This morning I want to provide you with an update about our building project. As you will know, the Congregational Committee met on Thursday evening and one of the things they discussed was our ongoing project.
Specifically, one of the major items for discussion was finance for the project. A couple of weeks ago, myself and two other members of the Building Project Sub-Committee met with a representative from Danske Bank to have an informal discussion about a loan of approximately £1.6 million.
The context of that conversation is that we have received an estimated cost for the project. That costing has come in at just over £3 million. However, the Building Project Sub-Committee have identified some changes which would bring the cost of the project down to somewhere between £2.6/7 million but would not substantively impact the building.
Given that we have just over £1 million in the Building Fund, a loan of £1.6 million would help cover the cost of the project. Following our informal conversation, Danske Bank have informed us that they would be very sympathetic to allowing us to loan that amount.
However, from their perspective, they would like to see more money coming in to support the project. They are aware that once the project starts and physical work actually begins, additional finance will come in. But the bank works in black and white and they want to see evidence that we would be able to repay a loan.
There are finer details to the loan that have not been agreed – for example, the length of the loan, the interest rate on the loan. Those negotiations will take place at a later stage and any loan would be subject to approval through a Congregational Meeting. But what the bank have essentially asked of us is that we would prove that we will be able to repay the loan. What that requires of us, then, is an increase in giving to the Building Fund.
At this point, it will be helpful for me to show you a projected timeline for the Building Project:
What is notable about that timeline is that the period between now and the New Year is of critical importance from a financial perspective. What is required of us is an increase in giving to the Building Fund to prove to the bank that we will be able to serve and repay a loan.
From the bank’s perspective, standing orders are the best method of giving. I have explained standing orders at various points and all of you will be familiar with them because we all have standing orders in some way, shape or form. But what a standing order proves to the bank is that finance will come in on a consistent basis, month by month, enabling us to service the loan.
Hard copies of standing order forms are available at all doors this morning. There is also a template form to help you set up a standing order. There is also a specific Building Project page on our church website. You’ll be able to access all previous updates and information about standing orders.
We do appreciate that standing orders don’t work for everyone. There are obviously other creative ways for you to give and we would be more than open to those options. Members of the Congregational Committee highlighted the option of interest-free loans which have been used in the past by the congregation for other projects.
The Congregational Committee were also provided with statistics about contributions to the Building Fund:
At the moment, the Building Fund is bringing in around £3000 a month. It will require at least triple that to service the loan. What is required of us at this point is an increase in giving to the Building Fund. The period between now and the New Year is of critical importance from a financial perspective.
On Thursday night it was mentioned that this meetinghouse was renovated in 1975 – almost 50 years ago. Instead of renovating the meetinghouse again, in 2016 the congregation decided to proceed in building a new meetinghouse on a green field site.
We are familiar with the limitations of our buildings. Sunday School can’t run at the moment because we’re using both the meetinghouse and the church hall on a Sunday morning. Crèche has returned today in a Mobile that is over 20 years old. Covid has highlighted the limitations of our buildings and now we have the opportunity to move in a real and definite way towards a new building.
I appreciate that discussing finance in church life is a sensitive subject. Updates like this are not particularly easy for me to give and I hope that what I have shared this morning has not come across as provocative or controversial.
I do hope that is has been a firm update, however. Firm in that we all need to realise that if this project is going to proceed over the coming months, there must be an increase in giving to the Building Fund.
Let me therefore humbly appeal to you to consider contributing to the Building Fund in the coming weeks. We do not take your contributions for granted and would be delighted if you supported the project financially.
For your encouragement as well, we have sensed the Lord’s hand in our plans and discussions – particularly with the bank. To those of us who are involved in the finer details of the project, it is clear to us that the Lord is opening doors for us. It is up to us to step out in faith as a church family. To say that, yes, we want to do this – not for the glory of Buckna Presbyterian – but for the glory of Christ and we will trust Him to provide every step of the way.