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Fort Worth, Texas – June 21, 2018 – After more than 75 years at the corner of Camp Bowie and Westridge, Ridglea Presbyterian Church is moving.
On Thursday, the church announced that it has purchased property at 5000 Southwest Blvd., site of the former Bethel United Methodist Church. In May, the church sold its existing property at 6201 Camp Bowie to MDJ Partners, a Fort Worth commercial real estate developer. The terms of both deals were undisclosed.
“Although moving is always hard, this is an incredible opportunity for us,” said Rev. Ryan Baer, the church’s pastor. “The new site is just two miles to the southwest, so we’re not leaving Ridglea. We’re going from a small lot with just eleven parking spaces to a site with over three acres of room, and we’re cutting our annual maintenance and utility costs by more than half. The move will enable us to do even more for the kingdom of God here in Fort Worth and beyond.”
Although the real estate transactions have been completed, the dates for the congregation’s final worship services in its existing building and first services in its new facility have yet to be scheduled.
“We’re busy renovating the new site and we hope to be in by the end of this year,” said Rev. Baer.
Chartered in 1943, Ridglea Presbyterian Church is a member congregation of Grace Presbytery and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Dear Members and Friends of Ridglea Presbyterian Church,
Grace to you and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I write to you today as a pastor with a heart full of gratitude for the ways in which you continue to support and nurture both me and my family.
As many of you know, a little over a week ago, I was awarded the Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. You have been so kind with your cards and expressions of congratulations, but I want you to know that I literally could not have done it without you. To be able to study is an incredible gift and privilege, and I am so very grateful for the ways in which Ridglea Presbyterian Church values and supports education in myriad ways. I can’t begin to express my thanks to you, to the church staff, and most especially to my family for the sacrifices they’ve made along the way, and I’m excited about the opportunities we’ll have later this summer to continue learning together.
Many have asked about the difference between a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). As the dean of McCormick Seminary once put it, the Doctor of Ministry degree qualifies one to be a teacher of the Church, whereas the Doctor of Philosophy qualifies one to be a teacher of the Academy. Formally, it is appropriate to refer to me as “The Reverend Doctor Baer” but as always, Ryan or Pastor Ryan will do.
In about a week’s time, Amy and the boys and I will gather once again in Alabama with five other clergy families from across the nation for a week of study and renewal. These dear colleagues and their families have become like an extended family to us over the years, and we have seen much growth in each other. In fact, when we first began meeting in 2009, there were just two children in our group. This year, there will be 14 kids in the house, ranging in age from two to ten! Thank you for providing my family and I this opportunity to reconnect with each other, with clergy colleagues and their families, and with the God whom we worship and serve. Our featured speaker for the week this year will be Dr. Brennan Breed, Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary.
We will return to Texas on Friday, June 1, just in time for me to wash clothes, repack my bags, and kiss Amy and the boys goodbye on Sunday, June 3, as I board a flight with eight other Fort Worth pastors bound for the Holy Land. We will be spending five nights near the Sea of Galilee and five nights in Jerusalem, day-tripping to biblical sites all over Israel. This is all made possible through Macedonian Ministries, an Atlanta-based ecumenical ministry that seeks to strengthen pastors, congregations, and communities. Our group will return to Texas on June 16, and I will be eager to see your faces again in worship again on Father’s’ Day, June 17!
In the five-plus years we’ve been together as pastor and congregation, I’ve never been away from the church for this many consecutive days. I’m so grateful for your gift of this extended time away, and I have supreme trust in the leadership of the session and the staff.
The session has lined up some wonderful supply preachers for the next three Sundays. On May 27, we’ll welcome the Rev. Dr. John Williams, Chaplain and Director of Church Relations at Austin College in Sherman. On June 3, the Rev. Julie Riley will preach and preside at the Lord’s Table. Julie has served a number of congregations in Grace Presbytery, including Lake Highlands in Dallas and Woodhaven in Irving, where she was my pastor many years ago. On June 10, we’ll welcome Rev. Fred Thompson, who, in addition to running a successful Christian counseling practice a few blocks from the church, just recently retired as the pastor of the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church. Don’t forget that for the summer, we’ll have one combined worship service at 10 a.m.
Again, this pastor’s heart is full of gratitude for you, for Ridglea, and for the exciting journey that lies ahead of us. May God bless you and keep you!
Peace be with you,
(a.k.a. The Reverend Doctor Ryan Baer) 🙂
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
The session of Ridglea Presbyterian Church calls the congregation to meet on Sunday, May 13, 2018, in the sanctuary immediately following the 11:00 worship service for the purpose of answering the question, “Is God calling the congregation of Ridglea Presbyterian Church to authorize its trustees to sign and close the contract for purchase of real estate submitted by MDJ Partners, LLC?”
A detailed executive summary is being sent via US mail to all RPC households, and copies will be available in the church office. In addition, the session has prepared a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” below. As always, if you have additional questions that aren’t answered here, please feel free to speak with any member of the session.
Your servants in Christ,
|The Session of Ridglea Presbyterian Church|
|Nancy Marchant||John Godwin||Blythe Lee|
|Ken Kibler||Martin Cleworth||Marsha West|
|Cary Dorman||Marsha Dueease||Bill Long|
|Susan Maxwell||Ivey Ramsey||Will Stallworth|
|Tom Sisolak||Lynne Payne|
|Brett Wyatt||Jerry Rottler|
|Rev. Ryan Baer, Moderator Karen Landon, Clerk|
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What makes this contract different than the previous one with MDJ Partners?
