Oh, these are big words, when all we need is a tight roof, squirrel-free offices, and a steeple that does not shed angelsâ€™ wings. But we are working on it with all diligence!
Back in January, Architect Margaret Westfield met with our rather large Project Group. The group comprises volunteers from inside and outside of our church. They have knowledge in terms of property maintenance, fund-raising and grant-writing, and report directly to Consistory. Stef Beemsterboer leads the financial part, Ellen Hamilton the property part, and Patty Tsai spearheads the fund-raising efforts of the group â€“ three great volunteers at the right time!
Margaret Westfieldâ€™s work has yielded first results: We had to exchange the basement entrance door to the chapel of the Triumphed Covenant House of Prayer and Margaret helped us doing so in a way that our expenses are eligible to count towards our match for a future state grant.
Margaretâ€™s colleague, Sheila Koehler, who surveyed our premises for her, discovered a bad leak in the Sextonâ€™s House that we did not know about. Because of her, we were able to address the situation quickly and without further damage.
Meanwhile, Ellen, Stef and Patty have also begun to work closely with our architect as they prepare the meetings of their respective committees. Margaret has already supplied several fund-raising ideas to Patty and connected Patty and her group with resources in our area. In particular, Pattyâ€™s group is seeking to learn from the Hightstown United Methodist Church that completed a very successful fund-raising campaign under the revealing title â€œNUTSâ€. Should there be another church suffering from squirrels? We will find out.
Finally, we are also getting involved in advocating at the state level for a renewal of the NJ Historic Trust program after 2008. This way, we combine self-preservation with usefulness to others. Margaret Westfield helped pave the way here as well. At First Reformed Church, we are fortunate to have such competent help.