Building Update and Congregational Meeting – March 31, 2019

Watch the meeting or read the summary below:


To our First Lutheran Family,

Thanks to all of you who attended our congregational meeting. We are inspired by your support and your commitment to building a collective vision of our ministry at First Lutheran.

Following is a recap of our discussion and vote:

Building Update:

  • After the initial news of the instability of our church roof structure on December 4, we took the advice of our contractor/project manager and consulting engineering firm to install tension cables across the sanctuary. This work was completed the week of Dec. 17 for the purpose of stabilizing the walls of the sanctuary, which had been adversely affected by the weight of the roof.
  • At that time, measuring devices were installed to monitor movement in the walls and roof. It was mentioned at that time, that we might need to install additional vertical stabilization. Measurements taken the week of March 14 indicated that the roof structure continues to decline. Vertical stabilization is necessary to preserve the building for future work, and to ensure everyone’s safety. This additional stabilization needed  to be done as quickly as possible.
  • On March 15, 2019, the Church Council unanimously approved the installation of six vertical stabilization pillars in the sanctuary. This work was completed the week of March 19,  and all of the load of the roof is currently on the new six columns. Cost for this work was about $25,000, which was drawn from the undesignated Memorial Funds and the Strategic Reserve Funds.
  • Our goals throughout this process have been safety and transparently communicating the situation with the building. A third goal is to get back into the main building space so we can plan for a long-term solution.
  • We are proposing the next phases:
    • Phase 1:
      • Add six columns in the fellowship hall that line up with the sanctuary columns. The existing columns in the fellowship hall do not. This will involve tearing up the floor and putting footings directly under the columns.
      • Add additional steel reinforcements to certain areas in the rafters.
      • Potentially add six new cables/rods in the sanctuary where the ceiling meets the sidewalls, replacing the twelve horizontal cable ties already there.  
      • The costs of this additional work are estimated at $30-35,000, bringing us to under $100,000 spent and we’re back in business using those spaces again.
      • We are confident this temporary solution is safe based on assurances from our contractor and engineer. We will continue to monitor any movement and will act immediately if safety circumstances change.
    • This solution is temporary. Repairing the existing roof is not a possibility, according to our consultants. Jacking up the roof and pulling the side walls back to plum are no longer being considered viable options. Replacement of the roof would be tricky, but still an option. It would allow us to maintain the footprint and look of the existing structure.  It would also require us to bring the space up to code as much as possible ie electrical, ramps for egress/ingress maybe bathrooms.
    • Our engineer and contractor feel Phase 1 will buy us some additional years, but we don’t know how many. This is why we feel it’s important to spend the next 18 months discerning as a congregation a longer-term vision for our ministry and building.

Funding Request

  • A claim to our insurance company, Church Mutual, has been filed. We anticipate hearing from them within the next few weeks.
  • At the congregational meeting on Sunday, March 31, Troy Whitehill moved for the approval of establishing a line of credit up to $150,000 to complete Phase 1 and compensate the Runde’s for use of the Carriage House. Myrv Christopherson seconded this motion. Discussion occurred, and the motion was carried.
  • We also asked the congregation to commit to raising the money to pay off any and all expenses incurred in Phase 1 before we start Phase 2.  

Phase 2: Creating a Vision for our Ministry    CLICK HERE to go to the 2019/2020 Action Plan

  • For the past 18 months, the Church Council has been working on a vision for our ministry. This visioning has been rooted in our church mission to be a welcoming community of worship, witness, spiritual growth and ecumenical service to God and God’s people.
  • Our overall theme has been exploring ways we can widen our welcome and deepen our relationships. Our membership is growing, but our engagement is declining. We feel called to do more. Our vision for our ministry is summarized as follows:
    • We will seek ways to live our value of being welcoming by addressing barriers to welcome, both physical and spiritual.
    • We will provide fertile ground to cultivate and develop deeper relationships in our faith community so individuals feel more connected with God, their faith, and each other.
    • We will seek ways to actively share our faith in Jesus Christ at home, in the congregation and in our community.
    • We will communicate a vision that will inspire and motivate the congregation to action.
  • The visioning was paused because of the roof situation, but, long before the roof was an issue, we discussed the need to address physical barriers that limit our ability to be welcoming – things like our bathrooms, our building’s accessibility, and our lack of a common welcoming space.
  • The roof situation adds complexity to this discussion, but it is also an opportunity to assess what our ministry looks like so we can develop a long-term building plan that serves as a tool to achieve our ministry goals.
  • We are in the process of developing eight new Task Forces to plan and advance our call.
    • These are not committees. They are action-oriented, short-term groups that are designed to gain broader input from our congregation so we can successfully develop a plan and a vision that reflects how the Holy Spirit is working within our church family.
    • There are Task Forces under each of our mission pillars, “Worship, Witness, Grow and Serve.” One of the Task Forces will be charged with helping develop a long-term vision for the building and a related budget.
  • We are attaching broader information about the Task Forces. We hope you will consider these opportunities and prayerfully consider three things:
    • How God is calling you to use your gifts and talents with one of these groups.
    • How you can contribute financially to supporting the temporary repairs we need to make, and in the future, the long-term plan for our building.
    • How you envision a ministry at First Lutheran that is truly welcoming and rich in relationships and engagement.


