Sustaining our Legacy...Shaping our Future Capital Campaign Q & A
As we receive questions and comments from parishioners, we will address many of them in our weekly bulletin and post them here on our Capital Campaign Q&A page.
What is happening to the money that has already been contributed to the capital campaign? Some of the money has been used to pay our architect, campaign consultant and to cover other campaign expenses. This was figured into our original budget. Until we are given permission to begin the construction process by the bishop, the rest of the money contributed has been placed in a restricted account with the diocese where it is earning 2% interest. This is a much better rate than any bank can offer these days. And since the money has been restricted for the purpose of our church renovation, it can only be used for that purpose.
Why are the two wings necessary? This allows us to move the choir from the back of the church to the front left wing; space is opened up to create a larger narthex area. The narthex will be a place to gather before and after Masses allowing people to talk while others pray quietly in the church. The narthex will also serve as the cry room and extra seating for large Masses. With the choir near the front of the church, this will allow them to lead the congregation in worshiping our Lord through song. The front right wing will be a devotional space along with extra seating for Masses. These wings also make our church into a cruciform shape, which is a traditional form of architecture for church buildings.
Why don’t the front parking lot lights come on at night? Currently the front (South) parking lot lights are on a timer switch in the church which has to be manually turned on. With the renovations, adequate lighting will be installed around the interior and exterior of the church building, so all can see at night and be safe.
Is the large free-standing garage being torn down? The short answer is no. In some preliminary talks with the steering committee and architect, we did talk about tearing down the garage to let the church stand out. However, it has been decided that we still need that space for storage and it is the most frugal decision to keep the current garage in use. The architect has been instructed to put this back into future drawings.
Is it necessary to demolish the existing office space and spend additional money to rebuild office space in the school? Wouldn’t it be more prudent to continue to use our existing office space? One of the first findings of the steering committee was that we did not need all of our current space. Maintaining space costs money. The current office building was never intended to be an office building and is not handicap accessible with its narrow hallways.. According to the architect, it make more sense financially and aesthetically to move the offices to the school building. When looking at the future, it is more prudent to invest the money in new, more efficient offices rather than to renovate our current space. In fact, to renovate our current office space is projected to cost more than double of what new offices will cost. In addition, the current office space does not allow for the new steeple to be built. Before demolishing the existing office space, new offices will need to be constructed in the school building using two of the classrooms.
What are the plans for the school building? The plans are to make the school building into a parish life center. Now that the parish hall has been renovated and the gym has been updated, we have some excellent facilities that can host a variety of functions. By using two of the classrooms as the parish offices and a few of the other classrooms as meeting rooms, this building can once again be a center of activity for our parish and give us much flexibility going into the future. After the offices are built, the plan is to update and expand the small bathrooms nearest the parish hall to give us more accessible bathroom space rather than asking people to walk to the other end of the building. In addition, we currently have a parishioner renting some office space in that building and would be open to other ideas like this that could bring in some income for the parish.
Is any land going to be sold? The idea of land being sold was originally looked at to address our current debt. Now that the diocese has approved a 10-year payback plan from our operating budget, the sale of land is not needed at this time. It is important for us to realize that all of our land and our assets do not belong to St. Jerome but to the bishop and the diocese. Ultimately, any decision to sell land, demolish buildings, or do a major renovation is up to the diocese and the bishop.
How do we have a balanced budget when the bulletin shows we are occasionally below are target collection amount? The $6,900.00 target collection number in the bulletin takes into account all collections throughout the year that come into the parish at various times during the year. This includes Christmas and Easter collections which are a large source of revenue for the parish but do not come in evenly throughout the year. It is also important to notice that we have had many weeks where we have exceeded the targeted amount. The most accurate accounting of a balanced budget is in the profit and loss statement that is generated from Quickbooks. The finance council sees the profit and loss statement every other month and analyzes it for areas of concern. Also, our financials are in a “cloud” that can be accessed by the diocese. They are not able to make any changes in it but can access it at any time. Finally, we do publish an annual report every year so that the parishioners can see a full accounting of our finances. At any time, a parishioner can make an appointment with Bret Huntebrinker to see our profit and loss statement. Being a good steward of our resources is of utmost importance and is taken extremely seriously by the leadership of the parish.
What has been the role of the steering committee over this past year? The role of the steering committee has been to look at all options for the land and buildings of St. Jerome and to recommend a course of action. They have analyzed the possibility of building a new church, moving the church to the gym and renovating our current church. They have looked at how best to utilize the school building and have given recommendations on how to improve our finances based on building changes. In other words, this group of parishioners, comprised of people well versed in the life of the parish, in construction and in real estate have recommended to the pastor, the pastoral council and finance council, a vision for the parish going into the future which was unveiled to the parish during Advent. The pastoral and finance councils have approved their recommendations and the Diocese of Toledo has also approved their recommendations and vision. It is now up to the parish to make this vision a reality and to fine-tune that vision with the realities that we face. Now individual committees will be formed such as a construction committee and an interior design committee, etc. to determine the details of how this vision will become a reality.
How are we addressing our current debt? Recently, the Diocese of Toledo approved a plan for St. Jerome Parish to pay back its debt over a 10 year period from our operating budget. This means that we will pay approximately $21,000.00 each year in debt reduction and it will be budgeted as a yearly expense. We will also continue to ask parishioners to use their monthly debt reduction envelope or the online giving feature to continue to help pay down our debt. It is also important to keep in mind that our debt is not accruing any interest.
Will the renovation project put us in more debt? The short answer is no. The Diocese of Toledo has a policy in place for institutions that are renovating or building. The bottom line is that we can only spend what is pledged for the campaign. In order to start the construction process, a parish must have half of the needed money in hand and the other half validly pledged. If a project is going to cost more than the parish can raise, the parish can either scale back the project or proceed in phases. All of this must be approved by the diocese.
Will the wood be as dark as in the pictures? These are only conceptual drawings so no colors have been selected. Careful attention will be given to make sure the church is not dark.
St. Jerome Catholic Church 300 Warner Street Walbridge, Ohio 43465 Phone: (419)666-2857 Fax: (419)661-2280 firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekend Masses Schedule Saturday Vigil: 4:30pm Sunday: 8am and 10am
Daily Masses Schedule Tuesday - Friday: 8am
Reconciliation Schedule Saturday: 3:30pm - 4pm
Rosary Tuesday - Friday: 8:30am
Parish Office Hours Monday through Friday: 8:30am to 12:30 pm Closed for Lunch (12:30pm to 1:30pm) 1:30pm to 4:30pm