Update Shared with Congregation at our 3rd Birthday Celebration July 10, 2016

As part of our 3rd birthday worship celebration this morning, our Leadership Council and Building Committee felt it appropriate to share with you several progress updates towards our much anticipated future at Smith Farm.

While it might not appear that much has been happening in that regard, we’re excited to report that we’ve been moving steadily forward on several fronts simultaneously, all of which taking more time than we might like, but as I suspect you already know, the wheels of municipal government are not exactly known for setting speed records!

First of all, we’ve completed the negotiation of our sales agreement for the purchase of Smith Farm, and now only await the final review by the owner and his attorney of what’s become an almost 40 page document. We anticipate the signing of that agreement literally any day now, at which point we’ll pay a deposit for our property, the acreage of which has slightly increased from 24 to a little over 25 acres.

Our actual ownership of Smith Farm won’t occur until what’s called a Subdivision Plan is approved by Carlisle Borough, South Middleton Township and Cumberland County. We officially submitted that plan on June 24, and will go before the Planning Commissions of each municipality later this month for formal review.  It took no less than 4 separate meetings with both the Borough and South Middleton to finally arrive at a concensus of the municipal and zoning boundaries that affect us as we separate our property from the rest of the farm and improve our E Baltimore Street access with a culdesac. Frankly, I think they finally just got tired of seeing my face in their office and agreed to our interpretation of these lines!  We anticipate the overall approval process of the subdivision plan lasting into the fall months.

The good news is that none of this impacts our forward progress in other areas. We’ve engaged a Capital Campaign consultant, the Rev Dr Scott McKenzie of Horizons Stewardship, to lead our first capital campaign, and scheduled that campaign for this coming Spring 2017.  Planning for that campaign is already underway and you’ll be hearing more about it later this year.

Our 9-person Building Committee is up and running as well, and most recently completed our research of regional architects and contractors with substantial church experience. As a result, we’ve shortlisted 4 architects and 3 contractors whom we’ll interview in a 2-step fashion beginning next month, with a goal of selecting our design and construction team by the end of October.  Preliminary design of our new facility should thus begin later this fall.

If you’ve been on the CUMC webpage lately, you’ll see that there’s now a box on the home page entitled “NEW BUILDING PROGRESS”. There’s much more information available there and we intend to keep that page as current as possible with frequent updates including a blog that will be up and running shortly.  Thus we encourage you to check that webpage as often as you wish to learn more as this design process unfolds.

And speaking of design, we need your help as we get started with it later this year, and design continues through all of next year. We’ve established 12 Building Teams that will focus on specific areas of the church, and we encourage you to get involved by joining one of those teams.  Because this isn’t the Leadership Council’s or the Building Committee’s or the Pastor’s church – this is YOUR church, and we’d like nothing more than to see everyone get involved and have input to the design.  This is truly a unique opportunity that the vast majority of churches never get to experience – a brand new church facility from scratch on an undeveloped site – so we hope you’ll get involved.  To do so you can read about each Building Team and sign up to be a part of one on our website.  Or you can pick up an information sheet today and in the weeks ahead at Info Central, and starting next week someone will be at Info Central to assist you.  Or you can call the church office to sign up.

God has been and continues to be so good to us – lets indeed celebrate today that we have a very bright future ahead of us at Smith Farm, thanks be to God!!

Jeff Barnes