Building Update: Congregational Input Session Report

Members of the Oconee Street UMC discussed the rebuilding of the former sanctuary and education building in an open congregational input session on June 30, 2013.

The meeting was hosting by the Building Committee, charged with the determining the process for demolition, construction and fundraising for the new church building. Brian Leahy of the University of Georgia J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development guided the discussion and compiled a comprehensive report of his findings. Read the full report here: Congressional Input 6.30.13 Report FINAL.

Leahy noted four themes that emerged from the group discussion:

  1. Flexibility — the church must be flexible in designing the new space allowing for anticipated growth and adherence to various regulations.
  2. “To Slope or Not to Slope” — there are varying opinions among church members about how to design the new space. The reality is “we will all not be happy with everything, but everyone will likely be happy with something.”
  3. “The Elephant in the Room” — parking, which was a major issue for the church before the April 15 fire, should be seriously considered during this reconstruction.
  4. Utilitarian Space vs. Sacred Space — there are significant philosophical differences among church members with regard to the sacristy space. However, there will be ample space within the new design for sacred  space for worship and flexible meeting spaces.

All comments will be taken into account as the Building Committee continues to meet weekly to determine the church’s next steps.

Building Update: Church Council Report from June 19, 2013

We will be posting occasional updates here about the rebuilding process of Oconee Street UMC here. Last month a Building Committee was established and charged with the massive responsibility of planning and overseeing the rebuilding process.

The Oconee Street UMC Church Council held its monthly meeting on June 19, 2013 at Tucker UMC. The following information was reported about the rebuilding process:

  • The walls of the sanctuary cannot be saved due to structural damage to the walls and foundation.
  • The Building Committee is working with several environmental resources in an attempt to making the new building sustainable, and also recently met with Clarke County planning directors.
  • Requests for proposals (RFPs) will soon be distributed to architects regarding demolition and construction.
  • The Building Committee presented a policy it developed to handle insurance company and donated funds for the rebuilding. An external bookkeeper will be hired to help manage the funds.
  • A congregational input session will be held on June 30 to gain input on the rebuilding process.
  • The Council voted unanimously to move forward with working with the Clarke County Planning Commission to include a parking lot in the rebuilding of the church.

Building Update: Committee Report from June 10, 2013

We will be posting occasional updates here about the rebuilding process of Oconee Street UMC here. Last month a Building Committee was established and charged with the massive responsibility of planning and overseeing the rebuilding process. Here are notes from their June 10 meeting (the third meeting of the group):

  • Committee members discussed the importance of developing a “policies and procedures” for the disbursement an doversight of building fund monies. A draft policy was written and will be brought before the Church Council on June 19.
  • The committee confirmed a church input session for June 30 at 6 p.m. to allow church members to offer input as to the rebuilding process. The first of what will be several sessions will focus on ideas for the church’s design, with the information to be shared with the architect. An external facilitator from the University of Georgia’s Fanning Institute will lead the session.
  • The committee discussed the possibility of adding a parking lot to any new design plans.
  • Committee members edited and refined the “request for proposal” (RFP) with utilizing input from field experts. The hope is to have the final RFP distributed in July.

The Building Committee consists of: Maxine Easom, chair; Jim Hanula, Sharon Pendley, Beth Gavrilles, Sheree Dendy and Carla Dennis.

 

Update: May 13, 2013

We will be posting occasional updates here about the rebuilding process of Oconee Street UMC, as well as current news about the church.

bishop

From left, Athens Elberton Superintendent Dr. Gary Whetstone, North Georgia Conference Bishop Mike Watson and Maxine Easom tour the damage of Oconee Street UMC.

 

  • North Georgia Conference Bishop Mike Watson toured the damage today at Oconee Street UMC, and offered his support for the rebuilding process. Bishop Watson commended the congregation of Oconee Street for taking an active role in regrouping and rebuilding the church.
  • The Building Committee was introduced to the congregation Sunday. The committee — charged with handling multiple aspects of the rebuilding process including dealing with insurance adjusters, contractors and development — is chaired by Maxine Easom. Other members are Jim Hanula, Sharon Pendley, Beth Gavrilles, Sheree Dendy and Carla Dennis.
  • The congregation will be indefinitely holding church services in the chapel of Tuckston UMC, 4175 Lexington Road. Service is at 11 a.m. Sunday school is at 9:45 a.m., and is held in multiple areas on the Tuckston campus. We welcome all returnees and newcomers!

Update: May 1, 2013

OSUMC-carpet

All carpet in the education building has been removed due to severe water damage.

We will be posting occasional updates here about the rebuilding process of Oconee Street UMC, as well as current news about the church.

  • The final meeting and inspection with the church’s insurance adjuster has taken place. It will likely be weeks before we hear back from the insurance company.
  • ServiceMaster has removed all carpets from the education building. Next up: the sheetrock will have to be removed due to severe smoke damage.
  • An emergency church charge conference will be held on May 8 to elect a “building committee” that will be the official church liaison with the insurance company and contractors. Location TBD.
  • Members of Oconee Street UMC will serve at Our Daily Bread, now meeting at Athens First Baptist Church, on May 13. In honor of their service, local firefighters are invited to join us for a meal.

Update: April 26, 2013

Sorry for the lack of updates lately … life, work and sickness have occupied the webmasters the past few days.

  • Pastor Lisa Caine says Oconee Street UMC will “definitely rebuild in the same spot” in an article for Flagpole.
  • ServiceMaster is getting the carpets removed from the education building.
  • Church administrators are continuing to meet with the insurance adjusters as they determine the extent of the damage and claim information.
  • Sunday services will again be held at Young Harris United Methodist Church, 973 Prince Avenue in Athens. We are very thankful for their support and generosity in providing their fellowship hall for our services and Sunday school.
  • Dr. Maxine Easom, music director of the church, was interviewed Thursday on 1470, WXAG-AM about the history of the church and the rebuilding process.

UPDATE: April 19, 2013

UPDATE: April 19, 2013

  • Pastor Lisa Caine wrote an inspirational column, published in the Athens Banner-Herald.
  • A fire and water damage cleaning company has begun fumigating and cleaning the education building, and furniture and supplies are being placed in storage.
  • A fence was erected around the church for both the public and the church’s safety.
  • An initial meeting with the insurance adjuster is taking place.
  • Sunday school teachers are meeting to discuss addressing children’s concerns about the tragedy.
  • The choir will practice at 4 p.m. Saturday at Young Harris UMC.

UPDATE: April 18, 2013

The education wing of the church suffered severe water and smoke damage.

The education wing of the church suffered severe water and smoke damage.

UPDATE: April 18, 2013

Each day, we will be posting updates about Oconee Street UMC. 

  • A story in today’s Athens Banner-Herald confirms that the fire was accidental.
  • Church member Joe Dennis wrote a touching story published in Athens Patch.
  • Yesterday the education wing of the church, which suffered severe water and smoke damage, was boarded up by volunteers.
  • We met with leaders of Young Harris UMC — who graciously offered space on their campus — to discuss holding church and Sunday school services in their gymnasium. We will be there Sunday!
  • Athens First Baptist Church has graciously agreed to host Our Daily Bread in the interim to continue offering meals for the needy.
  • Music director Maxine Easom was interviewed in a news story that aired multiple times yesterday afternoon and this morning on WSB-TV, “Channel 2 Action News.”
  • We are receiving several offers of help and support. Thanks! Please know we greatly appreciate your offers and will be in touch. We’re pretty overwhelmed now.
  • This website has received more than 1,000 hits in its three days of existence, and we are receiving several generous donations for rebuilding the church. Thanks so much for your support! Please help spread the word.