Grow the Circle Wide

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Dear Members and Friends of Rockville United Church,

 

At the Congregational meeting on February 6, 2022, the members approved the following motion:

 

To adopt the proposed plan for the Grow the Circle Wide Capital and Visioning Campaign with a total goal of $1.277 million dollars for the funding of nine projects (listed below) and further to hire the United Church of Christ (UCC) Church Building & Loan Fund as the campaign consultant.

 

The next step in the process is to professionally evaluate our resources, estimate our giving potential, and determine what levels of support may exist among our church members.  Part of the process involves a Financial Feasibility study in which the UCC consultant conducts a number of confidential interviews with selected members representing a cross section of our congregation. The Financial Feasibility study will occur in March 2022.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Faithfully,

 

Elizabeth Cooper-Martin, Council President 

E. Scott Winnette, Pastor

Capital & Visioning 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

Repayment includes an earlier loan for new HVAC in the offices.

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.  

 

Designed to blanket our building with wireless coverage, Mesh Wi-Fi systems are a hybrid of sorts, made up of several networking components. There's a main router that connects directly to your modem, and a series of satellite modules, or nodes, placed throughout the building. They are all part of a single wireless network, and they share the same SSID and password. Unlike range extenders, Wi-Fi mesh networks do not create a separate network. They provide a single network that users' mobile devices connect to automatically as they move around the 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.  A goal of the renovation is to make food preparation and clean up easier.

-New storage and serving spaces

 

-Additional lighting

-New appliances: stove, ice maker, dishwasher

-Convert outer room for food serving and coffee service

Care of the ruc family
Care of our Neighbors

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Outdoor Fellowship Space
$380,000

If we can create an outdoor fellowship space (deck or terrace) 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 or terrace 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 or terrace

-Civil engineer

-Gazebo or pergola possibly

-Site preparation and landscaping

Care of the ruc family
Care of our Neighbors

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Interactive art & play Center
(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

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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

To expand our welcome, so that all truly means all, we want to make our building more accessible.  Due to the high cost of an elevator ($700,000), we look to other solutions and propose the following:

-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
Care of our Neighbors
Commitment to social justice

A Walk in Park

sustainability & rain water management
$100,000

As we care for the earth, one of our goals is to be the green church in practice and make our building and grounds a sustainability statement.  The next steps to do so are the following:

-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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How we got here

The path to this Campaign started in September 2020 with Congregational approval of a loan for a new roof and other improvements to our building.  This loan allowed us to move forward on building renovations, based on the work of the Roof and Capital Improvements Task Force. 

 

Later in 2020, we invited a process for epiphany through a series of visioning events. Together, we processed this visionary input and returned with four mission priorities that resonated with our community: Care of the Rockville United Church (RUC) Family, Care of Our Neighbors, Commitment to Social Justice, and Care of the Earth. Click the title to the right to read a Summary of Visioning Event.

A marvelous Strategic Planning Task Force assembled in early 2021 to absorb everything shared during the visioning experience.

 

They collected more thoughts and dreams from the Congregation at six roundtables. Select from the right to read.

 

The Task Force completed its work with a five-year strategic plan, Grow the Circle Wide, which RUC members adopted in August 2021. 

A more detailed timeline is available here.

Hiring the UCC Capital Campaign Services

Council recommends hiring a consultant from the UCC Capital Campaign Services to guide us through the process.

 

The consultant will conduct a Financial Feasibility study in March by interviewing a group of members to confirm that the congregation can reach the total Campaign goal and that there is support for the proposed projects.

  

Then the consultant will guide us through a 12-15 week campaign in the Spring of 2022.  In preparation for that, the pastors and Council President will put together a campaign team.  The Consultant will share guidance on recruiting volunteers and also provide manuals, training for volunteers, and samples of materials to help us through the process.  In addition, they will be available via telephone, emails and Zoom. 

The Capital Campaign Services fee equals 10% of annual gifts and tithes from our most recent fiscal year = $43,277.  We already paid 25% for the Visioning support (-$1,135).  Final fee will be $42,092.

 

The Capital Campaign Services only receives 60% of this fee ($25,255) and the following 40% ($16,837) is used to meet the needs of our wider community, as shown below:

 

  • 10% is paid to Adese Fellowships, a new UCC program for faith-based entrepreneurs

  • 15% to each of two ministries designated by RUC.

The proposed 2022 budget includes payment of a deposit  plus 6 (of 12) monthly payments for this fee.

Adding it all together
paying off the cornerstone loan                        $240,000
technology for hybrid church                                
$12,000
operating budget contingency fund                    $50,000
Kitchen Renovation                                            $100,000
Outdoor deck                                                       $380,000
Playground                                                          $195,000
lgbtq shelter support                                            $100,000
accessibility of building                                      $100,000
sustainability & rain water management           $100,000

TOTAL.........................................$1,277,000

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