Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
The session of Ridglea Presbyterian Church calls the congregation to meet on Sunday, July 12, at 12:45 p.m. in Williams Hall, for the purpose of hearing the report of the Property Negotiating Team. Please note that this meeting is for information only; no action will be taken on the proposed contract at this time. The meeting will take place at the conclusion of our monthly fellowship luncheon, and childcare will be available.
In an effort to refresh memories and address some of the many questions that will likely arise, the session has prepared a timeline to date and 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,
|Class of 2015||Class of 2016||Class of 2017|
|Sam Thomas||John Little||Cary Dorman|
|Steve Staples||Kathy Severson||Tom Sisolak|
|Gayle Hanneman||Zim Zimmerman||Brett Wyatt|
|Nancy Staples||Debra Lee||Nancy Marchant|
|Ann Shelton||Ruth De La Rosa||Susan Maxwell|
|Gordon Ramsey||Andi Ferreria||Ken Kibler|
|Rev. Ryan Baer, Moderator Jane Sisolak, Clerk|
(Note that dates in italics are future dates)
July 2013 – Lincoln Property Company presented an unsolicited written letter of intent communicating their desire to purchase the real property of Ridglea Presbyterian Church.
August 2013 – The session called a congregational meeting for September 8 for receiving the letter of intent and deciding whether or not to pursue the matter further.
September 8, 2013 – In a called congregational meeting, the congregation voted by a count of 119 to 11 to pursue the matter further.
October 6, 2013 – In a called congregational meeting, the congregation appointed four persons to the Property Research Team and charged them with researching all of the issues with our existing building. This team met almost weekly from October 2013 to February 2014.
March 2, 2014 – In a called congregational meeting, the Property Research Team presented their comprehensive report.
March 2014 – The session scheduled a series of congregational “Townhall Meetings” for answering questions and hearing feedback from the congregation.
April 2014 – The session called a congregational meeting for May 4, 2014, for the purpose of answering the question, “Is God calling us to pursue this issue further?”
May 4, 2014 – The congregation voted by a count of 109 to 11 to continue pursuing the matter. The congregation elected four persons to a negotiating team and empowered them to obtain a “best and final” offer price to present at a future date. The congregation also elected four persons to a preliminary transition team to begin working on contingency plans should the sale of the building go through.
May 2014 – June 2015 – Once the Negotiating Team began their work, they received expressions of interest in purchasing the property from four additional parties. Over the next several months, they narrowed down the proposals to two finalists.
June 18, 2015 – The Negotiating Team reported to the session that they had arrived at a “best and final” proposal and were ready to report to the congregation. The session called a meeting of the congregation for July 12, 2015, for hearing their report, and set the date of September 13, 2015, for action upon the proposal. The session also reengaged the Transition Team to begin researching options for both temporary and permanent relocation possibilities should the congregation and Grace Presbytery approve the sale. (When the negotiating process lengthened significantly, the Transition Team slowed down their work since potential timelines had become less clear.) The session also called the congregation to a season of discernment leading up to the September 13 called meeting.
July 12, 2015, 12:45 p.m. – The session has called a meeting of the congregation for the purpose of hearing the report of the Negotiating Team. No action will be taken on the proposed contract at this time.
August 9, 2015, 12:45 p.m. – As part of our Second Sunday Fellowship Luncheon, information and updates will be shared in a “town-hall” style meeting.
August 12, 2015, 6:30 p.m – The session has scheduled a Wednesday evening repeat of the “town-hall” style meeting from the previous Sunday for those unable to attend previous information meetings.
August 30, 2015, 12:45 p.m. – As part of our Rally Day luncheon celebration, more information and updates will be shared in a “town-hall” style meeting.
September 13, 2015 – The session has set this date as the “up or down” vote on the proposed contract.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If we sell, where will we go?
A: We don’t have a firm answer to that question as of yet. Now that we are closer to having a decision, the Transition Team is more able to identify potential relocation sites and timelines and will have some options to present in the weeks ahead. Should the congregation and Grace Presbytery approve a sale, the terms of the proposed contract allow us to stay in the existing facility for more than a year after the date of closing while we continue to refine transition plans.
Q: I’ve heard that we’re merging with another congregation. Is that true?
A: In addition to Ridglea, two other congregations on the west side of Fort Worth are in some state of transition. At the encouragement and under the guidance of Grace Presbytery, elders and leaders from John Knox, Westside, and Ridglea have been meeting over the last few months to discuss shared ministry initiatives. No formal plans for mergers are in place, but all three congregations are listening intently for the voice of the Holy Spirit as we discern God’s call for our respective ministries here in Fort Worth.
Q: What will happen if the congregation votes no?
A: The session will communicate congregation’s intent to decline the offer and begin working on a list of recommendations to bring to the congregation regarding our existing facility.
Q: Will there be time for questions and answers at this meeting?
A: Yes. In addition to the report from the Negotiating Team, the Research Team will present an executive summary from their 2014 report regarding our existing facility. Ample opportunity will be given for questions and answers.
Q: I can’t be there on July 12. How can I find out more?
A: An executive summary of the contract proposal will be published to our Web site following the meeting, and hard copies will be available in the church office. In addition, the session has scheduled three “town hall” meetings for August. One will take place on August 9 as part of our Second Sunday Luncheon, and another has been set for Wednesday, August 12, at 6:30 p.m. in Room 112, and yet another has been set for August 30 as part of our Rally Day luncheon and celebration. Childcare will be available for all meetings. If needed, the session will schedule additional town hall meetings should the need arise.
Q: Why such a lengthy period of time between receiving the contract and deciding on whether to accept or reject it? Can’t we just have a debate and vote it up or down?
A: Yes, we could do just that, and we would be well within the bounds of our Presbyterian polity and tradition to do so. However, we believe that this is one of those “crossroads” moments in the life of Ridglea Presbyterian Church, and the session believes that moments like these call for a season of discernment. The task before the congregation is not just to decide what is in the best interests of our church and move on. The task before the congregation is to discern the will of God for God’s church. Decision-making asks, “What’s best for us?” Discernment asks, “What is God’s will for us?” Decision-making can often be quick and direct, but discernment always takes time and involves conversation and listening and much prayer. Decision-making can be done without consulting God, but discernment always begins and ends with God’s will as its sole focus.
Q: I can’t be there on September 13. Can I vote by proxy?
A: No. Per the terms of our congregational bylaws, voting by proxy is not allowed. Our hope is that by giving so much advance notice, we will maximize the participation of the congregation in this process.
Q: How will the vote be taken on September 13?
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 Jane Sisolak, Clerk of Session.