It's a new year and things are really getting underway. If you are on Facebook, you must follow our progress with stunning drone footage provided by our member Jim Shields. He has been chronicling the progress of the school building, which is now fully enclosed. Work has begun on the interior! The exterior bricks are targeted for the spring. The pipe organ is BACK! It sounds amazing and we are thrilled with this development! We have events coming up too. Please check out our events page. Progress is being made, but this reality confirms that we must stay committed and continue to support Branching Out as we start 2019. Please continue to PRAY for our church, our school and Branching Out. Pray for the ministries at St. John.
Please ALSO consider “subscribing” to our YouTube channel. We need to get 100 subscribers in order to change the name to something that is easy to find. We now have all of our Branching Out videos posted here but this channel will be for all videos for St. John Lutheran Church and School. Thanks in advance for you help.
Thank you for a great 2018. Here's a to a New Year! TO GOD BE THE GLORY.....AMEN!
EVERY TUESDAY at Infinity Sidebar!
We have some exciting news! Every Tuesday, Infinity Sidebar will donate 10% on all food sales between 4pm and 10pm toward our Branching Out campaign! You must communicate that you are with St. John Fraser to make sure the 10% donation is applied toward the project. If Infinity wasn't already a great place to eat with great food and great staff, now you have even more of a reason to take you and your family out for a great dinner that ultimately is helping put money toward our project! We thank Jim and Sara Walsh for being so generous! Please patron this location and enjoy the food and fellowship at Infinity Sidebar.
Location: 16650 E 14 Mile Rd, Fraser, MI 48026
Thank you to those who have invested with Church Extension Fund. When we first began this financial campaign in the spring of 2016, we as a congregation and individual members had $800,000 of investments in CEF. We have more than doubled that investment in a little over two years! We are confident that we will achieve the 0.5% rate break if the costs quoted us hold true and we continue to bring in contributions at the rate we have been over the next few months. If you are still considering investing, please do! There is still time to make a push for a 1% discounted rate!
As we approach commitment Sunday in November, please continue to keep our project in your prayers and prayerfully consider how you can financially support all the ministries of St. John; with contributions to both the general fund which supports our ministries and our staff, and to Branching Out, which is remodeling and adding to our building to better position these ministries for the future. God has greatly blessed us so that we can be a blessing to others!
PLEASE REMEMBER...While the Master Plan is important, it is imperative to remember WHY we have taken up this project – to enhance our ministries. Remember that giving to the Branching Out project should be IN ADDITION to your regularly pledged giving to the ministry of the church. We still have staff to support and bills to pay in addition to the financial responsibilities to the many ministries we offer to our congregation and to our community. It will do us no good to undertake this project if we are not properly funding our ministries and our ministers. God has greatly blessed us here at St. John, and we can show our faith and trust in Him by being good stewards of what He has given us. If you currently do not, please consider giving a tithe of your blessings back to the Lord, and experience the ways God blesses you in return.
Praise be to God! Our Groundbreaking ceremony was a success and finished just before the rain came. For pictures, please visit our FACEBOOK PAGE.
The Groundbreaking for our first phase of the Master Plan is scheduled for June 3 in between services. Details are on the Events tab of our website! Please plan on attending and being a part of the rich history God has bestowed upon St. John Fraser as we break ground and build up toward another 150+ years of ministry for our community!
As we approach our Groundbreaking in Early June (stay tuned for a date!), we want to remind you of the many things that will be addressed in this Updated Phase 1 component of our Master Plan Branching Out Project. The following items will be occuring over the summer and into the fall to enhance our ministries here at St. John:
1. Seven new larger classrooms
2. A large new media center
3. New additional restrooms for our children
4. New faculty restrooms for our staff
5. Three additional water fountains
6. All new entryways from the exterior of the building will be guarded by two sets of doors
7. Interior doors between the gym and the hallways will help seal off the classrooms during events in the gym.
8. All new rooms will be AIR-CONDITIONED!
While this will be a great start to bringing our building into the 21st century, remember that it is just the beginning. Subsequent phases are planned to modernize the east wing by creating a modern Early Childhood Center that is so desperately needed for our youngest children and for a program that is such a tremendous gateway to our congregation. Future phases also look to add needed SAAC space and revamp our administrative wing, adding additional levels of security as well as a parlor for congregational use. Our final phase addresses adding more room to our church basement and narthex.
Please be generous in helping bring the Master Plan to reality!
