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Congregation votes YES!

Congregation votes YES!

On Sunday, August 26, Grace Lutheran Church voted ‘yes’ to proceed with the proposed building addition. Two hundred four members gathered at the 10:45 AM meeting, chaired by vice-president Stu Ageter. Following an opening prayer, the motion to move ahead with construction was seconded and the vote was called. A resounding 198 votes were cast FOR the motion; 6 votes were cast AGAINST the motion. What an exciting day for Grace as this final action was taken to begin construction. It has been about six years since the first group met, led by Gary Austin, to consider what was needed for Grace’s future building needs. A Building Committee was officially convened about five years ago, chaired by Kellie Lewis, and that group has met faithfully and regularly, bringing us to this important time. Two years ago we began our Capital Appeal, and to our Core Group – led by Lee Nelson – we are so appreciative. As a congregation, we are deeply grateful for the hard work of our Building Committee and Core Group, commending them for all they’ve done. As we move into September – and groundbreaking – let us continue to keep the Building Project  in our prayers, as we have from the beginning. We will need patience and sacrifice as the commotion of construction begins. Remember that all able-bodied persons should park further away from the entrance (even perhaps parking on the adjacent streets), leaving the closer parking spaces for those with mobility challenges. More updates will be regularly posted on this blog as the weeks unfold. Stay tuned!  And thank you for your partnership in the Gospel. Pastor John Matthews

Now the fun begins!

At last evening’s meeting of the Building Committee, Quinn and Jason of CNH Architects and Russ of Langer Construction Co. presented samples of carpet, ceramic tile and linoleum, along with paint colors . . . so that the committee could move forward with interior design decisions for the new building. I thought to myself, “Now the fun begins!”  So much – up until now – has been important, but relatively uninteresting, matters dealing with construction and costs, etc. Now and ahead the committee will enjoy making decisions that will really show and really make an impression. As you know, God did not use a committee to create the world or it would’ve taken six million years instead of six days (or did it?). Likewise, using a Building Committee includes the challenge of managing many opinions, many feelings.  Yet, our GLC Building Committee (with added design people) has done a great job of sharing, sparring, countering and consulting others, so that the best decision is reached. We really have had a good time, since the beginning, deliberating and deciding important, and not-so-important, matters. I believe when it all comes together you will be quite pleased and very proud of our new building. Remember to keep the committee in your prayers . . . and keep those offerings/commitments flowing. God is doing a great thing here and we are enjoying the work of the Spirit. Pastor John

Apple Valley’s newest liquor store turns a green profit

Apple Valley’s newest liquor store turns a green profit

The store uses a geothermal system that has saved $65,000 in utility costs so far and will pay for itself before 2015.
By Jim Adams of StarTribune

Original article

Apple Valley has cut energy bills in half at its newest liquor store by installing geothermal heating and cooling in the state's first liquor store with such a system.

CONGREGATION INFORMATIONAL MEETINGS BEING HELD

WOW! BEAUTIFUL! INSPIRING! Those are only a few words that describe our new Education Building!  On July 18, the first of three Congregation Informational Meetings was held. The purpose of the meetings is: to review the new building plans and drawings see the project timeline ask questions and have open discussion with members of the Building Committee and architect We had a great turnout for the first meeting with lots of questions and good discussion! Kellie Lewis, Chair of the Building Committee, led the presentation by reviewing all aspects of the project. The next meetings are scheduled for Thursday July 26, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday August 5, at 10:30 a.m. in Koinonia Hall and will last about 45 minutes. All congregation members are strongly encouraged to attend one of the informational meetings to learn about this very important and necessary project in the life of our church and our ministry in the community. If you are unable to attend, or if you wish to review the presentation in advance of attending a meeting, please click here to see the slides on the website. Thank you. Lee Nelson

Parking . . . parking!

Parking . . . parking!

