After the Approval of RosemeadCity Public Hearing on October 28, 2008
1.Why are we planning the current town hall
meeting and another special membership meeting again after the approval of our
SCE Parking Lot Project in our special membership meeting on June 3rd,
After a period of 16 months since June
2007, our application for Zone Change on the SCE Lot was finally approved at
the 2nd public hearing by the City of Rosemead on October 28, 2008.However, there were new circumstances occurred in which we felt the
need of updatingour members
of the 3 variances from
our original situation:
Variance: Operation hours for us to use the SCE Lot are regulated to
be on Fridays from 7pm to 10pm and Sundays from 8am to 3pm per MMRP report No.
26 issued by the City of Rosemead.
Variance: Construction cost came out to be approx. $800K after we
solicited quotes from 4 different contractors and it was roughly $300K more
from the original estimates of $500K.
Third Variance: Growth projections
for our church mentioned at the membership meeting in June 2007 have not been
reached in some congregations.
2.Did our Joint Board members take the
above variances into consideration as to whether we should move on or simply
drop the project because of unexpected terms from the city and the current
situation of our church?
Elder Board had 2 discernment meetings
on February 1st and February 5th, 2009 and then Joint
Board also had 2 discernment meetings on February 8th, and March 1st,
2009 respectively to do communal discernment on whether we should move
ahead with the project under the above variances. The Pastoral Team also joined in the March 1st communal
discernment meeting to share their views.At the end of
these communal discernment meetings, the majority of Joint Board members and pastoral team members had
come to a conclusion that we should move on with the project.
3.Why are we accepting the term from the
city asking us to only operate our parking lot from 7pm to 10pm on Fridays
since we know that every Friday, we cannot finish until almost 11:00pm?
In most cities in the U.S., municipal
curfew time for noise is 10pm, since our SCE Lot is located in the center of a
residential area, the city is afraid that letting us use the lot without a
limitation on the operating hours would upset the neighbors, therefore, they
want to regulate the operating hours so that it will ease up the neighbors’
concern of having a parking lot next to their homes.
We cannot tell the city officials that
we will not accept the common law of the city.However, we do not believe that this restriction should be a show
stopper for our SCE project.
Besides, the most critical need for
parking right now is on Sundays, and the granted operating hours for Sundays
are from 8am to 3pm which we believe is adequate to our need.
This parking lot brings a lot more benefit
to our church; we should not give up the chance just because we cannot use it
for a couple of more hours on Friday night.
4.What happen if we need to use the SCE
parking lot during our special event on Saturdays, we can’t even use that?
We are certain that our own north
campus parking lot and street parking will take care of the parking need for
most of our special events on Saturdays; however, if we sensed the need in the
future, we will give the City our scheduled special events and apply for variances
on our SCE Lot’s operating hours.
5.It’s not practical to ask all the
fellowships to stop meeting by 9:30pm on Friday nights, so that we can
completely clear out from our SCE Lot and turn
off the light and close the gate by 10:00pm.
We know it’s going to be hard, we know
that it might not be possible, however, since this is regulated by the city, we
must educate our members to try our best to follow the rules, even our North
Campus Parking Lot should abide by the same municipal curfew for the noise in
the residential area and try to reduce our noise as much as possible after 10pm.Hopefully, we don’t have that many cars using
the SCE Lot on Friday night and we should try our best to change our schedule
for the evening meetings and be more sensitive as not to disturb our neighbors
6.Based on the construction cost estimate
of $800,000 we received so far and the first year lease and other miscellaneous
expenses, we will probably need to raise $1 million dollars for the SCE parking
lot project. Thus far we have only raised $350,000. Will we be able to raise
enough funds for the project in the next 6 to 8 months?
For the years, the FECSGV church
leadership has sought to find opportunities for a solution to meet the demands
of growth not only for the current generation of members but also for future
generations. The SCE parking lot project is one such opportunity before us.
After months of prayer and discussion, the Pastoral Team and Joint Board corporately
believe that this project is an open door provided by the Lord for our church
to expand. If it is the Lord’s will, He will surely finish what has begun. Isaiah
14:24 states “The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it
will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.”
Therefore, the most important issue is
discernment from the Lord to the membership in regards to whether this direction
is from our Lord. If it is, financing for the project will not be an obstacle.
Looking back at the history of our church, we can see God’s hand clearly
guiding us in paying off our mortgage faster than anyone had ever anticipated.
Looking forward, by faith we can trust that God will provide for all of our
needs (Phil. 4:19) and cause us to thrive even in the current economic climate.
7.Why is there a big gap between our
original estimates and the current quotes?
