Burke UMC participated in a process called NLI (Next Level Innovations) from June of 2017 through the end of 2018. As a quick recap, the Church was invited into a visioning process designed by the 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 1/4th of 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, in 2021, 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 contracted ZHA Architects for the next phase of the renovation process. ZHA worked 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 created various conceptual floor plans to test fit the church’s vision. The Building Committee came to some initial recommednations after much consideration of multiple possibilities.
In summer of 2022, the Committee held three town hall meetings to share the current recommendations with the congregation. 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.
Throughout Fall and Winter, the committee using the feedback collected from the congregational town halls to solidify the plan, discern the best phasing and timeline for the work, and gathered cost estimates for the phases from the architect. On March 9th, 2023, the Building Committee presented at a church conference the phases for approval that this is the right direction and looked for approval of the entirety of phase 1 with cost estimates. The body decided to move forward with a portion of phase 1 (which we call phase 1A) which included raising $100,000 for this first phase of renovation work.