The Adventure Continues, Part 3

In the previous posts, we shared information about what we know about Church #3 and how that impacts the rest of the construction project. Let’s look ahead to what’s coming –

1. Scaffolding is going up around the sanctuary and administration building.  It will take several weeks for the scaffolding to go up.
2. One of the commonly asked questions is – When do we expect to be back in the sanctuary?  We expect to return to our sanctuary in late Spring 2017.  In the meantime we will continue to meet in the Family Life Center for worship.
3.  Our architect and contractor are aggressively working on finding us savings. They understand our predicament and have spent many hours working for us.
4. We are working on the financial implications on all of this. Our capital campaign team that did such a marvelous job with Connect*Give*Grow has reconvened.
5. It is important that members of this community keep their offerings to the general fund and building fund current.
6. We will have a congregational meeting on June 26, immediately after the 11:15 service (at approximately 12:30). We need you to be present for that meeting.

If you have other questions or comments, please feel free to send an email to the church office and we’ll be happy to answer them the best we can. The building team, council, and staff have committed themselves to communicating as much as they can about this.

Finally, we invite you to be in prayer during this time. We went into this trusting that “God is calling…” and we continue this trusting that God is still calling.

The Adventure Continues, Part 2

Yesterday we shared a little bit about what’s happened with our building project.  To say the least, it’s an unexpected obstacle in this time of adventure!

The building team, staff, and council have been hard at work these last several months trying to figure out our next step forward.  We have been blessed with gifted contractors and architects who have been very helpful and supportive.

The main priority for us is to fix this problem so that it won’t happen again.  We don’t want to “kick the can down the road” for future disciples at Zion to deal with this because we know that this problem will get worse with time.

Our contractor and architect had several lengthy discussions on how to properly fix this and we were informed that the only way to move forward is to remove the exterior limestone, abate the damaged portions of the wall, properly fix the “bones” of the interior walls, and then put the limestone back up again. This fix will make sure we have a water tight building that won’t have this problem again.

This is not something we want to do but it is something we have to do. If we don’t do it now, not only will the building get worse (and cost more to fix), we also  run the risk of losing our construction financing.

This will be expensive. The initial price estimates we have received are that this will cost us about $1.2 million dollars. Since we had no way of knowing this was happening, we did not budget for such a major expense. At the same time, we cannot responsibly borrow another $1.2 million without putting significant financial strain on the congregation, so we have two options –
1. To pause part of the first sequence of construction until we collect the needed money.
2. Raise the $1.2 million quickly to pay for this unexpected surprise.

While we hope that we will be able to raise the necessary funds as soon as possible, at this point the leadership of this congregation feels that we must do the financially responsible thing and make the difficult decision to stop part of the project.  To save enough money, we must either –
1. Complete the exterior of the education building but not any of the interior.
2. Complete the exterior of the sanctuary but not any of the interior.

We don’t like either of these options. We strongly feel that both of these spaces are needed for our ministry. We also don’t like that if we stop work on either project; it will cost us more to complete it at a later date.

Our contractor and architect made the recommendation that we stop work on the interior of the education building. We agree with their recommendation and have asked them to work on finding as much savings as possible by not finishing the education building.

This means that the exterior of the education building will be completed but the rest of the education building will remain incomplete until we raise the needed funds. When people drive by our church, they will see a completed exterior. But because the interior will not be completed, we will not be able to occupy this space until the interior is completed.

Right now, we our main priorities are to keep the congregation informed on what’s going on and to navigate what has become a very complicated building project. We know that we will need to vote on some important items on June 26 at 12:30, so we’re asking for your presence at this important meeting. We are also asking for your prayers and support during this time.

More to come tomorrow…

The Adventure Continues

November 8, 2015 was a great day at Zion. We processed out of the sanctuary after our congregational meeting to break ground on our new construction. As we entered into construction, the two words Pastor Dave and Pastor Russell used were – “generosity” and “adventure.”

What an adventure it’s been! In January we made the transition from the sanctuary to the Family Life Center and began a new worship schedule. We give God thanks for the many ways in which this congregation has been so gracious with each other during this time of transition.

In any adventure there are obstacles. Earlier this year, we found out what our obstacle would be. As we began necessary demolition of parts of the sanctuary for remodeling, we found out something no one had any way of knowing about. Due to our previous architect and contractor not using best practices, we have significant problems in our sanctuary and administration building that we didn’t know about until we started looking behind the walls.

