The Connecting Building Project: The Next Phase of the Journey

A special Charge Conference of First Methodist Midland took place on May 4, 2015, with District Superintendent Derrell Patterson presiding. Joining the Church Council were members of the Building Committee and several guests.

Ron Stroman, Building Co-Committee Chairman, provided a summary of the history of this project, from the original study and deliberation by the Long-Range Planning Committee through the first phase of proposed changes and the capital campaign to the growing realization that a bolder project was needed to achieve this vision for the church’s future.

Tim Culp, Building Committee Co-Chairman, then explained how the new project design required a commitment of $11 million dollars and outlined the plan for funding this project. The parking areas west of the church would be upgraded, with proper curbing, lighting, marked street crossing, etc. The church plant renovation would include a major redesign of the current Meditation Garden area into an enclosed gathering space connected to a better-defined main entrance to the church and the development of a Worship Center constructed to provide a more contemporary-style worship. The construction cost for this expanded project would be $9 million. An additional $2 million is projected for the associated “soft costs,” including such items as new furniture and fixtures, consulting fees, audio and video costs, security and the costs associated with temporarily relocating the contemporary worship service to the Activity Center.

Following his explanation of the expanded project costs, Culp outlined the financial plan developed by the Building Committee. The Connecting Capital Campaign raised $6, 262,471 from 253 pledges. An actual collection of at least $6 million is projected. The First United Methodist Church Foundation approved a gift from the Foundation of $1 million. $2 million of oil and gas revenue from a mineral estate deeded to the church by former church member Leona Bryant Smith was undesignated and available, if approved at the Charge Conference. The remaining $2 million would be covered with a bank loan and through additional pledges.

Having outlined the financial plan, Culp then presented the Resolution of the Building Committee to the Charge Conference. The resolution concluded,

“NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the FUMC Building Committee recommends and seeks approval from the Charge Conference to contract The Beck Group to initiate and implement the Building Project and use approximately $2,000,000 in undesignated oil and gas royalty income to assist in financing the Building Project. These funds were generated over the past 5 years from producing oil and gas mineral interests owned by FUMC and operated by Chevron in Midland County and are currently held on account and managed by our Foundation Trustee, Bank of America/U.S. Trust.”

District Superintendent Patterson asked for any questions or discussion on the Resolution then called for a vote by the members of the Church Council to approve this resolution. The Council members approved, with no dissenting votes. Patterson then declared the Charge Conference adjourned.

While everyone present realized there would be the usual discomforts associated with any building project, there was also a clear sense of resolve and excitement in the room as a vision years in the making entered a new phase of the journey to becoming reality.

Actual construction is projected to begin in June with renovations to the parking lots.