After church services on Sunday, November 2nd, Sterling Severns led the last of three information and comment exchange sessions sponsored by the Construction & Renovation Committee.   These sessions give everyone a chance to understand how specific spaces will be affected in the future, to have questions answered about planned renovation changes, as well as to offer comments to be considered as we begin working with the architects for detailed drawings.

This third session focused on changes to be made on the third floor of the Williams Building:

  • Creation of Parsonage Residences to Support TBC Growth/Staffing Needs
  • Enlarged Bunk Room Space for Various Mission Teams,  and
  • Return Missionary Lodging

The tour began with an explanation of the new elevator planned in the construction project.  This elevator will take members with a key for access to the third floor of the Williams building.  Privacy to this area is an important element of the design, understanding that this space is intended for pastoral apartments and lodging areas for mission team members.  Mission teams include those who support mission work alongside Tabernacle in the summers.

As the tour moved to the third floor of the Williams Building, participants were able to gain insight into how significant the planned residences are to the future of our church.  Our nature of training, serving internally as well as externally, and sending over the years has helped to create a number of opportunities for this space.   Options include:

  • Understanding that Tabernacle is growing, we are in need of finding creative ways of addressing how we also grow our staff to best meet the needs of our diverse congregation. Our experience over the years with pastoral interns and residents has been incredibly beneficial for both Tabernacle and the students, and therefore continuing to fully support those programs is important.  Having a parsonage apartment potentially available for an intern or resident is a key consideration in the floor plan design.
  • Our multi-cultural nature presents a need for Burmese-rooted pastoral support.  Having the option of providing housing for an individual who is completing pastoral studies and simultaneously serving as part-time pastoral support to our Burmese-born congregation creates a mutually advantageous situation for Tabernacle.
  • Having the apartment space will also present us with the option of providing lodging space for missionaries on furlough.
  • We have had at least 20 interns over the past 10 years.  Those interns are now serving in a number of locations all over the country, adding to the many possible sources of mission teams that are willing to serve our church and our community.  The planned bunk room space will accommodate at least 20 mission team members at a time, and will be built with the flexibility to be used for smaller numbers when appropriate.   We have every reason to believe that the frequency and variety of types of mission support will increase over time, and therefore the potential for use of this space will also expand.  The small kitchen space and availability of bathrooms/showers adjacent to the bunk room space will make use of the area comfortable for the occupants.

One of the questions asked during this tour was related to the privacy of those who would be living on the third floor, as well as security for the church while there are occupants on that floor.  The specific stairwell that leads only to the Williams Building and not to the rest of the church, as well as the elevator requirement for a key to unlock access to the third floor are all means of ensuring privacy.  The design team plans to take these needs into consideration as they finalize the design drawings.

Preserving artifacts of our church history and finding ways to ensure easier access to the many items that tell our story have also been mentioned in all sessions held.  The Construction & Renovation Committee is working to address those desires as we work with the architects in the design stage.

Thanks to all of you who participated in these informative sessions!

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