We asked you to suggest creative ideas for spending the 175th anniversary gift the church received from the First Church Endowment Fund, and you responded with many hopes and dreams for our congregation and its ministries. Some ideas focused on improving and maintaining our facilities and some focused on new and continuing outreach to others. Here are just a few of them:
Ideas for improving and maintaining our facilities:
• Archive First Church records, including the recording memories portion of 175th anniversary.
• Bathrooms for the public included in a secure entrance to sanctuary and education buildings.
• Great Hall: increase audio-visual capabilities, including being able to project in multiple rooms for overflow crowds; refurbish the carpet, floor, and paint; and sound system improvement.
• Pay off or pay down the debt.
• Sanctuary: another restroom; better accessibility; lighting in the back under the balcony; pew cushions; modern lighting system and lighting panel in the sanctuary; new elevator; replace and fix the chairs in the balcony; restoration of the stained glass windows; and retractable window covers to enable better viewing of the screens.
• Transportation, possibly a scooter, for moving things between the Family Life Center and other buildings.
• Work with an experienced gardener to buy and maintain drought- and freeze-resistant shrubs and attractive arrangements in the planting beds along Lavaca Street.
Ideas for new and continuing outreach:
• Ad campaign to bring unchurched Austinites into ministry with us.
• Better cots/beds for housing Cold Weather Shelter and Family Promise.
• Build a women’s shelter.
• Buy the buildings along Lavaca Street next to the Family Life Center – the empty art gallery and gas station – and renovate them to serve as office space for our ministries with the homeless and other community outreach.
• Hire a chef and establish a catering ministry using the Family Life Center kitchen, similar to the catering ministry at St. David’s. It would allow us to earn income by providing meals for groups using the Family Life Center, and would perhaps also serve as a job training site for Family Promise clients and others we serve who want to learn culinary skills.
• Mercy/justice related services, perhaps increasing services we can offer through programs we already offer (for example, offering health, job training, or legal, services in conjunction with “Feed My People” breakfast).
• Mobile/promotional banners to be used during SXSW/ACL/10Ks/UT games, and so on, for outreach.
• Promotional trailer/kiosk for outside.
• Retrofit the Family Life Center for downtown mission, i.e., computer lab, job training, resumes, dental and doctor labs, transportation to other services such as Salvation Army or Goodwill or Foundation for the Homeless, Murphy beds in classrooms (easily transform FLC during the week and weekends for service)
• Stand or booth for a team to greet others outside during public events.
• Sponsor a home or major improvement at the Mobile Loaves & Fishes Community First Village.
Thank you for your enthusiastic participation. The Executive Team will bring a proposal for use of the anniversary gift to the Administrative Board meeting in August.
–Sandy Wilder, Administrative Board Chair