The original estimate proposed at the June
2007 membership meeting was based on the material costs priced at the time, the
approximate size of the developed area and projected landscaping requirements. At
the time of the initial estimate in June 2007, the final layout had not yet
been approved by the city. Therefore it was a very general estimate.
However, it is no surprise that the
preliminary quotes we collected this time with the approved layout from the
city would be a lot higher than our original estimate because, most of the
contractors knew that this first quote was always for budgeting purpose, they
will mark up the price, however, when it comes down to the real bidding
process, the actual price will most likely be a lot lower than the preliminary
If we have experienced member who can
sit down with the contractors and do line-by-line review, it will very likely
cut down 20% or more than the original estimate.
8.Considering the fact that we have quite a
number of members losing their jobs during this Economic Tsunami, our offering
will for sure be affected, why do we still want to proceed with such a big
project, why are we giving brothers and sisters such heavy burden at a time
“Each man should give what he has
decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God
loves a cheerful giver.”2 Corinthians
9:7.We never want to burden our
brothers and sisters into something more than they can bear.Everybody should give based on his/her own
capability and willingness, and most importantly, what God has called him to.Our
way of viewing this is that, we are relying on our Heavenly Father to provide
what He has planned for us.
9.Why do we need the parking lot now, since
we did not reach our projected growth as we projected back in 2007?
In the town hall meeting in 2007, the
Pastoral Team projected that in 2009, the Mandarin Congregation (MC) would
reach an average of 376 members, English Congregation (EC) would reach an
average of 100 members and the Cantonese Congregation (CC) would reach an
average of 215 members. At this time, the CC has already achieved the goal. The
MC and EC have not yet reached the projected growth.However, this
is not an indication that we will never reach the growth we anticipated.After years of pastoral staff vacancies, we
are beginning to see some of the positions being filled. We now have an Acting
Senior Pastor, Joshua Cheng, who is leading and integrating the Pastoral Team
towards a unified vision and
direction for our church. Also at the beginning of 2009, we welcomed Youth Director
Christopher McKay aboard. We can indeed see increasingly positive signs in the
area of church personnel. God has great plans for our church. We should fully
develop our potential.
Without SCE Parking Lot, we cannot
build any additional space in either our North Campus or South Campus; we are
currently in short of 68 parking spaces according to our current Main Chapel’s
capacity as measured by the City. That
means if we want to build any additional space, we need to immediately comply
with the current building code which requires one parking space for every 3
SCE Parking Lot is a very important component for
any additional building project that might be under construction in the near
future as well as in the long run.The
question we really should ask ourselves is that, are we going to use the
existing facility exactly the way it is for the next 5 years, or even 10 years
or more with no need to build additional space at all?
10.Do we have to have the parking lot to be
able to grow?Do we have other
alternative like multiple services or church planting?
Getting the SCE Parking Lot does not
mean that we are not going to try other solutions for our facility need,
however, we believe that this is a chance that God has provided for us in this
moment of time, we’ll have a lot more options when we have the parking lot
Church growth does not rely on SCE Parking Lot alone,
but it is definitely a plus and a very important step facility wise.We see clear vision, clear guidance and
strong leading from the Lord in this matter.We have confidence that in doing so, our church will benefit a great
deal because it is coming from Him.The
majority of Joint Board members
Pastoral Team support the project.
11.What happened if our church does not grow
after we spend all the money in this parking lot?
Whether our church will grow or not is
entirely in God’s hand, and from Ezra and Nehemiah, we see clear evidence in
the bible that God has been asking His people to build for His kingdom.We believe that our leadership has been
strengthened in the recent months, with our love and passion toward our church,
growth will come.Recently, we found that there are many new
comers coming to our Mandarin and Cantonese Congregations.When MC hosted the 2009 1st
Quarter New Comer Luncheon on Mar 29 (Sun), there were 52 new comers, and when
CC hosted similar Luncheon on Apr 5 (Sun), there were 27 new comers.We believe that our Lord will
lead the way.Moreover, we build
church for generations to come, not just the next generation.“For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in His glory.”Psalm 102:16.Let’s obey Him, wait and see what He’s going to accomplish in our church
in the years ahead.
12.Some people had already left the church
because of this project, why are we still decided to move forward, I don’t feel
the unity in this matter?
Elders, Deacons and Pastoral Team
gathered together on March 1st, 2009 for communal discernment,
everybody had a chance to share the light of their prayers; the conclusion of
the communal discernment was that God wanted us to move on with the
project.There are always differences in
every decision, but we all sensed that Holy Spirit was leading the discerning
process that day.We believed that the spirit
of unity was among us in the meeting.