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Facilities Report
Celebrating 300 Years of Faith, Fellowship, and Service

Preparing for Many, Many More!

Cleaveland Elevation

Architect’s rendering of the proposed new entry into Pilgrim House, across from the sanctuary. (Scott Simons Architects)

On January 29th the congregation voted to move forward with a capital campaign to make improvements to our facilities. We are pleased to share this summary of proposed changes to our facilities that are vital to our mission and align with our strategic plan. The members of the Feasibility Study Committee and the Facilities Connectedness Team encourage you to read this summary and contact any of us with your comments and questions. We want to hear from you!
Margo Knight, Church Council and Feasibility Study Committee Chair
Feasibility Study Committee: Ed Bradley, Eddie Hatrick, Bill Ferdinand, John Pearson, Wendy Suehrstedt
Facilities Connectedness Team: Bill Ferdinand, Kevin Hart, Kristi Hatrick, Mark Patrick, John Pearson, Len Westra

The Vision | The Plan | The CostsThe Way Forward

The Vision


First Parish’s 2012 strategic plan identified three goals for our future: enhancing our spiritual life; being a church in the community; and strengthening our organizational systems. Our Facilities Connectedness Team has been looking at our buildings through the lens of this plan. Its review has focused on four key principles supporting our strategic plan:

  • Accessibility;
  • Worship Facilitation;
  • Connectedness; and
  • Intergenerational Opportunities

Following its review, the Team concluded that we cannot achieve our mission without making significant changes to our structures because:

  • People with physical challenges do not have full access to our worship and meeting spaces;
  • Some of us cannot sit comfortably in our sanctuary;
  • Our worship facilitation is limited by an inflexible sanctuary space;
  • Our musical worship is hindered by the choirs’ use of temporary and potentially unsafe risers;
  • It is difficult to feel a connection between the wonderful work going on at Pilgrim House and the Sunday morning worship services across the street in the sanctuary;
  • It is a challenge to offer intergenerational opportunities in facilities that have limited accessibility and limited meeting spaces.

The Plan


The Facilities Connectedness Team, working hand in hand with the Church Council and the full congregation – all of us! – for the past two years has come up with a blueprint to accomplish these goals. They have identified 5 facilities improvement projects that are vital to our mission and align with our strategic plan! These projects make up the proposed Core Project.

Note that we are currently seeking input on these projects from a sample group of the Congregation, and as that information is gathered, the projects may change.

sanctuarypeopleThe Sanctuary: Installing a ramp to the chancel will provide accessibility, enabling everyone the opportunity to participate fully in our worship – speak, read scripture, sing or even preach. Widening and lengthening the stairs in front of the chancel will enable all choirs to enhance our worship experiences without the need for the cumbersome assembling and disassembling of the heavy and unsafe risers. Children will be able to connect with the congregation as they sit on the stairs and see us and we see them. Replacing some pews with chairs will provide more comfortable seating for people who need it, enabling us to welcome these people back to worship and have fellowship together. These chairs will also add worship flexibility to our sanctuary space. Along with making the pulpit moveable again, this added space will enable more creative approaches to worship facilitation. Audio-visual upgrades will also enhance and facilitate worship.

Cleaveland Elevation

Pilgrim House: Adding a ramp from the sidewalk across from the sanctuary will visibly enhance the connection between our two buildings and will provide accessibility to everyone at this entrance. The terrace-created level with planters and bench seating along with the entry lobby will enable a much more welcoming space and will provide a much-needed air lock for the building during the winter months.

parkinglotrenderThe rendering at left shows the proposed addition on the east entrance of the building (by the parking lot) housing an elevator to all floors and accessible bathrooms on all floors. This will enable accessibility to all parts of Pilgrim House by all members of our congregation and all members of our broader community. Intergenerational events and our connectedness with each other and our broader community will be strengthened thanks to these improvements.

Pilgrim House energy upgrades:
Our strategic plan calls on us to be good stewards of the earth. A recent energy audit listed several priorities to make Pilgrim House more energy efficient and therefore able to be maintained at less cost for generations to come. Items prioritized from that audit include insulating the ceiling and walls, improving the energy efficiency of doors and windows, sealing the chimney flue and adding exhaust fans and ceiling fans where appropriate. As a byproduct of these upgrades, Fellowship Hall would get a much-needed “spiffing up.”

Stretch Projects:
The Facilities Connectedness Team, in conversations with various committees and at congregational 4Cs meetings, identified several additional facilities projects that also align with our strategic plan. They are less well-defined than the Core Project components, and could only be done if there is sufficient support. These stretch projects include:

  • Fellowship Hall kitchen upgrade
  • Meeting space additions / upgrades / flexibility
  • General Pilgrim House upgrades to improve functionality, comfort and usability – reconfiguration of some office spaces and receptionist area, wiring, lighting, paint, furniture
  • Solar panels
  • Improved office privacy
  • Choir loft railing changes to improve visibility

The Costs


Working with our architects, Scott Simons Architects, we have developed cost estimates for the core and stretch projects.

Please understand that these are only estimates at this time, and may change as we interview Congregation members to evaluate support. If there is sufficient support, some of the “Stretch Projects” may be added. The costs of the “Stretch Projects” are only very roughly estimated at this time.

Core Project

Building Proposed Projects Estimated Costs
Pilgrim House Sanctuary side entrance $452,000
Parking lot entrance, elevators, and accessible bathrooms $1,300,000
Energy Upgrades $220,000
Sanctuary Accessible ramp, chancel modifications, pew replacement $462,000
Audio-Visual Upgrades $30,000
Total $2,464,000


Stretch Projects

Project Costs
Fellowship Hall kitchen upgrade $50,000-$100,000
Meeting space additions/upgrades/flexibility 50,000-$100,000
General Pilgrim House upgrades to improve functionality, comfort and usability – reconfiguration of some office spaces and receptionist area, wiring, lighting, paint, furniture $125,000-$175,000
Solar panels (cost dependent on approach taken) $75,000-$170,000
Improved office privacy $15,000 – $25,000
Choir loft railing changes to improve visibility $50,000 – $100,000
Total $365,000-$670,000

The Way Forward

  • Feasibility study by Full Harvest Fundraising, our consultants – November 7-12, 2016.
  • Report of Feasibility Study results to Leadership – Dec. 13, 2016
  • Plan revision in light of Full Harvest’s findings, if needed – Dec. 2016-Jan. 2017.
  • Report to Congregation from Full Harvest Fundraising – Jan. 8, 2017
  • Presentation to Congregation for approval. Late Jan. 2017 (exact date TBD)

Please save these important dates so that you can stay informed and participate in the decisions about our projects.

Click here for a document with answers to frequently asked questions.

© First Parish Church | 9 Cleaveland Street, Brunswick, Maine 04011 | 207.729.7331

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