?
Some context may help here. Material shortages due to the COVID economy, plus pent-up construction demand, have caused prices for building commodities to sky-rocket. Lumber, steel, and rigid insulation are up 300-500%. For example, half- inch plywood now sells for over $80 a sheet at your local big box store.
In addition, wait times for delivery of some materials exceed three months. Ongoing delays and price volatility have contractors passing on any significant (greater than 10%) commodity price increases to the client, meaning prices could go higher even after the bid is accepted and the contract signed.
Obviously, $2M is a staggering sum, almost double the total of our capital campaign pledges. Because it’s well beyond our actual or projected resources, this bid compels us to review and revise our strategy for the renovation.
As the Treasurer’s June report notes, of the $1.1 million received in pledges, $315,000 applies to project costs and fees already incurred. That leaves only $791,000 available to pay either future project expenses or debt service on a loan.
And remember, the Part II remodel we estimated at $600,000 has yet to be fully designed, then priced. KMB’s initial design fee proposal, which as is we cannot accept, tops $200,000. We’re not sure yet what that implies for construction cost.
Yet, it’s conceivable under current market conditions that the total cost of full renovation – Parts I and II combined – could approach $3 million. So, even with our $1.1 million in pledges, plus that much again from a loan, we may still face a daunting funding shortfall.
Options Being Considered
It’s possible market conditions reverse themselves enough over time that prices fall back to more customary and affordable levels. Of course, this is speculation, and whatever reductions happen may not change our predicament substantially.
While waiting does buy us time, not proceeding with any construction this year means forfeiture of our $13,000 building permit, plus additional costs for seismic upgrades that must comply with a stricter building code adopted earlier this year.
And it may oblige us to offer to return capital pledges to donors who want them back. While the right thing to do, returning pledges effectively undoes much of our recent fund raising success. Eventually, we may decide to conduct another capital campaign in a post-pandemic market place and economy that may, or may not, yield much better pricing.
This options offers two immediate benefits:
o Stabilizes the structure against catastrophic damage in an earthquake
By adding $213,000 to the already considerable amount invested to-date on the renovation, this option has potential risk too. If we eventually find
Aside from what each option would do or not do, think of them as tactical retreats to mitigate the risk of current market extremes, and to buy time to seek further guidance and possible help from the diocese.
Aside from diocesan financial support, assuming it has capacity and willingness to supplement our congregation’s sacrificial giving, we may qualify for other grants or loans from national organizations. The National Fund for Sacred Places makes construction grants to eligible houses of worship nationwide, and the Episcopal Church Building Fund offers construction loans nationally. There may be other programs as well. Having the luxury of extra time allows us to discern whether any of these programs offer benefits sufficient to warrant the time and effort of application.
We Need to Hear from You!
Please plan to attend and contribute to the Parish Budget Meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 24, at 7PM on Zoom. The agenda will focus on the renovation bid and finance options. Besides informing you, your input is vital to understanding how to discern the best path forward.
Tuesday, June 22 2021
St. John’s Episcopal Church
This will be my final report as your Treasurer. I want to thank you for your support, good questions, and continuing commitment to leading our congregation through some complex challenges on our way to a vibrant and sustainable future. Please join me in thanking and welcoming Troy Atwell, our new Treasurer. I look forward to working with you in my new role focused on stewardship and community and financial development.
Our Current Financial Condition
Our Budget Report and Statement of Financial Position for May 2021, as well as an updated Plan to Address the Deficit and Increase Revenue July through December 2021 and Beyond, may be found by going to our website, www.stjohnsoly.org, clicking on “About Us”, then clicking on “Our Vestry” and scrolling to the bottom of the page.
Individual Contributions are over budget year-to-date by $5,681 (5.6%), including Income from Pledges over budget by $9,029 (9.5%) and Contributions/Loose Plate Offerings below budget by -$4,009 (68.7%). It is concerning to note that in May, Pledges were below budget for the month by -$5,929 (31.4%).
Capital Campaign Update
Currently, we have secured 70 pledges and accounted for $1,106,617 toward our campaign goal, of which $315,000 has been applied to fees and costs of the project and $791,617 in gifts and pledges is available to apply to future expenses or as collateral for a loan to provide the additional funds needed to complete the work and service the debt resulting from the loan. As of June 15, 2021, the balance in our Capital Campaign Account at Commencement Bank is $149,067.