Frequently Asked Questions
What are the property details?
What were the parameters that the Property Search Team used to locate a new space?
What was the geographical search area?
How did we find this space?
What are the advantages of sharing a space with the synagogue?
What are the challenges of sharing a space with the synagogue?
How will this move enhance our mission, ministry, and fellowship?
How will visitors find our church if we are sharing with the synagogue?
Did the Property Search Team consider other spaces?
Why did we choose to enter another long-term lease instead of buying a property?
How does signing another lease move us closer to establishing a permanent place for Apostles in Fairfield County?
How much will the new space cost?
Do we need to renovate or design any part of the space to meet our needs?
What are the criteria and values for the design decisions?
Who is making the design decisions?
How will we pay for renovations?
When will we get a chance to see the new space?
When we will occupy the building?
How will we stay informed of the progress throughout the summer?/To whom should we direct our questions?
How should we pray?
1. What are the property details?
We will be sharing space with Congregation Rodeph Shalom (CRS) at their synagogue located at 2385 Park Avenue, Bridgeport CT.
The facility is large and is home to a small congregation of Conservative Jewish worshipers.
We will lease approximately 4,495 square feet of interior space and have access to the grounds and parking lot.
We will have two large classrooms, one multipurpose room, a counseling/prayer room, a generous storage space, a room we will use as a sacristy, and a worship space for our use.
We will share two hallways, bathrooms, and one office space with CRS.
There is a large parking lot.
The space is handicap accessible.
2. What were the parameters that the Property Search Team used to locate a new space?
In or near a residential neighborhood.
Drivable from the region of Fairfield County and southwest Connecticut.
The ability to have a morning worship service starting between 9 - 11am
The ability to combine our office, ministry, fellowship, and worship spaces under one roof
Less (or no) weekly set-up requirements than we have currently
Look for a space that is a church, has been used as a church, or has the capacity to be configured into a sacred space
Four designated kid spaces or multi-purpose rooms that can be easily converted
Space for a sacristy
Appropriate storage for seasonal worship items including things for kids’ ministry
Natural light in the worship space
Located in a neighborhood where we can practice presence
Convenient to the region
Welcoming presentation to the neighborhood: inviting entrances, easy to find, clear signage
Off street parking included or that can be leased from neighboring businesses
Room to grow
Well-lit, secure entrances in a safe neighborhood
Access to public transit: bus lines, train stations, etc.
Fellowship areas and hospitable spaces for welcoming guests
Annual lease, utilities, and services approximately $70,000 annually
Some expense for renovation is acceptable
3. What was the geographical search area?
Fairfield was the center of our search area stretching into Bridgeport’s north end and Black Rock neighborhoods, Trumbull around the Route 8 and 25 split, and areas in Southport.
4. How did we find this space?
The parish set aside three days to fast and pray and gathered for a concert of prayer to ask God for a new space to worship and minister. The Parish Council established a Property Search Team. After praying and as the team began to search, a member from the the synagogue walked into our office, said that he saw our signs at Roger Ludlowe, and asked if we would ever consider sharing a facility with a synagogue. The Property Search Team then visited the space to assess its feasibility against the above criteria.
5. What are the advantages of sharing a space with the synagogue?
There are many advantages of sharing a space with the synagogue, such as:
Different rhythms. They worship on Friday nights and Saturdays making it possible for us to meet at 10 am on Sunday mornings.
Our own space. This means that there will be no need for set up and take down each week. We can also hold ministry and fellowship events in the space throughout the week.
Space to grow. There is additional space that we could rent from the synagogue if necessary, including a larger space to hold Sunday services.
Cost Efficiencies. We are working with the synagogue to share office services such as internet provider, copier leasing, etc., which will provide more savings to our annual operating budget.
6. What are the challenges of sharing a space with the synagogue?
Sharing space always comes with some challenges. However, we feel that these challenges will be easily managed because of our good communication to this point, a strong lease that serves the needs of both Apostles and CRS, and a growing friendship with the leadership team at the synagogue. That said, we should be aware of the following potential challenges:
Differing traditions. Although we value and appreciate our Jewish friends, we do worship differently and will need to be sensitive to each other’s traditions. For example, they have received Rabbinical approval to allow non-Kosher food in our rooms. And for our part, we will adjust our schedule to allow them to observe the Sabbath in the space.
Possibility of Sale. The building will remain for sale while we are leasing. Whereas this a challenge, it is also an acceptable risk for several reasons:
The board and members of the synagogue do not want to sell their building. It is their hope and desire to remain at the location and make an effort to grow.
We have negotiated a substantial buy-out of the lease that would refund a large portion of the lease and renovation costs to Apostles in the event of a sale.
The lease guarantees us three months to find a new place to worship and set up an office in the event of a sale.
The building has been listed for sale for one year and no serious offers have been submitted.
7. How will this move enhance our mission, ministry, and fellowship?
This location provides opportunities for serving the local neighborhood and surrounding community. It is at the intersection of life on many levels. It provides opportunities to engage the arts, marketplace, poverty, education, social and ethnic diversity, etc. It also allows us to open the doors to people of all walks of life with a servant’s heart and loving embrace.
Two Universities are located less than three miles in each direction allowing us to foster even greater missions opportunities with the Bridges Ministry at University of Bridgeport and gives us the opportunity to build partnerships and friendships at Sacred Heart University as well.
