This morning I want to give you an update about our building project. The last update was back in May in which I mentioned that the Congregational Committee tasked the Building Project Sub-Committee to meet and discuss how the project should be moved forward.
It is now some 18 months since the beginning of the pandemic. In March 2020 we were finalising the design of the project and were about to invite tenders. The design has now been completed and the Building Project Sub-Committee met last week for a general discussion about where we go from here.
One of the consequences of the pandemic has been an increase in the cost of building materials. Most countries in the world went into lockdown and that lead to building materials – particularly manufactured materials – being used up and stocks not replenished because factories were closed. Since countries have returned to normal economic activities, it has been a case of the highest bidder buying up most of the available materials leading a some materials doubling in price.
All of that has lead to construction costs increasing by 25%. However, the hope is that this situation will start to ease later in the year. With all of that in mind, it was the unanimous agreement of the Building Project Sub-Committee that we should proceed with the project.
That recommendation was brought to the Congregational Committee on Thursday evening and I’m delighted to say it was unanimously passed. The Congregational Committee agreed that the project should be sent out to tender in early 2022 with a view to works beginning on site in Spring 2022.
The Congregational Committee had a detailed discussion about the project. It was mentioned several times that we have just over £1 million in the bank which is an excellent starting point for any building project. The overall cost of the project is now likely to be in and around £2.5 – £2.7 million.
In the coming weeks the finance team on the Sub-Committee will be investigating the possibility of a finance facility for the remainder of the cost. Our fall back position or safety net in terms of finance is to build a wind and waterproof shell which we almost have enough money for at present.
It was also mentioned that the past year and a half has shown us all just how unsuitable our buildings are. Social distancing is difficult in them and we have a limited number of rooms in which to run organisations.
There is no doubt that aiming to begin work on the project in the early part of 2022 is a step of faith. The figures I’ve mentioned are daunting – perhaps even off-putting – but the Congregational Committee were united in agreement that the Lord will provide for our church family in the days that lie ahead.
Throughout the autumn and winter the Sub-Committee will continue to meet to finalise the design. Some minor works will also take place in the manse garden. Some clearance work is required to help with visibility and I will provide another update when that work happens.
I would ask you to pray for the Sub-Committee and the Congregational Committee. Important decisions will be required in the weeks and months ahead. We will keep you informed as best we can. This morning, however, I want you to be excited that our building project is back on track.
The past 18 months have been difficult and discouraging. We have barely seen each other as a church family. Our children and young people have barely met together. Thankfully life is beginning to open up again. Covid is still with us and will never go away. But we’re thankful that the Lord has guided us to this point and it should be our deepest prayer that He will guide us as we move forward with this project.
Let me also thank you for your continued financial support for the project despite all that has happened this year. We don not take your contributions for granted.