MissionMatters Recently Asked Questions (RAQ)

Recently Asked Questions & Answers

About the Overall Campaign

Q.       How much do we need to raise?

A.        Our goal is to raise $2,500,000.

Q.       Why are we conducting this capital campaign?

A.        Westminster is conducting this capital to make capital improvements to our core ministries—the Westminster Child Development Center, Camp Henry, and the Downtown Food Pantry; campaign to pay off the slate roof that was built in 2014; and to make additional needed improvements to our church facility.

Q.       How much will I be asked to give?

A.        Everyone is asked, first, to reflect on her or his individual blessings, and then to pray for God’s guidance to make a commitment to be paid over three years. We are asking you to make a commitment over and above your current giving to the church. You will not be told to give a specific amount.

Q.       What if I am not certain about my financial future?

A.        No one can know the future. All we ask is that you prayerfully ask God’s guidance in making a three-year commitment. If your circumstances change, you can adjust your commitment by notifying the church office.

Q.       When will my commitment be due?

A.        Each person can designate how to fulfill her or his three-year commitment: by giving weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. We ask that your commitment be paid in full within three years. However, if a person needs additional time to complete a commitment, we can discuss a longer-term plan.

Q.       Can I designate my pledge in honor or in memory of someone?

A.        While we are not asking for or encouraging designated gifts, we will certainly receive your gift in honor of someone with our gratitude.

Q.       When will each MissionMatters project be started?

A.        Projects will be implemented when sufficient cash and pledges are available, and when we are reasonably certain that sufficient funds will be forthcoming to pay for the work without incurring major long-term debt.

Q.       Are all the proposed projects the same level of priority? Can some of them be delayed in order to address the most urgent needs first?

A.        The most urgent need—replacement of the sanctuary roof—has already been addressed and the loan taken out for that work must be repaid. The projects pertaining to our three core missions are all matters of safety and licensing, as well as of extending the Westminster welcome to our community. The additional projects for our own facility are necessary to restore and preserve our facilities and to protect the people who use them.

Q.       I have heard that the general contractor is predicting cost overages for the work at Westminster. How will this be managed?

A.        First, the Westminster Architecture Committee continues to review all aspects of the work with the general contractor, and they will not commit to any construction until after all pledges are received in mid-May. In addition, the Architecture Committee is tackling any potential overage issues with creativity and imagination by reviewing the scope of the project, and reducing the scope in some areas, if appropriate “value engineering”; in other words, finding alternative, less expensive methods to accomplish the same results actively managing the $84,000 contingency fund that is already part of the budget.


About the Westminster Child Development Center

Q.       How much do we need to raise for the WCDC?

A.        Our goal is to raise $450,000.

Q.       What will be done with the money raised for the WCDC?

A.        In order to increase safety and meet licensing standards, the offices must be relocated to the main entrance of the Center. In addition, more bathrooms must be added to classrooms to meet licensing standards. Finally, the Center must be remodeled to put all classes on one level, which will allow for better staffing rotations, plus easier and safer child drop-off and pick-up.

Q.        What needs to be improved in the current WCDC facility?

A.        Currently, the Center occupies space on two levels of the church—the babies are upstairs, while the toddlers and school-agers are downstairs. Classroom management will be improved by putting the Center all on one level. Another disadvantage with the current arrangement is that children and parents must cross through the Gathering Place, which is in use by many people.

Q.       Is the WCDC on a strong financial footing, or is it at risk of shutting down?

A.        The WCDC has been financially viable and independent for the past five years. In addition, they are building a reserve fund to cover emergency expenses.

Q.       Why is the WCDC one of Westminster’s core missions? Is there a demand for it?

A.        The WCDC was established by Westminster in 1969 to serve our Grand Rapids community and prepare children for success in grade school and beyond. The facts that the Center is at full enrollment and that it has a waiting list through November, 2015, for the infant room show that there is a great demand for the quality education the WCDC offers.

Q.       What is enrollment at the WCDC?

A.        Sixty-five children attend each weekday during the school year, and an additional 20 attend during school vacations.

Q.       What is tuition at the WCDC?

A.        The WCDC is one of only two child development centers in Grand Rapids that offer a sliding tuition scale based on family income. Full tuition is $227.00 per week for a toddler or infant and $189.00 per week for preschool-age and school-age children. Families with incomes less than $40,000 per year receive reduced tuition rates.

Q.       How much money does the WCDC receive from Westminster already?

A.        In 2014, Westminster gave the WCDC $6,000, which is used to fund scholarships for families with financial need. Additional money was raised through fund-raisers like ice cream socials in the spring and summer. Most of the money to operate the Center comes from tuition.


About Camp Henry

Q.       How much do we need to raise for Camp Henry?

A.        Westminster is raising $650,000 to help renovate and expand Camp Henry’s Dining Hall. Camp Henry has committed to raising an additional $1 or more (to total $350,000) from other sources for every $2 pledged by Westminster.