Reminder, our 2nd Annual Branching Out Golf Outing is this Saturday, May 19th. If you're not a golfer, you can purchase tickets for the banquet portion of our event. Thank you to all the many businesses and families who sponsored a whole and/or donated prize baskets! We have a great selection so far and are looking to have an even better turnout than last year!
On Monday evening, April 23rd, the voters assembled in the cafeteria at St. John and voted overwhelmingly in support of proceeding with the Branching Out project and moving forward with the CEF loan, despite increased costs. There was a very good discussion with some very good questions raised by our members. Every question was important and we appreciate all who attended that evening. If you voted in favor or against this next step, it is important that St. John members move forward in Christian love toward each other and work together as one to make this effort a reality. We are all one church and school united to proclaim the Gospel and truth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is and has been our goal...to expand, grow and strengthen the ministry here in Fraser so that future generations may come to know Jesus Christ! Our congregation is blessed and we will work together on this project. Our work is not done. It has only begun. Over the next several months we will need continued support, and we will need even more volunteers. If you are interested in serving Branching Out in some way, please contact a committee member! We have many areas of need.
To God Be The Glory,
-The Branching Out Committee
Last Sunday, it was announced that our building plan was approved by the city of Fraser. On Tuesday night, the contractor and building manager presented to the Branching Out committee the gross maximum price of our first phase of the Master plan. This is the final maximum cost of the project after all the improvements to meet codes for the building and the site have been added to the plans. The number presented to us on Tuesday came in $650,000 higher than the estimate presented to us in January. The addition of these costs has put the price of our project well over the $3.2 million that was approved by the congregation. At our next Voter’s meeting we will be discussing this situation, what caused these increased costs, and how to proceed forward. We cannot move forward without a new vote from the congregation, so EVERYONE is encouraged to make every effort to attend and take an active role in making such an impactful decision for our congregation.
Why has the cost increased so much?
The cost of our project has increased for a number of reasons, most of which are related to bringing an old building up to code, making our building safer, and improving the site so that we retain water on our property. The cost of materials has also risen, as have the interest rates on the loan we will need to secure. These costs were communicated to the committee on Tuesday after the process of getting city approval was completed. Below is a general breakdown of the cost increases incurred recently.
Included in the costs is a $337,000 contingency which may possibly be partially or fully recovered. A full breakdown of all costs is available on the Branching Out table in the back of the church.
How does this affect our ability to pay for the project?
Much has changed in a year’s time. Costs have increased in every possible way, and interest rates have risen four times since approval was granted by the congregation. At the rate they are rising, and with the government’s stated intent to raise rates a full 1% this year, we can expect rates to rise one or two more times before we finish construction in December and take out a loan. The chart below outlines how the costs have changed over the past year and what we might expect in the future.
We have some great news! The City of Fraser has approved our special land use request and our site plans for the first major phase of our project. We will begin the next steps toward ground breaking. The committee will be meeting to review a variety of things related to the next steps and we will report back as needed. To God Be The Glory!
At the 1/22/18 Voters Meeting, we explained to our members the reason for the unexpected cost increases in the project. We presented options to move forward in pieces with the goal still being the completion of the Master Plan. A vote of confidence was registered and recorded by those in attendance, and we move forward towards a groundbreaking this year. That is our goal and we are working hard as a committee, with the support of St. John members, to begin construction in May or June.
On February 2, we hosted our 2nd Annual Branching Out Chili Cook Off & Dessert Competition. We had a great turn out! 18 chili's were submitted and plenty of desserts. Winners were chosen and won a trophy and a gift card. Winner for Best Chili was Valerie Elliott and winner for Best Dessert was Angela Hoehner. Congratulations Ladies! There was live music from PBM and plenty of food, fun and fellowship. Another successful Branching Out event!
The Events Committee is underway planning remaining events, including our Golf Outing and Auction. If you are interested in helping in any of our upcoming events (see the Events tab), especially our Golf Outing and our Auction/Dinner, please contact a committee member. We need your help!
There is a Voters Meeting tonight to discuss changes to the Master Plan. As announced in church over the last 2 weeks, there have been unforseen circumstances that have significantly increased the cost of Phase 1. The Branching Out Committee and Building Sub-Committee have been working over the past month to develop a strategy to address these new developments. Every voter should make every effort to be in attendance for this meeting.
Please visit our Events page for the upcoming Silent Auction & Formal Dinner event! You are cordially invited! We cannot wait to share this event with you. This will be a great event to bring us all together for an evening of fellowship and fun. Details on the Events page!
