The work has begun. Work is being done on the offices, the choir room, the vents, and the air conditioning system. It will be a few weeks of exile, as we relocate our offices temporarily. What work is being done? A new air conditioning system is being installed in the back of the sanctuary, complete with new insulation in the vents and a dehumidifier, due to mold that was growing every time we ran the cold air. Best to tackle this during the dryer winter months, so we will be up and running by what always promises to be a warm spring here in North Carolina.

After the air conditioning and duct work is complete, mold remediators will come in and remove mold growth from the areas that were affected. I know mold is a four-letter-word to some of us, but I have been assured this process will be a significantly less overwhelming and less expensive process than our efforts about seven years ago. The issues we were having in 2010 stemmed from a rainstorm that caused significant water damage and flooding in the offices that were located on the bottom floor of the church school building. That water soaked into bookshelves and books, carpets and furniture. The mold problem back then was tremendous and it took months to get to the other side of it. We had to replace flooring and shelves and so much more. This time around, the problem measured just over the threshold between acceptable and unacceptable levels of mold. Comparatively, though significant and in need of attention, it will be much simpler to handle. A little more than a week, I’m told, and all will be well.

In the meantime, we will have to work around our unique challenges. Here’s what I propose: 1) Let’s have communion by intinction, rather than with individual cups and the pre-cut pieces of bread, once the remediation begins. It will likely be a few weeks, but certainly simpler than the preparation required for a regular communion service. 2)Tami and I will have to relocate for this very brief period. The plan is for me to go up to the third floor (room 301) and for Tami to bring the essentials from the office into a corner of the Fellowship Hall. Mondays during Soup Kitchen she will be off while this remediation work is in progress, and her workspace will be covered up. We will not be able to move the copier, so please do not count on the office for making copies for the (estimated two) Sundays we will be under remediation. 3) Very likely, there will be no entering the building by the back door off of the parking lot. The choir room probably will be off limits as well during this time. Please plan on using other entrances, and pay attention to signage (we’ll do our best to indicate which doors not to use while the work is happening). Those of you who were around in 2010 may remember giant plastic sheeting separating areas that were being remediated from the rest of the facility. I expect to see that sheeting return for the weeks of the clean-up. 4) So any items we wish to use during those weeks (chalices and patens, paraments, music folders and songbooks, candle supplies, bread and juice, etc.), will need to be held back from the affected areas and stored elsewhere.

This essential work is being done thanks to funds that were given to the Trustees last year. Our gratitude to the donors who helped that fund expand so we could face this dilemma without fear of depleting our finances. If you’d like to contribute to the Trustees Fund to help with other projects and challenges that face us, please prayerfully consider a gift that will keep First Christian Church a safe and sound environment into the future. Checks may be mailed to First Christian Church, 1200 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203, or placed in the offering plate earmarked for the Trustees Fund.

Once we temporarily relocate (the estimate is mid-to-late February), give us a call if you’re planning on stopping by during those weeks of remediation and we’ll find a way to connect with one another in person. If you’re not up for climbing to the third floor, I’ll meet you where it will be easier. Thank you, in advance, for your flexibility and patience.

Peace,

Jolin