Fellowship Hall Revitalization Project: May 2013 Update

St. Matthew held a special congregational meeting on Sunday, April 14 immediately following worship. The meeting took place in Fellowship Hall, an appropriate setting given that Council called the meeting in order for the congregation to decide whether or not to proceed with Phase I of the Fellowship Hall Revitalization Project. Fueled by delicious snacks provided by our Fellowship Committee and under the direction of our Council President, Jeff Garner, those in attendance engaged in a productive discussion of the matter at hand and had the opportunity to ask questions of Judy Coutts, the proposed architect for the project. At the conclusion of the discussion and questions, those in attendance at the meeting voted unanimously to engage Ms. Coutts to lead us through Phase I of the project. She and her associates will be compensated on an hourly rate, with total fees not to exceed a cap of $9,600. Council anticipates that our actual costs will be less than that.

What will be included in Phase I? Ms. Coutts will work with Council and a special project task force appointed by the Council to begin conceptualizing and imagining how Fellowship Hall will be modified to suit our present needs. Those initial discussions will then move to “town hall forums” involving all interested St. Matthew members as together we develop, discern and share what we are seeing as the Holy Spirit’s vision for this beloved and much-used space of our church. We hope and pray that at the end of Phase I, we will have a design for a revitalized Fellowship Hall that reflects the input of all interested members of the congregation and which is aesthetically pleasing, durable, flexible, welcoming, and architecturally and structurally sound. Ideas that have been shared so far are improvements that we have been discussing for over a decade now and include the addition of ground-floor bathrooms and air conditioning, a more handicap-accessible entry to the Hall, new flooring, portable (rather than fixed) staging, new lighting and audio/visual capabilities, and concealed storage for tables and chairs.

Phase I does NOT involve the preparation of final design drawings/blueprints or permitting (that is Phase II) or selecting contractors and breaking ground (that will constitute Phase III). Any steps beyond Phase I will require additional expenditures and further congregational votes. Moving forward on Phase I does not obligate us to undertake Phases II or III.

This is a very exciting time in the history of St. Matthew, as we take the first steps in our first building project in nearly 50 years. Join us in thanking God for this unique opportunity and pray for God’s guidance as together we discern God’s dream for both Fellowship Hall and this very special congregation.