In early July 2009, a summer storm moved through town in the late afternoon and dropped quarter-sized hail for about 5 minutes. The tourists, customers, and staff of the businesses along the main street, sheltered inside doorways and watched as the hail pounded the pavement, patio umbrellas, and car roofs. The hail came down so fast that it just clogged up the storm drains so that when the “gentler” rains kept falling, the streets and gutters quickly became flooded, and it looked like something biblical was happening. Fortunately, the large storm sewer drains cleared as the hail melted away and the flood waters subsided before they could do any real damage on the ground.
That was not true for the flat roof of my restaurant. As we the guests and staff were being entertained by the drama happening outside the windows, that same hail was puncturing the vinyl roof membrane that protected the building underneath. Those ice chunks were also clogging up the down spouts, allowing the rains to pool up over a thousand little holes in the roof. After the storm passed and the diners returned to their meals and the staff returned to their work, someone returned from a visit to the restrooms located on the second floor. “I think you’ve got a big problem upstairs!”
It took us over a week to get the second floor of the restaurant dried up again and another 6 weeks before all the repairs and renovations were complete. Thankfully, our insurance helped offset the cost of the work and a new roof but how do you put a price on the “hassle-factor” of it all? When we built the building 10 years earlier, I hardly gave much thought to the roof as such an important component of the facility. We learned the hard way that summer, just how important it is.
26 years ago, a new flat roof was installed at Prince of Peace, surrounding the gymnasium, supporting mechanical heating and cooling equipment and protecting the classrooms, offices, meeting rooms, kitchen, bathrooms and entries of our church facility. That roof was designed for a 25-year life, and it has served its time. Our property team has made it clear that we need to replace this portion of our protective covering to allow for the important ministry that takes place under it to continue.
On Sunday, the congregation will gather for its regular semi-annual meeting. In addition to approving the ministry budget for the coming year, we will be asked to authorize taking on this big expense, spending up to an estimated $304,000. While we have been diligent about saving funds for big repair projects like this, we don’t have that amount set aside. The good news is that we have more than enough financial resources on our balance sheet to move forward with this project while the roof construction/repair season is still upon us. This will allow the church leadership some additional time to propose just the right funding mechanism to bring back to the congregation for our collective approval.
As you prepare for Sunday’s meeting, take a minute today to pray for our church. Give thanks for variety of vibrant ministry that have taken place in our facilities for 64 years. Give thanks too for the countless volunteers that have helped to maintain this vital resource so that it continues to serve God’s church in this place. Ask for God’s presence to be with us as we make a commitment for the decades to come that we might be a place we’re God’s mission is lived out under the protection of a new roof.
May God’s peace come to you this day. -Pastor Peter