Here’s a list of the major problems:
1. There is supposed to be a gap between the limestone (which is a façade) and the walls actually holding up the building to allow for moisture drainage. The gap is smaller than what is usually called for and is clogged with remains of limestone and mortar.
2. The materials behind the limestone were not properly waterproofed.
3. The stained glass windows in the sanctuary were not flashed, allowing water to enter into the sanctuary.

We did additional testing and selective removal of other portions of the building and found out that this is present throughout the whole sanctuary and administration building.

While all this testing was going on, we consulted multiple attorneys to see what legal options we have against the previous contractor, architect, and inspector. Texas law gives us 10 years to find these sorts of defects and this building is over 25 years old, so we have no legal action. We have also contacted our insurance company to see if we can make any sort of insurance claim.

So in light of all of that, work has begun on fixing the problem. Earlier this week scaffolding began to be placed around the sanctuary walls and will remain there for several months.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a post on what will happen while the scaffolding is around the sanctuary.

Building Update

I thought I’d put together a brief update of what’s been happening with our construction:

-Penelope the Organ
To begin with I’d like to show a video from the Christ Cathedral in California after the Roman Catholic Church purchased that property from the Crystal Cathedral.

Our organ project isn’t nearly as large, but you can begin to see from the video how time consuming a project like this can be.

The pipe organ in Church #3, which was nicknamed Penelope, was removed from the sanctuary last week. It was a fascinating process to watch from start to finish. Each of the individual pipes had to be carefully removed, labeled, wrapped, and then put in boxes for transportation to the Dallas area. There are also parts on the inside of the pipe organ made of various types of wood that are made with various types of wood that are bulky and heavy that had to be removed and stored.

After a very full week of work, the final pieces of the pipe organ were removed from the sanctuary on Friday afternoon.

A lot of people have asked – what’s going to happen to Penelope?  If we were going to continue to use her in the sanctuary, she was going to need some significant repair work.  Rather than repairing Penelope, our organ builder took parts of Penelope so they can be re-purposed for future pipe organs throughout the country.

-All The Pews that Fit
Before major construction begins, the pews in the sanctuary have to be removed during construction. So here’s a quick run-down of what’s happened:
1. When the pews were installed, they were anchored into the floor. They had to be removed from the floor.
2. The longer pews in the sanctuary are actually two pieces joined together. They were taken apart.
3. In preparation for moving, the pews were wrapped in plastic to protect them as they’re stored during construction.

After all of that, the pews are being removed from the Sanctuary Wednesday and will be in storage during the renovation and it will be time for some selected demolition in the sanctuary.

-Moving Dirt…
Work on the education building continues…

Last week several parking spaces on the 1604 side were fenced off. There have been lots of loads of dirt dumped on our property that form the base for the new education building. The dirt has been moved around, packed, and will continue to be formed into a solid foundation for this building.  If you come up to the church campus during the day, you’ll probably hear the beeps and other sounds of heavy construction equipment like bulldozers.

-Finally
As always, we’re thankful for the ways in which this community of faith embodies generosity and adventure.  I invite you to keep our building team, staff, and construction crew in prayer.

Getting Ready For Sunday

Before we begin, let us pray.

O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-A prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship

This Sunday marks an important shift for 2016 at Zion – we are moving down to the Family Life Center for most of the year while our sanctuary is remodeled. This past Sunday we said goodbye for a little while to Church 3 and now it’s time for the adventure to continue.

Before we continue, I want to thank the 60 or so people that helped move us out of the sanctuary this past Sunday. Their work made a major difference! We’ve also had several other projects during the week that others have done to help with this transition. Thank you for your generosity!

Now onto Sunday….
When you pull into the parking lot, you’ll notice we have moved some handicap parking spaces over by the Fellowship Hall. If you are more able-bodied, please reserve better parking spaces for the elderly, families with small children, and those who have mobility issues closer to the FLC.

Also, please don’t park in the loop next to the Family Life Center. That is for people to drop off people and functions much like our port cochere (the covered driveway by the sanctuary) did when we were in Church 3.

Starting at 8:00 we will have some coffee on in Room 101. There are some comfy chairs, tables, and we think it will be a really neat space to visit before or after worship. Come on in and visit!

There are three entrances to the worship space. You can enter through Room 101, the doors next to Room 101, or the doors facing Braun Road (the doors closest to the Coke machine). On days when the weather isn’t bad, we’ve asked our ushers to be outside to greet people.

The layout of the worship space is similar to the sanctuary. You’ll notice some chairs with arms through out the sanctuary. If at all possible, please reserve these chairs for people who need a little more help getting up out of a chair.

As a reminder, the nursery has temporarily moved to the Fellowship Hall. If you need to have your child cared by our awesome nursery staff, enter through the doors facing Leslie Road.

