Congregation Letter ~ 6.10.2018

Friday, June 1, 2018

Dear Peace Friends,

This letter includes information about two matters that we want to make sure you are aware of:
1.) An update on the potential property acquisition that we talked about earlier; and
2.) A ministry possibility that has been researched and formulated out of the conversations that resulted from looking at our immediate future;

1.) Update on the Property Acquisition:   As you may remember, our neighbor came to us to let us know that he would be selling the property on the corner of 6th Street and O’Malley, adjacent to our property. At the time, we were not looking to acquire the property, but because of his notice, felt it important to explore. We did research and had a congregational meeting about this matter on April 29 following worship. Based on the outcome of our congregational meeting on April 29, and a council meeting later that morning, Nick Morrison and Nick Rifelj followed through with pursuing the exploration of this acquisition by making a proposal to the Acker family, contingent on congregational funding and approval (that would have required another congregational meeting) of $303,000 (midpoint of the fair market value range) with an offer of ongoing negotiation (which could not exceed the fair market value established earlier which topped out at $310K). It was politely rejected and no further negotiation was offered because the Acker’s believe the numbers we provided were so far off of their expectation. All of this was done with friendly conversation. At this point, we have no further expectation of pursuing this property, but have left the door open for further conversation about this property should circumstances change in the future.

2.) Opportunity to Impact Future Youth & Family Ministries:  Out of the conversation about what might happen if we secured the additional property, new ministry strategies for furthering our ministry impact were considered. Research followed which resulted in our Council adopting a proposal to pursue funding and general support for adding a Youth and Family Pastor to our staff. Please note, this is not based on acquiring any additional property. In fact, this proposal would be potentially more successful without allocating resources to a property acquisition. That said, this proposal would provide immediate ministry impact for our Intermediate, Middle School and High School youth which not only has significant potential to help our youth receive more focused opportunities for faith formation but also will contribute to sustained congregational growth.

The proposal is as follows:
Understanding that Peace Lutheran Church as a community of faith is growing;
Understanding that we have been dedicated to faith formation opportunities for children and youth throughout our history;
Understanding that we began a preschool in 2010 that grew from 12 students to 90 students in five years;
Understanding that since KiX began 4 years ago, it has tripled in its average weekly attendance;
Understanding that Route 56 has also tripled in participation over the past few years;
Understanding that the opioid epidemic is real and is effecting kids in our community,
Understanding that anxiety has been on the rise over the past few years among high school students according to statistics provided by our school district, and youth are at increased risk of trouble,
Understanding that we formed the Peace Youth Leadership Team a year ago which has made a positive impact on high school youth as well as their younger peers;
Understanding that there is potential for significant addition ministry opportunities to impact our Intermediate, Middle School and High School youth;
Understanding that our current pastoral staff is already contributing at maximum capacity;
At its meeting on May 30, 2018, the Council adopted a proposal to seek funding and support to call a Youth and Family Pastor as an addition to our pastoral team.
Understanding that our budget is tight;
Understanding that we also have engaged in a Collaborative Education program to support a seminary student as an intern as an outreach ministry for the greater church, and yet,
Understanding that we have many generous people in our midst;

We will be seeking funding outside of our operating budget to support this position for a period of three or more years in order to grow our income potential to add this position to our spending plan long term.  When the three year financial commitment has been achieved (approximately $315,000), we plan to form a call committee to seek a candidate for this position.  When a candidate is selected, there will be a congregational meeting called to approve the call to fill that position.

The council is committed to transparency and open communication throughout this process. For the next few weeks, council members and pastors will be making announcements at worship services about this proposal, answering questions following the service, and reporting how the funding process is developing. (We would have a more formal forum but summer weekend travel does not lend itself well for that in our community).

It is our hope to call a Youth and Family pastor that can have a presence among us for the coming academic year.  On Sunday morning, June 3, three of our council representatives (Liz Fleming, Dave Smith and I) will be presenting an overview of our assessment of the need for such a ministry, and sharing information during the announcements at the end of worship.

We look forward to having your input.
Peace and Blessings,
Amy Dresen
Peace Council President


Click here to read stories presented by church leaders, youth, pastoral staff, and others who have been shaped by important experiences in their childhood and adolescent years related to faith formation and how/why they believe a Youth and Family Pastor might impact our community in essential and life giving ways.

Click here for an update on our progress