This past week we’ve received an incredible abundance of blessings as we draw closer and closer to receiving our ultimate blessing – celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ!

Three major milestones have been reached this week for which we need to lift up prayers of gratitude to our faithful and loving God:


After 10 months of waiting, the 8 utility poles and wires on our property were finally removed in total this week by PPL.  The photo below from several weeks ago will remind you of the prominent appearance of these poles on our site…….

Before Poles Removed

In the photo below from this past Thursday you’ll see that they’re gone at long last (and have been donated to Carlisle Borough to use as parking stops in one of their community parks).

PPL Poles Gone


Another lengthy journey was completed yesterday with the signing of a sales agreement for the purchase of our existing facility.  While we’ve had a verbal agreement in place with the buyer for well over a year, there remained many, many details that had to be worked through as the buyer looks to repurpose the building in accordance with Borough of Carlisle ordinances and requirements, as well as in consideration of our timeline to complete our new Spring Garden campus and vacate our current facility.  Details will be forthcoming at a later date when we are permitted to announce the identity of the buyer and the buyer’s plans for repurposing, but for now we are very pleased to have reached this milestone.

CUMC CornerPhoto (00000002)



Below is the text of an email sent today to our Builders Prayer Team that provides an update regarding the issuance of our building permit.  The Builders Prayer Team led by Charles Reynolds are so faithfully supporting our project by undergirding it with prayer on a daily basis, as well as praying for specific needs when requested by the Building Committee.  Their prayer support for our project and the BC is invaluable!

Good Morning Builders Prayer Team,

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  Your prayer efforts have once again been answered by our loving and faithful God!  To my amazement, I received a phone call this past Monday morning from Ron Yoffee of the Middle Department Inspection Agency advising that they were beginning their building permit review for CUMC that day, and would do all that they could to expedite the review in light of our circumstances previously explained.

After several more phone calls and emails thru the week, and after reportedly and undoubtedly “burning some midnight oil”, Ron completed his review and issued their review letter to us this past Thursday – Praise God!!

There are 15 comments in the review letter related to the PA Building Code and our design that we must address and provide revisions and clarifications where necessary.  Thankfully there are no major issues whatsoever; just items that need some further attention from our architect and engineers.  To that end I’ll be rallying our full design team this coming week to begin work in response.  Given the upcoming holidays I suspect it will realistically be early January until we can fully respond to Ron’s letter, but that should translate to the issuance of our building permit in mid to late January which should work to maintain our construction schedule.

So on behalf of your BC as well as all of CUMC thank you again for your prayers.  And together let us raise up prayers of gratitude to our God who continues to walk with us and lead us on this journey!

Blessings, Jeff



Pace of Construction Beginning to Pick Up

In the last 10 days the pace of our site work construction has noticeably picked up thanks finally to some relatively dry weather.  The forecast for the next 10 days, while cold, continues to be dry which is exactly what we need to keep things moving.  Some photos taken in the past several days are below along with descriptions of what you are seeing.


Looking east from the future culdesac, our future driveway curves around the property as we stabilize it with blasted rock to create an all-weather surface for construction.  The dark brown soil in front of the phone pole on the right side of this photo is the location of our future ballfields.


This is the beginnings of the parking area on the north side of the building at the location of the LLLC wing.


Looking east from within the approximate location of the worship center towards the ascending wooded hillside now visible with the leaves off the trees.  We envision a future open air amphitheater in this portion of the site at the rear of our building with the rustic bench seating rising up the hill while leaving large trees in place for shade, and a stone altar at the base of the hill.


Standing within the building footprint looking back (west) towards the culdesac.  Parking will be where the piles of blasted rock are visible in the distance.


Our blasting subcontractor drilling the holes in the rock in which the dynamite is placed.


A row of drilled blast holes (marked by the orange inverted cones) prior to the charges being placed within them.  The holes are closely spaced so that the resulting shot (blasted) rock is reasonably sized for re-use as structural fill and stabilizing soft wet soil areas onsite in the building and pavement areas.


A typical result from blasting of the onsite rock.


