Parish Hall Committee News

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August 15, 2016

As of August 1, St. Jamesians have pledged or contributed $1,243,943 for the renovation and expansion of the Parish Hall wing of the church building. Thank God and thank you! We have come a long way from our initial campaign goal of $555,000. Because we do not want to burden the church with major long-term debt, the Parish Hall Committee is not recommending the $1,700,000 3-level-expansion option. Instead we have asked our architect David Krebs to show us some refinements of the $1,400,000 option, which would renovate and expand on two levels and move the parish offices back to the church. That option would add the sale of the present offices to what has been raised, and we hope to get accessibility grants to help with the cost of an elevator. We also asked our architect to give us more information, including a cost estimate, about a third option that would renovate extensively but expand modestly and keep the offices where they are. Whatever option we choose will include all the improvements the congregation and vestry wanted: more kitchen space, more room for seating and eating in the Parish Hall, small meeting spaces with room for a small library, a choir room, accessibility on all levels, and air-conditioning throughout. We will meet with our architect on September 6 to come to a final recommendation for the Vestry.



Planting for Tomorrow Campaign success. Pledges and contributions to St. James’ successful collaborative campaign with the Diocese of Ohio, “Planting for Tomorrow, Growing in Faith Today,” have exceeded the $555,000 goal set by the Vestry—30% will go to the diocesan campaign, and 70% will come back to St. James. Since we have reached our goal, 100% of any additional gifts to the campaign will go to St. James.


First, the windows. Already, our first quarterly payment has been received from the diocese. The church has contracted with Willet Hauser Architectural Glass ( to begin restoration and protection of the Christ the King window and the church’s other stained-glass windows. The Parish Office on North Street will also be getting new, energy-efficient windows.


Parish Hall Committee starts work. The new Parish Hall Committee—Damon Hickey (convener), Mimi Moore, Jill Munro, Michelle Oney, Merlin Peterson, and Kim Watkins—is hard at work planning for the expansion of the Parish Hall. Among the items to be considered are


A bigger kitchen to serve meals for the parish and the wider community
More room for seating and eating
Small meeting space(s) for committees and other small groups
A library
A choir room
Relocation of the Parish Office from its present location on North Street back to the Parish Hall
Accessibility on all levels (probably by elevator)
Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) throughout


Learning from other churches’ experiences. As a first step in planning for the expansion, members of the committee will be talking with people at other Wooster churches and nearby Episcopal churches that have undergone expansions and renovations recently, in order to learn from their experience and to get recommendations of architects.


A five-year process—at least. The committee is looking at a process lasting at least five years. Distributions from the Planting for Tomorrow Campaign will be made to parishes by the diocese over a five-year period. The Parish Hall Committee will also explore other grant and gift possibilities, including diocesan and community foundation grants. People who have not yet pledged or given to the campaign or who want to make additional gifts (100% of which will go to St. James) will continue to have those opportunities. Eventually, the current Parish Office house will be sold to support the Parish Hall expansion.


Developing options, assessing resources. We cannot know at this point exactly how much money we will receive over the five-year period, or what it will cost to do the things we want to do. How much money we receive will depend on whether and when pledges are paid, and whether other sources of funds become available. Working with an architect, the committee will develop options with price tags, so that we can make informed decisions.


An open process. The Parish Hall Committee is committed to keeping the parish informed of our progress through reports such as this one and announcements in the Sunday bulletin. We expect to have open meetings from time to time to discuss our progress and the options we see before us.