Today we had our (kinda) Mid-year Parish Meeting. We had a single bilingual service at 7:30 am, and went straight into the meeting after the post-communion prayer. I presented our new Parish Administrator, Mrs. Choroland McQueen. We were to hold elections for delegates to Diocesan Convention (which takes place in January or February), but the congregation voted unanimously to keep the same delegates as last year, so that saved some time. The Vestry and I presented our project for a new Community Center.
Our main outreach program are the classes we teach to members of the community. These classes teach employable skills: cooking, sewing, beautician stuff, how to make Christmas decorations, catering, and cake baking and decorating. The classes are well attended, and some folks have even been able to start their own small businesses as a result.
For many years we had a building next to the church we called Casa Amarilla. We held all our classes in that building, as it was also used by the people of the neighborhood for Wakes, Wedding receptions, and other celebrations. It was an old, wooden building, and two years ago became structurally unsound. We had to close it down before it fell down! Then it became an attractive nuisance, and the last thing one wants next door to the church is a Crack House, so we tore it down. We've been holding classes on the patio and using the former rectory kitchen for the cooking classes. The kitchen is way too small for the classes. We need room for our classes, we need more classrooms for the Sunday School, and we need meeting places for the Parish guilds and organizations. We need a Community Center.
This morning the Vestry and I presented drawings and plans for converting the former rectory into a two-story Community Center. Costs are estimated at $300,000.00. It will be a challenge to raise these funds but we believe that we can do it. We'll be setting up a website with information on the project and giving everyone an opportunity to participate in the project. Our plans are for a two-story building, with the teaching kitchen, Sunday School classrooms, and two bathrooms on the first floor and a parish hall (with two bathrooms) on the second floor. We are hoping to hold events such as Prayer Breakfasts and luncheons in this building and have our cooking and catering students cater the events. This gives them an opportunity to put those skills into practice.
The congregation had a very open conversation about this project, and many ideas were offered. But it was a long conversation, and people were getting hungry. I suggested that I give the benediction and we take a break for breakfast, but folks didn't want to stop, so, I gave the benediction and members of the ECW and Men's Fellowship served breakfast to us as we sat in the church. I was very happy with the conversation: No one questioned the need for such a building, but they had different ideas of how to approach the problem. I am looking forward to getting this project moving.
The Lovely Mona took some photos:
Ricky Staples is back behind the drums!
Padre presents the Project
Norma Blackman talks about the Project
Patricia Lewis talks about the Project