Stockpiled cast iron sanitary sewer pipe in the foreground and ADS plastic storm water pile in the background along with precast concrete drop inlet structures waiting to be installed.

All the rain this year, and particularly this fall, has resulted in the onsite soils being too wet to be used for load-bearing (building and pavements) construction.  They can be placed in lawn areas and the ballfields, but are otherwise unusable.  Thus our saving grace, ironically enough, has been the onsite rock which we’re using as fill in place of the soil.  We will supplement this rock with shale material hauled in from an offsite source to complete the building pad so that construction can continue on the building itself thru the winter.  It’s an unanticipated additional cost to the project to do so…..but that’s why we’ve maintained a contingency fund within our budget to cover such things.

Our goal at present is to have the building footprint to grade by the end of December and begin installing the foundations plus underground utilities (natural gas; sanitary sewer; storm sewer; electric; communications; water) in January.

Site Work Construction Continues……..Slowly


The above photos were taken late last week and will give you an idea of the early beginnings of what our site will ultimately look like.  Needless to say, progress has been slow given all the wet weather we’ve experienced this fall, and the forecast snow for tomorrow will not help matters!  Nonetheless, work continues each day that weather permits and relatively speaking a good amount has been accomplished.

If you look closely at the first photo you’ll see that all the required clearing of trees has occurred along the northern property line (towards Giant on the left side of the photo) such that the trees we planted this past spring are now visible.  Our site work contractor, JW Gleim Excavating, graciously used their equipment to also clear out around our new trees as another donation to our project.  Likewise, they will be leaving us a large pile of mulch resulting from the trees that were cleared onsite and subsequently chipped.  We’ll place this mulch around all our new trees next spring.

Also visible in the first photo is the initial outline of our driveway which has been stripped of topsoil in preparation for grading.  Look for the darker line of soil between our northern tree line and the line of our still standing (GRRRRR!) utility poles in the photo – that is the alignment of our future driveway.  [About those existing utility poles – they are FINALLY to be totally removed by PPL the week of December 10].

In the distance in the exact center of the second photo is our building location that has also been cleared of trees.  It’s difficult to see in this photo, but you at least get the sense of where the building will be positioned in relationship to the driveway and the initial shape-in of the storm water basins in the foreground of the second photo.  Our ballfields will be located where the piles of mulch are currently sitting in this photo, and the parking lot will be between the ballfields and the building.

The third photo illustrates the continuation of our shallow storm water basins, and the berm being constructed by the bulldozer in the distance is shaping in a channel at the southern edge of our property that will direct storm water into the basin.  The small precast concrete structure on the right side of the third photo is the outlet of the basin which is connected to recently buried piping installed through an easement off our property for several hundred yards to an existing catch basin along South Spring Garden Street.  All of that piping has been installed and backfilled which represented a sizable amount of work that is no longer visible.

In the meantime, and as the site work continues, we’re waiting upon South Middleton Township to complete their final review of our architectural, structural, plumbing and mechanical (HVAC) drawings (electrical drawings already approved) followed by the issuance of our building permit; completing the design of the entry courtyard; and have begun ordering AVL (audio / video / lighting) equipment in order to avoid 2019 price increases as well as potential tariffs on this type of incoming equipment from China.

Please continue to pray for everyone working on our site and involved with our project plus everyone contributing to our capital campaign.  An amazing amount of work continues to go on daily behind the scenes to make a large project like ours happen, and continuing to undergird this entire project with prayer is critically important!!  Thank you!!



A Major Milestone Accomplished This Week



This one has been a long time coming folks.  After many, many months of hard work by our design / construction team together with our Building Committee and Building Teams, today we officially submitted all of our construction drawings and various other documents to South Middleton Township for their review towards the ultimate issuance of a building permit to construct our new facility itself.  The photos above will give you an idea of the extent (size and thickness!) of the drawing package that has been produced by our collective team to design and construct a building of this size and scope.

In total, 207 drawings have been created thus far representing the design components of:  Land Development; Architectural; Structural; Plumbing; Electrical; Mechanical (HVAC); Food Service; and AVL (Audio / Video / Lighting).  In followup, sets of supplemental drawings still being prepared will cover Fire Protection (sprinkler system) and Building Security (fire/smoke alarms, camera security system, building access security system).

