We are approaching seven months since our community, our church and our school were visited by Hurricane Harvey. Most of us have been affected one way or another by the storm and its aftermath. I’d like to bring you up to date on the work going on at the church as we, too, work to recover from the storm — but first I want to express again (we can’t say it enough) how deeply grateful we are for the outpouring of support both from our own community and from around the world that has helped us carry on and begin our recovery: generous donations of money and supplies — and over 3,000 hours of volunteer labor. Thank you!
Where do we stand right now?
Buildings: The good news is that both church and school are back on campus and in business. Credit goes to our staff and teachers, and to our hundreds of volunteers.
We have a functioning temporary campus in the Jackwood parking lot, replacing the flooded classroom and office buildings.
We have a functioning Church building, with temporary seating and a few scars and wrinkles showing.
We have a top architectural firm, Merriman Holt Powell, helping us develop a Master Plan for the campus and a plan for restoration of our Church building.
We have ordered pew chairs to replace our pews and expect to receive them in late May.
We will release the Master Plan later this month.
We will release the design and rendering for Church restoration later this month.
We will have more information on timing and costs for these plans in a few weeks.
Finances: We have suffered a significant drop in attendance and pledges to the church, due both to families who have moved away post-flood, and to families who are facing significant challenges in recovering from the flood.
Our diocese has set aside funding for a large grant for restoration of facilities and for budget support. We will apply for the grant when we have better estimates of our costs.
We have received about $500,000 in insurance money for the church building, and additional insurance for our other damaged buildings.
We are working with a consultant to document our losses to FEMA (it’s a huge amount of paperwork) and we meet with FEMA weekly. We do not yet know how much we will receive from them for our damages.
We expect to receive reimbursement from FEMA for about 90% of the expense involved in the move to our temporary campus.
We received approximately $1.1 million in donations for flood relief for church and school. The bulk of these donations have been used to fund the move to our temporary campus. As we receive reimbursement from FEMA, and when we have fully paid for direct flood expenses, these funds will help us with repairs to or replacement of our flood damaged buildings.
We expect that when the Master Plan is finished we will launch a Capital Campaign for Church and School. We are working on a feasibility study for that campaign and expect to have those results by early summer. Additionally, we are awaiting cost estimates on the various projects needed.
That’s a brief recap of where we stand right now. In a future article, I’ll talk about what the Vestry is working on this year. If there’s something I haven’t mentioned that you’d like more information about, or if you have ideas, concerns or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or get with any other member of our vestry. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll try to find it out!