The facility is located 0.3 miles from the Fairfield border allowing us to continue serving Fairfield as we have for over 14 years. It also allows us easy access to several of our Mission Friends and Partners, including the University of Bridgeport, the new location of the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, and the neighborhood where the Emmaus Partnership serves each Saturday.
The facility is located about three miles from the Merritt Parkway, providing access to greater Fairfield County and southwest Connecticut.
We can bless those around us by not only extending an invitation to join us for weekly worship and discipleship ministries, but also by offering a place to gather for community events, engaging in mission of both proclamation and mercy, and joining the ordinary rhythm of life.
The space will foster fellowship through hosting gatherings, events, potlucks, small groups, etc., with space for childcare. We will have a space for our youth to gather, allowing us to enhance our youth group and invite friends to join. Our parish will not have the burden of taking down our worship materials each Sunday allowing us to more quickly and completely gather after Sunday services to get to know each other.
8. How will visitors find our church if we are sharing with the synagogue?
As part of the lease agreement, we will erect permanent signage on the property, including a sign outside on Park Ave. Directions will be easy to give and follow. The location is also on a main bus route.
9. Did the Property Search Team consider other spaces?
Yes. The Property Search Team reviewed lists of available properties and found only one other option that might have fit the search criteria listed in question #2. After visiting with a realtor, we determined that it did not meet enough of the necessary requirements and desirables for our new space.
10. Why did we choose to enter another long-term lease instead of buying a property?
The short answer is cost. Although God has blessed Apostles with some savings, we are not in the financial position to secure and pay for the cost of a mortgage.
11. How does signing another lease move us closer to establishing a permanent place for Apostles in Fairfield County?
We should see this lease as a step toward finding a permanent place rather than our final destination. Of course, a lot will happen in the life of our parish over the next five years. We hope and pray that through mission and ministry to the neighborhood and having Gospel conversations with friends, coworkers, and neighbors, we will be blessed with the growth of our parish. With this growth, we are prayerfully expectant of the need and means to purchase a permanent facility in the future.
12. How much will the new space cost?
The lease for the new space will cost $78,000 annually (approximately $17 per square foot) including all utilities, lawn care, snow removal, security system, and routine janitorial services.
As a point of reference, we paid about $73,000 annually to lease Roger Ludlowe Middle School and our previous office space at 338 Commerce Drive. When we moved to our current office at 303 Linwood Avenue earlier this year, we reduced our expected facility expenses to $50,000 annually. However, we knew that this space would be insufficient for our long term needs, and consequently expected both the space and cost savings associated with it to be temporary as we sought to identify a permanent home.
13. Do we need to renovate or design any part of the space to meet our needs?
As part of the lease agreement, the synagogue will paint and carpet the space according to our aesthetic and functional needs. Although we won’t need to do major renovations like moving walls, we will need to do some work like moving temporary accordion partitions, bringing the playground up to safety specifications, and removing a drop ceiling in the worship space. There will be other smaller projects that we look forward to accomplishing through some parish work days at our new church facility.
14. What are the criteria and values for the design decisions?
As Anglicans, we value three things in the spaces where we worship and minister: Utility, Blessing, and Beauty.
The property should provide an affordable, functional, and safe space for the worship of God, the celebration of the sacraments, fellowship with one another, and the care of the physical and spiritual needs of our congregation.
The property should offer to all who enter the openness, vulnerability, and hospitality that we know in the loving and welcoming embrace of Jesus, with special emphasis on welcoming guests and visitors.
The property should exhibit a sacred aesthetic, pointing us to God and reflecting our Anglican heritage, through the use of elements such as light and material.
15. Who is making the design decisions?
Through a relationship with one of our parishioners and at no cost to Apostles, a small team from the parish is working with a trained interior designer who is helping us think through paint colors, window treatments, flooring decisions, etc. These ideas will be formed into some design boards. We will receive at least two (three preferred) estimates when professionals are needed to complete the work. The Parish Council will give final approval for funding and accomplishing the design renovations.
16. How will we pay for renovations?
We will use some of the money that has been reserved from the house sale completed a couple of years ago. It is our expectation that the cost to Apostles will be reasonable, leaving us with plenty of reserved funds in savings.
17. When will we get a chance to see the new space?
We are hoping to have an open house tour of the space sometime in late July or early August following a church service. This date will be set and communicated after the lease has been signed by both parties. In the meantime, take a minute to drive around the property located at 2385 Park Avenue, Bridgeport.
18. When will we occupy the building?
Before we can firmly set an occupancy date we will need to finalize and complete the renovation work. However, we are hoping that we will hold our first worship service in our new space on or around October 6, 2019.
19. How will we stay informed of the progress throughout the summer? To whom should we direct our questions?
We have established a special email address firstname.lastname@example.org where you can email questions that we will direct to the appropriate person to answer and/or add to this FAQ sheet as appropriate.
These FAQs will be updated as new questions arise.
We will have a a parish meeting following the service (approximately 11:45 am) on Sunday, July 21 where the Parish Council, Property Search Team, and Parish Staff will answer questions and give any pertinent updates.
We will make periodic announcements either on Sunday mornings or through email communication updating the parish when appropriate.
20. How should we pray?
Father Brian is asking that the parish set aside time on two days, Thursday, July 11 and Thursday, July 18, to fast and pray. Prayer guides will be available for both days.