In the Meantime,
Did I tell you about my house? We own a very old (1887) brick house in downtown Grand Rapids, part of a historic district. But just as older people need more care to stay well, so old houses need more care and attention. That’s why I expect to spend money every year to maintain it. In 2020 and 2021 I had lots of maintenance, so I was super glad to have a job (that would be VUU) to help me defray the costs.
VUU’s campus is not nearly as old as my house, but it gets plenty of wear and tear, which experts calculate to cost about 3.8% of the overall value per year. I do not know the overall value but I am pretty sure that our maintenance budget is well below 3.8% Most houses of worship are. The term for this is ‘deferred maintenance.’ But deferred does not last forever. At some point something breaks or fails and it has to be fixed then and there for a goodly sum.
Have you guessed that this is more than an abstract observation? Yep, just as the big heat arrived several AC units are in trouble, units that affect the office and Adobe Day Care. This is in addition to the units already needing replacement. Unlike Grand Rapids where central air is optional, VUU has no choice but to deal with this now.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that you enlarged the annual maintenance budget at the annual meeting. The bad news is that it is for the fiscal year that begins in 2 weeks. The good news is that we have cash available and can see to the need. We can and will make sure the building is adequately cooled.
Needing to replace my heating and cooling systems at home was worrying me last year, having just retired. Then I got a stroke of luck (that would be VUU) and the financial challenge was taken care of. But budgeting on the basis of good luck is not sound policy, either for me or for you. Good maintenance is not just fiscally prudent, it is a spiritual thing, part of your responsibility for the future – to bequeath those who come later a blessing not a burden.
I hope you will begin to see that bricks and mortar are as spiritual as songs and sermons. Or more accurately, they can be and should be. If as the song says, “everything is holy now,” then we have to start acting like it. Stay cool and see you in church! – FW –