Beyond the drawing packages, numerous other supporting documents have been prepared and submitted as well.  The transmittal below itemizes all that was delivered to South Middleton Township today for their review:



We praise God for the marvelous design and construction team that He has assembled to assist CUMC in reaching this milestone!  It is our hope and prayer that as the site work is completed in the next several months, our building permit for the building itself will be issued thereby allowing for a continuous flow of construction.  To God be the Glory!!


What a wonderful Ground Breaking service and celebration we experienced last Sunday afternoon!  With 241 persons in attendance, along with guests from our design / construction team, our Susquehanna Conference, our new neighborhood, and our beloved former clergy, it was a special event commemorating a special time in the young life of Carlisle United Methodist Church.

Guests in attendance included:  Amy Findley, Waldon Studio Architects; Tom Godfrey, Dawood Engineering (Civil Engineer); Jess Kosoff, Ken Funk & Nathan Fry, Arthur Funk & Sons Construction (General Contractor); John W. Gleim & John T. Gleim, Gleim Excavating (Site Work Subcontractor); Rev. Barry Robison, Susquehanna Conference Harrisburg District Superintendent; Deb Landrum, Harrisburg District Board of Church Location & Building; Jeff & Barb Smith (owners of Smith Farm and our new neighbors); Rev Tom & Louise Maurer, Rev John & Merri Shellenberger, and Rev Bruce & Kit Fensterbush.  We were so honored and blessed by the presence of all of our guests!

All of the September rain has made construction progress onsite difficult at best so far.  Perimeter storm water management silt controls have been placed, and some clearing accomplished, but little else has been possible.  However, this week Gleim Excavating began removing trees such that the site is beginning to look a bit different.  The photos below were taken this morning:20180928_094416_resized_1





A date for our long awaited start of construction has finally been established!  We will begin the site work (E&S (erosion & sedimentation) controls, clearing, grading, utilities, storm water management facilities, preparation of building pad, building foundations, paving, etc) portion of the construction on Monday September 10.  Preceding that date, a pre-construction meeting will be held at the site on Friday September 7 to review the sequence of construction with particular emphasis on the E&S controls and storm water management facilities.  This meeting will be attended by representatives from the Cumberland County Conservation District, Borough of Carlisle, South Middleton Township, Arthur Funk & Sons (our General Contractor), John W Gleim Jr Excavating (our site work subcontractor) and CUMC.

This initial phase of construction is anticipated to take several months during which time the plans for our building will be undergoing code and township reviews.  We anticipate receiving our building permit for the building itself before all site work is completed such that the construction flow will be seamless.  But of course this initial site work phase will also be the most weather dependent portion of the construction in terms of maintaining our schedule.

As construction begins, access to the site will be limited, predominantly for safety purposes.  A parking / observation area will be established by the contractor near their construction trailers.  Site access will be restricted to this parking area ONLY to ensure safety for all persons.  All visitors to the observation area must also first check-in at the construction trailers.   Stay tuned for additional instructions regarding ways to observe the progress of construction while it is underway.

The Building Committee will be hosting a monthly open house on the site on Sunday afternoons to assist in explaining the progress of the construction and answer questions. The first of these open houses will occur on September 23 during our ground breaking celebration.  Subsequent open house dates will be October 21 and November 18 from 200PM – 400PM.

Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven is the one who will give us success, and we His servants are going to start building…”                Nehemiah 2:20a

So What’s Been Going On Since our Land Development Plans Were Approved on July 12?

While it no doubt appears that the past month has been very quiet since the announcement of the final approval of our Land Development plans on July 12, the reality is that your Building Committee has been hard at work jumping through a large variety of paperwork and financial hoops that are required to get us “to the promised land” of actually starting construction!

