Click here for the Executive Summary of the 2019 Feasibility Study To read the full 85-page report, visit the church office. It is kept at the Reception Desk for viewing and reading at the church.
Parish Update Letter — July 27, 2019
July 27, 2019
Dear Christ Church Family:
Blessings and peace from our God!
We wanted to take this time to communicate some further information regarding the recent feasibility study in addition to what was presented in the June 23rd edition of the Messenger. You can read that report on our website at https://christchurchnewbern.com/sacredsoundandspace/. We are incredibly grateful for everyone who participated during the listening and discernment process, and as you will see throughout this letter, all comments and feelings were very much heard. What the Vestry and the Sacred Sound and Space Task Force heard was the desire of respondents to focus on needs over wants. We believe that in this letter, you will see that we have done just that.
The Vestry has committed to a capital campaign with an initial goal of $1,285,000 and a stretch goal that would bring us up to $1,426,000. Through a generous donation many years ago from Art and Diane Vance, we were able to make the down payment and sign a contract with Taylor & Boody Organ Builders for our new organ! There is another project just ahead of ours, so it will be 2021 before they begin building it, with a target of installing it in January 2023. While that may seem like a long time from now, we know it will be here before we know it.
The capital campaign will begin in earnest in January 2020 to fund the projects that had the most support from the feasibility study. This includes strengthening the support for the balcony, something that needed to be done with or without a new organ as well as work to stiffen the ceiling and replace the carpet with hardwood floors. The work on the ceiling will not alter what is seen from inside the Nave; it will all be done from above to help sound resonate better in the Nave as well as provide insulation which currently does not exist. The floor and ceiling work need to be done to get the full benefit of a new organ.
Hearing the responses to the survey, we will NOT be replacing the current pews with new ones. We must however move the pews out of the church to do the work on the floors and this provides an opportunity to refurbish and repair them. We have a committee of former Junior Wardens and parishioners who showed particular interest in the pews who will discuss not only refurbishment and repair but also better arrangements for those with mobility problems and for “modern sized” people. But to reiterate, we will not be replacing the current pews.
The capital campaign will also include upgrading our lighting control system, which is desperately needed to accommodate the brighter, energy-efficient bulbs we currently have. We have already had a commitment from an individual to cover the cost of upgrading the lighting in the Nave, and for that, we are incredibly grateful. The upgraded control system will optimize both the new lighting and the current lighting.
We were given a new grand piano through an anonymous donor before the Feasibility Study had ended. We are incredibly thankful for that gift. While a piano ranked low in terms of “needs” on the study, we have already experienced how it has enhanced the music during worship. We hope you will join us for the dedication concert on August 2 at 7:00pm.
The Vestry was upfront in committing 10% of funds raised to be designated towards outreach. However, there was a low level of support for such action. To that end, the Vestry did not include this in the capital campaign. While the lack of support surprised many of us at first, upon study of the comments it became clear that this sentiment was not a lack of support for outreach but rather a feeling that we were mixing apples and oranges. We were told that a capital campaign should focus on what we need for the building and should not be confused or conflated with outreach. Some said that they already give a lot of money to outreach and including it in the campaign felt like a “tax” rather than something they freely give. The decision to reverse the commitment to allocate 10% to outreach was not an easy one, and we know some will be disappointed. Separate from the campaign there will be opportunities to better understand Christ Church’s commitment to outreach. In April 2020, we will also have serious discussions about planned giving which could result in larger endowments that fund both outreach and taking care of our beautiful building. And we will use the offering from public musical events to help those in need.
During the Feasibility Study a concern was raised that the walls of the church might be bowing outward. We do not have enough information at this point to say whether they are or not. We are committed however to finding out. To that end we will have an engineering firm scientifically examine the walls, establish benchmarks and annually assess if there has been any concerning change.
The launch of the campaign will officially begin January 12, 2020. We hope that for most the effect of the Hurricane Florence will be behind them, but we know that for some it will not. Between now and January, the campaign will be getting organized. If you are asked to volunteer, we hope you will. This fall we will be contacting some parishioners about lead gifts to the campaign.
There will be a parish-wide meeting on Tuesday, August 20th at 7:00pm to answer any questions you may have about the Sacred Space and Sound Campaign. It will last approximately an hour, and childcare will be provided.
