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Please designate donations to these efforts as "Building A Better Burke" in the memo section.

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WELCOME: What The Project Is

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Building a Better Burke is all about reimagining our church building to better meet the needs of our church and local community!  How could redesigning or upgrading our kitchen help us to support and increase our food and church ministries? What would happen if we relocated and reimagined our co-op space to be a welcoming space for everyone in our community?  How could we better use our classroom spaces to expand or reimagine our LEARN Core Ministry Area? There are so many possibilities!  We’re excited to take you along this journey with us, as we work together to “Build a Better Burke!”


As a way to keep our church community informed and engaged in the process, the Building Renovation Committee developed this webpage as a “one stop shop” to learn about the history of the renovations of the church, details of the pathway that has gotten us to this point, and to receive regular updates.  You can also find below a place where you can leave your questions and ideas for the Building Renovation Committee, which will be used to create a Frequently Asked Questions section of this webpage.  We’re eager for this next phase in our church’s journey of discipleship, and look forward to sharing the progress of this good work!

Flip through these slides to learn more!


HISTORY: How We Got Here

Many of you may remember the Next Level Innovation (NLI) process that Burke UMC participated in from June of 2017 through the end of 2018. As a quick recap, the Church was invited into a visioning process designed by our Alexandria District called NLI. The District NLI Team spent a good bit of time learning about our Church and how God has blessed our congregation. A large portion of our congregation participated in our NLI Weekend where there was listening and brainstorming. The goal was to find ways we could move forward with innovations in our ministry. Through the process, the District NLI team identified strengths and concerns, which resulted in a set of 5 innovation recommendations that we as a church agreed to fully execute back in 2018. The fourth innovation on that list was 'Making Space for God's Work,' and the first action was to establish a 'Facilities Utilization Team' to ensure our facility had the capacity, and was able to align with the Church's clarified vision statement.


The Facilities Utilization Team was formed and completed a comprehensive assessment of the facility to determine mission-critical needs as it applied to our ministries to, and with, the greater Burke Community. The team surveyed and interviewed staff and leaders in our core ministry areas to identify their specific needs and how the building can be best utilized to meet those identified needs.


The team identified multiple aspects of our church that could be updated or changed to allow us to continue to grow and move forward with our ministries and missions.  Their guiding principles and considerations included:


  • Ensure there is adequate storage space.

  • NLI process naming some need to upgrade the kitchen area.

  • Ensure ADA compliance, security and environmental impacts as priorities in renovations.

  • Attempt to keep the current footprint

  • Recognize the needs of multiple constituencies with a large demographic in their 50’s and 60’s in our area and 1/4thof the area is younger families. 


The specific needs identified included:

  • Need for larger spaces that allow community building for younger families and make the building a bit more multi-functional for larger groups.

  • Desire for dedicated space for children and outreach, with multi-use space for adults and larger gatherings.

  • The main area (top floor) should be designed to prioritize and be a welcome space for community members during the week.

  • Make upgrades to the kitchen to be able to expand food and church ministries

  • Re-Locate the Co-op, with the goal to create a welcoming space for all community members.

  • Ensure adequate storage space, ADA compliance, and security and environmental impact


From this point, the Building Renovation Committee was formed, and was tasked to lead and guide a process to seek an architect who could help us reimagine our church space to meet the needs as identified by the Building Utilization Team. 


We have been blessed with all the volunteer support for these efforts to this point, and are excited about the possibilities coming from this next stage of work. Stay tuned for updates on this discovery phase, and continue prayers for the team working to Build a Better Burke.

Project Info


We have contracted with ZHA Architects for the next phase of the renovation process. ZHA will work closely with the Building Renovation Committee to learn more about our ministry objectives and space requirements to determine the feasibility of changes proposed by the Facilities Utilization Study Team. ZHA will then create various conceptual floor plans to test fit the church’s vision, with a priority on identifying a permanent location for the Community Co-Op. ZHA will also work with the Committee on possible upgrades that can be made to the kitchen area, and how we can maximize the existing space for pre-school classrooms, adult classrooms and additional storage. We will keep you posted with progress updates and pictures. 


1. Using the recommendations and priorities identified as part of the NLI process, the Facilities Utilization Committee interviewed and surveyed staff, CAML leaders, leadership board members, and other ministry leaders to identify current and future space, storage, and utilization needs. They also gained input from a continuing education opportunity with a company that has built churches all over the nation as well as other resources.


2. The Facilities Utilization Committee presented their findings at a Leadership Board meeting in May 2021 at a called charge conference per the process laid out in the United Methodist Book of Discipline. At this meeting, the Leadership board approved moving forward with the development of a Building Committee (the Committee), which would continue the work of the Facilities Utilization Committee. This process is per the Book of Discipline and the role of this committee is to ascertain feasibility through working with an architect, investigate phasing and cost in order to best meet the needs of the church.


3. In May 2021, the Committee began its work, and after considering three architectural firms, selected ZHA Architects, the same firm that previously completed renovations to the church building. The Committee made their recommendation to the Board, who then approved to move forward with ZHA to assess feasibility and then develop some initial designs.



4. In summer of 2022, the Committee held three town hall meetings to share the current recommendations with the congregation. Using the feedback collected from these meetings, the Committee worked through the Fall to solidify the plan, discern the best phasing and timeline for the work, and gathered cost estimates for all the phases from the architect.


