MtE Futures Project Description
This is one of two pages about our Mark the Evangelist Futures Project (MTEFP). This page gives detail of the What, Who, How and When of the project. The other page describes the process, where we have been so far, where we are up to, and how it is likely to unfold into the future.
What is the Mark the Evangelist Futures Project (MTEFP)?
The MTEFP is the work we are doing as a congregation to discover the most effective way to utilise the capital resources we have, both property and cash reserves. Part of this work is aimed at discovering the best thing we can do about the condition of our church building, although the church building is not the only property “issue” we face. Many of the buildings on the Curzon Street site are in need of considerable overhaul. In addition, the isolation of the church from the hall and the office space also greatly affects the usefulness of the buildings for many activities.
The MTEFP is not, however, simply a property question. An important part of the process so far has been clarifying – via our “MtE Mission Futures” document – who we are as a congregation and what ministries we expect to be exercising over the next generation. Identifying the likely resources we will have to support those ministries is the basic purpose of the MTEFP.
What is the expected outcome of the MTEFP?
Quite simply, without knowing precisely what shape the recommendations will take, at the end of the whole process we will have a secure base from which to continue to minister for the next generation.
Why are we doing this?
The congregation has in its care a large suite of buildings, many of which are in poor condition and costly to maintain. Good stewardship, and the possibility of realising more resources for mission and ministry, demands that we tend to the question of our resources sooner rather than later.
Why are we engaging external consultants?
The configuration of the resources we currently have and the challenges the future is likely to present to the congregation are quite complex. We are engaging competent consultants in order to
– provide the Congregation and Presbytery with an informed understanding of the full range of property options which could enhance mission and ministry
– inform us of the financial potential of the options so that we can be confident that resources are allocated to achieve the best outcome in relation to our ministry plans and a financially responsible future, taking into consideration such things as maintenance and insurance, future cash flow needs, and the risks involved in particular options;
– establish a clear and defined implementation plan, with support from UCA Property Services, to minimise the workload for the Congregation; and
– enable us to maintain and expand our mission priorities with less distraction from property questions.
Who is doing the work?
The scope of the work which needs to be undertaken is beyond the competence of the congregation itself. As such, the first phase of the project is being undertaken as a partnership between the congregation (represented by the Church Council), Synod property services and a property advisory consultancy firm (SEMZ) which has been engaged to do the site assessment and develop with us final recommendations on the most appropriate way forward.
The first phase of the project is being overseen by a project control group (PCG) which includes church council members, Synod and Presbytery representatives, and the property advisory consultancy. The Church Council representatives are Alan Wilkinson (Councillor and Project Coordinator), Maureen Postma (Councillor), Rod Mummery (Elder and Congregation Chair) and Greg Hill (MtE Administrator). Work done by the Church Council and the congregation on our Mission Futures is being taken into account in the analysis, as is other material prepared in connection with our earlier renovation plans. There will be several occasions on which the congregation will be asked to meet with the PCG in order to receive interim reports and be consulted on next steps.
Who makes the final decision?
The Church Council is committed to the outcome of this project being one which reflects needs and desires of Mark the Evangelist. The formal signing-off on particular stages of the process will be done by the Church Council after consultation with the congregation, and the congregation will be asked to consider and approve the Final Report on the basis of recommendations and next steps.
How are we going to go about this?
The process is one of constant consultation between the Congregation, the Presbytery, the Synod and the project consultant. The PCG advises Church Council on recommendations developed with the project consultant. Church Council is the formal decision-making body at the critical stages, but will only act in response to congregation input at these points.
The first phase of the project is a study of various property options, ranging from development of the Curzon Street site to sale and relocation. These will include such scenarios as developing current buildings or available land into more productive sources of income from residential, commercial or community facilities. The options of a partial or complete sale of the property will be included in the analysis.
The shape of the second phase of the project will depend on the outcome of the first phase. It may involve a period of property renovation and building – which would include more planning and refining – or it may involve the sale of the property and the congregation finding other ways to accommodate itself and maintain its ministry.
The process (first phase) is outlined on the other MTEFP web page, which includes the history of the process so far and what is still to happen.
How long will it take?
At the time of writing (September 2015), we anticipate that the first phase (the property options study) will run until about mid-2016. The congregation will then take time to consider very carefully what is proposed. The second phase – if it is a develop-and-renovate outcome – will take as long as design, permit approvals and actual construction require (this could be several years). If the second phase is the property divestment and re-location option for the congregation, it may still take a couple of years until we are resettled somewhere else.
How can I find out more?
Talk to Maureen, Rod, Greg, Alan, Craig or any of our church councillors.