Grow the Circle Wide

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Dear Members and Friends of Rockville United Church,

This is an exciting time in the life in RUC’s beloved community. We are ready to live into our new strategic plan by caring for ourselves and our neighbors and by keeping our commitment to social justice and earth care.  We are holding a congregational meeting on January 23 after worship to learn about the Grow the Circle Wide Capital and Visioning Campaign (Campaign). Ready your excitement and scroll down to see information about the projects proposed for the Campaign and Council’s recommendation to hire a consultant to guide us.

At a second congregational meeting on February 6, we will vote on undertaking the Campaign. If approved, we anticipate volunteer recruitment in February and Campaign Kickoff in May. The path that brought us here began in 2020 when the congregation approved a loan for building improvements. Our path also included a visioning process, creation of the Strategic Planning Task Force, and approval of its five-year plan: “Grow the Circle Wide” in 2021. Work on that Plan has begun. For example, new technology lets us host hybrid worship. An Earth Care Working Group is underway. We gave the Kaseman Health Clinic a temporary home after disaster hit.

Our community of faith has a proud history of mission; our building and grounds are another prized legacy. Our current community has a beautiful, generous spirit. We are active, engaged, and resilient – even during a pandemic! Our finances are sound. So now we turn to the future – to raise the money to bring our vision more fully into life. We look forward to seeing you at our first meeting, on January 23rd .

Peace, Elizabeth Cooper-Martin, Council President E. Scott Winnette, Pastor

Scroll to the bottom for background information.

Visioning & Capital Campaign

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paying off the cornerstone loan
$240,000

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We took out a loan for the following building projects.

-Replaced sanctuary roof and gutters

-Mold remediation and pipe rewrapping, lower level

 

-Replaced all windows

 

-External painting including Cross

Care of the ruc family

technology for hybrid church
$12,000

Several technological purchases will improve our delivery of hybrid or streaming only church experiences.  A second camera in the sanctuary would allow us to better capture different aspects of the worship service, particularly music solos and also baptisms. A mesh system for the internet would allow for stronger internet access through the building, both for our congregation as well as for any users of our building.

Adding a new SmartTV and webcam in the fellowship hall will add functionality and flexibility for both worship services and for social events. Should we need to expand our capacity or allow for continued social distancing, having the webcam and SmartTv will allow us to use the hall as an expansion space. These will also allow us to host movie nights, host streaming conferences, etc. Improving the sound systems in both sanctuary and fellowship hall will ensure that our members and visitors have the best experience possible.

Care of the ruc family

Working from Home
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operating budget contingency fund
$50,000

An Operating Budget Contingency Fund provides a cushion that ensures there is cash available to cover the church’s bills if income declines, as it often does, for example, in the summer months when members are on vacation.

Money has been set aside in the budget each year to add to this fund.  However, in some years, that budget line has been reduced in order to balance the budget.  It currently stands at around $64,000.

While that may sound like a lot of money, it is actually below a generally recognized rule-of-thumb amount for non-profits with a budget the size of RUC’s, which suggests that RUC should have 4-6 months operating reserve on hand or readily available.  At the very least an operating reserve should cover budgeted personnel expenses, which for RUC for 2021 was approximately $328,000.  Four months (1/3 of the year) of that amount is $109,000, and 6 months (half a year) would be $164,000.  Inclusion of additional operating expenses, such as utilities would mean this number should be even higher.  Thus, setting as a goal adding $50,000 to the current fund of $64,000 would be a conservatively low goal for this fund. 

 

Creating a fund of this size would have at least two positive effects.  First, it would eliminate the need for “catch up” funding in the annual budget, which will allow us to continue to focus that budget on the current needs of our congregation and community.  In addition, the funds could be invested to provide additional income, which could be included in the budget.

Care of the ruc family

Kitchen Renovation
$100,000

The kitchen renovation prepares RUC for a future of grand hospitality, rich fellowship, wholesome meals together.  The improvement of our kitchen also provides a better resource to our building's renters, our ministry partners and our neighbors.

-New storage and saving spaces

-New appliances: stove, ice maker

-Convert outer room for food serving

Care of the ruc family
Care of our Neighbors

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Outdoor deck
$380,000

If we can create an outdoor fellowship space (deck) that serves as a transition between the inside and outside, we can extend the life of the congregation into nature and into the neighborhood. A deck could be a place where we gather to picnic, watch movies together, and provide live music for ourselves and neighbors. A gazebo or pergola could enhance our ability to rent our facilities and provide a focus for ceremonial use (weddings, blessing of the animals and other worship opportunities). It would lessen the image of our church as an isolated building on a hill and create a sense of invitation.

-Deck behind Fellowship Hall

-New doors out to deck

-Civil engineer

-Site preparation and landscaping

Care of the ruc family
Care of our Neighbors

Playground
$195,000

We envision the playground as an interactive art and play center, accessible and intergenerational. It should have play equipment, natural landscape elements, sensory experiences (e.g., chimes) and provide opportunities for artistic expression for the children and adults of the congregation and local artists.

The unique elements of our proposed art and play center differentiate it from other playgrounds in the neighborhood (e.g., Twinbrook Recreation Center) and so could attract our neighbors to enjoy it.

 

The cost estimate includes design, site clearing, landscaping, equipment, and surfacing materials. A modular approach is possible; once land is properly prepared, over time we can add more pieces of equipment or areas for engagement and interaction.

Care of the ruc family
Care of our Neighbors
Commitment to social justice

Forest Playground
Paper Heart

lgbtq shelter support
$100,000

The congregation expressed desire to provide safe spaces and other support for LGBTQ youth.  Despite our initial research, we are not aware of any public study that assesses the needs of Montgomery County youth – let alone LGBTQ youth. 

 

In further exploration, we have learned there is NO youth shelter in the county.  Youth experiencing homelessness (of which 40% are in the LGBTQ community) must go to a hotel or adult shelter, live on the street, or couch surf.  Besides housing needs, we learned of the immense needs of Montgomery County youth for emergency assistance, food, clothing, counseling, GED preparation, etc.  There is NO Montgomery County health clinic where youth can obtain hormone and HIV/AIDS meds.

 

As a first step, RUC will have to initiate a needs assessment study before we determine where we will focus our time, energy, and resources.  In addition, we will need to explore potential community partnerships (such as SMYAL, MoCo Reconnect, Community Reach) because we do not have the resources/expertise within our congregation to create shelters or transitional housing.  The proposed cost includes seed money for youth transitional housing.

Care of our NeighborS

accessibility of building
$100,000

 

-Improve accessibility, especially lower level

 

-Signage on how to access from lower level

 

-Improve walk from sanctuary to memorial garden

 

-Assessment of accessibility

Care of the ruc family
Commitment to social justice

A Walk in Park

sustainability & rain water management
$100,000

 

-Hire landscape architect & civil engineer before starting outdoor projects

-Evaluate how water drains and runs off

 

-Propose solutions for rainwater management

 

-Provide recommendations for location & sustainable use of our land

care of the earth

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hiring the ucc church building
and loan fund 

The CCS fee equals 10% of annual gifts and tithes from our most recent fiscal year = $35,968.

 

CCS only receives 60% of this fee ($21,581) and the following 40% is used to meet the needs of our wider community, as shown below:


• 10% ($3,597) is paid to OCWM (Our Church’s Wider Mission)


• 30% ($10,790) to any two Philanthropies or Ministries (our choice)