But before getting to all of that, first a big THANK YOU must go out to CHRISTA BASSETT for recently giving the BC a heads-up that Newville Elementary School was closing and holding an online auction of a great deal of used commercial kitchen equipment.  JODY MONOSKI and JOANNE REYNOLDS of the Building Committee together with KATHY CHARETTE and DEB WASHINGER reviewed what was available and did an excellent job of getting us some great deals as you will see by clicking on the link below:

Auction winning bids

RICH CHARETTE and MICHAEL WATKINS arranged for pickup of the equipment under a very tight time window, and RYAN HEISHMAN once again graciously allowed us to store the equipment in one of his Allen Distribution warehouses.

Meetings have been recently held with both the Borough of Carlisle and South Middleton Township to review what all is necessary for CUMC to submit leading up to receipt of our actual building permits.  Prior to recording the Land Development plans themselves with the Cumberland County Recorder of Deeds, several legal agreements are being executed and recorded including a Post-Construction Storm Water Management Agreement (binds CUMC to manage, operate and maintain our storm water facilities in accordance with our state storm water permit in perpetuity); a Recreation Agreement with South Middleton Township outlining the terms of the sharing of our ballfields and gym with the public (CUMC usage of course takes priority) when available in exchange for a 50% reduction in the township recreation fee; a Developers Agreement with the Borough of Carlisle that ensures we will construct East Baltimore Street and its public utilities per the requirements of the borough; and a Co-Permittee Agreement with PADEP wherein our site work contractor, John W Gleim Jr Excavating shares responsibility with us as owners to correctly install all of our site storm water features per our permit requirements.

Signatures are being gathered on the Land Development Plans including our Civil Engineer, Land Surveyor, Wetlands Specialist, Landscape Architect, Borough of Carlisle officials, South Middleton Township Supervisors; Cumberland County Planning Department and CUMC as property owner, some of which must be notarized, and all of which must be completed on eight(8) original copies of these drawings prior to officially recording the drawings as a prerequisite to applying for our building permits.

CUMC must provide financial assurance to both the Borough of Carlisle and South Middleton Township prior to the start of construction of East Baltimore Street in the Borough and our sitework (grading, paving, utilities, storm water management facilities, etc) in South Middleton Township.  To accomplish this our Civil Engineer submits an opinion of the cost of this work to each municipal engineer for their review and approval.  Each engineer then provides a letter of approval which CUMC can in turn provide to a financial institution to obtain a letter of credit for 110% of the estimated amount.  Our site work cost estimate is approximately $1.2 Million and road construction cost is roughly $250,000.  RYAN HEISHMAN of our Building Committee is handling the financial arrangements for us through his contacts at Orrstown Bank who likewise holds some of CUMC’s assets.  The purpose of this financial assurance is to provide security to each municipality that should CUMC default (which we will NOT!!) during the construction  then funds are available to complete the construction instead of leaving it unfinished as an eyesore to the community and detriment to the environment.

MIKE LANDIS of our Building Committee has been instrumental in computing our water and sewer capacity needs, plus the associated TAP fees, and working through the necessary application paperwork needed for our permits to connect to the Borough’s water and sewer service in South Spring Garden Street.

Our storm water management permit requires a Pre-Construction Meeting be held prior to the start of construction attended by PADEP, the Cumberland County Conservation District, Borough of Carlisle, South Middleton Township, Arthur Funk & Sons (our General Contractor), John W Gleim Jr Excavating (our sitework contractor), Dawood Engineering (Our Civil Engineer) and CUMC.  We are currently working to schedule this meeting soon after Labor Day.

The existing telephone poles and lines crossing our property (that formerly serviced the long abandoned radio station building just south of our tract) must be removed prior to the start of construction.  They are separately owned in part by PPL and Century Link, both of whom have had to be contacted, scheduled, and fees paid to facilitate their removal by the end of this month (hopefully).

Finally, as I entered the County Recorder of Deeds Office this past week to get some of these documents recorded (being totally clueless as to what all needed done), I was much relieved to find BRENDA MILLER of CUMC greeting me as a staff person in that office and effortlessly guiding me through the process.

I hope the above provides you with a sense of all that must be done in advance of actually starting construction.  It can be intimidating and confusing at times, but I also hope that the above shows you how magnificently our God continues to lift up the right people at the right time (including those who can react on short notice to getting us great deals on used kitchen equipment!!) to get the job done!!