Minutes on Meeting House Decision
Our Meeting Home: Documentation from Mountain View Friends Meeting Minutes between October 2010 and September 2013
Since the mid-1980’s Friends have been reviewing the changing needs of our meeting as they relate to our building at 2280 S. Columbine St. Over these decades, we have developed and reviewed various enhancements to our space. We are grateful for all of the work and service that has resulted. The document below reviews current efforts as we seek unity about our future meeting home. What follows is a synopsis of the past three years. Notes are taken from a document entitled “MVFM Meetinghouse Discernment Process: Progress to Date” and covers business meetings and other events between October 10, 2010 and February 26, 2012; these details will be followed with the annotation of EDP (Early Discernment Process.) The second series of details were excerpted directly from business meeting minutes between July 2012 and September 2013 and will not have a special annotation. All items in bold are statements of business meeting decisions. (Note: Property parameters sought have been synthesized from the work described below and are listed at the end of this document.)
October 10, 2010 – Hal Wright presented his proposal entitled “A Project to Evaluate Building Options: The Place We Live In,” for discussion. The Meeting did not reach unity on the proposed process. EDP
January 9, 2011 – Hal Wright’s “A Project to Evaluate Building Options: The Place We Live In” was considered further and the following minute was approved: The clerks will establish a date for a called meeting fur business, which will follow a period of gathering information from the meeting. A “listening table” will be set up after meeting for worship several weeks in a row, and we will meet with each committee, much as the CALM committee did with worship sharing regarding the issue of safety of the children in meeting. EDP
March 1-April 30, 2011 – Sixty-three members participated in 12 committee worship-sharing meetings. Seven Friends submitted their individual responses to the queries. The queries were: (1) What are my thoughts and feelings about the future of our meetinghouse? (2) If I find myself frustrated with others’ views if they are different from mine, why is that so? How can I open myself to possibilities where we might agree? (3) What will help me to move beyond what is keeping me from engaging fully and openly in discussions about the meetinghouse? (4) What are the best ways I can help the meeting move toward discernment about our physical meeting space in unity with God’s will? EDP
August 29, 2011 – The Report on the Meetinghouse Worship-Sharing Queries was discussed by the clerk...: First, the worship sharing process itself was well received and engaged people who would not otherwise have had opportunity or felt open to speak. Second, the process of coming to a decision about the building and then acting on it will be difficult; therefore, we need to proceed with great tenderness for each other. Third, we are a community, not a building. The building allows us to gather for worship and social activities; it is what we do there together that is important. EDP
September 10, 2011 – The Called Meeting for Business re: Meetinghouse Queries was held to discern further action on the worship-sharing results: EDP
PROCESS – Concerns About Our Process and Treatment of Each Other with Care: Several groups independently made not of our need to move carefully through the process…and recognize that the history of our own past discussions about the meetinghouse have not always had a good outcome. Do we have the trust and sense of community to embark on this together:
- How do we treat each other?
- How do we hear each other?
- How will we work to stay together?
- Can we keep this process thorough and spiritually-based, listening intently to one another?
- How will we work to be unified?
- How will we engage people and then how will we keep them engaged over time and not burn them out?
- In what ways can we inspire each other? EDP
At an upcoming meeting for business, we will consider whether to lay aside committee work as appropriate to focus our time and energy on the meetinghouse process….We should revisit Hal Wright’s proposal and we can also consider the use of “Problem Seeking” (Tom Gilmore) as possible guidelines. EDP
PROCESS – Get Specific: List the specific problems with this building, list what we want and need in a meetinghouse, and list our values. The clerks and recording clerk will put up large paper at the meetinghouse in order to collect thoughts from everyone. The lists will include the items we have heard so that people can use those as inspiration to consider more deeply those things we have not thought of so far. EDP
PROCESS – Have We Reached Our “Tipping Point?”….EDP
FACTS And ACTIVITIES – We can Gather Some Information Now: Find out the value of the current building and land, find out the cost of maintenance, what can we borrow against this building for renovations….EDP
FACTS And ACTIVITIES – Later: What will it cost to purchase or lease another building, what are the costs associated with retrofitting this building, is it cost-effective to demolish and rebuild on this site, are we prepared to fundraise? EDP
Oct 2011: We approved putting lists in the alcove, which has both wall space for posters and room to meet. We approved Danielle Broadaway creating a Facebook page on which people could post pictures and related ideas.
