As you may know, we have a problem with pieces of stone falling off of the façade of the parish rectory and our church. If you look at the front of the church you will see it has many pockmarks. This, I have learned, is technically called “spalling”, from the Middle English spalle a chip. Anyway it is a problem.
While not much has been happening that is easily visible, some things have been occurring in a quieter way. Both the parish Finance Council and the parish Property Committee have been quietly working on this problem, and doing more than just discussing it. A couple of things have been undertaken so far.
First of all, we as a parish have contracted with a professional fund-raising group, the Steier Group, to conduct a “Feasibility Study” to occur in the month of September. The point of the study is to help us gauge our fund-raising potential for this project. Some kind of fund-raising will have to be done, given the fact that our parish is already in debt to the Diocese of Austin for about 5.7 million dollars, primarily from the construction of the parking garage. After talking to several fund-raising consultants, and more importantly talking to other parishes and churches in our area who have recently done fund-raising campaigns, we settled on Steier Group, and at this point I am quite pleased with them.
Secondly, the parish Finance Council and the parish staff submitted a grant request for one million dollars to the Kennedy Foundation. We learned the Kennedy Foundation was soliciting grant proposals for church repair and renovation. We figured we are a prime candidate for that type of grant and quickly responded. This request has to go through the Diocese of Austin. They will choose four grant requests to forward to the Kennedy Foundation, and I hope that by the middle of July we will know if we made the first cut or not. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to guide the diocesan officials appropriately!
And lastly, the parish Property Committee has been studying various solutions to our problem, and also looking at what other benefits we might be able to gain if we are going through this expense and effort anyway. We have been looking at how we might increase the number of bathrooms, make them handicapped-accessible, give our church a greater sense of presence on the drag, and items like that. We realize we are now at the point we need professional help to move forward. On July 1 the Property Committee interviewed two architectural firms that came to us highly recommended. Both gave excellent presentations, and it was very difficult to make a choice. But weighing a number of considerations, we unanimously chose Sixthriver Architects. They have done much in this area, and considerable work with the Diocese of Austin. So I am quite happy and excited that we have a first class team coming together to work on this problem.
Please keep us in your prayers, and as things develop I will report to you our progress.