Nearly a month ago the Oakland UMC celebrated 40 years of fantastic ministry in its current location. Those present heard returning pastors speak with such love of their time at Oakland and the Kingdom building that was accomplished; if present, you will have heard the vision embraced by many within the congregation, or by their parents and grandparents to create a worship structure that would help others effectively know God.

For over 40 years Oakland UMC has effected change in lives that would see Jesus because of who we are as a community of faith. Think of all of the worship services that have been held Oakland: time spent at the altar, candle-light services, prayer vigils, celebrations of Holy Communion, confessions of sin and prayers of forgiveness, and let’s not forget the singing! We have faithfully encouraged communion with God!

Think of all the spiritual growth classes over the years: Sunday School, youth, UMW, Parent’s Night Out, FW Friends, Bethel Bible Study, Spiritual Gifts, Small Group, and most recently, the Men’s Group. All of these have helped those among us grow our faith and increase our commitment to Christ.

Think of all the mission trips to Louisiana, Russia, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Vermont, along with those right here in Oakland Township, Oil City, Franklin, and New Castle. Oakland UMC has had the courage to Imagine No Malaria. The utility bills we have helped cover, the food and gas and clothing we have helped provide for those in need…thousands upon thousands of dollars in addition to thousands work of hours all being dedicated to serving the community in faith.

For 40 years, Oakland has faithfully sacrificed ourselves in an effort to enlarge the Kingdom of God. We have a great legacy of faithfulness and I don’t believe that we’re done adding to that legacy!

We want a church where everyone can come to worship…
We want a church that allows for folks to step aside to reconnect through meaningful conversations of faith and fellowship without the congestion of traffic, both before and after worship…
We want a church that offers adequate office space…

So after hours of prayer and deliberation, here is what our renovation team proposes:
Our first priority is to spend about $35,000 installing four pew cutouts throughout the sanctuary and a unisex handicapped accessible restroom.

Our second priority is to spend about $20,000 to open up the narthex to give us a better flow of traffic, a dedicated information center, and an area where folks can reconnect outside of the flow of traffic. This would require a relocation of the administrative assistant’s office to the Jr. High & Sr. High Sunday School rooms.

Our third priority is to add some storage and electrical to our new administrative assistant’s office and to the kitchen for approximately $1000. This would relocate the Jr. High Sunday School to shared space in the pastor’s office on Sunday mornings and the Sr. High Class to the sanctuary until we are able to complete our fourth priority.

Our fourth priority is to redesign our social hall, adding 1-2 additional classrooms by providing more versatile and more sound dampening dividers until we are in a position to create additional square footage at an approximate cost of $64,000.

Simultaneously, we must reimburse our mission fund the $9,000 borrowed to replace windows in the parsonage.

And we must reimburse our checking account $5,000 for expenses that have exceeded our giving.

Finally, we wish to raise an additional $50,000-70,000 over the next three years to seed additional square footage in the future.

Our total goal: $175,000-$200,000

It is a lofty vision forged through prayer that Oakland can add to an already amazing legacy. Though there will be unequal giving, success will require equal sacrifice from everyone.

Your sacrifice could mean giving up a few dinners out a month, giving up or shortening some of the trips you take. It might mean waiting a little longer to replace that “big ticket item” in your home… or perhaps it will be sacrifice that comes in the form of your tax refund, a gift of stocks or bonds, or jewelry, or works of art, or even land that can be converted to cash… Some may wish to name the church the beneficiary on an insurance policy or add the church to their will. I know that very few of us have the ready finances to give meaningfully without sacrifice… However, I believe that the Kingdom Building we do here at and through Oakland UMC is worth our sacrifice.

As you contemplate your decision it is imperative that you also remember that what we are asking for is over and above what you are already gifting to our yearly budget. We cannot and will not succeed by redirecting income from one fund to another.

The Administrative Council & Renovation Team are requested to submit their commitment cards by Sunday, November 22nd.

The congregation is requested to submit their commitment cards by Sunday, November 29th.

Everyone is requested to submit 10% of their three year renovation gift on Sunday, November 29th.

Pray about about this! Discuss it with your spouse or whomever you need to discuss it with. If you have more questions, come and talk with me or one of the individuals on the renovation team (Jenn Fox; Ernie McCain; Andrew Schwab; Judy Stocker; or Steve Thomas) to have those questions answered.

You can pick up a commitment card at the church office.

Embrace grace,

Pastor Ed