Things are Looking Up
The Board of Trustees are pleased to announce that we are finally getting a new roof! Construction will begin next Monday, July 25. This has been a huge project. Our roof is a complex structure. There are five flat areas and some fairly steep shingled portions, spanning over 27,000 square feet. This project has been in the planning phase since 2019. There have been many critical, difficult decisions to make. Should we continue to patch leaks as we’ve done for years? Do we need a total replacement? What are the best materials for the flat portions? And most importantly, how do we pay for it?
Then to complicate things further, there was a world-wide pandemic. The pandemic affected the project in many ways. Many people were hurt financially. This precluded having a capital campaign to raise funds. It hurt the church financially. Donations were down about 16% to 18% for about two years and is just starting to rebound. The construction materials and roofing industries were hurt by losing personnel to the virus and subsequently by the lack of materials being manufactured. This made costs soar. One roofer’s bid which was made before the pandemic increased by over $100,000 during the pandemic.
During this time, the Board made several critical decisions. We decided it was time for a more thorough replacement rather that continuing to play “Wack a Mole” with patches. We decided not to hold a capital campaign, but wanted a funding plan that didn’t cause further debt; to the church or the congregation. And we wanted to get the job done as soon as feasible.
The year 2020 was not a good one for SUMC. Pastor Steve died unexpectedly and the pandemic continued to cause problems. But we persisted and a funding plan emerged. At that time, the church owned two houses. One was our parsonage, and the other had been converted to a rental unit when it was no longer needed as a parsonage. Maintaining a rental house and serving as a landlord was becoming a burden. The idea of selling the rental and using those funds for the roof project was born. There were many steps to get accomplish this plan, but we finally sold it in July 2021.
Since then, we have done much research into materials, consulted with roofing manufactures and installers, and gotten many bids. This May a contractor emerged as the right man for the job. He had worked as a roofer for many years and formed his own company in 2019. He was eager to make a good name for his company. He had good credentials, several satisfied customers and was well connected with roofing manufacturers. He was no longer suffering material shortages and was willing to negotiate on the price. Another concern of the Board was our historic bell. Research shows it was made between 1899 and 1920 and probably weighs between 700 and 1,000 pounds. It is mounted on wooden supports that have deteriorated over the years and is in danger of falling. We asked if he knew anyone that could replace the wood with steel and he delivered.
So, we finally reached a deal. The flat roof will be covered with a silicone sealant, and all the shingles will be replaced. The rotten wood supporting the bell will be replaced with steel. We are also getting new rain gutters and downspouts and all wooden trim will be covered in aluminum so we will never have to paint it again. And, there will be no negative financial impact
to the church. We will even have money left over for other capital improvements which are already in the planning phase. We thank the congregation for your patience ask that you pray for a safe and complete restoration. God provides.