DCC News


Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church


February 27, 2009


A Literal Building in a Virtual World

Indulge me for another week. I am going to write about our Capital Campaign once more. I just might do the same next week too. So, if you live in Schenectady and receive this e-ram or live in say, Manistee, Michigan, well, you may want to skip this week’s message because it filled with all sorts of Facts & Figures and Hopes & Dreams. You may have better uses for your time.

On the other hand, if you want to read about a church that “has its act together” for a Capital Campaign, it won’t cost you a thing to read on.

I am a preacher, and preachers always deal in stories when we approach almost any topic. So, here is a true story about some joking that we were doing the other night after the Ash Wednesday service. There were about 13 of us talking about technology and using technology in church activities.

Someone was commenting on the electronic invite to Chi Weber’s house to have a home discussion about the Capital Campaign. The internet invitation was sent easily with folks emailing back and commenting. Someone mentioned that the school kids and families get assignments and grades via the internet. One schoolboy said that they post class projects on “You Tube.” It was suggested that I and Lisa could post our sermons on “You Tube” and just send a link to church folks and then we would not have to bother commuting to Dublin. Someone else said that the congregation could just watch us on “You Tube” and then no one would have to bother coming to church but church would come to them.

Then we all began to warm to the topic of a “virtual church” and it was suggested that we would no longer need the church building and we could cancel the Capital Campaign. “No building, no mortgage!” almost became our mantra as we conveniently ignored the fact that we do actually have a legal contractual debt that is ours whether we come here or not. But, we were just joking around about “No building, no mortgage!”

Another person suggested that if the preachers were on “You Tube” videos we would actually miss the Fellowship Hour and that would be very sad. (I noted that no one said, “Oh, and we would REALLY miss having Bob and Lisa as our ministers each Sunday!” Nope, not one jokester ever mentioned missing us…just missing the Fellowship Hour which is really quite good with lots of conversation, fellowship and goodies to eat and drink.) It was suggested that we might have to rent a nearby hall just for the Fellowship Hour after everyone has viewed the “You Tube” video of Bob preaching. (Remember, we just gave up the entire church building, so there is no place for fellowship. Fellowship is now, obviously THE most important part of Sunday morning! Hmmmm.)

OK, so, as the joking and scenario unfolds; we are now renting a hall for fellowship after a You Tube sermon from Bob. But then it was suggested, much to my relief, that if we were having such a good time in the fellowship part of the Sunday morning, perhaps it would be a good thing, since we were all together anyway for coffee and cookies to maybe, have a live sermon and scriptures from Bob & Lisa.

And so we realized…we would have to incur a mortgage once again…and suddenly amidst the joking we found ourselves right back to where we began! The circle of life!

OK, let’s get serious…not too serious…but let’s look at something quite interesting concerning the actual campaign. This campaign is to increase the ministries of Dublin Community Church as we pay down the mortgage. Here are the facts and figures from Jim Ramey who has been a key financial officer with our church and is THE Financial guy for the Capital Campaign. Read on, friends.


What was the original mortgage and what do we currently owe?
Original Mortgage - $1,850,000.  Amount we owe as of 2/28/09 - $1,496,188.  that means we have reduced the principal balance by $353,812 in the 4 years and 8 months we have had the loan.  During that time we have paid $461,987 in interest.

Are we keeping current with our mortgage payments or are we behind?
We have always kept the payments current by using automatic withdrawals from the church checking account.  In fact, we are a little ahead of schedule because we have made an additional payment toward the principal nearly every year.  Those payments came from gifts to the church for that purpose and from use of the profits from the Kitchen Committee dinners.

What did we pay in interest on the mortgage last year?

Can we re-finance at a lower current rate?
It is our hope that the mortgage can be refinanced at a low rate but we have not explored that possibility.  Extra payments on the principal from the capital campaign will shorten the length of time we must continue to pay on the mortgage.  As it stands now, we have about 15 years to go.  It also reduces the total cost of interest payments over the shortened life of the loan.  Once the principal is paid down it may be possible to refinance the balance of the mortgage at a favorable rate and actually lower the total monthly payment by a substantial amount.  The amount of the reduction will depend on the kind of deal available when we actually do refinance.  We will be looking for refinancing opportunities later this year when we have made some extra payments on the mortgage principal.  However, there would be no reason to refinance the mortgage if the full amount of the mortgage balance can be raised in the first year of the capital campaign. 

What are the reasons for addressing this mortgage at this time?
Members of the church council and other groups within the church have begun to realize how much more programming, mission work, and facility maintenance could be accomplished if we can remove the debt burden we currently have.

When we pay off some of the mortgage...when will we be able to re-direct those monies to increased ministries?
Those monies would be immediately available for re-direction to other ministries.  Of course that assumes that pledging and giving to the general operation of the church through the annual stewardship campaign remains at or above current levels.  We must continue to offer a mix of programs and projects that keep members interested and engaged for that to happen.

Jim’s questions and answers are the real thing. He is talking about our actual current situation so don’t confuse it with my little story at the beginning of our joking of selling the church building and going “virtual.” But I will confess to one thing…when we were kidding around about selling the building and then renting a hall for having the important fellowship time, we were all laughing. Then “someone” suggested that since we had a hall rented for fellowship we might as well hold a worship service with actual preachers. I confess that the “someone” who suggested worship…was really me.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing