Frequently Asked Questions – October 2017

Shouldn’t our focus be on people rather than buildings?

Our focus must always be on God and on people. The reason we want to improve our building is to facilitate better ministry to people. We want to make and grow more and more disciples of Jesus. The new plan provides better spaces for people to be welcomed, hear the word of God and interact with each other.

Isn’t it better to spend our money on staff?  

It is not an either/or decision, but a matter of providing the facilities to make the most of our investment in staff. We already take seriously the need to invest in staff. This is funded by our regular giving to our general fund. From time to time however, one off ‘capital’ investments are needed to provide buildings for staff (and the congregations they lead) to minister.

Are we just trying to be more comfortable?

No. In fact this building will make us quite uncomfortable. It has already taken much time and energy in planning, it will require us to give sacrificially, and it will involve considerable inconvenience as it’s being built. The comfortable option is to not do anything, allow things to wind down and leave it to someone else to do something. This project is not about our comfort but about the growth of the gospel in people’s lives.

Why not just fix up what we’ve got?

If we invest in simply fixing our present building, refurbishing each area, we would achieve a more pleasant building. The cost would be over $0.5 million, which is still a significant amount. However, we would then leave the next generation a ‘spruced up’ building without having addressed the underlying dysfunctions and hindrances to ministry.

Will the Council approve it?

We have already had a pre-application meeting with the Council, where no significant concerns or objections were raised. We are confident that our plans fit within the Council’s guidelines, and that we can present a compelling case for approval. This plan does not envisage an increase in the number of people on the site, nor change our parking area. The architect is well aware of the Building Code of Australia, and of the need to consider the impact on our neighbours. We have also visited all our immediate neighbours to seek their input into the planning process. The Development Application is likely to be ready for submission in November 2017.

What will we do while the work is being done?   

There will be some significant disruption for about nine months while the building work is being done. In particular, the yard will become a building site. However, while the new section is being built, we expect to continue using the church, hall and ministry centre. We will look to install a temporary barrier across the car park (near the current steps) to create a fenced-in area for young children.

There may be a short time (perhaps a month or so) when we will need to use alternate venues. This will need to be negotiated with the builder.

What happens if pledges towards the work fall short of or exceed the total cost?  

If pledges fall short of the required amount, the parish council will consider what to do, and bring a recommendation to the congregations ahead of a General Meeting of the church. We think this building work is vital for making disciples over the coming years, so we would try to find a way to ensure that our building doesn’t limit us. Depending on the level of shortfall, the parish council may seek new or more pledges, seek approval to borrow the difference, or reduce the scope of the plans and make a new appeal.

If pledges exceed the total required, and a General Meeting of the church agrees to proceed, we will complete the planned work, seeking to be as cost effective as possible, and save any surplus for future property works (eg. sealing the car park).

Who controls the building process?

Our site and buildings are owned by the Sydney Anglican Diocesan Property Trust, for the benefit of the present and future members of our church. This means we can’t do anything without their agreement and consent.

In order to approve the lodgement of a Development Application, the Property Trust takes some guidance from the wardens of our church, but relies primarily on the recommendation of a regional architectural panel. This panel reviews the architectural soundness of our plans, the estimated costs, the plans for funding and how it supports the long term strategic ministry of the church. Following an initial review, the panel gave approval for us to proceed to prepare a DA, and will meet with us again to review our final plans and application prior to actual lodgement.

Within the church, our wardens have ultimate responsibility for money and buildings. In 2018, the wardens will appoint a building committee to oversee the tender and construction phase.

What are the steps from here?

November                  Lodge DA with Sutherland Council

‘Building for Ministry’ appeal.

December                  Announce total pledges

March                        Taking account of the outcome of our Development Application and total pledges, a general meeting of the church will decide whether to proceed.

If we decide to proceed…                            

Begin collecting pledged funds

April                           Begin tender and contracting process

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