If you see something that we’ve missed or something that could make things run a bit smoother while we are worshipping in the FLC, let one of the pastors know and we will see what we can do.

Here are some common questions we’ve been asked as we prepare for this adventure:
How long will we be worshipping in the FLC?
We will return to the sanctuary at sometime in Fall 2016. We will have an exact date once we are closer to construction being completed.

If I have items to donate to CAM or somewhere else, where do they go?
There is a plant on the main floor of the FLC with a sign that says, “Donation Station.”

Because the pews aren’t in there, I’m assuming we won’t have Bibles, hymnals, or other papers and envelopes in our seats?
That’s correct. Our bulletin will include hymns and songs that weren’t previously in there.

If I forgot my offering envelope or want to make a special donation on Sunday for a special cause, what do I do?
You can find envelopes that were in the pews at the Welcome Center.

What about our theatre ministry? How will that work?
2016 won’t be quite the same as years past, but there are some really neat things planned. Stay tuned!

One final thought:
We are on an adventure together. We have tried very hard to do as much as we can to make this transition as smooth as possible. Thanks be to God for your commitment to the mission and ministry of Zion. It has been a joy to be a part of this time in our church’s history.

Stories of Faith in Action #3

Over the last several days we’ve been hearing about how people at Zion have been using their gifts to put their faith in action.  Today’s story is from Dave Newman, one of our leaders of Zion’s Lutheran Men in Mission about a unique way a group of men used their gifts.  He writes:

“November 25 was a bittersweet day at Zion.

The bitter? After months of careful planning, designing, and praying, several of our oak trees had to be pushed over to make way for the new Education Building. Sad…those trees probably watched as Zion came and grew to be the church it is today. There is a common grieving throughout the congregation about losing some of God’s beautiful creations.

The sweet? God is continually the creator. Obviously, we soon will be blessed with a great new educational facility and enhanced areas for work and fellowship. We also will be blessed with many more new trees, albeit younger/smaller, for future generations.

And also…God creates opportunities. The trees were scheduled to be hauled to the landfill. What a waste! For years, Zion’s men have traveled many miles gathering firewood for Zion BBQ’s. The opportunity to gather firewood from our own church grounds was heaven sent. Also, the trees could be honored with a noble end…providing the next “Holy Smoke” for another Zion BBQ.

In keeping with the traditions passed down throughout our history, our men felt a responsibility to support Zion. Several volunteered hastily arranged hours to cut up and stack most of the fallen trunks and limbs before they were to be hauled away. We gathered enough firewood to last for several BBQ’s. While we still mourn the loss of our trees, we will be able to continue serving Zion again and again with the heat from burning their remains. A wonderful fringe benefit of the project was the camaraderie the Spirit provided among those who helped.

Any who would like to be included in Zion’s next Lutheran Men in Mission event, contact Dave Newman. (210-859-7860 or ddnewman@mac.com)”

 

Stories of Faith in Action

We’re going to have a series of posts from people in the congregation about how they live out their faith.  Today’s first story is from Mary Mora, one of our Meals on Wheels Volunteers.

COUNTING OUR BLESSINGS

When I get back into the car after delivering a meal to one of our clients, I often get to tell my partner, Ken, “that’s number three for today”! Through the “Meals on Wheels” program we have encountered many wonderful, grateful people who are happy to give us a blessing for taking care of them in this way. It makes us feel good, too. After all, isn’t that usually the product of volunteerism? The “MOW” is a perfect vehicle for directly having an impact that helps senior citizens, handicapped persons, and low income individuals that otherwise might go hungry receive a hot, balanced meal. Our part, the delivery of the meals, is not complicated. The overall program is very organized and we receive sufficient training and back-up supervision that makes volunteering easy. We pick up the meals in a special warming oven in Zion’s kitchen in the Family Life Center and, along with a cold bag with milk, juices, fruit and snack, we begin delivering to some 8 to 12 clients. We are generally finished in under two hours. We have chosen to deliver on Thursdays, twice a month. Others may want to go every Friday, for example, or three times a month, or simply be a back-up for a friend who cannot make it a certain day.

It’s also a good way to keep an eye on these particular individuals and insure a measure of good health, not to mention their thanks, and “God Bless You(s):”

If you are interested in more information, please call Coordinator David Wille, 210-647-0404.
Mary Mora

 

The Adventure Begins!

I am so thankful for this past Sunday. We had a wonderful day where we gathered for worship, offered their intentions to give for 2016, had our annual meeting, and broke ground on the new facilities for ministry. Thanks be to God for all the hard work that went into making that day so meaningful!

