Ten years ago, we started as a small church plant in Cincinnati’s westside, but we have always had big prayers and goals of planting more churches and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout this city and region. Having grown and planted two churches, we are preparing to move into our first building, and it is in the heart of Cincinnati. While our own internal giving will enable us to procure the property, we are in need of external support to renovate it. It is our firm conviction that this property will be a great asset in the further spread of the gospel.
Overview of Financial Needs
Note: New information about the building has forced us to pivot with respect to our overall plan (see the Nov. 1 update). We are not yet able to adjust these numbers with any precision, so the original 3-phase approach is left here for now. It still approximates our plans for the property. While we were once planning to stabilize the school building, we will now demolish it and, Lord willing, rebuild it when finances allow.
Phase 1 – The property is being given to us for free, on the condition that we address two main issues: stabilizing the school building and repairing the steeple. We anticipate that this will cost about $500,000 and that we will be able to finance this ourselves.
Phase 2 – The main building is very dated and needs renovation, e.g., storm windows, a new kitchen, an updated fellowship hall. We estimate that this will cost us $300,000 and aim to raise this amount during this calendar year.
Phase 3 – The school building is in disrepair, but it is vital to our children, a Christian Education program, and accommodating growth. After stabilizing this structure (Phase 1), we will need to completely overhaul it. This phase will cost us approximately $700,000, and we pray that this will be accomplished in the next three years.
Early March – We have been investigating this opportunity since July 2022 and are preparing to bring it to the congregation for a vote.
Mid-March – We just learned that the school building can be salvaged. This is encouraging news, since the main building does not have any classroom or office space.
Mid-April – Both parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding after our congregation voted (in overwhelming fashion) to pursue this opportunity.
May 10 – Lawyers are finalizing a contract that will articulate the terms of transfer (i.e., repairs to the steeple and stabilizing the school building). A capital campaign video is nearly complete. (Thank you, Jeff and Larissa!) We anticipate that work on the school building will begin in early June and that Phase 1 might be complete by September.
May 21 – The video is now finished, and our congregation gets to see it. Our capital campaign officially begins. Please, keep us in your prayers.
June 15 – Work on the school building has begun! This is preliminary and investigatory, in order to figure out the precise amount it will cost to stabilize the structure.
July 17 – We had the opportunity to worship in the Mount Auburn facility twice this month, and that was a blessing. We were just given the quote to stabilize the school building, and it was what we had originally expected. We anticipate that this job will be completed during the month of September. Two URC churches have already informed us of their intention to support us – and a number of individuals. Our internal campaign and pledge drive is well underway. We will meet with a representative of Reformed Mission Services on July 25. Keep us in your prayers as we seek funding for Phases 1 and 2 this calendar year.
August 31 – We anticipate work on the school building occurring in November and December and the repair of the steeple in October. This pushes our move-in date to sometime around Easter 2024. Our congregation is 80% of its way to its internal fundraising goal. This means we would be able to cover Phase 1 internally (~$500,000). External fundraising has been slow, but that is to be expected during the summertime. We have raised $61,500 of our $300,000 goal for Phase 2.
It seems that many of our sister churches did not receive our Tenth Anniversary Newsletter. It is available for viewing or download by clicking here:
November 1 – The past couple of months have been eventful. After more surveys and with more financial information at-hand, we made the difficult decision to demolish the school building that is in the rear of the property. We had intended to stabilize it, but we now believe that the cost of stabilization and renovation would be similar to the cost of demolition and a (future) new building. And we would have needed to insure the stabilized school building, which would have cost a fortune. Demolition and patching the rear will allow us to invest more money in the main building in order that congregants and visitors can experience changes immediately. We are also excited to report that fundraising has brought in around $100,000 from external sources. To those donors, thank you so much! And if anyone is looking to make an end-of-year charitable gift, we would be humbled to receive your support.
January 24 – We now officially own 2147 Auburn Avenue! Praise God, from whom all blessings flow! An explanation and more updates to come…
January 31 – Pardon the delay, but here is a quick explanation on what has been going on. The outgoing congregation decided that it would be wise to change how we were undertaking the transfer of the property; addressing the school building and repairing the steeple were no longer conditions of ownership. Once we made this pivot, we realized that there were a few issues with the deed that needed to be addressed. For example, there was a gap in the historical record, but a wonderful archivist was able to find a receipt of sale from the 1880s in order to fill in this gap, but this took a few weeks. We are still finishing up some of the paperwork, but the property is in our name.
February 6 – We are working with an architectural firm called Champlin. They are working with us to create a master plan and will guide us forward in the repair and renovation process. It looks like we will be demolishing the school building, as the main building has sufficient space for our current and future needs and goals. While careful planning is wise, it has slowed down the process of renovation. We hope to begin renovation work in the next month or two. Perhaps by the summertime we will be able to welcome RMS service teams and apply our own elbow grease.
February 13 – We have been circulating a survey with respect to our new church name. As you may recall, our new property is well-outside Cincinnati’s westside, so we will have to rename our church. We anticipate a new name being selected on February 20, at our next council meeting. But up to this point, congregational input and feedback and the deliberations of council have led us to select the following finalists: Ascension, Covenant, or Trinity.
Keep checking back for more updates!