This is an exciting time in the life of Christ Church as we dream, plan, and live out what God has in store for the future of this holy space.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to one of us or to a member of the Vestry or the Sacred Sound and Space Task Force.
The Rev. H. Paul Canady, III, Rector email@example.com
Bob Emory, Co-Chair, SSSTF firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Reichenbach, Senior Warden email@example.com
 For a snapshot of funds given towards outreach in 2018, visit https://christchurchnewbern.com/the-long-reach-of-giving/
Feasibility Study Results
From the June 23, 2019 Messenger
Erin Weber-Johnson of the Vandersall Collective consulting group presented the findings and recommendations from the recent Feasibility Study to a joint meeting of the Vestry, Staff, and the Sacred Sound and Space Task Force on Thursday, June 13. A total of 149 households participated in the survey (15 by mail and 101 online). In addition, 33 interviews were conducted. This represents a total response rate of 39.66 percent among members of the church community that were contacted, which passes the industry standard/range of validity. Citing vast support for many of the proposed projects, the Vandersall Collective recommended a fundraising goal of $1,285,000 (with a challenge goal of an additional potential 11 percent of $141,000), based on gifts self-identified by participants and variables identified within the study.
“It is believed that if a realistic goal is used, there is great potential for a successful capital campaign, “ wrote Weber-Johnson. “In fact, it is likely that a realistic goal may strengthen overall support for a campaign. It is quite possible that the parish could benefit from phasing the projects.”
The vestry voted unanimously at last Monday’s meeting to move forward with a Capital Campaign and continuing to engage Vandersall as our consultants. The Sacred Sound and Space Task Force will remain intact to continue to evaluate and prioritize the projects and make recommendations to the Vestry including how to adjust those goals and priorities based on the available funds.
The full report is 85 pages long and includes all comments submitted. The executive summary of the report (13 pages) is available in the reception area and can be found online at https://christchurchnewbern.com/sacredsoundandspace/. The full report is available at the Reception Desk for reading and reviewing while at the church. If you have further questions or would like to know more, contact Bob Emory (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jean Reichenbach (email@example.com) or the Rev. Paul Canady (firstname.lastname@example.org).
From the May 12, 2019, Messenger
By now you should have received a booklet in the mail describing proposed
enhancements to our worship space. Included in the potential enhancements are a
new organ to replace our failing one, acoustical enhancements, lighting
improvements, refurbishing or replacing the pews and acquiring a piano suitable
for a worship space the size of ours. Also included in the booklet is the
Vestry’s commitment to tithe 10% of all funds raised to Outreach, should we launch a capital campaign to fund
A consultant, the Vandersall Collective, is helping us by performing a Feasibility Study to gauge parish support for the projects and our willingness to support them financially. Ultimately Vandersall will provide the Task Force and the Vestry with a Feasibility Report, including recommendations to the Vestry which, if any, projects to undertake. The Vestry will consider the Task Force’s recommendation and then make their own decision.
A key part of the Feasibility Study is a survey we would like each household to complete. Instructions on how to access the online version were included in the information you received and can be found at www.vandersallcollective.com/christchurchnewbern. If you prefer to utilize a paper survey, please let the church office know. Your response to the survey will be kept confidential and is very important to us as we move forward. The deadline for submission is May 26th. Please direct any questions or input about the Task Force’s work to email@example.com.
From the May 5, 2019 Messenger
We had a very good Parish Meeting on Sunday, April 28, at which all the potential worship space enhancements and the decision-making processed were discussed. From that meeting, among many other things, we heard the following:
· The historic appearance of the church is very important.
· Our current organ is on borrowed time.
· To get the full benefit of a new organ, it is essential to stiffen the ceiling and remove the old carpet.
· A new pipe organ, rather than an electronic organ, is the best option for a worship space like ours.
· People have mixed feelings about any significant modification of the pews.
· Our worship experience, both as individuals and a community, can be significantly enhanced by acoustical improvements and an organ that better supports congregational singing.
Please read the informational booklet that you should have received in the mail this week. The campaign feasibility survey is available online and can be accessed at www.vandersallcollective.com/christchurchnewbern. There is a kiosk at church that can be used to complete the online survey, and there will be a computer lab set up in the library this Sunday as well. If you prefer a written copy of the survey, please contact the church. The survey is an important part of our decision-making process, and all information gathered is confidential.