Our meetings with the Building Committee and architects continue to be exciting and energizing. We have had good conversations with the City of Apple Valley and are actively engaged in detailed talks with our contractor, the Langer Company. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans has been very helpful in arranging our financing. As we move forward this summer, the excitement is building and before long we will be putting a shovel in the ground . . . most likely in late August or early September. Parking . . . parking!   For active churches there is never enough; for stagnant churches there seems to be too much. As we approach the fall of 2012, we face a challenge at Grace, but a manageable one all under the umbrella of our wonderful new building addition. When the construction begins (about September 1st), a portion of our present parking lot will become a construction zone and we will be called upon to practice patience and sacrifice. Thirty-five to forty parking spaces will be needed for both the new building and the machinery/supplies of the contractor between September 2012 and May 2013. Patience and sacrifice will be required by all of us, especially on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, as we function with about one-third less parking spaces. We are making arrangements with our neighbors so that folks should not have to walk more than a block or two for worship and activities. The opportunity for unselfish service here is obvious . . . since those persons having the most difficulty with movement will need the parking closest to the church building, all those of us with able bodies (and wiling spirits  will be asked to use the off-site parking, and then walk to church. Again, this should be very manageable, but will require some sacrifice for the 2012-13 school year. I trust that the inspiration and excitement of the new building construction will offset the inconvenience we experience for nine ‘short’ months. Our parish nurses think the extra walking will be a most healthy exercise, and hence a ‘gift from God.’  Do you agree?  Thanks for your partnership . . . Pastor John

Construction Company and Lending Institution Selected for West Wing

At his past Tuesday’s Council meeting a motion was passed that affirms the choice of Langer Company as the general contractor for our west wing building addition.  Langer was selected from 3 contractors due to several reasons including their past experience with church projects and their past experience working with the architect we are using, CNH Architect. The motion also affirms the choice of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans as our lending institution for this project.  There were several factors that lead to selecting Thrivent including our current mortgage with them and the ability to roll this preexisting loan into a new loan saving a prepayment penalty.  Both of these measures will need the approval of the congregation which will be voted upon at a congregational meeting on August 26, 2012. Stay tuned for more updates.  Things are going to start happening more quickly now.

We’re moving ahead . . .

We’re moving ahead . . .

Here you see the most recent sketch of Grace’s new addition, looking from the parking lot in a Northwest direction. Each weekly meeting of our Building Committee (with the architects and construction personnel) finds us adding and adjusting, making improvements and creating a yet finer project. Quinn Hutson, of CNH Architects, and I recently visited with persons at the Apple Valley City Hall, sharing the preliminary plans for our construction. They are most encouraging and look forward to granting approval in the next few months. Meetings have been held with representatives of financial institutions (Anchor Bank, Merchant’s Bank, Thrivent, Sterling Bank and the Mission Investment Fund of the ELCA) and we are very close to proposing one of those for the financing of our building project. Meetings have also been held with three contractors, discussing with each of them how they would proceed and function should they be chosen to do our work. Again, we are very close to chosing one and moving ahead. The months of June and July will be very busy for our Building Committee (and Executive Committee) as we move toward congregation approval and breaking ground. At this time, we are projecting several Congregation Forums, with a Congregation Meeting in August to vote on the entire project. With any luck, God’s grace and a cooperative City Planning Commission . . . we should be starting construction in September of this year.  That is really exciting!  Stay tuned on this BLOG for frequent updates as the weeks unfold.  And, keep Grace’s building project in your prayers, as well as you three-year financial commitment in your priorities (I just had to add that Pastor John

First there was a vision . . .

First there was a vision . . .

    After three years of prayer, discernment and lots of discussion, our vision for a rennovated and expanded building at Grace is taking concrete shape.  A three-year capital appeal of $1.5 million is in order; financing for the remainder of a $3 million building addition is almost approved; architectural plans are now evolving from the initial “dream phase” to very specific drawings to be let-out for bids. We are moving ahead in a very responsible and extremely ambitious fashion! Kelley Lewis, chair of the Building Committee at Grace, provided the congregation with an update during worship on May 13. She shared that weekly committee meetings are being held so that we can move ahead as quickly as possible, with hopes of breaking ground this fall. The above view of our present building – and parking lot – will soon be transformed, as dirt is moved and construction begins. Our current plans include removal of the present West Wing (after the new addition is completed in 2013), and a new building constructed off the present office area (to the south), connected to the main entrance. (Detailed plans resembling the new addition can be seen on the blueprints in the atrium of the church.) Of course, there will be “construction confusion” as the parking lot is turned into a building site, but that is a wonderful kind of confusion to experience. We will be seeing a miracle happening before our eyes. Likely in June, the Building Committee will be calling for some congregational forums so that all the members of Grace can gather to discuss the details of our building program. You will be informed of these gatherings, and hopefully all can attend. Then, late in the summer, a Congregation Meeting will be required to vote on both the proposed financing and a particular contractor for the job. Again, plenty of notice will be given so all can attend. What an exciting time for us at Grace.  Do continue to pray for this important project . . . as God unfolds our future in new and exciting ways.  Thanks for your partnership! Pastor John Matthews