Pastor David Answers Your Questions
I am glad to share that our work with the Love & Justice Project is moving forward. I'm going to share responses to a few questions that have come up several times, but please do reach out to
me if you have other questions! I'm very excited to talk about this project with pretty much anyone who will listen! You can reach me via the church office, or use our dedicated Love & Justice email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q1: I've heard that Northwest Youth Services is building a new site right next to their office downtown- does that mean our work is going to duplicate what's available there?
This is a great question! NWYS is partnering with a couple other local agencies to build a project called "22 North," which will provide supportive housing to youth and adults experiencing homelessness. It's a 24 hour site, but it will only serve the people who live there. Our project is different because it is a daytime use site, and because it will be able to serve the many young people who are not housed at the 22 North project. I am super excited about 22 North, and I am so glad that many of our congregational members are also supporters, but it's a project with different goals.
Q2: Where are we at in our process anyway?
Hopefully you've seen the draft architectural design for the Love & Justice Space, and had an opportunity to attend one of the Building Committee's presentations. Or maybe you've talked about the design at a board meeting or Circle gathering. Even if you haven't, I am glad to report that we have an excellent draft design that Council will be voting on at their October meeting. If Council votes to go forward, we will bring a presentation to a congregational meeting, probably on Sunday, November 12. At such a meeting, we would ask the congregation to vote on authorizing the Love & Justice Steering Committee to go forward both with building to this design, and with the Capital Campaign process that will be necessary for fundraising. The plan is to raise about $750-850,000 for the cost of designing and building the space, and if the church votes to authorize the
build, a congregational fundraising campaign would start widely in late winter (February or March 2018.) We've already had some great support from non-church members who love what we're up to; a few weeks ago, Heather Shepherd coordinated a fundraising dinner for primarily non-First Congregational folks. We raised about $15,000 at that event, which is a great sign as we continue to build momentum and excitement from donors, both inside and outside our church!
Q3: I heard that the Love & Justice space was going to be on the Cornwall Ave. side of the building, but these drawings show it on the parking lot side. What changed?
We were initially imagining the space to be occupied by Northwest Youth Services would work best on the Cornwall Avenue side to take advantage of some plumbing lines and space for showers that were installed when the space was originally constructed. However, our architects had the excellent insight that moving the space to the parking lot side provided much more natural light, and prevented the expense of having to excavate window wells on the Cornwall side (and, given the natural slope of the ground, there will always be less light on that side of the basement!) We decided to propose this design because it maximizes the natural light available to Northwest Youth Services staff and clients. It does mean we need to do some cutting to extend the plumbing lines, but we more than offset that cost by not needing to excavate window wells, etc.
Q4: What can I do to help now?
We expect there will be lots of volunteer opportunities once we open the space, there are also some great ways to get involved now. In addition to serving on one of the committees, we are looking for folks who have good relationships and connections in the neighborhoods surrounding the church, so that we can continue to have conversations with neighbors and other interested folks. (See me or Nancy Fayram if you're interested in helping with the Neighborhood Outreach piece!) I've also just started volunteering a couple of hours a week with the Northwest Youth Services Street Outreach team. They're looking for volunteers to hang out with youth in the lobby downtown (the space where they are currently doing a lot of work that will eventually happen in the Love
& Justice space), or to go on rounds around the city and county with street outreach professionals! Please let me know if you might be interested in that. I hope you will prayerfully consider how God might be calling you to get involved with the Love & Justice Project, and please keep those questions coming!
Take care, David