Please feel free to provide input or ask questions to Bob Emory at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the April 28, 2019, Messenger
Make plans to attend the Sacred Sounds and Space informational meeting on Sunday, April 28th, following the 11:00 a.m. service. At the meeting, potential enhancements, parishioner feedback and next steps will be shared.
In early May parishioners will receive an informational brochure in the mail regarding the proposed campaign. An online feasibility survey will be available and can be accessed at www.vandersallcollective.com/christchurchnewbern. If you prefer, a written copy of the survey can be requested by completing a postcard at Sunday’s meeting. Please send any questions or input you may have to email@example.com.
From the April 21, 2019, Messenger
Over the last several weeks the Sacred Sound and Space Task Force has provided updates in the Messenger about potential enhancements to our worship space. These potential enhancements include replacing our failing organ, lighting improvements, acoustical improvements and addressing our pews which are in constant need of repair. The potential acoustical enhancements include reinforcement of the ceiling and full or partial removal of the carpet.
Our worship space is truly a gift provided us by past generations. Our most recent capital campaign did not include worship space enhancements and we are now in a discernment process to decide what gifts we will leave for future generations.
The Task Force’s charge from the Vestry isto “plan for the enhancement of the Christ Church worship space including a new organ, flooring options, lighting and pew restoration. The TF will propose to the Vestry what enhancements to pursue and the Vestry will adopt all, some or none of the proposals.” Alignment with Christ Church’s Mission which in part says “to welcome and inspire all people to faith, hope and spiritual growth through worship” is a key consideration in the Task Force’s work. Assisting the Task Force and the Vestry in this discernment process is the Vandersall Collective, a consulting firm with expertise and experience in helping churches analyze whether there is support for potential capital campaigns.
A key part of the Task Force’s work is to share information with the parish and seek input. To that end two well-attended Listening Sessions provided an opportunity for the parish to hear about the potential enhancements, provide input on them, and suggest other enhancements to be included for consideration.
There are several important upcoming opportunities for parishioners to ask questions and provide input and we hope you will fully participate in them.
On Sunday, April 28th, following the 11 AM service, there will be a meeting to provide an opportunity to again describe the potential enhancements, share what the Task Force has heard from parishioners, answer questions and receive more input. At that meeting next steps will be described.
Next steps include:
- A survey to assess support for the proposed enhancements – the survey will be sent to each household in early May and your responses are very important.
- Also in early May a cross section of the parish will participate in one-on-one interviews with Erin Weber-Johnson of the Vandersall Collective.
- Results from the Survey and the interviews will be analyzed by Vandersall, along with other information, to provide the Vestry and the Task Force a Feasibility Report which will gauge support for the proposed enhancements and willingness to fund them. In other words, is a Capital Campaign feasible? The Report will be delivered by mid-June.
- Based on the Feasibility Report, the Task Force will recommend to the Vestry which enhancements should be pursued. The Vestry will then decide whether to pursue any, some or all of the proposed enhancements and whether to initiate a capital campaign.
Please make every effort to attend the meeting on April 28th and also please complete and return the survey you will receive in early May. In the meantime please send any questions or input you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article from the April 7, 2019, Messenger
Two weeks ago the Sacred Sound and Space Task Force update focused on replacement of our organ and last week’s dealt with the ceiling and flooring in our worship space. This update addresses our pews and lighting.
Over the next few weeks we will continue to provide information about each of the potential worship space enhancements under consideration and continue to ask for your feedback
The chandeliers are located above the two side aisles and, if you are seated near one of those aisles, the lighting is probably sufficient. Unfortunately those seated along the center aisle and some other locations do not enjoy the full benefit of the light provided by the chandeliers. Among the solutions being considered is the installation of flush-mounted lights in the ceiling over areas where lighting is insufficient. No changes to the existing chandeliers are envisioned.
Also, we envision replacing the lighting control panel and relocating it from the choir loft to the Narthex. Our current lighting panel is unreliable and is no longer manufactured.
Many of our pews are in poor repair. We have also heard from parishioners that the pews are uncomfortable and that the hymnal racks are too small and in need of repair.
During and following the Listening Sessions we heard that the historic appearance of the worship space is a high priority for many parishioners and that our current pews are part of that historic appearance.
