(2009) Church Expansion Project Additional FAQ

Church Expansion Project Additional FAQ

After the Approval of Rosemead City Public Hearing on October 28, 2008


1.      Why are we planning the current town hall meeting and another special membership meeting again after the approval of our SCE Parking Lot Project in our special membership meeting on June 3rd, 2007?


After a period of 16 months since June 2007, our application for Zone Change on the SCE Lot was finally approved at the 2nd public hearing by the City of Rosemead on October 28, 2008.  However, there were new circumstances occurred in which we felt the need of updating our members of the 3 variances from our original situation:


 First Variance: Operation hours for us to use the SCE Lot are regulated to be on Fridays from 7pm to 10pm and Sundays from 8am to 3pm per MMRP report No. 26 issued by the City of Rosemead.


Second Variance: Construction cost came out to be approx. $800K after we solicited quotes from 4 different contractors and it was roughly $300K more from the original estimates of $500K.


Third Variance: Growth projections for our church mentioned at the membership meeting in June 2007 have not been reached in some congregations. 


2.      Did our Joint Board members take the above variances into consideration as to whether we should move on or simply drop the project because of unexpected terms from the city and the current situation of our church?


Elder Board had 2 discernment meetings on February 1st and February 5th, 2009 and then Joint Board also had 2 discernment meetings on February 8th, and March 1st, 2009 respectively to do communal discernment on whether we should move ahead with the project under the above variances.  The Pastoral Team also joined in the March 1st communal discernment meeting to share their views.  At the end of these communal discernment meetings, the majority of Joint Board members and pastoral team members had come to a conclusion that we should move on with the project.



  1. First Variance:


3.      Why are we accepting the term from the city asking us to only operate our parking lot from 7pm to 10pm on Fridays since we know that every Friday, we cannot finish until almost 11:00pm?

In most cities in the U.S., municipal curfew time for noise is 10pm, since our SCE Lot is located in the center of a residential area, the city is afraid that letting us use the lot without a limitation on the operating hours would upset the neighbors, therefore, they want to regulate the operating hours so that it will ease up the neighbors’ concern of having a parking lot next to their homes.


We cannot tell the city officials that we will not accept the common law of the city.  However, we do not believe that this restriction should be a show stopper for our SCE project. 


Besides, the most critical need for parking right now is on Sundays, and the granted operating hours for Sundays are from 8am to 3pm which we believe is adequate to our need. 


This parking lot brings a lot more benefit to our church; we should not give up the chance just because we cannot use it for a couple of more hours on Friday night.


4.      What happen if we need to use the SCE parking lot during our special event on Saturdays, we can’t even use that?


We are certain that our own north campus parking lot and street parking will take care of the parking need for most of our special events on Saturdays; however, if we sensed the need in the future, we will give the City our scheduled special events and apply for variances on our SCE Lot’s operating hours. 


5.      It’s not practical to ask all the fellowships to stop meeting by 9:30pm on Friday nights, so that we can completely clear out from our SCE Lot and turn off the light and close the gate by 10:00pm.


We know it’s going to be hard, we know that it might not be possible, however, since this is regulated by the city, we must educate our members to try our best to follow the rules, even our North Campus Parking Lot should abide by the same municipal curfew for the noise in the residential area and try to reduce our noise as much as possible after 10pm.  Hopefully, we don’t have that many cars using the SCE Lot on Friday night and we should try our best to change our schedule for the evening meetings and be more sensitive as not to disturb our neighbors after 10pm.


  1. Second Variance:


6.      Based on the construction cost estimate of $800,000 we received so far and the first year lease and other miscellaneous expenses, we will probably need to raise $1 million dollars for the SCE parking lot project. Thus far we have only raised $350,000. Will we be able to raise enough funds for the project in the next 6 to 8 months?


For the years, the FECSGV church leadership has sought to find opportunities for a solution to meet the demands of growth not only for the current generation of members but also for future generations. The SCE parking lot project is one such opportunity before us. After months of prayer and discussion, the Pastoral Team and Joint Board corporately believe that this project is an open door provided by the Lord for our church to expand. If it is the Lord’s will, He will surely finish what has begun. Isaiah 14:24 states “The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.”


Therefore, the most important issue is discernment from the Lord to the membership in regards to whether this direction is from our Lord. If it is, financing for the project will not be an obstacle. Looking back at the history of our church, we can see God’s hand clearly guiding us in paying off our mortgage faster than anyone had ever anticipated. Looking forward, by faith we can trust that God will provide for all of our needs (Phil. 4:19) and cause us to thrive even in the current economic climate.


