Volunteer!

Construction starts tomorrow, August 13th! If you’d like to put some sweat equity into The Ground Floor but weren’t able to attend the safety meeting, you can still participate. Contact the church office for info: office[at]fccb[dot]net. We need some strong diggers this week.

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Sharon Benton
Calling All Construction Volunteers

Thursday, August 2 at 6:30pm in First Congregational's sanctuary. Even if you have no construction ability, you can help clean up at the end of day to help defray costs. If you can't make it to this training, let us know, and we'll catch you up on the details. Just email groundfloor@fccb.net.

Come to the training Thursday, August 2 at 6:30pm!
Sharon Benton
Did you hear? Amazing news!

We are hopeful that the Bellingham School District might hire a part time teacher to serve on-site at The Ground Floor! This would be an incredible support for young people experiencing homelessness, as education in a safe space is one key to lessening the long-term effects of housing instability. We wanted to let you know that all kinds of dreams are becoming possible.

Please continue to share about this project and encourage folks to support financially. Our whole community is in this together.

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Sharon Benton
Moving Forward!

On Sunday, July 22, the 135th anniversary of First Congregational Church's founding, our congregation voted unanimously to move forward with immediate construction of The Ground Floor. Tears flowed. Hands clapped. Voices whooped. Spirits soared.

Yes, the costs of the project have increased due to the economy and designing the space to best support youth experiencing homelessness (if you'd like details, please email office@fccb.net). Higher costs means we will continue fundraising to meet the need--please share The Ground Floor story and invite your friends/colleagues to contribute!

Even with the added expense, First Congregational recognizes the mission we have been given in this time and place. We are dedicated to serving Bellingham and Whatcom County in immediate and long-term efforts to curb homelessness and its effects. Thank you to all who are helping make this project a reality.

Pearson Construction will break ground on August 13th. In preparation for that, we will host a training for volunteers who wish to help defray some of the expense through physical labor--if you'd like to join us for this training, come to the sanctuary at 6:30pm on Thursday, August 2nd.

Help us get to the finish line before 2019!

 final rendering by RMC Architects

final rendering by RMC Architects

Sharon Benton
Updates

Construction Phase I: Construction on the ADA ramp began on April 23 and is expected to be completed (except for some masonry work) by June 22.

Construction Phase II: Building Committee is on target to get a complete estimate for Phase II by July 6. It will take one week to get the permit from the city. Pearson Construction is on board to start construction on September 1, with completion by the end of the year. In the new year, NWYS could begin offering day services in The Ground Floor to youth 13-24 experiencing homelessness!

Fundraising: As of June 12, we’re less than $75,000 away from our goal and still have congregational pledges rolling in! Anyone can get in on the The Ground Floor by making a tax-exempt contribution--every gift helps get us to our goal! Donate here and share the news with your friends.

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Sharon Benton
What Is, What Will Be

Pastor David gives us a brief tour of the current space Northwest Youth Services uses for engagement services. Yep, it's really that small! And yep, The Ground Floor will allow for many more services!

it’s about 2 “mes” across

Sharon Benton
A First Look

Have you wondered what The Ground Floor is going to look like? Do you want to ask questions of Northwest Youth Services or First Congregational Church? Come visit with us as we offer A First Look at the space before it's renovated:

Thursday, May 31 5:00-7:00 p.m.

 draft of the space to be renovated

draft of the space to be renovated

Sharon Benton
Grants & Gifts

Last Thursday, Whatcom Community Foundation awarded The Ground Floor a grant for Community Engagement. Rev. David Weasley was there to receive it on our behalf. Earlier this year we also received Whatcom Community Foundation's Project Neighborly grant--we celebrate having connections and being able to serve throughout Whatcom County!

 Thanks to Whatcom Community Foundation for supporting The Ground Floor

Thanks to Whatcom Community Foundation for supporting The Ground Floor

The Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ also supported The Ground Floor through a Church Development Grant. These funds are made possible by the Strengthen the Church offering made by UCC congregations each year. In gratitude and hope that other churches will live into ways of growing community, Rev. Weasley committed to serving on the PNC Church Development Committee. The circle of gifts and giving continues to grow!

 Commissioning of new leaders at the Pacific Northwest Conference Annual Meeting, April 2018

Commissioning of new leaders at the Pacific Northwest Conference Annual Meeting, April 2018

Sharon Benton
Breaking Ground

The ground breaking blessing was beautiful with so many names (past and present) spoken to remember who has made this work possible. Today Pearson's Construction began the heavy lifting, but every shovelful on Sunday evoked celebration.

 

Sharon Benton
Invitation: Ground Breaking Blessing

Bricks, trees, and shrubs have been removed from the E Street stairway to make way for Phase 1 (ramp) demolition. Pearson's Construction will be here bright and early on Monday morning, so on Sunday, April 22 at 11:00 a.m. come shovel a symbolic bit of earth with us as we bless the beginnings of this endeavor. 

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Sharon Benton
Proposed Plan

Below is the schematic of the proposed plan for The Ground Floor. The salmon area is the space to be occupied by Northwest Youth Services.

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Kjersten Hayes
Future Tour

Here's a video tour of the space as it is now. Walk with Rev. David Weasley through the space and imagine it as it will be.

A tour of the future Ground Floor space. Video by David Weasley on 2017-10-17.

Kjersten Hayestour