Friday, April 13, 2018

A Cambridge God Adventure* 46) Elephant in the room

Every prayer time continued to mention the need for wisdom about redeveloping our premises.  Work with the architect stretched on through many months until we reached the point when a design (and its costings) were clear enough to present to the church.  The critical date to receive the report was set for November 15th. 1983.

I wrote to every church member urging them to be present.  As the church governing body it was essential that we discerned God's will together.  The scheme was an ambitious one to maximize the site and meet all the hopes in our brief.  It envisaged a small commercial property at the front to provide ongoing rental income to sustain the whole project.  However this highlighted two distinct ways to proceed.  The safest involved going into a commercial partnership which involved giving over a major share of the land to make it all worth their while. The unsafe, audacious option was to commit to a church financed scheme where we would seek to find all the costs ourselves.

So the architect's drawings were one key element as we pictured the possibilities.  But the elephant in the room was ensuring how it would be paid for. And, true enough, this was now costed to be at least £300,000.

As we listened and asked questions and, most importantly prayed, it was clear that the scheme met our hopes and dreams. There was mounting excitement at the imaginative design but the huge matter of its cost loomed over us. We knew that we needed to take further time out for prayer and thought before taking a decision at the December Church Meeting.  This delay for a month was really tough.  I remember conversations and rightly cautious members urging great caution.  As one person said: 'We'll be trapping our grandchildren with debt if we try to do it ourselves.'  What was going to happen?

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