Last week we kicked off our Vision Campaign. Vision is a new message series, but it is more than a message series too, it is a whole new season of life for our parish. We’re looking ahead to where God is blessing and where he wants us going. And as part of that process we’re looking to build a 1500 seat sanctuary alongside our current building.
Now, I would be the first person to argue that the last thing Baltimore needs is another church. There are churches everywhere, and more than most of them are empty. There is actually a church in our neighborhood for sale. Baltimore doesn’t need anymore church buildings. What we do need are church communities that are healthy and growing. And that’s what the Vision campaign is all about: making sure Nativity continues to grow and grow healthy through the next season of life. Our campus expansion will allow us to do that.
Here are some frequently asked questions:
How much is this going to cost?
Given the scope of the project and the fact that we’re just getting started we have to estimate the cost. A number of very smart people, who know what they’re talking about, estimate that this building is going to cost $12 million. We acknowledge, that is a lot of money.
Our goal is for all of us together to support the Vision Campaign in a substantive and sacrificial way, ensuring that we raise as much as possible, borrow and little as is necessary and get this started in the next few years.
How long is it going to take?
We’ll have a better idea after the initial phase of the campaign. The permitting process with Baltimore County could take 18 months, construction could take about the same after that. We could be 3-5 years away.
How did we get to this plan?
Our plan is the work of a several year process involving dozens of parishioners, who brought various competencies to the table. It has the unanimous approval of the Parish Council, the Financial Council, the Parish Corporators, the Parish Leadership Team and the Pastor.
Is our parish leadership committed to seeing this project through in the long term?
We are. Both Tom and I have made a long-term commitment to serving this local parish church. We both believe that God has placed us here and wants us to stay in place. This commitment has the approbation and support of the Archbishop and the Archdiocese. At the same time all of our parish staff are deeply committed to serving here. Our succession plan for all leadership positions is to continue to build from within.
What happens to our current church building?
We will continue to use it through the construction phase of the project. After we move into the new building we will rechristen the church as a chapel for daily Mass, baptisms, weddings, funerals, quiet prayer. On the weekends it will serve as Time Travelers Theatre. The existing chapel will be eliminated in the new construction, the fixtures, including the stained glass will be saved and reused in the church.
Will there be pews and kneelers?
There will be both pews and kneelers, though handicapped seating and other seating options will be available.
Will this be a traditional or contemporary church?
In keeping with the existing architecture of our campus the new building will be thoroughly contemporary. This also helps communicate to our unchurched visitors and guests that Nativity is going to be a different experience. At the same time we will seek to creatively incorporate some traditional features found in Catholic churches, in updated and creative ways. Obviously we are too early in the process to be able to answer such questions in any detail.
Will there be enough parking?
The parking lot will be significantly expanded and reconfigured for better flow. However, at optimum times congestion will inevitably be experienced however much parking is provided. We’ll continue to work hard throughout construction and beyond to improve the experience for our guests.
Why aren’t we building space for kids and student programs? Don’t they need more space too?
Yes, they do. After we have moved into our new sanctuary, significant space will be available in the existing facility that will be repurposed for kids and student programs, at little to no cost initially. For instance, moving Time Travelers into the current sanctuary will make more space available in the kid’s wing for kids small groups. Building a new café will allow us to use the existing café/pavilion for middle and high school programs. Kids zone and all stars will also be expanded without any additional construction.
Join us this weekend as we continue to explore this exciting project.