I am pleased to inform you that we were awarded the Preservation Grant on Feb 25th in the full amount of $487,797. This is joyful news and will hopefully boost some of our other fund-raising efforts. All of this is very important as the State government has simultaneously announced the end of the Historic Preservation program in its current form. We caught the last train!
I can understand, however, when some of us might now feel that this grant be “a bite too big for us to swallow.” After all, we will have to match the grant 1:1 at a time when our resources have dwindled to a startling degree. Nevertheless, the image of “the bite too big” is inappropriate, and here are the reasons:
The large construction costs of 2008 were not created by the Preservation Project but by emergency needs. We were able to manage this construction because we had the structures of the Preservation Plan in place (architect, companies, state certification, etc.)
The grant award will now reimburse us for these construction costs in the stipulated amounts. For all new preservation work, we have a window of several years to raise the remaining match. Our efforts are by no means over in this regard. In fact, our biggest challenge is not the challenge of having to raise more funds. Our biggest challenge is that we carry this huge preservation project as a group together; that we stand truly behind this project.
When pondering these things, please bear in mind that our church’s preservation needs and our church’s programs are two sides of the same medal and not two different things. Without preservation, a good part of our programs would fail as well, because we would no longer have a place on the map for them. We cannot run House of Manna, the Lunchtime Series or the Rotating Men’s Shelter without the grand space and central location our buildings offer. Similarly, our other ministries depend on our identity as it presents itself in our historic facilities at this very location. I am speaking of our work towards an open and affirming church, our ministry with people with developmental disabilities, and our interfaith dialogues.
Be this as it may, now is a time to celebrate and to thank God for this enormous blessing we have received.
There was a little celebration on the grant award on March 1st in Fellowship Hall. Pam and Ashley Gray provided a special coffee hour and, in addition, a huge cake that read “WOW ”.