A: MDJ Partners notified us late last year that the plans they originally submitted to the City of Fort Worth called for two tenants on the lot; however, the city notified MDJ that there was only sufficient room on the lot for one. Consequently, MDJ notified us that their projected return on their investment was insufficient to close the contract at the previously negotiated price. In the months since, the Property Negotiating Team has met with other interested buyers, but when taking all factors into consideration, MDJ Partners’ offer remains the best one available for the church. Under this new contract, MDJ will deposit significant funds in non-refundable earnest money. Because MDJ has already completed their inspections of the property, the contract only has a ten day inspection period, and MDJ has indicated they will be ready to close very shortly after the inspection period is completed. As in the previous contract, the terms allow a period of months after closing for the church to vacate the building, as well as a lease-back option if necessary. As in previous contracts, RPC is allowed to retain possession of furnishings, musical instruments, stained glass, and the like.
Q: What does the prospective buyer plan to do with the building?
A: The buyer’s plans are to demolish the existing structure and replace it with retail and/or office space. We do not anticipate a negative reaction from neighborhood groups as when a gas station was planned for the site.
Q: If we sell, where will we go?
A: At present, we have an approved contract to purchase the site of the former Bethel United Methodist Church at 5000 Southwest Boulevard, about two miles southwest of the church’s current location. The terms of the sale contract with MDJ and our purchase contract for 5000 Southwest Boulevard will allow the church to complete the purchase of the new location, make renovations to it as necessary, and complete the relocation process, all without incurring any debt or expending cash reserves.
Q: Several people have asked me if the church is closing. Is this true?
A: No. The church remains strong and committed to the work of Jesus Christ in Fort Worth and beyond, whether we carry out that work in our present facility or in a new location. Our financial position remains strong, and there are no plans to close the church or dissolve the congregation.
Q: Why are we having a congregational meeting on Mothers’ Day?
A: The Book of Order requires that the presbytery approve all real estate transactions. The next stated meeting of Grace Presbytery is Saturday, May 19, and the next one isn’t until October 6. Because of the approvals needed and the quirks of the calendar, the only Sunday available for this meeting is May 13.
Q: Who will moderate this meeting?
A: Our pastor, Rev. Ryan Baer, is graduating from the Doctor of Ministry program at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago on May 12, and the Baer family will be traveling on May 13. The Book of Order allows the installed pastor to invite another Minister of Word and Sacrament of the presbytery to moderate a congregational meeting if necessary. Rev. Baer has invited the Rev. Michael Waschevski, Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth, to moderate, and he has graciously accepted.
Q: I can’t be there on May 13. Can I vote by proxy?
A: Per the terms of our congregational bylaws, voting by proxy is not allowed.
Q: How will the vote be taken?
A: The vote will be taken by secret paper ballot. Any active member in good standing is eligible to cast a vote, and tellers will check every ballot against the active membership roll. If you have questions about the status of your membership, please contact Karen Landon, Clerk of Session.
This Sunday, April 22, we’re celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the chartering of Ridglea Presbyterian Church!
Join us for one combined worship service at 10 a.m. followed by a delicious catered luncheon in Williams Hall. Then we’ll come back to the sanctuary to enjoy a wonderful interactive concert featuring music from Ridglea’s 75 years of history.
You won’t want to miss this wonderful celebration!
Join us at 9 a.m. for breakfast tacos, coffee, and conversation in Room 12.
At 9:30, join us on the south lawn for our butterfly release. Bring your camera to capture this Easter tradition!
Easter worship begins at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary with brass, bells, and the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
Questions? See our FAQ about RPC.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
On Sunday, February 18, 2018, Ridglea Presbyterian Church reaffirmed its belief that God may be calling the congregation to a new home. By a vote of 96 in favor to 11 against, the congregation authorized its trustees to sign a contract to purchase the site of the former Bethel United Methodist Church at 5000 Southwest Boulevard in Fort Worth.
Although the financial terms of the contract are not being disclosed outside of the congregation and Grace Presbytery, the deal gives the congregation ninety days to do a complete inspection of the property, take measurements, and perform any other research it may deem necessary. In the meantime, the congregation continues to field multiple purchase offers on its current building at 6201 Camp Bowie Boulevard in Fort Worth.
“This is an exciting time in the life of Ridglea Presbyterian Church,” said Reverend Ryan Baer, Ridglea’s pastor. “Although it’s certainly hard to think about leaving a building that we’ve known and loved for 75 years, this new site is less than two miles away. If this comes to pass, we’ll still be the Ridglea Presbyterian Church, still seeking to make a difference for the kingdom of God on the west side of Fort Worth, the same as we have since we were chartered in 1943. This isn’t about downsizing or financial desperation. This is a move toward faithful stewardship of the incredible resources that God has poured into this ministry.”
A member congregation of Grace Presbytery and the Presbyterian Church (USA), Ridglea Presbyterian Church is in its 75th year of mission and ministry in Fort Worth, Texas. At present, the congregation is located at 6201 Camp Bowie Boulevard in Fort Worth.