Q.       How much is needed to make the proposed renovations?

A.        The renovations will cost $1,000,000.

Q.       Can Camp Henry get along with its current Dining Hall?

A.        The 78-year-old Dining Hall, the first building erected at Camp, is too small to seat all 225 campers at one time—and Camp is operating at full capacity for each session. In addition, the kitchen does not meet commercial-kitchen equipment and safety standards. This must be corrected.

Q.       Can campers eat in shifts rather than expanding the current Dining Hall?

A.        The Camp cannot continue to serve diners in shifts. It is not an efficient use of kitchen staff time and, frankly, it makes some campers who must wait or eat outside, when weather permits, feel like second-class citizens. All campers need to feel welcome at every meal.

Q.       What is the seating capacity of the current Dining Hall?

A.        Currently, the dining hall seats only 187 people. The plan is to increase seating to 285 to 300.

Q.       Is the proposed dining hall a brand-new facility?

A.        To practice good stewardship, Camp Henry is planning to renovate and expand the original 78-year-old Dining Hall rather than tearing it down to build a new facility.

Q.       Is the relationship between Westminster and Camp Henry changing? Is Westminster becoming responsible for 100 percent of the Camp’s financial needs?

A.        Westminster provides only a portion of Camp Henry’s total operating budget. Camp tuition, rental fees, and outside fundraising make up the rest of the budget—and will continue to do so.

Q.       Does Camp Henry receive many rentals from outside groups?

A.        Several each year, but Camp Henry cannot accept rentals from all the outside groups who express interest because it currently does not have enough room in the dining hall to accommodate larger groups.


About the Downtown Food Pantry

Q.       How much do we need to raise for the Food Pantry?

A.        Westminster is raising $200,000.

Q.       What will be done with the money raised for the Food Pantry?

A.        The Pantry needs to fix plumbing leaks, update refrigerators and freezers, repair aging flooring, replace worn-out furniture, and provide a more welcoming client waiting room.

Q.       How much support does the Food Pantry already receive from Westminster?

A.        Our budget includes the $30,000 annual salary of the Food Pantry director. Individuals in the church also help the Pantry with gifts of food, cash, and volunteer work.

Q.       Is Westminster the only source of funding for the Food Pantry?

A.        The Food Pantry is also supported by a local family foundation, LaGrave Christian Reformed Church, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, First United Methodist Church, the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple, Fountain Street Church, and St. Andrews Cathedral, as well as a state-funded grant for the Ryan White program for persons with HIV-AIDS.

Q.       Will these other supporters help pay for the improvements in the Food Pantry?

A.        Because the Food Pantry is housed in space owned and provided by Westminster, it is our responsibility to make this space safe and pleasant for clients.

Q.       Will the Food Pantry be closing when the new Heartside Food Club is up and running?

A.        The Food Club will serve a different group of clients than the Food Pantry, those who can pay a monthly membership fee to shop at the Club. While the goal is to help Food Pantry clients move up to an income level where they can pay the monthly Food Club fee, the reality is that there will always be new members of the Heartside community who need the safety net the Food Pantry provides.


About Other Facility Needs

Q.       How much do we need to raise for other projects at our facility?

A.        We are raising $300,000 for our Worship Centers, the third floor, our music ministry/harpsichord storage, building safety, and our columbarium.

Q.       After the roof renovation, I noticed cracks in the balcony ceiling and walls. Did the roof work cause these?

A.        The cracks were already there, although the roof work did make them a bit worse. The structural engineer assures us these cracks are just cosmetic, not structural. The balcony is still safe for use.

Q.       Why do we need to move the Worship Centers from their current location?

A.        We need to move the Worship Centers from the lower level to the main floor so that the Westminster Child Development Center can have all of their rooms on the lower level and keep their state accreditation. In addition, moving the Worship Centers closer to the first-floor Nursery will help parents who need to pick up children from more than one program on Sunday mornings.

Q.       What do we need to do on the third floor?

A.        We must reinforce and insulate the roof to enhance energy efficiency and avoid a possible roof collapse during a hard, snowy winter. In addition, we need to make modifications to accommodate music rehearsal space, as well as to provide for music and other storage.

Q.       Why does the music department need a storage space for its harpsichord? It seems just fine in the office of the Minister of Music.

A.        To properly care for the harpsichord, which was donated in memory of Westminster member Peg Cope, we need to convert the storage alcove south of the chancel into a secure, climate-controlled storeroom for this delicate instrument.

Q.       How will building safety be improved?

A.        We need to improve the traffic flow and general functionality of the Gathering Place area, as well as modifying or replacing the reception desk so that greeters working at the desk can maintain visual connection to the doors to the parking lot. Finally, we must add signage, improve lighting, install security cameras, and repaint the area.

Q.       Why is it necessary to expand the columbarium at this time?

A.        In addition to adding more burial niches, we must prevent deterioration of the space, which is being caused by water run-off from the chapel roof, and we want to reduce the need for continuous maintenance work, such as snow removal. By adding a solarium covering and benches, we will also provide a space more appropriate for prayer, meditation, and reflection, as well as year-round access, for those visiting loved ones who are at rest here.