DREAM FOR TOMORROW’S PARISH 2015 - 2019
In the Spring of 2015, we invited all parish families to participate in an Appreciative Inquiry. We heard from many of you what you loved about our parish and what you wanted to see happen into the future. We compiled your responses and developed our future dream for St. Francis to truly become - a sacred space and social place where faith and friendships thrive. It is a beautiful dream that challenges us as a parish family.
Expand and Update our Facilities – The Needs and the Plan
Our present church building, beyond the sanctuary, presents a number of challenges that prevent us from completely meeting the needs of our growing parish community. Since the church was built in 1977, our parish family has significantly outgrown the original planned community space. Parish records reflect that we have registered an additional 500 plus families during the past 5 years alone. Shortcomings such as an overly confining Narthex area, an undersized family center and kitchen facility, inadequate restroom facilities, and lack of meeting space are among those needs most often mentioned in your recent Appreciative Inquiry responses.
Narthex and Information Center
The Need: First impressions say a lot about a home, as well as an institution. Our current main entry space is simply too small for a parish of our size. We have heard from several older parishioners that it is so crowded in this area. They feel, for their own safety, the need to escape the sanctuary using the side doors. Others have had difficulty learning about volunteer opportunities because they cannot get to the Welcome Center after mass.
The Plan: To expand and upgrade the front reception area of the church. With renovations, the Narthex would serve as a reception area so parishioners can warmly greet friends coming to worship. It also would allow for an expanded Welcome Center so that parishioners can easily learn more about various church ministries and activities.
Parish Hall and Kitchen
The Need: Currently, the parish family center has a seating capacity of 127, with a kitchen sized accordingly. This allows only one seat for every 16 parish families! Usually a parish hall provides an average of 1 seat per 5 families (based on other churches in our Diocese). Often, our family center is too small for even very modest events held after Mass.
The Plan: To almost triple the size of the parish hall to seat 300 and to replace our current kitchen with a full service commercial kitchen capable of providing catering services for church events.
Additional Ministry and Religious Education Spaces
The Need: We currently have 2 meeting rooms to share among 31-plus active ministries along with various religious education programs! We’ve heard from many families that they would benefit from added programs throughout the week. The parish is eager to provide additional opportunities for faith formation and community building but presently lacks the space to do so.
The Plan: To greatly expand space available for parish ministries and other activities so that multiple gatherings, events, and meetings can take place simultaneously.
Worship Space Enhancements
The Need: A number of parishioners experience physical limitations that in some way impede their worship experience at Mass.
The Plan: To welcome all of our families to Mass by making some modifications to the Sanctuary by removing steps where possible, enhancing seating space, and providing improved hearing devices.
Add a Chapel
The Need: If you have attended a funeral for someone who has outlived many of their family and friends, you can understand the desire to celebrate their life with a sense of intimacy. Our expansive sanctuary currently does not provide that level of warmth for smaller worship ceremonies. In addition, we don’t have a dedicated “cry room,” a concern brought up by several young families.
The Plan: Build a chapel (in addition to our Eucharistic Adoration Chapel) suitable for smaller sacramental celebrations, baptisms, weddings, or funerals as well as intimate prayer services. This chapel would also provide additional over-flow seating capacity for celebration of Mass, and a sacred space for parents and young children. The present Eucharistic Adoration Chapel would remain as the venue for perpetual Eucharistic Adoration.
The Need: As expansion of our facility is under consideration, the issue of rectory location arises as one of significant importance. There is not sufficient property adjoining the present church facility to accommodate both the growing needs of our parish community and the parish rectory on this site.
The Plan: To build a new rectory with living quarters for our senior pastor, assistant pastor and visiting priest. This is the First Phase of the project as we need to move the rectory in order to expand the church. It is currently underway and expected to be completed in the winter of 2018/2019.
Renovate and Expand Office Space
The Need: The current office space is confining and is inadequate to support our vibrant parish.
The Plan: To renovate and expand office space to accommodate the needs of our parish community.
What It Takes to Make the Dream a Reality
A community has been working during the past several months to develop architectural plans that will meet all the needs identified. We know the rough estimates to expand and furnish our facility, and build the rectory will cost $7 million. As of June 1, 2018, we currently have approximately $6.5 million raised in pledges and gifts for the project.
The Building Committee continues to work with the Dioceses to obtain necessary approvals and develop construction documents. Meanwhile, we need to continue the fundraising to complete what is needed to accomplish our dream -- the dream that was developed by our own families inspired by our own desire to continue to develop our relationship with God and with one another. It is noble work to build a House of God. It is a challenging goal, and it can be accomplished if all of us give generously and work together.
This dream honors those who went before us and represents a special gift to ourselves and to future generations of St. Francis families.
© 2015 | St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church | Traverse City, Michigan