Today marks the end of the Christmas season, as we return to Ordinary Time by celebrating the Baptism of the Lord. While it’s always sad to see the Christmas decorations come down (the church always seems to look its most beautiful during the Christmas season – thanks Art & Environment crew!), we’ll now move forward into Ordinary Time, where our Gospel readings will allow us to enter into the daily ministry of Jesus’ public life.
I thought I’d use today’s column to touch on a few loose ends related to our capital campaign and construction project. We’ve been all moved into our new facility for a few months now, but we’re still continuing to work on a number of smaller items in order to finish the project completely. We’re also continuing to receive the final invoices from our contractor, so we’ll be able to provide you with a more detailed financial summary once the project is completely closed out.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous column, we’ve taken out a bridge loan from the diocese to allow us to pay these bills while we finish collecting our pledges. Our 3-year campaign will wind up in December 2021, so all of the money we collect on your pledges during 2021 will go towards the payment of the bridge loan. We expect that the remaining payments will fall a little short of the total bridge loan; as I’ve mentioned in a previous column, we were able to keep cost overruns to a minimum, but there were some that we had to incur. However, we don’t expect to incur any long-term debt. The worst-case scenario would be that we cover any difference with money from savings, but my hope is that this won’t be necessary. I’ll be able to report out more exactly once the project is officially closed, and at that time I’ll start reporting out on our payment progress on the bridge loan. Thank you in advance for your faithfulness to paying off the last year of your campaign pledges!
I also wanted to touch on the matter of the renovation of the exterior of the church façade. As you recall, beautification of the church exterior was one of the items mentioned in our capital campaign back in 2018. (Goodness, was it really that long ago?) Prior to COVID, we’d assembled a committee of parishioners to determine how to tackle that part of the project. Together we identified three options: (1) simply repair the damage (considerable cracking and water staining) on the façade and restore its original design; (2) redesign the façade while repairing the damage; and (3) use this opportunity to redesign the vestibule and greatly expand our gathering space while redesigning and fixing the façade. (Option #3 would require additional fundraising, so there’s a much larger discussion that would need to take place.) We put this effort on hold after COVID hit, but for those of you who have been wondering about our promise during the campaign to beautify the exterior façade, I wanted to make sure you knew where we left off.
Many blessings to all of you!