My grandfather used the expression, “cutting paper dolls” which referred to a process which was a cross between planning and dreaming. One could “cut paper dolls” without yet committing oneself to anything; it was a way to ask questions and dream of a trip or life change. At the end of the process, a decision would be made to go forward or not. If the idea was a bust or it never happened or morphed into something else, that was fine. New adventures always started with cutting paper dolls.
Since Broad Bay voted to hire Barba and Wheelock, the building committee (Jonathan Clowes, Brian Scheuzger (co-chairs), Maryann Guernsey, Kathy Osborne, Linda Brandt, Joe Russano, and myself) has been “cutting paper dolls.” Material from last year’s church meetings was complied. People were interviewed regarding the use of every room in the building and the results sent to Barba and Wheelock. The building committee met with Nancy Barba and John Turk for a spirited conversation about their initial drawings and Broad Bay’s core mission; changes were made. Second and third drafts were reviewed and after more conversations about who we are, additional changes were requested.
Throughout the process, the building committee focused on the core mission of the church, asking what God is calling us to be and do. I’m excited. The committee is listening hard to one another, especially where we offer differing perspectives. With the guidance and questions of good design professionals, ideas keep improving and our thinking about Broad Bay’s mission gets sharper.
Broad Bay Church moved to 941 Main Street fifteen years ago and our roots in the community have deepened. For example: backpacks to the Miller school, concerts, weekly AA meetings, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) clinics, funerals, dinners, restorative justice circles. We partner with other organizations and offer the use of the building to community groups.
I have stood outside before a funeral or concert and tried to tactfully guide people to the ramp; At every service and event, I hold my breath as I watch people go up and down the stairs. I have waited and prayed while the ambulance is summoned after accidental falls and have witnessed too many other near misses. Every time I experience the bathroom under the stairs, I am both grateful for my flexibility and marvel at that unique space. (Yes, I am willing to give that up!) Daily asthma medication helps me to breath in the basement while others have chosen to avoid the space entirely. Some struggle to prepare food and clean up in the kitchen.
Our identity and mission focus is clear. We are rooted in the community, engage community partnerships, and welcome a diverse group of people into our midst. Outside, our walkway, bench, Anticipate Miracles boulder, and Help Yourself Shelf reflect those commitments. The building committee, under the guidance of Barba and Wheelock has worked to be sure that both the inside and outside feel and function of the building reflects our mission. A building which is inviting, safe, accessible and flexible could expand our community partnerships while demonstrating God’s extravagant welcome.
The architectural drawings are on the way to a cost estimator who will add numbers to the project.
On Wednesday night, October 18, at 6:30 pm the building committee invites you to join them in “cutting paper dolls.” Nancy Barba, architect, will join us to share the results of the collaboration between the building committee and her firm.
Whatever we decide to do in terms of repairs and renovations to the building, I am convinced that the process of working closely with such a competent design firm has been worth it. I’ve sensed the Spirit in the process of “cutting paper dolls” as the building committee has focused on our core mission and dared to dream beyond what is to what could be.
God is still speaking.