Questions & Answers
for a Mission Possible Fact Sheet (PDF) ****
Foundry United Methodist Church has committed to improving its physical capacity for fellowship and ministries in order to answer God’s call to Foundry to deepen faith, create engaged community, and transform the world.
Making our Mission Possible involves everyone who believes in honoring Foundry’s past and building for its future. In the process of envisioning the future, Foundry members have committed to increasing our capabilities and flexibility through phased renovation that begins with the central fellowship wing. Leading up to Foundry’s 200th anniversary in 2014, we will create a more coherent structure that invites worship, meetings, and fellowship in a safe and welcoming space.
Here are answers to questions that Foundry members and constituents have already asked about the renovation project. You are invited to return to this site as often as you have questions, either to find an answer to your question or to add to the list of questions. So far the three sections of the site are the building itself, the timeframe for the work, and individual participation. As additional questions and answers emerge, we will add them to this site; new additions will appear at the top of the list under each category.
What changes are planned for Foundry's kitchen facilities?
Located in the basement, the existing kitchen will undergo a renovation to enable more efficient use of work space and meal planning, provide modernized equipment and appliances, and incorporate needed safety upgrades. Plans for the space will be developed by experts in kitchen design and will emphasize ease of use, ergonomics, safety, traffic flow, and functionality.
As currently configured, our kitchen has outmoded appliances and limited work surfaces, and thus does not permit the kinds of food preparation that would enhance Foundry's gatherings and mission outreach. With better cooking and refrigeration equipment and improved workspaces, the church will be better suited for cooking ministries and Foundry events.
What improvements to Foundry's building have been made since the last capital campaign in the late 1990s?
The proceeds of the last capital campaign were combined with regular maintenance expenditures as well as financial reserves to make a number of needed upgrades to the church building, including but not limited to:
- Installation of a ramp to allow wheel-chair access to the church’s front entrance
- Painting of the church sanctuary
- Landscaping and resurfacing of plaza area in front of the church
- Painting of all external exposed wood and metal trim
- Installation of a new roof on the sanctuary building
- Upgrading of heating and air conditioning equipment in the education wing
- Upgrade of electrical capacity including new electrical panels and wiring into the electrical room.
- Cleaning and restoration of stained glass windows in the sanctuary balcony and the north wall of the Fellowship Hall
- Installation of improved sound system in sanctuary
How will ESL instructors be able to better tutor their students after renovation?
The fellowship wing renovation will create a more welcoming and secure entrance area with monitors that will display Spanish/English directions for students entering the building and with more accessibility to other floors via the new elevator. In addition, Fellowship Hall will be equipped with new technology tools for training instructors and will provide more attractive spaces for students and classes. In the next phase of renovation, classrooms will not only receive new finishes and furnishings but also will become "smart" classrooms with improved technology for better presentation and learning experiences.
How will Walk-in more fully serve clients?
Improvements for our Walk-in ministry include a more accessible and welcoming entryway and signage, a nicer and more flexible gathering space, a more comfortable workflow process to ensure that clients can move through with more privacy and dignity, and more accessible technology for improving the ‘Walk-in’ experience. By upgrading our reception and fellowship areas to be more attractive, modern, comfortable and efficient for all who enter, we affirm the importance of every person who is welcomed and served.
What is the focus of this renovation work?
This is the first, and largest, of potentially three phases of renovation in line with Foundry’s Master Plan that has been developed over the last decade by teams of Foundry members, architects and other experts. Phase I will focus on the central fellowship wing of Foundry’s building, situated between the sanctuary and the educational building. That was chosen as the place to begin for a number of reasons. A major one is the strong feeling that our current building is not as welcoming, attractive, useful or accessible as it needs to be. Some even feel that our current Fellowship Hall – in part due to its inaccessibility – discourages hospitality.
How does our current building discourage hospitality?
When our ministers during worship explain to visitors how to join the fellowship hour after services, the problem is apparent. Too often, by saying, “Go right, go right up the stairs, and then turn right again” or “go right, go past the stairs down the hall, turn right, and then find the elevator,” we send people out the front door instead of to an attractive place of fellowship. In the new structure worshippers will move easily and directly into a large welcoming fellowship hall.