7.      Why is there a big gap between our original estimates and the current quotes?


The original estimate proposed at the June 2007 membership meeting was based on the material costs priced at the time, the approximate size of the developed area and projected landscaping requirements. At the time of the initial estimate in June 2007, the final layout had not yet been approved by the city. Therefore it was a very general estimate.


However, it is no surprise that the preliminary quotes we collected this time with the approved layout from the city would be a lot higher than our original estimate because, most of the contractors knew that this first quote was always for budgeting purpose, they will mark up the price, however, when it comes down to the real bidding process, the actual price will most likely be a lot lower than the preliminary estimates.  


If we have experienced member who can sit down with the contractors and do line-by-line review, it will very likely cut down 20% or more than the original estimate.


8.      Considering the fact that we have quite a number of members losing their jobs during this Economic Tsunami, our offering will for sure be affected, why do we still want to proceed with such a big project, why are we giving brothers and sisters such heavy burden at a time like this?


“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  2 Corinthians 9:7.  We never want to burden our brothers and sisters into something more than they can bear.   Everybody should give based on his/her own capability and willingness, and most importantly, what God has called him to.   Our way of viewing this is that, we are relying on our Heavenly Father to provide what He has planned for us.


  1. Third Variance:


9.      Why do we need the parking lot now, since we did not reach our projected growth as we projected back in 2007?


In the town hall meeting in 2007, the Pastoral Team projected that in 2009, the Mandarin Congregation (MC) would reach an average of 376 members, English Congregation (EC) would reach an average of 100 members and the Cantonese Congregation (CC) would reach an average of 215 members. At this time, the CC has already achieved the goal. The MC and EC have not yet reached the projected growth.  However, this is not an indication that we will never reach the growth we anticipated.  After years of pastoral staff vacancies, we are beginning to see some of the positions being filled. We now have an Acting Senior Pastor, Joshua Cheng, who is leading and integrating the Pastoral Team towards a unified vision and direction for our church. Also at the beginning of 2009, we welcomed Youth Director Christopher McKay aboard. We can indeed see increasingly positive signs in the area of church personnel. God has great plans for our church. We should fully develop our potential.


Without SCE Parking Lot, we cannot build any additional space in either our North Campus or South Campus; we are currently in short of 68 parking spaces according to our current Main Chapel’s capacity as measured by the City.  That means if we want to build any additional space, we need to immediately comply with the current building code which requires one parking space for every 3 seats provided.


SCE Parking Lot is a very important component for any additional building project that might be under construction in the near future as well as in the long run.  The question we really should ask ourselves is that, are we going to use the existing facility exactly the way it is for the next 5 years, or even 10 years or more with no need to build additional space at all?


10. Do we have to have the parking lot to be able to grow?  Do we have other alternative like multiple services or church planting?


Getting the SCE Parking Lot does not mean that we are not going to try other solutions for our facility need, however, we believe that this is a chance that God has provided for us in this moment of time, we’ll have a lot more options when we have the parking lot lease.


Church growth does not rely on SCE Parking Lot alone, but it is definitely a plus and a very important step facility wise.  We see clear vision, clear guidance and strong leading from the Lord in this matter.  We have confidence that in doing so, our church will benefit a great deal because it is coming from Him.  The majority of Joint Board members and Pastoral Team support the project.


11. What happened if our church does not grow after we spend all the money in this parking lot?


Whether our church will grow or not is entirely in God’s hand, and from Ezra and Nehemiah, we see clear evidence in the bible that God has been asking His people to build for His kingdom.  We believe that our leadership has been strengthened in the recent months, with our love and passion toward our church, growth will come.   Recently, we found that there are many new comers coming to our Mandarin and Cantonese Congregations.  When MC hosted the 2009 1st Quarter New Comer Luncheon on Mar 29 (Sun), there were 52 new comers, and when CC hosted similar Luncheon on Apr 5 (Sun), there were 27 new comers.  We believe that our Lord will lead the way.  Moreover, we build church for generations to come, not just the next generation.  “For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in His glory.”  Psalm 102:16.  Let’s obey Him, wait and see what He’s going to accomplish in our church in the years ahead.


12. Some people had already left the church because of this project, why are we still decided to move forward, I don’t feel the unity in this matter?


Elders, Deacons and Pastoral Team gathered together on March 1st, 2009 for communal discernment, everybody had a chance to share the light of their prayers; the conclusion of the communal discernment was that God wanted us to move on with the project.  There are always differences in every decision, but we all sensed that Holy Spirit was leading the discerning process that day.  We believed that the spirit of unity was among us in the meeting.