Bringing comfort to a congregation

Churches have a special place in communities. While many see them as simply houses of worship, any regular churchgoer knows that religious services are only one of the many roles a church may fill. Many churches endeavor to be venues for a variety of community needs, places to gather, to find support, to make friends, and to better oneself.

Christ the King UCC in St. Louis, Missouri, knows this well. Whether it is hosting GED training classes or poster-making for a local rally, congregants at Christ the King have come to rely on their church as a place to meet like-minded individuals who support and lift up one another.

A hub for a community

A good church is a hub for a community. But when the systems that make a church comfortable and welcoming start to fail, no amount of love and emotional support can make those repairs.

Christ the King struggled with a faulty HVAC system and other signs of wear and tear. It was forced to cancel choir rehearsals when its furnace failed to beat back the brutal Missouri winters. The roof leaked with spring rains. And its Midwestern summers became stifling with no A/C.

As any homeowner knows, these problems are not just ones of mere comfort. A leaky roof can cause damage to structural elements and create health hazards. Inadequate temperature control can take a toll on both sensitive equipment and sensitive congregants.

When Christ the King needed to solve this problem to keep providing services to their community, they looked to the Cornerstone Fund to help. Wes Hurt, a church council member and project manager for the Cornerstone funded projects, says, “We invited the Cornerstone Fund to meet with us to present our project proposals and to discuss if and how the Cornerstone Fund could support our endeavors. Our experience with Cornerstone Fund has been absolutely positive.” Christ the King chose to take on Cornerstone’s Church Builder Bonus program, which allowed them to undertake nine individual projects to upgrade the church facilities including a new roof, new HVAC, energy-efficiency upgrades, and ramp building.

Fulfilling its commitment to the community

While some of the projects are still underway, the changes are already having a great effect on both the congregation and the neighboring community of Florrisant, Missouri. Hurt says, “We were awarded an energy efficiency rebate of $4,800 on the installation cost of the drives by the local electric utility (AmerenMO).  We have also received numerous compliments from neighbors and others about our new steeple roof.  Day and night, people drive by our church and pull into the parking lots and take pictures.” And perhaps most importantly, the church is able to fulfill its commitment to the community. “Our church is open 6-7 days most weeks (days and evenings) and the HVAC system now provides reliable service so those few program postponements or cancellations have been eliminated,” says Hurt.  “Our members continuously express their appreciation on the project work that is being done.”