Lists in the alcove will cover “Our Values,” “Problems with our current building,” “What we want from a building,” and “What are out options?” EDP
Nov 2011: We acknowledge that our meetinghouse as it is now no longer meets the needs of Mountain View Friends Meeting. Agreeing that something must be done, we will move forward in unity to begin to examine our options
Also: By next meeting for business, Martha Roberts, Robin Patterson, and Tom Gilmore will create a form for people to use to suggest options for our meetinghouse; this form will be open-ended to welcome new ideas. The forms will be collected in a book in the library. To encourage participation, each committee will ask for at least one form to be submitted from someone on that committee. These forms will be collected by January 2012 business meeting.
Dec 2011: Mountain View Friends Meeting will use the Problem Seeking process to guide our meetinghouse discovery. The process will result in the statement of our condition that we will then use to find a meetinghouse solution.
Jan 2012: Tom Gilmore will work with a group of facilitators to help them become familiar with the Problem Seeking process. This group will then facilitate the process with the whole meeting community. We approved Tom working with a group consisting of Amy Christiansen, Jerry Peterson, Patricia Morrison, and Elaine Granata.
February 26, 2012: The Called Meeting was held for the purpose of having the community participate in the Problem-Seeking process.
July 2012: We do not wish to rent as a long-term solution for our meetinghouse.
Also: We approved designating a committee for shepherding the process of the future home of our Meeting. The committee members should have the energy and commitment to move the process forward. They will be responsible for moving the process forward, not trying to do all the work themselves. It is important that the members not be too wedded to a particular solution. If someone has had prior experience with a meetinghouse process, that would be helpful on the committee. They need to be able to synthesize all the input so far and keep the big picture in mind, so that we can stay focused. The names of J.C. Adamson, Hal Wright, Pepper Goodrich, Robin Patterson, Jane Cahn, Carol Clinkenbeard, Elaine Granata, Paul Motz-Storey and Marilyn Gilmore are proposed. These names are given to the Nominating Committee for consideration, along with any others they discern, and they will return to the August meeting for business with a suggested committee.
August 2012: We approved the Meetinghouse Steering Committee consisting of Jane Cahn, Elaine Granata, Hal Wright, and Paul Motz-Storey.
November 18, 2012: Design Faire and Dinner Theatre - Five teams each described one possible options for our future space: 1) Remodel the current space, 2) Sell the current building and purchase another building, 3) Sell the current building and buy another property to build a new building or scrap and build a new building at 2280 S. Columbine, 4) Break up into a series of smaller meetings around the metro area, and 5) Sell the current building and purchase another building which would allow for space sharing with another like-minded organization. The outcome of this event was to consider the first three options while allowing for the possibility that the final two options might get “rolled into the mix” of the other options at some point during the process.
December 2012: Although many of us expressed discomfort about proceeding without more facts, the clerk asked that people trust the process and share the feelings they are experiencing around these options. Many strong feelings and ideas were expressed. We then settled into a period of deep discernment during which many of us spoke about our sense of how the Spirit is moving in our community. Themes included a deep love of community, a sense that it would be hard to make our current building meet all our needs, excitement about the possibility of a new location allowing more engagement with the greater community, and openness to change.
We agree to pursue options other than this meetinghouse and this location. The Steering Committee will have some proposals to discuss at the January Meeting for Business.
January 2013: The Steering Committee has identified three areas as needing more study to inform the decision about leaving the current meetinghouse after the December Meeting for Business discussion:
- Greenness – Tom Gilmore is investigating sustainability issues, such as whether it’s best to build new or if it possible to find an existing building that can be made more sustainable, and the relative costs.
- Location – This group will try to determine the cost differences within an approximate 5-mile radius of the meetinghouse, but making sure to include Five
Points and other urban locations. Scott Heath and JC Adamson are leading this study.
- Financing – This group is looking into feasibility of different financing mechanisms if it is possible to sell the meetinghouse for around $500,000, including FGC. Hal Wright is heading this study.
February, 2013: We heard a report from the Meeting Home Steering Committee on information that several people in the Meeting gathered. The information will be seasoned for a decision at the March Meeting for Business about whether to pursue building a new structure or buying an existing building.
