McKinnon Reformed Presbyterian church began praying and planning four years ago concerning the matter of their ageing building. For the last 70 years the building has served the congregation well but time has taken its toll on the inside and outside of the building. After a year of investigation work, making proposals to the congregation and enlisting an architect to sketch drafts plans the McKinnon congregation decided that it was best to sell the manse and use some of money to renovate the church building. Myself, Megan Fisher, and the other McKinnon RP manager, Christine Halket, have since been working with the architect on design plans and then the submission of those plans to the council. Thankfully, so far the council planning process has been relatively smooth. There was only one objection from a neighbour and another from council. Both of which have now been addressed and the changed plans are currently sitting on the council’s desk waiting for review and approval.
Once permission has been granted by council we will have final building plans drawn up and builders tendered. We are currently looking at a 10 month build, but are planning for it to go longer, as these sorts of projects so often do.
God has been good in providing suitable rental accomodation just a couple of blocks away in a progressive Jewish synagogue. Christine and I have met with a few of their board members and head of security to discus the contract and how the weekly logistics will be worked out. We are thankful for the good relationship we have so far and pray that it will continue. Another item of thanks is how meeting in the synagogue will provide our congregation with an opportunity to learn about other religious customs and beliefs, kosher kitchen!, and our freedom in Christ.
We currently have three tenants using our building, an English playgroup, Russian playgroup and Alcoholics Anonymous group. I have been in communication with them in regards to relocating during the renovation. We are thankful that they are all excited about the renovation project and have all expressed the desire to return to the building once it is finished. It has been a blessing to share our building with others and look forward to continuing that with a much nicer (indoor toilets!) building at the end of the year.
We also see this renovation project as a way to interact with the larger community through leaflet drops announcing the planned project, newspaper articles about the history of the church and our desire to stay in the neighbourhood, as well as a planned meal with the builders, sub-contractors, neighbours and those that attend the Jewish synagogue.
I also wanted to take this time to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the McKinnon congregation to the RP congregations in the RPCNA and RPCI that have given financially to this project. In the early stages of planning those gifts were used to pay for the initial architectural sketches as well as building reports. Those gifts were very helpful during a period when our budget did not have any surplus that could be spent on such items.
There are several items we would welcome prayer for;
- That the project would stay on budget. We desire to use some of the leftover money from the sale of the manse to purchase another asset, either residential or commercial, that could be used for future church planting efforts elsewhere in the city. We have a desire to think strategically about how our money is used in the future, mainly to see other churches planted. The income from a rental property could, Lord willing, help fund such a project.
- That the builders and workers would be kept safe during the construction period.
- That our time worshipping in the progressive synagogue would be used as a witness to that community. I’ve been asked by their board to write up a small explanation of what ‘Reformed Presbyterian’ means so that they can share it with their members. Pray this will encourage thoughtful conversations in the upcoming months.
Pray that Christine and I could handle the load and stress that construction projects often demand of those overseeing these sorts of projects.
Pray that God would be glorified in during the project and that the new building could be used by many in the community and those within the congregation to care for others’ physical and spiritual needs.
Megan Fisher, McKinnon RPC (Australia)