Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
This is the weekend we celebrate our country’s birth and all the freedom we enjoy. But before the fireworks later in the day, I hope you will start your Independence celebration at GRACE in worship of the one who sets you free.
As I shared last week, I’m excited to welcome my friend and fellow ECO Presbyterian national board member, Keon Abner, as our guest preacher. Keon is the Lead Pastor of Bridge City Church, a new church plant in Cleveland, Ohio. I can’t wait for you to meet him. And I can’t wait for Keon to meet you. I’ve been telling him about you for years. We will have our “Summer at GRACE” in full force with more fellowship between services along with some red, white, and blue popsicles and some other activities that all ages will enjoy. See you there!
Now, for a very important message from our BUILDING COMMITTEE.
Since our last update to you on May 14, much progress has been made! We received technical review comments from the Northampton County Conservation District (NCCD) in mid-May and Colliers (our site engineering firm) addressed the comments with revised site drawings provided back to NCCD by the end of May. At the June 28 Bethlehem Township Planning Commission meeting, we received final site plan approval with some final site details from the Bethlehem Township landscaping consultant that they requested us to consider.
During June, Serfass, our construction manager prepared bid packages with the updated site drawings and solicited bids from 6-8 potential site contractors. The bid responses were received towards the end of June and the expectation is that a site contractor could be selected in the first week of July. Good news is that preliminary indications are that the bids are very competitive and quite close to the cost estimates completed last September.
In the meantime, E2i is completing the audio-visual design for the sanctuary and the other areas of the building which will be completed in early July. Mann-Hughes will then complete the building design and send Serfass the final construction drawings. They will then solicit bids from all the various subcontractors to develop the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for the project. We hope to have this by the middle to end of August. There is still a concern that material costs are significantly higher than when the cost estimate was developed last September. Although the budget has “cost escalation” assumptions in it, virtually all construction materials have risen substantially since the estimate. Continue to pray that the GMP comes in close to budget and that we can find ways to develop a project that is supported by our funding through the Shine capital campaign and through responsible bank borrowing.
There are still some details to complete to get all the approvals from the various review agencies to start construction. Although it’s aggressive, we are working hard to get a recommendation to the Session to start the work by the end of August. This is the timeframe that was communicated to you in the last update in May. PRAY!!
Finally, we have a very dedicated and talented team working on this project, including our Building Committee, Church Staff, Colliers (site engineer), Mann-Hughes (architects), Serfass (construction manager), Joe Piperato (attorney), and Barry Isett and Associates (owners rep). And, with God as our leader guiding us consistently along the way, we’re on a great path! Please pray for this whole team and our congregation for wisdom and good decision making as we move closer and closer towards the start of construction!
Building Committee – Gary Etter and Steve Follett, co-chairs, Nora Reilly, Keith Krenz, Jim Rowland, Jeff Mohler, Mike Butz, Brad Chamberlain, John Lewis, and Peter Young
So grateful for the work of the building committee and all the other teams that have gotten us to this exciting place. God is good. It is amazing to see His plan for our church continue to unfold.
Dr. Marnie Crumpler