Pastor Chad, Pastor Melissa and the Church Council


Congregational Meeting Announcement & Building Update – March 18, 2019

March 18, 2019

Dear First Lutheran Family,

To refresh your memory on the story thus far…

After the initial news of the instability of our church roof structure in December, we took the advice of our contractor/project manager and consulting engineering firm to install tension cables across the sanctuary. This work was completed eight weeks ago for the purpose of stabilizing the walls of the sanctuary, which had been adversely affected by the weight of the roof. At that time, measuring devices were installed to monitor movement in the walls and roof. It was mentioned, also, at that time, that we might need to do additional vertical stabilization at some point.

Measurements taken late last week indicate that the roof structure continues to decline. This means two things: 1)The sanctuary and fellowship hall continue to be unsafe for occupancy – no one is allowed into those spaces until we have stabilized the structure further. 2) Vertical stabilization is necessary at this point to preserve the building and to keep it safe for future work to be done in the space, and this work needs to be done as quickly as possible.

This week, Finholt Construction will install six vertical stabilization pillars in the sanctuary. These are not permanent structures, but are necessary to ensure that the building does not collapse. Cost for this work is estimated not to exceed $23,000. We have $23,700 in the building fund that is available to support this stage of stabilization.

We anticipate further costs beyond this phase of stabilization, as we begin to discuss and prepare for more permanent work to be done.

A congregational meeting will be held Sunday, March 31 at 9:45 a.m. in the Carriage House to approve short term financing for additional expenses related to this phase of building stabilization and preparation.

At the meeting we also will talk about our vision for the church beyond addressing the roof issue. Even before the condition of the roof came into play, we have been discussing our ministry and how it is reflected in our building’s footprint. Our congregation has been discussing ministry priorities that seek to widen our welcome and deepen our relationships.

We have talked making our building more accessible, updating bathroom facilities, replacing the elevator, having a centralized narthex or welcoming area, and finding space for the increasing needs of our education ministries. Our building is a vehicle for ministry. We have an opportunity, at this critical time in our congregation’s life, to imagine a building that can reflect the welcome of this congregation to all who seek to worship and grow in this place.

The Holy Spirit is at work as we have been working through our roof situation. How is the Holy Spirit leading us not simply to repair our building, but to re-envision how our history and our future might come together to address emerging needs in our ministry?

Watch for ways in the near future that you will be able to contribute to this exciting conversation. In the meantime, continue to watch and to pray. Consider how your faith, creativity and generosity can help our congregation in our call to lives of worship, witness, growth and service to God, creation, and all of God’s people.

Pastor Chad, Pastor Melissa, and the First Lutheran Church Council

Building Update – February 1, 2019

An update from the Building Taskforce (as published in the February First Word Newsletter):
We are actively managing a couple of different projects related to the sanctuary.
The first is stability. As communicated previously, horizontal supports were put in place late December to ensure the exterior walls could not collapse outward, which met our original goal of securing the area around the church. The next step will be to discuss vertical stability to ensure the roof doesn’t collapse into the sanctuary. Our taskforce is working with contractors and engineers on plans for this.
The second project is determining whether to repair or replace the roof. If replacing is the best option, the hope would be that the vertical supports installed in the sanctuary would be not be permanent, but rather temporary as necessary stabilizers to support the work. If repairing is the best option, we’d most likely be looking at the addition of permanent columns to our worship space, as the primary support for the roof, which we would reinforce in order to prevent further deterioration. Both of these options bring with them a number of benefits and challenges, both from a timing and cost perspective.
We are grateful for your prayers and encouragement as we continue to work toward God’s plan for First Lutheran.
The FLC Building Taskforce

Building Updates – January 11

Last week we began our new worship pattern in the carriage house behind the church. Thank you to everyone who helped set up and prepare the space for worship! We are grateful to return to a more stable schedule for worship and education. We will continue to make adjustments to best utilize the space. Thank you for your flexibility and your creative input as we make the carriage house our new home away from home.

Our contractor and structural engineer have been monitoring the building since the initial stabilization work was completed on the sanctuary the week of December 17. The building task force met with our contractor again this week to review their latest findings and short-term recommendations.

The initial structural stabilization efforts have proved sufficient to ensure safety around the outside perimeter of the building, so all barricades have been removed from the outside of the building. The main office entrance has been reopened.

However, the report from the contractor and engineer suggests that more stabilization is necessary to further secure the structure and provide a safe environment inside the sanctuary for the engineer to do the work necessary to evaluate and recommend plans for the building’s repair. The contractor and building task force are working to secure a plan and timeline for these additional stabilization efforts.

Several people have asked about the organ, and we want to assure everyone that its safety is a priority as the situation progresses. There are no immediate plans to remove the organ from the sanctuary.

In the meantime:

  • Please continue to join us for worship in the carriage house – 5:00 p.m. Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Sundays, all traditional in style.
  • Please continue to be faithful in your giving. We did not close 2018 as strongly as we had hoped, and achieving our budget goals is essential as we move forward. We ask you to be mindful of the stewardship commitments you made during our fall campaign and to help us sustain a strong financial position in 2019.
  • Join us on Sunday, January 27 for our Annual Meeting, to be held in the carriage house between services. We need your voice and your vote.

Your church leadership continues to commit to open and helpful communication. Please contact the pastors or the church council with further questions or concerns.