5. In Fall of 2022, the Committee met with the District Building Committee per the recommendation of the District Superintendent and ascertained whether they could move forward on parts of the project, knowing that the bigger renovations that may need approval by the District would be at a later time. The Building Committee gave input and the District Building Committee advised that we could move forward on proposed projects.  


6. In January and February of 2023, the Building Committee gave updates to the Leadership Board recognizing they were close to requesting a church conference to approve the concept and with the desire, based on the congregational feedback, to move forward with phase I of the renovations hopefully this summer. The Board helped the Committee finalize the means by which we would approach the congregation about funding in the church conference. I'm not sure I understand this sentence.  Maybe change to: The Board discussed with Committee what their approach to the congregation should be as related to information to be outlined, as well as funding needs. 


7. We will have a called church conference on March 9th to 1) approve the concept and phasing recommendations and 2) approve the timing of phase 1 to be completed by the end of summer 2023 and the raising of  $275,000 to fully complete phase 1. 

8. If approved by a majority vote, the Committee will begin to move forward with the renovation plans as outlined. If there is not a majority vote, the Committee will identify the Congregation's key concerns and will work with the architect to address these concerns as needed. Work will only begin after renovation plans have been approved by a majority vote at a Church Conference.

Photos from previous renovations done at BUMC!

March 9 Church Conference Recap from Pastor Jason


TEAM: Who Is Helping Us Get There?

We’re grateful for the following Building Renovation Committee members who have and continue to give of their time and talents to help us Build a Better Burke!  

  • Roxanne Edwards

  • Michael Holmes

  • Tom Muldoon

  • Marion Rieder

  • Mike Sawin

  • Anne Schoolcraft (Co-chair)

  • Bruce Tiso (Co-chair)

ZHA Architects

ZHA Architects:

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In September, the Leadership Board, with recommendation from the Building Renovations Committee, approved ZHA Architects to help us reimagine our church space and how it can best be used to meet our church’s growing needs. ZHA is not a stranger to our Burke Community, as they designed the renovation our church building 20 years ago. They are located in Fairfax, VA and have been serving the Northern Virginia region since 1986.

They pride themselves in working closely with their clients to gain a thorough understanding of their needs, their programs and goals, as well as site conditions, and we have seen that commitment first hand as we continue to work with them. We’re delighted to be working with them again, and know that they will help us “Build a Better Burke.” 

Richard E. Hurdle from ZHA is lead architect on the church revisioning project. Applying his analytical abilities to architectural design problem solving with a strong and creative sense, Richard serves as a primary source of design concepts for the firm.  Richard has the experience, confidence and vision to guide clients through essential programming and strategic planning efforts, gain consensus of all stakeholders and provide a framework for future project decisions.


Richard is committed to developing designs that are not only innovative and inclusive of all the client’s needs and aspirations, but also include specific strategies for implementation and development.  Taking the leadership role in ZHA Architects’ interactive design process, Richard creates close partnerships with our clients and engages them in meaningful dialogue to find the perfect architectural expression of form and functionality.  His approach has proven to be a sound one serving our clients well for more than thirty years.


Richard holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with adjunct studies at the University of Salzburg and Montgomery College.  He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Washington DC Chapter of the AIA and sits on the Architectural Review Board of the Loudoun Gateway Business Park. Richard holds active architectural registrations in thirteen states. 


ASK: How You Can Help

We look forward to sharing updates with the church community as we work together to Build a Better Burke.  Here are a few ways you can help:


  • Pray for the team/process/community throughout this exciting process

  • Leave your questions and comments below! We’d love to hear your feedback, and hope to use this space to provide answers to your questions.

  • Attend Church Conference: March 9 at 7 pm


QUESTIONS/INFORMATION: Frequently Asked Questions

Since the co-op is currently located in the Fellowship Hall, is there a plan to relocate the co-op in order to free up the Fellowship Hall?  If so, is the architect considering relocation options of the co-op on either the basement or first floor? 

Yes, the architect is considering the relocation of the co-op on both the first floor and basement levels.  During the Facilities Utilization Process, we explored the possibility of going offsite for the co-op, but the ongoing costs were too prohibitive. The Building Committee will consider both options, while also considering the many other church ministry needs and priorities.  A recommendation will be presented to the congregation once all options have been considered.  Please be sure to review the Renovation Approval Process HERE.


Will the congregation be voting on their preferred layout?

The Committee will provide their recommendation of a building plan to Leadership Board to make sure that it meets the needs outlined by the Facilities Utilization Committee, and then to the congregation.  For the proposed renovation plans to move forward, there must be a majority vote by members attending a Church Conference, and then must be approved by the District.


What layout options are being discussed by the committee? When will a briefing or message be available to see the different layout options? What are the next steps?

Part of the role of the Building Committee is to ascertain the feasibility of ideas that the Facilities Utilization Team brought to the Leadership Board. The architect has sent several options for both the upstairs and downstairs spaces, and the committee still has some questions for him at this point. The Committee will select their recommended layout option, which will be brought before the leadership board and then congregation. The entire committee is reviewing and discussing the plans and making sure all church ministry needs are being addressed based on previous work of the NLI process and the Facilities Utilization Committee. The next steps are to get our questions and concerns answered by the architect, continuing to brainstorm and decide on the best layout, presenting to the Leadership Board and then to the Congregation.  Depending on the cost, there may be a final step to get approval from the District.

Please refer to the Renovation Approval Process HERE.

Get In Touch

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Let us know using the form below!

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