This past Sunday at the annual meeting I talked about two important words that will mark our time together for the next year – generosity and adventure.

Generosity – When we talk about generosity, most of the time people think we’re reaching for their pocket books to ask people to give more of their financial resources. While money is a part of generosity, this next year we will have a lot of opportunities to practice generosity. During construction we will need to have a generous spirit with each other. As I said Sunday, we are going to be an equal opportunity offender! Everybody is getting (Everyone will be) displaced over this next year and that means that everyone’s toes will be stepped on. It will be easy for us to get grumpy about things, but Pastor Dave and I want to invite every person in this community of faith to embody generosity in all we say and do, especially over this next year.

Adventure – Christianity is an adventure. God’s call on our lives takes us to places we’d never imagine doing things that seem inconceivable. We can choose to see this as a burden where we complain about all the things we can’t do or we can see this as an adventure, part of our journey with God. We are choosing to see this as an adventure and we invite you all to come along!

As we begin this construction project, let us pray.

O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(A prayer from Evening Prayer, Evangelical Lutheran Worship.)

Connect*Give*Grow Update

There’s been a lot of stuff happening that we thought you’d like to know.  Here are some of the highlights:

1.  Mark your calendars for November 8!  This is an important day in the life of our congregation.  After worship, we will have our annual meeting and then at 1:00 we will have our groundbreaking for our new facilities.  After the groundbreaking, we will gather in the FLC for a soup luncheon.

2.  Our architects have been hard at work with our general contractor finalizing the details for our construction.

3.  The first steps are starting!   Look carefully at this picture:

Theatre Renovation - Step 1

Do you see the speakers in the top center of the picture?  If you come into the FLC now, you’ll see they aren’t there any more.  We’ve upgraded the speakers and re-positioned them so we can improve the acoustics in the room.

Do you see the people holding the two people on the ladders in the picture?  They are busy taking down the lights because we are upgrading the lighting system in the FLC for our theatre ministry.  The new lights will be higher quality and consume much less electricity.  So, when you come to Little Shop of Horrors at the end of October, you can come knowing that your contributions to Connect*Give*Grow helped with this.

4.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) staff in the portables behind the gazebo will be moving to temporary office space throughout the campus.  Movers will be coming on tomorrow morning to move their furniture.  Here’s who this impacts:
Karen Stein will move to FLC 203.
Travis Baker will move to FLC 204.
Jen Bauer will move to FLC 204.
Sammy Mikulski will move to the Music Apse.

Please note: the doors to the FLC will remained locked throughout the week.  If you are on campus and have to see Karen, Travis, or Jen, please stop by the church office or call the office when you get to the church campus (210-688-3090).

5.  Our friends at Kids of the Kingdom have moved to their new home at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church on Bandera Road this weekend.  We give God thanks for their presence here at Zion for the last years and pray for God’s blessings as they go to their new home.

God’s blessings!!

Pastor Russell

WIGIAT?

One of my favorite questions I was taught to ask is, “Where is God in All of This?”  It’s a great question to help us to begin to realize that God’s presence is surrounding us in all of life.  I thought I’d share two moments of God’s presence in the midst of ordinary moments that happened today:

1.  This morning I received an email from a Northside ISD principal who works at a high poverty school.  We were able to take school supplies to this school and I received a touching thank you note from them.  Here’s a portion of the note:

“On the first day of school, a small sixth grade female student was walking around campus with half of her needed school supplies in a trash bag. She provided what she could. As soon as I noticed her, I took her aside and gave her a backpack and the missing school supplies. Her smile and demeanor brightened immediately. Your donation enabled this event to happen and made a difference in the lives of many of our students. Our kids want support, not sympathy. Thank you for supporting our kids.”

2.  I also found out that we collected over $580(!) with our most recent Blessed Change collection.  Every fifth Sunday we ask people to bring spare change for a cause to support God’s mission in the world.  This time we’re buying a great resource from the wider church called Prayer Book for the Armed Services.  We already give this important resource to people when we know that they are being deployed.  What we collected on Sunday will be given to our partners in ministry in the chaplain’s office at Joint Base San Antonio so they can give them to soldiers stationed at JBSA.

What is striking to me is how God takes ordinary things and uses them in ways we can’t begin to imagine.  A few coins dropped from our pockets or purses on Sunday morning become enough to order lots of books for soldiers serving our country in places across the world.  People purchasing school supplies at the store blesses a young girl in our community.

Thanks for your generous support of these ministries!  What you do makes a difference in a world and is powerful way to serve God by serving others.

Blessed to be in this partnership with you,

prp