Will the new area used for the walk-in mission clearly be a sacred place and not institutional like so many places our clients go?
Our new fellowship hall will be multifunctional. For example, with additional stained glass windows regained through eliminating the stage, worship areas can be created in at least two locations in the renovated fellowship wing. Chairs and tables will be stored in attractive cabinets nestled on the walls of the area for configuring according to use. Storage closets can also accommodate supplies for setting up worship or helping clients with their other needs.
How will the columbarium be affected?
The columbarium can be expanded in capacity with the elimination of the dumbwaiter, the function of which will be filled as the current elevator becomes a service elevator. The columbarium will be separated from the new fellowship hall in an attractive way to ensure privacy and quiet for those visiting the columbarium to remember loved ones.
Where will the church library be?
The library collection and books in the Books to Prisons project will line walls in appropriate spaces that will also function as meeting and activity areas. Our church librarian likes these changes because books will be more visible, perhaps yielding more borrowers for the library and more volunteers for the prison ministry.
What will happen to the chapel?
The current chapel is not well-used. Because it is a traffic lane between buildings, it does not function well for meditation or worship. The space currently occupied by the chapel will be incorporated into the new reception and fellowship area. At least one smaller meditation area/chapel will be created elsewhere. Furthermore, one of the benefits of the large new rooms on both levels is the ease with which additional places for worship can be created within them.
What about storage in the renovated building?
As you look at the architectural drawing for the large upper fellowship area, check out the cabinets attached to the walls of the hall. These will house tables and chairs to be used according to the event being held. Other storage will continue to be available on the lower level (often called the catacombs) part of which will be equipped with new environmental controls to protect stored items. Foundry’s historical archived materials will be accessible in an environmentally controlled space, the location of which is still being determined.
Do we lose any stained glass windows?
No, in fact, more of our windows will be more visible. Those currently blocked by offices along Laws Gallery will become part of our new reception area. Windows from the chapel will remain as part of the walls of the new reception and fellowship area; and some, which are currently dark due to adjoining walls, may be used in window spaces upstairs which are now obscured by the stage. In addition, the windows at the front of the sanctuary will be backlit to make the exterior of Foundry’s building more beautiful and inviting in the evening and at night.
How might the renovation affect those who have special needs?
Accessibility is a major goal of the renovation. An improved system for listening will make it easier to hear in the sanctuary. Moving the Fellowship Hall to the same level as the sanctuary will provide easier access while the spacious new elevator will make it easier to get upstairs. And the improved bathrooms, combined with the outdoor ramp added to Foundry several years ago, will signal accessibility for everyone.
Will there be a unisex bathroom?
Although a unisex bathroom was not in the original plan, enough people have mentioned the need for such a facility that architects are looking at modifying at least one bathroom, probably one of the smaller/single-person facilities, to offer this possibility.
How will parking be influenced?
Parking is not influenced by the renovation. Foundry will continue to arrange with the parking garage on P Street for special rates for those coming to Foundry events.
What are the posters located around the church?
These posters detail the improvements at the site where they are displayed. For example, the cramped bathrooms on the main and upper floors of the education building will be expanded in size and efficiency. Take a minute to read the posters you encounter to learn what will be better in the future at that point in the building.
Why are we doing this now?
Because our building has reached a critical point, we can wait no longer to address physical plant issues that threaten our building’s safety and some of which, if further deferred, will result in irreparable damage. As our history teaches – check out the timeline in Laws Gallery – Foundry and other congregations of our size with historic buildings once every generation need to invest in upgrading their physical plant. The last such investment by Foundry was in the 1960’s with the building of the education wing, so we are seriously overdue for such an undertaking.
How will costs be handled over time?
After Foundry members and supporters make their sacrificial gifts to fund this phase (Phase I) of the renovation, Foundry will seek a bank loan to fill out the estimated $10.3 million needed plus the financing costs. Banks will provide such loans to congregations that demonstrate a sufficient commitment by raising through contributions a significant amount of the needed cash. This is a good time to borrow money given that interest rates are at historic lows.