The Committee presented updates at all services during the October 22/23 weekend. Members were given an updated time line (see below) on what our committee has been doing since May and an updated financial status. If all goes well, we would like to break ground in the Spring of 2018 (approx. March).
As always, we appreciate your continued support and feedback, and most importantly, your continued prayers.
To God Be The Glory!
The Branching Out Team has been very busy since May! We've been working on big fundraiser events, but also a lot of updates to overal building portion of Phase One. Here is a time line of what we've been working on since May 2017:
We will be presenting updated schematics to Phase One to the congregation on Sunday 10/22 and Monday Night 10/23.. Over the course of developing Phase One, we've noticed areas where modifcations or changes neede to be made. These updates fulfill these needs:
North Hall Rooms:
Early Childhood Center (East Hall)
Renovated Administrative Area (South Hall)
Thank you for your support and prayers!
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS: The Branching Out Committee will be presenting a modified version of Phase One at the next Voter's Meeting on Sunday Sept 24th following the late service. We will also be going over the year in review We are excited with some of the changes we've made and are excited to share them with our members. Also, tickets for the event of the year--The Branching Out Formal Dinner and Auction--go on sale 9/24. Please consider purchasing your tickets as soon as possible as this event will be marketed on Fraser Public TV and other outlets. This is sure to be an amazing event and we look forward to having you as our guest for what will certainly be a wonderful evening for food, fellowship and fun!
We will be announcing details about the Nov. 4th Silent Auction & Dinner very soon. Tickets will go on sale Sept 24th. Stay tuned. We anticipate this to be our finest event and are looking forward to a large turnout! More to follow.....
On August 18, Branching Out held our very first Concert. The event was held at the beautiful new Infinity banquet center, formerly the Hofbrau House. Our member Jim Walsh and his staff did a marvelous job renovating the old bar into a beautiful new banquet hall with a nice stage and sound system. The food was outstanding, the decor is gorgeous and there was a lot of energy and excitement in the atmosphere.
St. John alumnus Mike Sugg headlined this exciting concert and performed his act as one of the nations top Toby Keith tribute performers. The opening band was PBM, a horn-powered pop-rock band from Warren with local ties to St. John. They got the crowd started with and turned it over to Mike Sugg and his spot on Toby Keith performance. The event was a tremendous success as members were able to mix and mingle over dinner and music. There was even a surprise visit from our former president, Abraham Lincoln.
We also want to thank all the committee members and volunteers who worked tirelessly to pull off this very successful first Branching Out Concert Fundraiser. Here are some photos from our wonderful event, courtesy of Jim Shields Photography.
VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVED MOVING FORWARD WITH THE MODIFIED PHASE ONE PLAN AND PROCEEDING WITH FINANCING. THERE IS STILL A YEAR LEFT BEFORE ANY LOAN WOULD BEGIN SO THE MORE WE CAN BRING IN DURING THAT YEAR, THE LESS WE WILL HAVE TO MORTGAGE. OUR GOAL IS TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION IN THE SPRING OF 2018. YOUR CONTINUED PRAYERS ARE NEEDED AS WE MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER.
THE BRANCHING OUT COMMITTEE WILL BE MAKING A RECOMMENDATION TO THE VOTERS AT THE APRIL 23 VOTERS MEETING. YOUR ATTENDANCE IS REQUESTED AS WE DETERMINE THE BEST PATH FOR REACHING THE ULTIMATE GOAL THAT THIS CONGREGATION APPROVED--COMPLETING THE MASTER PLAN. PLEASE PLAN ON ATTENDING!
Our 1st Annual Branching Out Golf Outing is almost upon us. The deadline to submit your payment for golfing or sponsorship is Sunday, April 23. If there is an extinuating circumstance, we may be able to accomodate you. Please contact any of the committee members.
All of our Branching Out events have been successful and we've learned so much. We want this event to be a great success so please, head to Cracklewood Golf Course Saturday May 13th and golf, or if you don't golf, come to our banquet. Details about this great new event can be found on the Events link under the Branching Out tab.
The Branching Out Committee has set dates for some very exciting upcoming events. There will be more details forthcoming for the Golf Outing and Silent Auction. Please continue to check our EVENTS page for more specifics.
If you are interested in donating an item, a service or a gift basket for the silent auction, please contact Michelle Heitz at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more details on the financial progress of the project, please make sure you attend a Voters Meeting. We will provide updates at each Voters Meeting.
As always, we ask that you PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY for our church, our ministries and that God's will be done on this project, as He sees fit. We appreciate all the support and feedback and we look forward to seeing you at these exciting events!
