2021 Joint Venture Ministry Team Report

2021 Joint Venture Ministry Team Report

Submitted by:  Megan and Beth, from the JVMT 

As you look at your goals for 2021, what were you able to accomplish?  Please be as specific as possible.

This year has been a year of waiting with anticipation followed by a wonderful success. We received the award of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency we had been waiting for. Added to earlier funding awards from the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Housing Authority, we now have in place the funding for “Old First House.”

We have gotten approval to move the Fox building and the archeologists have completed Phase 1 of their investigation of our property, including performing a ground penetration radar scan of the planned construction site looking for possible evidence of artifacts from the 18th century. The archeologists indicate that our property is assessed as low sensitivity for any pre-18th Century artifacts to be found on our site.

We have also added to our Joint Venture Ministry Team and we are grateful for the gifts our new members bring.

How has your ministry’s or leadership team’s work and goals shifted throughout 2021 because of COVID?

We have been meeting virtually instead of in-person and have tried to maintain contact with the congregation through blog posts shared on the E-pistle (weekly online newsletter).

Where is your group or ministry area stuck? What 2021 goals were not accomplished? What is your group or ministry area pondering?

All goals have been accomplished but we are now trying to figure out how to cram all necessary steps that our team/church need to take to break ground by this summer. This includes emptying the Christian Ed building, thinking about parking, temporary office spaces, the archives, the showers…. the list goes on!

What do you hope to accomplish in 2022?

We are hopeful that with the leadership of our partner, Community Ventures (CV), the architectural drawings will be approved, a general contractor secured and the construction work will begin by September 2022 with a goal of completion of the construction in the fall of 2023.  We hope to vacate the Christian Ed (CE) and Fox buildings by July 31, 2022. This will include:

  • Completely emptying the CE building and the Fox building of all property and reusable fixtures. We want to recycle/upcycle as much of the materials of these buildings as possible to minimize our contribution to landfills. We will be publishing a list of the contents. We ask all members to review the list and share it with others they think might have use for the contents on the lists.
  • Arranging for a drop off site as close to the front and east side of the building as possible. We will be working with CV and the civil engineer involved in design to figure out the best location and submit the necessary applications to get this accessible drop-off site approved and created in the initial phase of construction in the fall 2022.
  • We are arranging for four parking spaces for use during the week for staff and visitors to Old First’s offices, as well as alternative parking and possible valet service for Sunday mornings. The goal is to have this ready by fall 2022.
  • We are arranging constructing temporary office space on the east side of the Social Hall for Michael and Devan and crew, that is secure and functional and ready to move into in July 2022.
  • We are working with an architect to determine where to build a space for showers/disabled accessible bathroom and washer and dryer facilities for use by service camps and others in or adjacent to the Sanctuary building. Our goal is to have the drawings ready and get the necessary approval from the Historic Commission and L&I to engage in construction of this area, so that the facilities are ready for use by service camps as soon as possible. We are looking for alternative showering facilities in the meantime.
  • We will also work on improving access to the crypt area from the rear of the Social Hall (where there is an exit door) to the rear entrance to the crypt area on the southwest side of the Sanctuary building.
  • We are considering ways to engage our neighbors to build good will and build community support for the programs and possibilities to engage in ministry and mission that our renovated facilities offer. This is ongoing work.
  • We want to engage the whole congregation in the visioning of and preparation for Old First’s ongoing ministry and witness to God’s Love at 4th and Race. We invite you to share with us the ways you feel called to assist, by joining our team, coming to the church and helping out on moving days, locating organizations and people who might be able to accept donations of items and fixtures we are offering, greeting our neighbors and listening for ways that we can be a presence of God’s Love in their lives. Again, this is ongoing work and key events and dates will be announced. 

What are the ways that the church can support your team in achieving your goals?

  • Pray for God’s presence and grace in this undertaking
  • We will have many calls for volunteers and will be asking individuals with specific backgrounds to help at various parts. Please consider volunteering some time to help out. Whether packing things, cataloging items, or literally moving them from one building to the next, we will need help as we get closer to breaking ground. (Please refer to Michael’s post on ways you can get involved: https://oldfirstucc.org/jvmt-gets-us-going-old-first-e-pistle-12-17-21/)
  • Ask questions. Think through next steps about our vision for this ministry
  • Celebrate our accomplishments as they occur, knowing that all of this will happen in God’s time