Debt reduction will be built into the financial planning for multiple future years, and additional capital campaigns will be held in the future to complete the remaining phases of the renovation that include the education and sanctuary buildings. Foundry is being realistic about its needs and planning accordingly.
When would construction begin, and when would it be completed?
We expect construction on Phase I to begin in the fall of 2013 and be completed by Foundry’s 200th anniversary in 2014. Extensive construction activity of this kind will result in some disruptions, but we will make every effort to minimize impacts on Sunday worship and related activities.
Could we lose our church building, including a renovated section, if Foundry is challenged about conducting same-sex marriages? Is the timing right for investing in the building?
Foundry is committed to inclusiveness that includes supporting marriage for all committed couples. When Foundry voted to support same-sex marriages, it took into account all the consequences, which we will deal with if and when they occur. This decision still holds.
What are the financial accountability processes for the capital campaign that will ensure transparency and donor confidence?
Here are the basics that everyone should know:
- The Mission Possible campaign will be for a three-year giving period.
- All pledges began 1/1/2013 and will end 12/31/2015.
- Contributions to the Mission Possible Capital Campaign Fund will be recorded towards a pledge in part or in full.
- Donors will be able to set up their own recurring payment online to fulfill either a partial or full pledge payment.
- All donors, even if they do not pay electronically, may monitor the contributions that they make by logging into their profile on the secure Member site at: https://secure.accessacs.com/access/memberlogin.aspx?sn=105073.
- Regular monthly reports providing revenues and expenditures (with no individual giving records) will be furnished to the Finance Committee of the Foundry Management Board.
- Regular reports providing revenues and expenditures (with no individual giving records) will be furnished to the Financial Development Team of the Mission Possible project.
- Regular quarterly statements will be provided to every contributor by mail or e-mail detailing all contributions and pledges for both the Annual Operating Fund and the Mission Possible Capital Campaign Fund.
- All contributors will receive end-of-year contribution statements.
- The Building Team and the Financial Development Team – with oversight by the Management Board’s Finance Committee and Facilities and Operations Committee – will monitor all revenues and expenses for the project.
Who is making decisions about this renovation?
Since 2004, congregational teams have assessed what needs to be done to enable our building to serve the full range of Foundry’s missions and functions. With the help of architects and construction experts, we have developed a comprehensive master plan to restore and renovate our historic structure in a carefully staged sequence that is most cost-effective and least disruptive.
Take time to look at the timeline in Laws Gallery to see the long list of prior renovations and improvements at Foundry – starting just five years after our founding in 1814 – and including the work completed in the first decade of this century.
At congregational meetings in December 2011 and June 2012 members learned about and affirmed current plans for the renovation. A diverse and energetic leadership team, a prayer team, and a consultant with years of experience are at work now. From children and youth to everyone in prayer, all those committed to Foundry are in on making decisions about this renovation. This evolving question-and-answer dialogue is one clear way you and others can participate in these decisions.
Members will continue to offer suggestions and examine their own spiritual commitment to Foundry’s goals to make our Mission Possible. In other words, the congregation is making decisions with expert guidance, hardworking leadership, and spiritual examination and sacrificial giving by everyone who cares about Foundry’s mission.
What is my part in this campaign?
This campaign includes four actions in which everyone needs to participate: PLAN, PRAY, GIVE, and BUILD. You can
- PLAN by becoming knowledgeable about current plans and by affirming plans or suggesting changes
- PRAY by participating in a spiritual season of focused prayer as you consider what you are called to give in relation to Foundry needs
- GIVE by sacrificially offering resources to make Foundry’s Mission Possible
- BUILD by being flexible during renovation and being creative in using the new spaces well to deepen faith, create engaged community, and transform the world
How does participation in other goals of Foundry fit with this renovation goal?
Senior pastor Dean Snyder stated at a congregational meeting regarding the renovation, “We pay attention to our building in a major way once a generation. This is not a luxury. Reaching people and extending hospitality is really critical. Finding a congregation can be a life-or-death matter. This is very much God’s call for us.”
If you would like to ask a question or provide feedback on any of the questions or answers above, send your comments to MissionPossible@FoundryUMC.org. Thank you for your interest in this exciting and significant time at Foundry.