You are cordially invited to bring yourself, your friends, your family (no kids below 9th grade though!) to our adult Euchre Night. There will be prizes for the TOP 3 finishers! Please plan on spending some fun, fellowship and meeting new people at our event. We look forward to having you spend your Friday evening with us!
Happy New Year! We are so blessed to have had another full year of fundraising, fellowship, and service to this project. Let's kick off 2017 with some fun.! Stand by for further details....
2016 is almost over! Please consider an end of the year charitable donation to the St. John Branching Out building campaign. Visit the links on the Branching Out tab for more details! Gifts by check should note "Branching Out" on the memo line. We thank you for your donation!
We had a tremendous turnout for our first ever Chili Cook Off. We had 18 chili's and 14 desserts submitted. Over 150 people attended and sampled the amazing chilis and desserts prepared by our members. We had groups playing euchre tournaments, the gym was open for families and children to play and have fun and there was tons of food, family and fellowship at this event. Next year will be even better!
Winner for the Most Popular Chili was Stacey Garrett. Stacey prepared an amazing white bean chicken chili. Angela Hoehner and Kim Hengy (Branching Out Events Committee members) presented Stacey with a $50 Chili's gift card and 1st place trophy.
Winner for the Most Popular Dessert was Michelle Heitz. Michelle whipped up some homemade candy bars! Ang and Kim presented her with a $50 Chili's gift card and 1st place trophy.
Branching Out is excited to announce our first big chili cook off! We hope you enter your chili and/or a dessert and come on out! This will be a night of fun, food, fellowship and friendly rivalry! The chili and the dessert with the most votes gets a prize! The gym will be open so kids and families can play in the gym.
Also, we are looking for volunteers for a lot of different areas. We have refined our list and it is posted here. Please look at this list and see if there is a way you can use your time, talents or treasure to help us with this exciting project.
There is a Volunteer Meeting tonight! If you are interested in volunteering in any capacity, please attend tonight's meeting. We are in need of more help and more ideas. This is an informal meeting that should last about 1 hour. We look forward to you stopping by, meeting our committee and working together on this very important project!
The Committee has begun making phone calls to all members who have not submitted their committment forms. We are aksing all forms be turned in as soon as possible, wether they are in support of the project or not, or for members who are uncertain if they support the project. Every form contains valuable information and feedback that helps our committee shape how and when we proceed with our Branching Out initiative--from timelines to financing to congregational support and moral. We will be reviewing all forms, all pledges, and all commitments and providing a report at the September 25, 2016 Voters Meeting. We welcome your comments, questions and concerns on the form, as well as any financial or prayerful support you may offer. Thank you for considering this project. We ask that you please continue to keep our committee, our congregation and the Branching Out project in your prayers.
ATTENTION SCHOOL PARENTS: Branching Out will have a table at the official School Registration on Wed. August 17th from 10am to 12pm and 6pm to 8pm. Please stop by and grab any information you may be interested in and please consider volunteering. Sign up sheets will be available!
As our pledges and committments roll in, we are getting very excited, but there is much work to do! The Committee is currently enlisting volunteers to help make calls to our members who have not committed or pledged. All feedback is valuable and useful and we look forward to making more connections with our members! If you would like to volunteer to help us make calls, please talk with a committee member or our Pastors.
Committments and pledges have been collected and results so far will be presented at the June 27th meeting. Your attendance is requested as this is a very important meeting.
Committment Sunday was June 22. Pastor Richert preached a wonderful sermon. You can read it here. (link to follow soon)
We had a great turnout for our Potluck. Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate Branching Out and what we hope is a very exciting time! We had a lot of ministries in the church with tables and booths set up. It was truly a great day for fellowship among our St. John family! A big thank you goes out to our Events Team for planning the event and setting it up. We also thank Chris Nader for making the pulled pork main course!
Beginning May 2, a new 16' long Control Booth will be constructed in the back corner of the church (near the lighting panel and CD Recorder). This booth will provide a secure space that will house the control equipment for our church lighting (an upgrade included in our planned remodeling), the control equipment for our sound system, and all the equipment used to create videos of our services for online and DVD use. Currently much of this equipment is taking up valuable space in our balcony. The new booth will have enough room for up to 4 people to work with equipment at once which will be handy for the Boar's Head performances and special services. The booth along with the upgrade to the church sound system that is occurring over the next month are components included in our Master Plan that will be completed prior to the official start of our Branching Out Initiative, thanks to a couple generous donations from members who regularly view our service videos. Watch for the upgraded videos during the summer months!