Page 5 - Moravian Messenger October 2019
P. 5

A bid writer was appointed and successfully applied for many smaller grants on our behalf, paid on a 'time-expended basis' rather than a percentage of funds obtained, which may have been a mistake. We also learned that applications to faith-based funds are frequently better written from a faith perspective and so obtained the services of another suitable writer for specific applications and then became more able to take on some of that work. A fundraising group also formed within the church. Fundraising provides an opportunity for people to offer their time and talents, and certainly developed the corporate identity of the relatively new church community. External funders always look to see the level of time and financial investment from the church itself so direct giving and fundraising are very important.
The largest percentage of income was from two of our parent denominations. In each case our applications were carefully weighed against their criteria. In our specific circumstances the huge investment made in the past by the Moravian members to the Sparkhill URC-owned church building was pertinent to the URC grant application. This, the Methodist and other application processes, forced us to become very specific about our mission objectives knowing that our outcomes will, in time, be reviewed against the objectives we set. Other external funders applied similar checks and it is important now that we can monitor our development.
The accounts are still not finalised (a delay which we had not envisaged). The full cost will be around 55% more than those early figures - but, praise God, we are confident that our costs will be covered.
When should we start work?
We did not want to appoint a construction firm until at least 75% of the anticipated cost was available or promised. Some funders put a time-limit on their contribution so this needs to be remembered. At one point we paused our contracts with both the architect and quantity surveyor for a few months until we had sufficient funds to proceed. Even so, the tendering process for a construction firm began (summer 2017) without knowing for certain how much income would be available. In late 2017 reductions were made to the intended schedule of work so that the anticipated income would cover the construction contract, the fees payable to architect / other experts and VAT on the total amount.
Let building work commence!
In January 2018 the contractors came on site and began the first of three phases of work. For ten months the various groups using the building were moved around it as different areas became a building site. Our architect / project manager was
© Sr Val Dickens
based in London but with the aid of technology we reported between his visits how things were progressing (or not!). The construction team moved out in mid-October 2018, and we were able to take full possession of our bright, reconfigured, modernised, attractive buildings in their entirety.
Definitely not! The use of this fantastic resource is what engages us now - making meaningful relationships with the neighbourhood through a building which they enjoy using, showing God's love in the way we meet and greet people, starting up or enabling the development of activities which will benefit them and develop our links with them. The building has a greater variety of users than before over a higher proportion of the week. Our terms of use allow only Christian faith practices in the building, but we're delighted that people of other faith groups feel comfortable to use the building in other ways both for community and family activities. These include health orientated, educational, pre-school, social, craft-based activities, martial arts etc. We will find it difficult to increase the level of usage without additional volunteer or paid hours and are considering how to address this.
Snagging - the practical matters that need tweaking, repairing etc. is ongoing and the list sometimes doesn't seem to be getting any shorter. Any building needs maintaining and will always need time and attention, but we look forward to the time when it is less of a focus.
2019 - Where are we as a church?
We have grown in faith as individuals, and as a united Christian community. We were concerned that our church life should not be totally defined by budgets, dust and the inevitable chaos of building work. Instead, we have learned of the generosity of God as he works through many people. We have learned to hold less tightly to some of our traditional ways of doing things, and realised the importance of communication, communication and then more communication.
We are so thankful that the Moravian Church was able to place a minister with us, although she didn't know that her pulpit would become physically inaccessible
within four months of her arrival!
Lorraine's involvement, creative thinking, support, faithfulness and insight have helped to lead us through two years of sanctified turmoil to a place of spiritual and numerical growth and service.
Sr Val Dickens
Chair, Building Strategy Group, Hall Green

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