Establishing a new faith community is hard work for everyone involved. Nevertheless, I continue to believe that it is harder when one is without an official home. For Belong Church, we have been with a physical home in what was St. Paul’s Methodist Church. Our 107 year old building carries a full legacy and was home to many generations of people who followed Jesus. It is also 107 years old, which means that the building itself has character, charm, and room for a few improvements.
We are blessed, however, to have the support of our governing body (the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference) who is working to make sure that this building can be a sustainable home for Belong. Over the last year I have been working with contractors, architects, and other vendors to begin to transform our building. Rather than offer a few updates here and there, I wanted to give you a full picture of the changes that have already taken place, as well as those that are to come.
There are 5 restrooms in the building, and none of them are in good shape. In the next few weeks they will begin to be transformed into more functional areas for us. Here are the things to look forward to:
- No gender designations on any restroom. They’re all single person use, so take your pick.
- There will be two restrooms on the main level, one of which will be ADA accessible.
- There will be three restrooms on the lower level, one of which will be ADA accessible.
- The work on this should be complete within about 90 days.
Keen observers might ask why we would need an accessible restroom on the lower level when the only way down there is via a set of stairs that might better be called a ladder. I’m glad you asked! We are adding a lift. It will be in the room on the northeast corner, at the end of the existing ADA ramp. It will mean that more of the church is accessible for more of our people.
There is one possible down side to this particular improvement: there is a small possibility that our ADA entrance will not be accessible during construction. If there is a downtime, I expect it to be very short. We will make sure to communicate any changes before they happen, however at this point I am told that we should not experience any disruption!
There were many windows that are original to the building, most of them were not in great shape. After being painted shut for a generation, it is very hard work to restore them. We’ve been working since February, but finally the new windows are being finished up this week, and are back to their original look and functionality. They are beautiful!
Heating and Cooling
The windows are good for more than being beautiful- they also allow us to better ventilate the building. When they’re installed, it’ll be easier to keep things cool upstairs and downstairs.
Yet, that’s not enough to fix extreme temperatures in the rest of the building. We’ve consulted with experts in helping to cool spaces like ours and have come up with a plan. In addition to the mechanisms already in place, we will be installing industrial grade vans to move air in the sanctuary and better venting fans to move hot air out of the building. These plans are underway, and they should be completed before the end of the summer.
General cleaning and tidying
This one isn’t falling to any contractors. I believe it’s our job to help make our home welcoming and hospitable to all who enter. As such, we will come together on Saturday, August 19th, starting at 10am to help get the building looking the its very best. If you can spare a few hours, awesome! If you can offer 30 minutes, that’s great! Whatever your availability or time commitment, we can use your help, and there will be jobs for everyone. If you can’t make it that day, but you would like to come help out during the week, let me know and we’ll work something out. We are grateful to have such a great and caring community.