If you were at St Bs last Sunday you would have heard my latest Go and Grow update. The main headline is that once more we are looking into completing the project all in one phase. Over the last couple of months we had acknowledged that we could not afford to do everything all at once and so had planned, after some enabling work, to first move to Solar House and then subsequently at a later date build the main auditorium as a distinct second phase. Whilst this seemed like a good plan, we are now reverting to the earlier one-phase plan, which, if we can achieve it, will have significant benefits for us. But, in order to accomplish the entire scheme in one phase, we need to restructure the way the project works by way of our relationship with the diocese. This could be advantageous for us, but also has fresh challenges.
As a result of pursuing a restructured scheme, over the next month we face a couple of significant hurdles. The first is VAT. For those who have followed the fortunes of this project for some time you will be forgiven for thinking: “haven’t we been here before”. VAT law is complicated and unclear and so with the restructured scheme, we need fresh advice again before committing ourselves to a change of direction.
The second hurdle is the decision of the Diocesan Finance Committee (DFC) at their meeting on 18th June. This is the committee who are charged with governance of the diocese’s assets. They originally signed off the proposed purchase of Solar House for St Bs over a year ago, and we remain hugely grateful for this singular vote of support for us. Since then we have not needed to go back to them for any subsequent decisions, but now, with the entire scheme being restructured, we will once more need to find favour with the hallowed quarters of diocesan oversight.
If, by the grace of God, we clear these two major hurdles, the project will be well set for the future. That is not to say that there won’t remain enormous challenges, but we will be a significant step closer to achieving our goal.
So the next month is critical and I am asking as many as can to pray every day. Some people have set their alarms for midday or 1pm to stop and pray the Lord’s Prayer, specifically with Go and Grow in mind. Others are fasting by skipping lunch, or some other self-denial, with a view to calling on God for his intervention. I invite you to join with us as we urgently pursue God’s purposes for our church.