Dear First Baptist family,
I hope you are doing well today and resting in your Never-Failing Shepherd. He is the One who guides every step you take. We lack nothing. All praise to Him!
As you know, we had a facility issue last week that kept our building cold and prevented us from gathering for worship this past Sunday. I wanted to write you to give an update on our situation and what steps we need to take moving forward.
Our building currently has seven boilers. Five of them are thirty-plus years old and have been out of service for some time. Two of them are newer, just six years old or so. You may recall that the trustees have been working hard to repair a couple of the older units, but for a variety of reasons that has yet to be completed. Those repairs were not critical, since the newer units provide plenty of heat. But they were desirable in order to relieve some stress on the newer units.
Unfortunately the two newer units cracked, so to speak, under the stress of heating the whole building. A previously unknown maintenance issue developed into a very serious problem. We can all praise God that our custodian, Michael Crawford, discovered the problem last week and wisely shut the units down. The damage however had already been done, and now neither of these units is usable. That leaves us with seven non-working boilers. Thus the inability to heat our building, and our cancellation of last Sunday’s service.
We received a proposal from our vendor to remove and dispose of the two newer, failed boilers and replace them with two more. Last night the trustees authorized the spending of most (if not all) of the $20,000 that had been designated in our 2014 budget for Building Special Projects. Once installed, we should be able to heat our building and resume our public meetings. The vendor hopes to have it installed by Sunday.
The trustees are continuing their efforts to rehabilitate one or two other boilers to prevent this problem from developing in the future. But the immediate issue is the replacement of the two failed boilers.
What you can do
I know many of you are already asking, “What can I do to help?” Thank you in advance for your servant’s heart and your desire to see the gospel advance at First. Here are two things that I’m asking our entire church family to do.
1. Please pray. Offer prayers of thanksgiving for being our Never-Failing Shepherd, for watching over us even when we think everything is fine, for providing for all our needs so that we can live with great joy and confidence in Him, for His goodness and love that hunt us down every day of our lives, and for the grace and wisdom He’s given to the leaders in this congregation to manage difficult circumstances like this with joy and faith. Offer prayers of confession. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a pastor from a bygone era, once said that we should see every frown of Providence as a reminder to confess our sin, not that every bad thing that happens in life is a direct result of our sin, but that every bad thing in life is a reminder that this world is not the way it should be—and neither am I. And offer prayers of petition, asking our Shepherd to bless our efforts so that these boilers can be installed quickly and that one or two more can be refurbished as well. And pray specifically that the issue will be resolved in such a way that we do not have to miss another Sunday together. Let us all join together in prayer.
2. Please give. Last night the trustees also voted to designate this year’s Easter Offering for the boiler replacement project. In one sense, we have the funds to do this work, since $20,000 was in the budget. But we typically do not exhaust the funds so early in the year. So please prayerfully consider what you might be able to contribute to offset this unexpected need. And pray that the Lord would meet this immediate need through the joyful, willing, deliberate giving of our people.
One last, regretful note
Since it is unclear whether we will have heat in our building by Friday, we have made the unfortunate decision to postpone Friday night’s Black History Month concert. Clarice Turnbull has done a marvelous job organizing this celebration, and we are all grateful to her for her efforts. Through emails the last few days and a phone conversation today, we decided that it would be best for the participants and for the congregation to postpone the concert until a day to be determined later. This might mean that our Black History Month concert will not happen in February, but it appears that our Shepherd intends for us to celebrate His grace to African- and Caribbean-Americans at another date.
Thank you for following this lengthy email. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the office. At this point, Sunday’s service is still on; we’ll let you know otherwise. But if you don’t hear from us, no news is good news.
May the God of peace give you all joy and peace in believing. Every blessing is yours!
Grace and peace,