- Build a new, sustainable building: to build a new, green 5,000 Square foot building is about $1.225 million or $250 /square foot. The cost of land,
furnishings and other infrastructure such as parking would be in addition. Those costs could take the total to $1.5 million, with about $500,000 coming from the sale of the current property (or staying put on the site but scraping the building) and $1.125 million borrowed from Friends Meeting House Fund or funded another way.
- Buy another building: The Meeting could buy an existing building for a low cost ($200,000), middle range ($400,000-$500,000) or high cost ($600-$700,000). The assumption is that a suitable building would be found within a seven-mile radius of the Meetinghouse. Remodeling costs would be in addition.
- Finances: Financing could come from a capital campaign, a loan from FMHF, loans from members, or a combination of these approaches. Generally, mortgage bankers do not lend to churches. FMHF makes loans for 15 years at 7% interest and the maximum is 75% loan to value. Which means the Meeting could borrow $750,000 for a million-dollar project. The impact on the finances of individuals or families could range from $22 more per month to $130 more per month, above current giving, depending on the option chosen. Help on financing could come from FGC.
March 2013: The Steering Committee is asked to set up a study group to examine buying another building. For the members of the study group, the Steering Committee can identify those people they think would be best suited and spread the word that such a group is being formed if others feel led to participate.
April 2013: Meeting Home Steering Committee continued. We heard the Meeting Home Steering Committee is broadening its inquiry to discuss financing options for a new Meeting House. The first step is to survey members and attenders about their anticipated financial contributions toward the purchase and ongoing expenses of a new building. Members and attenders will be contacted by telephone the latter half of May and into June. The questions will be designed to find out if people intend to contribute money over and above their regular contributions to support the purchase of a building and to pay off the debt and related expenses. A committee will search for a building of around 5,000 square feet within several miles of the Meetinghouse. Two members, Paul Motz-
Storey and Tom Gilmore, will review the top choices. A capital campaign pledge drive may begin as early as this summer, with the funds raised put into escrow. Friends General Conference Meeting House Fund may require a certain percentage of funds to be
raised before it will lend money for purchase of a building.
Current assumptions of the Meeting Home Steering Committee are: purchasing a new building will cost $800,000, selling the current Meetinghouse will net $400,000, members and attenders will contribute $200,000, the Meeting will borrow about $200,000 during the capital campaign, and debt service on the loan will be about $1,800 a month for 15 years. About 100 families and individuals currently contribute to the Meeting.
May 2013: Three groups are working on finding a new meeting home. One is investigating possible buildings, one is checking into financing beyond what Mountain View can raise from its building, one is checking into financing beyond what Mountain View can raise from its members and attenders, and another will be contacting members and attenders soon to obtain a sense of how much people would be willing to contribute toward a new meeting home. The three groups will be consolidating their reports on June 2 and reports from the committees will be before Meeting for Business in July. Those who know of possible properties for sale should contact Regina Renee, David Gallivan, Ruth Montague, Brad Goeddel or Maya Wright.
(June – no business meeting)
July 2013: Steering Committee report:
The committee showed a sketch depicting the pathway we are on toward discerning how to proceed with a new space beginning with the minute passed at Meeting for Business, the faire, discernment, study group (where we are now), and ending with unity.
Mortgage: We’re looking at an $800,000 mortgage option: $400,000 from the sale of the current property, $200,000 to be raised, and $200,000 from FGC. The possibility of getting loan rather than gifts from members was mentioned. A question was asked about putting the $200,000 we raise from the Meeting community in an account that would pay 7% interest, but that high an interest rate was deemed unlikely. We also were told that commercial lenders, unlike FGC, require personal guarantees.
Capital Campaign Survey: One-half of members and attenders responded. Of those seventy, half would contribute for a total of $117,000 making it clear that the $200,000 goal is feasible. Very few of those contacted don’t support the project. The range of contributions was from $1 - $20,000. Regarding monthly contributions toward debt reduction, there seemed to be more than enough but the exact number wasn’t available at Meeting for Business. The process of setting up a separate escrow account has not been determined yet.
