Center For Ministry
Center For Ministry
Thanks to the hard work of the Property Committee and our wonderful architect, engineering, and project management partners, we have an exciting plan for the proposed Center for Ministry addition. We invite you to explore the information on this page, and be in touch to ask questions and share your thoughts. We believe this plan is the right response to the needs of the aging and inefficient Church House, but it will take your financial support to become a reality.
Tell me more
Below is a video the June 12 parish meeting on the Center For Ministry.
Click here to download the Powerpoint presentation that accompanied this video presentation.
Can we talk?
Frequently Asked Questions about the proposed Center for Ministry
This is a complex project that touches many aspects of our life together and in the community. It is so important that everyone has the opportunity to understand and be understood in the process. Many of the questions that have come forward are answered below. We will continue to update this page as more specific answers are developed and additional questions rise up from the congregation. If you have a question that is not answered here, or would just like to have a conversation about the proposed Center for Ministry, please contact Jill Sautkulis (Senior Warden), Stan March (Junior Warden), or Richard Thomas (Project Leader).
The Center for Ministry Addition
Is there room for growth in the new addition?
Yes; The Center for Ministry was designed to meet the current and future needs of the parish—from our administration and spiritual development to the vital welcoming and digital ministries. “Flex space” is an integral part of the design.
How much will it cost to operate the Center for Ministry?
Estimate to be provided by the engineers who designed the systems. Updates will be posted when available.
What accessibility features are included?
All accessibility codes will be met. The entrance to the addition will be level with grade and an elevator will be provided to serve all levels. All toilets are also fully accessible.
Can the new space be used to make money?
The Center for Ministry will be used to fulfill our mission to go and make disciples who live a deeper life in Christ, a more holy communion with one another, and a greater love for the world. Some outside organizations who make use of the space might make a donation in thanksgiving for that use as they do now). However, we are limited by tax law in the amount of accessory use income St. Mark’s can earn, so cannot anticipate a meaningful increase in income from the addition.
Will the Boy Scouts be affected?
The existing Vern Thunem Scout Center and other spaces used by the Boy Scouts will not be affected. Troop 70 has experienced extraordinary growth, so we are already in conversation about what additional spaces the Boy Scouts can use at St. Mark’s now and in the future.
Will the Food Pantry be affected?
Some of the space currently in use by the Food Pantry would be affected by the construction. Now that the design is confirmed, we can begin exploring how to meet the Food Pantry’s needs within a new configuration. Portions of a .solution have already been developed by TSK.
How will existing programs (Sunday School, etc.) be affected?
The program defined in the Center for Ministry would allow us to renovate the existing meeting rooms to serve as a nursery and more child-oriented uses, which are currently unmet. The cost of the minor renovations is already included in the overall estimate. Other groups that use the Education Center and Outreach Room for meetings will have use of new spaces in the Center for Ministry that are better equipped for remote participation and other meeting logistics.
What is the timeline?
The timeline is largely dependent on how soon we have sufficient pledge commitments. The process of design development, bid solicitation, builder selection and permitting will take roughly 6 months.
Is there Diocese involvement?
Yes. The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (our diocese), will have to approve the project based on feasibility and fitness for ministry in the same way the Rectory purchase was approved. Preliminary conversations have not identified any obstacles. We will seek official approval when we have sufficient pledge commitments.
Will there be problems with the Town or neighbors?
We have already met with the Town Planning and Zoning office. We do not require any variances or modifications of either the Town land use requirements, or the State of CT building code. We do require approval of the CT DOT for the sewer connection on Oenoke Ridge (which is a State highway). Our construction logistics plan avoids use of the North driveway, which should ameliorate concerns of the residential neighbors to the North. The property to our South belongs to the New Canaan Historical Society, and to the East, the New Canaan Inn. We will of course work cooperatively with both of those agencies. Nevertheless, neighbors may voice complaints about noise, traffic, or just about anything else. The best solution to such is to have early and extensive communications with those affected, which we intend to do.
The Church House (Gray Gables)
How much money would it take to make the Church House “good enough”?
An order of magnitude cost estimate is being developed by Fogarty Estimators (the same firm who provided the estimates for the Center for Ministry addition) based on sketches and descriptions to be prepared by the Center for Ministry architects, Tai Soo Kim Partners (TSK). An update will be provided here when complete.
How much does it cost to demolish the Church House?
Estimate under development by Properties Committee. An update will be provided here when complete.
Is Gray Gables (the Church House) historic?
Yes; any building over 50 years old is considered historic. Applications for demolition of such buildings are subject to review by the Town’s Historic Review Committee if requested by public submitting evidence that the building contributes to the character of the Town.
Can we get grants due to historic status?
Yes; grants are made by the State of CT. Grants of up to $15,000, requiring a 1:1 match are available to religious organizations for certain capital improvements of historic buildings.
If it doesn’t make sense to renovate for offices why does it make sense to renovate for anything else?
There are other uses to which the building’s physical characteristics are compatible, especially some type of housing. The physical requirements of housing for structure, mechanical, and information systems, are far less complex than for today’s offices. Further, concepts being evaluated for renovation include those that might be undertaken by a third party as part of a repurposing of the Church House.
Can we build a new building on the Church House foundation?
No; the structure of the foundation, drainage, etc. are probably inadequate and the configuration of the Church House is not appropriate for offices.
How much will it cost?
The complete project is estimated to cost $5.2 million.
How much more do we need to get there?
We have $2.2 million in capital pledges available for the project, and will need to raise an additional $3 million.
How can I make a pledge?
We welcome pledges at any time, for either annual stewardship or the Empower the Parish Capital Campaign. Please use this link, fill out a pledge card, or contact the church office for more information at 203-966-4515.
How long can I take to pay my pledge?
The Empower the Parish Campaign runs through 2018. However, all contributions are gratefully received.
Is there a cushion built into the budget?
Yes. There are two contingencies: one for unexpected construction issues and another for the owner. Both are based on industry standards.
What if other capital needs crop up?
The Property Committee is quite familiar with the campus has considered these possibilities. As a result, $500,000 of the Empower the Parish goal is earmarked for other capital needs. A current example already underway, the cost of which is included in these earmarked funds, is the repair on the eaves of the sanctuary.
Given the reduced annual stewardship and economic uncertainty, can
we really afford to do this?
This is a core question, and one of the reasons we are proceeding conservatively. However, a similar question is equally valid: Given the needs of the ministry and the limitations and condition of the Church House, can we afford not to do this? It is the considered opinion of both the Property Committee and the leadership that we will either pay now or pay later. In the long run, it will be more cost-efficient to pay now, as well as substantially improve our ability to fulfill our ministries. But it will take the commitment of the entire parish to make that possible.
I have other questions. Who can I ask?
Please contact Jill Sautkulis, Stan March, or Richard Thomas, with questions or comments.
David Kraemer (Head)
Father Peter Walsh
Dick DePatie (Parish Administrator)
How Can I Give?
Click here to securely pledge via Realm, or call the Church Office at 203.966.4515.