Building Committee Update

Those interested in actively participating in the next phase of our building project met Thursday, February 18 at 5:00 p.m.

The team received updates from the designer, Andrew Gould and from George Webb with Clayton Construction. Their understanding of the current status of the project was in agreement with ours, which is that we are very close to being ready to begin construction.

This past Sunday, February 21, there was discussion on the reorganizing of the building committee into a project team with different categories of responsibility and tasks as was discussed in the short parish update during fellowship hour on the 14th. As these teams are more clearly defined and fleshed out, updates will be forthcoming.

The team will meet again following Fr. Marcus’ return from Mt. Athos.

Building Project: A Retrospective from Ken O'Shaughnessy

Eight years ago around this time, the parish selected a Committee for Parish Development, not initially a building committee per se; and as the project developed it became that, and is now ready to become something else. During these past eight years, the committee has discussed every possible option for the growth of the parish, and finally, here we are today, with a specific and imminent plan.

During the first year, the committee explored possible building options, from remodeling our present building, to rebuilding at our present location, to transitional space, to everything made new. The recommendation from this exhaustive research was that the plan that would sustain the growth of the parish best was a completely new worship location and space.

Over the next three years (2009 - 2011), the committee, now officially considered a building committee, vetted at least a hundred properties all over Greenville County. During this time (a time of considerable economic downturn and uncertainty), St John of the Ladder also conducted a successful capital campaign to pay off the property on Augusta Arbor Way and began saving for new land. Ultimately, the property at Roper Mountain Extension was selected and purchased in February 2011 (and paid off in June of 2012).

This began another phase of the committee. Months were spent interviewing architects and designers, and looking at their concepts for our new worship space. Andrew Gould, arguably one of the most talented designers of Orthodox churches in the US, and an accomplished artisan in his own right, was selected (teamed with Morris Architecture). From 2012 to 2014 the building design was made, adjusted many times, and then shifted completely on the site due to unforeseen site difficulties. The site plan itself had changed designers, definitely for the better, as the water remediation issues forced us to move away from traditional site work to a more eco-friendly and beautiful water reclamation method (which, by the way, was stated in the proposal made by the Committee for Parish Development at the end of year one, but back then we didn't know how to get there). We have also explored close to a dozen builders, examined their work and proposals, and selected one that has had tremendous input on how we can get our expenses in line with our budget.

As a result of the delays due to the site issues, there hasn't been much for us to tell you over the past year. The problems required rework by our designer and the site designer, and there has been a long and unfortunately protracted discussion with Greenville County to get our site proposal approved for permitting. We've spent the year mostly in wait-and-pray mode. The only thing, it seems that moves slower than the Orthodox Church is county government.

Now, at long last, the discussion is essentially over with the county, and we are within weeks of obtaining our site permits. We have, due to the "long" delay, grown into a stronger parish. We have gathered into the storehouse a sizable chunk of money that will enable us to actually begin the work. We have a hugely improved site and building plan. We have close to $700,00.00 in completely paid-for real estate assets, and over $500,000 cash in reserve...and we have an increasingly impatient congregation.

I have included the above history to show you that we have gained much by our process, and lost nothing but our patience.Of course, I need to be reminded that impatience isn't a virtue. It rarely accomplishes anything of value, and rarely ends without significant regret. To enter on this new phase of the building process with a "git 'er done" attitude, rather than a "God's will be done" attitude, will not do the process, the parish, or the plan of God any justice. Although the building committee has often lost patience itself over the course of this project, we have been reminded often that this is the plan of God we are trying to work out, and he works in all things for our good. We can trust him to lead us through this process, and just like he provided us with the payoffs and the property, he can provide us with patience also, and the parish he has planned for us.

That being said, I believe that as a parish we are seeking to love God, to follow him, and to trust him to work out his plans for us. Therefore I have full confidence that as we go forward, the decisions we make as a parish regarding this project, while not always right, will ultimately be made by him into good, to conform us to the image of Christ, and to be the glory of God in the world.

Canon of St. John of the Ladder

As we seek to build our new temple, it is meet and right to seek the blessing of our father, Saint John of the Ladder, for whom our temple is named. Let us ask his blessing and his intercession for the Lord’s blessing on our work. As scripture tells us, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it;…” (Psalm 127).

We ask you to join together in prayer and supplication by praying the Canon of St. John of the Ladder. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) So that with one voice we may ask the Lord’s blessing on the building of our parish for His honor and glory and for the working out of our salvation and as a true witness of Him in our community.

The canon may be prayed privately or in a group. It may be read as one whole piece or may be broken down into bite size pieces of one canticle per day plus The Prayer for Parish Renewal, which is found towards the end of the canon.

If anyone has any questions or suggestions, please feel free to let us know.