There are several options under consideration. They include repair of the current pews as well as replacing them with new ones. If replacement is the recommended solution, perhaps the current end caps could be retained. In any case the hymnal racks need to be enlarged and space between the pews needs to be increased. Increasing the space between the pews will result in the loss of a few rows of pews in each section but will increase legroom and make it easier for those who wish to kneel during prayers.
We will also create a better space for those in wheel chairs, space that allows them to sit among the congregation rather than in the front of the worship space.
Please continue to provide feedback and ask questions at email@example.com.
Article from March 31, 2019, Messenger
Scared Sound and Space Task Force Update: Acoustics
Last week’s update focused on the replacement of our organ with a high quality organ built for our worship space. This week the acoustics of our worship space is the topic. Over the next few weeks we will continue to provide information about each of the potential worship space enhancements under consideration and continue to ask for your feedback.
Having trouble hearing is a common complaint at Christ Church. Improving the acoustics of our worship space is the objective of two of the enhancements that were described at the Listening Sessions – flooring and ceiling improvements. Both are key among the recommendations made by an acoustics consultant who analyzed the acoustics of our worship space. The organ builders we have talked to shared the acoustic consultant’s opinion and stressed the need to improve the acoustics of our worship space if we are to get the full benefit of a new organ.
Flooring – the carpet in the worship space absorbs and deadens sound. A hard surface such as wood or stone would better reflect sound. Our ability to hear the spoken word, singing and all musical instruments would significantly benefit from acoustical improvement associated with replacing the carpet. During the Listening Sessions we also heard from some parishioners that a hard surface would also help those with walkers and wheelchairs. We have the original heart pine flooring in parts of the worship space and restoring it, and installing it where it is not present, is one option being considered.
Ceiling Stiffening – our ceiling is made of very thin wood. It actually works like the head of a drum and as it vibrates it transfers sound energy from the worship space into the space between the ceiling and roof. Among the solutions being considered is to somehow stiffen the ceiling from above. We are exploring that and other options for the ceiling. It is worth noting that there is no insulation above our ceiling and that, from above, you can see light coming through gaps in it.
The greatest benefits of acoustical improvement would likely be the quality of congregational singing and the sense of community that would come from being able to hear and experience the chorus of our fellow worshipers praying the prayers and saying the creeds. Having a floor and ceiling that reflect our voices, the organ and other instruments into the room rather than deadening or transferring them through the ceiling would allow us to fill our worship space with music.
Please continue to ask questions and provide your input to firstname.lastname@example.org. and visit the Task Force page on the Christ Church website. Please mark April 28th on your calendar. Following the 11 AM service that Sunday the Task Force will share what we have heard so far and talk about next steps.
Article from March 24, 2019, Messenger
The 200+ parishioners who attended one of the two Sacred Sound and Space Task Force Listening Sessions had the opportunity to learn about some potential enhancements to our worship space and provide feedback to the Task Force. Over the next few weeks, we will be providing information about each of the projects identified and continue to ask for your feedback. The most costly of the potential enhancements is the replacement of our organ with a new one. So, why are we thinking about a new organ?
- Our current organ can best be described as “off the shelf” and was not designed for our space. It does not support congregational singing or the choir as well as one designed for us would.
- Our organ is wearing out and has become difficult to play. One of the “stops”, a key component, no longer works.
- Two different organ consultants have told us that, in addition to the needed repairs we know about, other major repairs will be needed at some point and these repairs could cost as much as $300,000.00. And we would still have an organ that is at best, adequate.
A new organ, designed for our space, would better support congregational singing and our growing music program. Given the poor condition of our organ and the reasonable expectation that very costly repairs will be needed the Organ Study Committee authorized by the Vestry in 2017, after extensive study, concluded that we should replace our organ. Something the Committee learned while doing its research is that a new, well-made organ, properly maintained, should last for centuries.
The Vestry has made no decision regarding organ replacement or a capital campaign to fund an organ. The Vestry asked the Sacred Sound and Space Task Force to:
- consider a number of enhancements to our worship space, including the organ, and
- then to recommend a course of action. This course of action will be determined by the feedback of the congregation through a Feasibility Study in May 2019.
The only decisions that have been made are, if the vestry decides to move forward with organ replacement, we know who we want to build a new organ and its basic design.
Please visit the SSSTF page on the church website and send any questions or feedback to Bob Emory at bobemory8 (at) gmail (dot) com.