Property Search: The task of the property search group is not to locate the next Meeting home, but to determine if the kind of property we need exists with the $800,000 price range. The group struggled to get assistance from a realtor at this stage. The group will be looking at three properties next month. One property is Shriners Hall and the other is an industrial structure near the light-rail line. An Internet search suggests these properties
do exist with appropriate square footage, close to public transport, and accessible. The
group is considering properties that are not only close to existing public transportation,
but to planned public transportation. The house next door is under contract, it purportedly sold for $750,000 and the building will be removed. Documentation on the work of the group to date will be placed in the Steering Committee binder in the library.
Comments included: commercial buildings are notoriously not insulated; buying and renovating is risky because of unpleasant surprises; a huge credit is possible if the current building were renovated to LEED certification level; if the current building were sold, it would likely end in a landfill; and the process is about the Meeting, not the Meetinghouse.
The property group will give its final report to the August Meeting for Business. The next two business meeting will determine if there is unity to begin the process.
Fundraising: The Meeting was asked if the Steering Committee, Nominating Committee, or Meeting for Business should determine participants on a fund-raising committee. Fundraising will be needed regardless of the option we choose. FGC will be offering two workshops………………………We approved sending two people to FGC fundraising workshops in September; those persons who will be chosen by the Steering Committee. We also approved moving ahead with information of a fundraising committee.
Remodeling the Current Building: The clerk reminded us that we minuted our intention to consider buying other buildings as our first choice. It’s always true that there are people who weren’t present or didn’t accept but didn’t stand aside. If it’s true that people don’t support buying another building, she asked that they let her know so that she can get a sense of how important this is. Renovating the current building is still open. Results of the design faire showed an even split between two options: 1)sell and buy or 2) remodel.
August 2013: We approved the Steering Committee’s nomination of Carol Clinkenbeard, Robert Griswold, and Lynn Andrews as members of the new fundraising subcommittee to look into raising money for our meeting home.
September 2013: Meeting Guidance to Steering Committee on Proceeding. The clerk summarized activities to date on the process of discerning the way forward for a new Meeting home. Important milestones either stated during Meeting or ascertained later:
- Nov. 13, 2011: Minute approved: “We acknowledge that our meetinghouse as it is now no longer meets the needs of Mountain View Friends Meeting. Agreeing that something must be done, we move forward in unity to begin to examine options.”
- July 8, 2012: Designation of a Steering Committee was approved to keep the process moving.
Aug. 12, 2012: Steering Committee members approved.
- Nov. 18, 2012: Design Fair/potluck scheduled to review possible options.
- Dec. 9, 2012: Minute Approved: “We agree to pursue options other than this meetinghouse and this location.”
Steering Committee persons or subcommittees have considered the budget, the financial ability of the Meeting to pay for purchasing and renovating a Meetinghouse, and properties available within a certain price range. Potential properties available in early summer 2013 were presented at the August Meeting for Business as representative of what might be available. An effort was made to invite as many people as possible to the September 2013 Meeting for Business to consider if the wider community is comfortable with the Steering Committee proceeding with finding another property and whether we’re clearer on what we do or don’t want in a Meetinghouse.
Several topics were raised during the discussion. They included praise for the work done so far and general acknowledgement that there are no stand-out building among the representative commercial and office properties. Some agreed that our current Meetinghouse is more of a Quaker place of worship than any of the representative properties. One person said a place becomes sacred because those who use it make it so. Property selection criteria mentioned during the discussion were: separation of worship and fellowship areas, a square or circle shape for the worship are, parking availability, sound or physical separation between Meeting for Worship and children’s program areas, and the ability to share space with another organization.
We approved the following minute: We direct the Steering Committee to continue to look for another place, to develop a clearer set of priorities for building selection, and to continue to develop cost estimate for renovating our current Meetinghouse.
Parameters in seeking new Meetinghouse space:
- is ADA accessible
- is accessible by multiple modes of public transportation
- is 5000 square feet (more or less)
- has space that is or can be converted to a worship space that provides natural light, ease in hearing, is square or round, is quiet/removed from the sounds of first day school
- accommodates First Day school
- is in a neighborhood in which meeting members feel safe
- can be rehabilitated to include "green" features, such as solar collectors, xeric landscaping, green spaces with trees, etc.
- provides for the possibility of renting to a like-minded or compatible organization
- has a fellowship/community room separate from the worship space
- parking is not a problem
- is within a five-mile radius of 2280 S. Columbine St.
- provides opportunities for Meeting outreach to the surrounding community