May 2005
Buildings and Grounds

Teamwork, Patience and Humor

Vestry Papers asked wardens from the Consortium of Endowed Parishes their thoughts in planning for long-term maintenance of parish buildings. Teamwork, patience and humor, they said.

“Every vestry worries about roof leaks and building malfunctions, and it can become obsessed with the buildings the church owns,” said Sylvia Temmer of Trinity Church in Princeton, New Jersey. “At the same time, the vestry needs to be aware of the mission of the church, a difficult fence to straddle.

“Involved in a major construction project several years ago, Trinity’s vestry commissioned a task force to manage the project, made up of representatives from finance, program, and buildings and grounds committees. Subject to vestry guidance and caps, the task force was able to cut through ‘turf issues’ and hear all points of view, thus moving the project forward and freeing the vestry.”

At St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Honolulu, patience is the keyword. “Begun in 1865 the gothic stone structure here was perceived exempt from maintenance issues,” says Duane Leach. “So two years ago we came to grips with reality and achieved a top to bottom evaluation of all aspects of our facility: Cathedral, chapel, offices, theater, meeting hall and two kitchens.

“This is a long project. It will require a funding campaign, continued vision and great resolve over many years...but then we are the product of over 100 years of deferred maintenance!”

This article is part of the May 2005 Vestry Papers issue on Buildings and Grounds