Messages to the Congregation

April 30, 2018

Dear Members of The House of Hope Presbyterian Church,

House of Hope has acquired various adjoining properties on Summit Avenue over
a period of 50 years, from the late 1950s to the summer of 2007. These properties
were used to create space for the Education (East) Wing of the building in the
1950s, to provide a Manse for the Pastor/Head of Staff (The Meeting House) and
to secure the block for future plans and provide a larger Manse (749 Summit, the
current Manse).

Pastor David Van Dyke’s decision to retire in early 2018 has provided the
opportunity to reassess the continued ownership of these properties by the
church.

In November, 2017 the Trustees appointed a work group to study the situation
and make a recommendation to the Trustees, Session and the Congregation. After
meeting a number of times, the work group has completed its study of the relative
benefits and costs of continuing to own these properties.

In its report, the Property Work Group is unanimously recommending that:

House of Hope should now proceed with the sale of the Manse, the
Meeting House and the vacant lot located between them.

Enclosed is a copy of the work group’s report, outlining the reasons for this
recommendation.

This recommendation was approved by the Trustees on Friday, April 13 and by
the Session on Tuesday, April 17.

Thus, on Sunday, May 20 following the 10:00 a.m. service, there will
be a congregational meeting, called by the Session, at which the
members of House of Hope will be asked to vote on the
recommendation to proceed with the sale of these properties.

You are also invited to attend one of the upcoming information sessions, at which
there will be the opportunity to hear from members of the work group and ask
any remaining questions or offer comments.

The information sessions will be held on

Sunday, April 29 at 11:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary

Sunday, May 6 at 11:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary

Wednesday, May 16 at 4:00 p.m. in Kirk Parlor

You may also direct a question or comment to the work group by sending an email
to Diane Smith at DianeS@hohchurch.org.

Since we believe in the power of making decisions as a gathered community, there
will be no absentee ballot or opportunity to vote electronically. We ask that if you
feel called to be a part of this decision — and we hope you will! — that you be
present with us on Sunday, May 20 following the 10:00 a.m. service.

Sincerely,

Elise Jamison, outgoing President, Board of Trustees
Jim Adams, incoming President, Board of Trustees
Kay Solon, outgoing Clerk of Session
John Tulloch, incoming Clerk of Session

 

THE HOUSE OF HOPE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
HOUSE, PROPERTY AND INSURANCE COMMITTEE OF TRUSTEES
PROPERTY WORK GROUP REPORT TO TRUSTEES, SESSION, CONGREGATION

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The House of Hope has acquired various adjoining properties fronting on Summit Avenue
over a period of 50 years, from the late 1950s to the summer of 2007. These properties
were used to create space for the Education (East) Wing of the building in the 1950s, to
provide a Manse for the Pastor/Head of Staff (The Meeting House) and to secure the block
for future plans and provide a larger Manse (749 Summit, the current Manse).

In 2013, Pastor Van Dyke suggested to Trustees that he might consider moving from the
Manse in view of his downsizing family situation. At that time, the Trustees, acting on a
motion from the House, Property and Insurance Committee (HP&I), appointed a task force
to consider whether the Manse should be sold if the Van Dyke family moved. In a report,
dated March 14, 2014, the task force stated that:

“It is the unanimous opinion of the task force that the church continue to provide
the Manse for Pastor Van Dyke as long as he wants it, and, in the long-term, to
dispose of both the Manse and the Meeting House.”

In 2017, Pastor Van Dyke announced his retirement and plan to vacate the Manse in
January of 2018. In October 2017, the Trustees, again acting on a motion from HP&I,
appointed a work group to perform a review of the previous recommendation. The newly
formed work group was charged in the motion with:

“Updating the research and recommendation from the March 14, 2014 report
concerning the sale of the Manse and Meeting House at such time as the Manse is no
longer occupied by the current head of staff and his family.

(To) put in place and execute the sale of one or both properties and/or any saleable
un-built lots at such time as any recommendations to that effect are fully approved.”

The Property Work Group has completed its review. It is unanimously recommending that:

House of Hope should now proceed with the sale of the Manse, the Meeting
House and the vacant lot located between them.

 

DISCUSSION

Members of work group:

Brian Alton, Church Legal Counsel
Patrick Boylan, Member of HP&I Committee of Trustees
Dick Crone, Chair of HP&I Committee of Trustees
Bill Geery, Chair of Mission Outreach Committee of Session
Elise Jamison, President of Trustees

Assessment:

The work group met over a period of three months and conducted an assessment of the
following aspects of the issue:

  • Current trends and practices regarding the inclusion of a manse in the
    compensation package for the Pastor, Head of Staff
  •  Current market values for the properties under consideration
  • Potential uses of the properties if retained
  • Potential to monetize and income potential for the properties
  • Expenses related to maintenance and updates associated with each property,
    regardless of use
  • Additional expenses associated with options for monetization of properties
  • Potential for ongoing investment income that would be realized from the sale of one
    or more of the properties

Conclusion and Recommendation:

The work group is unanimous in its recommendation that House of Hope should now
proceed with the sale of the Manse, the Meeting House and the vacant lot located
between them.

This recommendation is based on the following conclusions which resulted from the work
group’s Information review and financial projections:

  • Changes have occurred over time in housing needs for pastors. Offering housing in a
    manse is no longer considered either a necessity or advantage in attracting a pastor.
  • Although the church has benefited from and enjoyed the extensive entertainment of
    various church groups by the Van Dykes at the Manse, we would not anticipate and
    cannot expect that this practice would continue under a new head of staff.
  • Expenses required to maintain the Manse and Meeting House have generally
    exceeded budgeted amounts and can be expected to do so in the future. Proper long-term
    maintenance of the properties will likely require a larger line item budget than
    has been allocated in the past.
  • The resources needed to re-purpose and monetize the Manse and/or the Meeting
    House likewise far exceed any currently allotted budget. There would also be
    considerable effort and business risk associated with any attempt to successfully
    monetize one or both of these properties.
  • The mission of HOH church is not currently consistent with an effort to hold and
    monetize owned residential properties. (The work group is aware that the
    congregation will undertake a review of the mission as part of the self-study but
    does not anticipate changes that will make these properties consistent with a
    revised mission.)
  • A substantial infusion to the endowment, resulting from the sales of these
    properties, would increase the amount that can be used in annual budget. It would
    also increase the availability of funds for mission-related efforts as well as current
    and future building improvements to the church plant.
  • Current use of the Meeting House as a Twin Cities Houses of Hospitality (TCHH) site
    underutilizes the property relative to the full cost of ownership. More cost-effective
    options should be considered if House of Hope wishes to continue supporting this
    program as a host site.

DISCUSSION AND DETAILS OF INFORMATION REVIEW

1. The three properties are (from the east corner of Summit and Grotto): 749 Summit
(the Manse,) 755 (a vacant, buildable lot,) and 761 (The Meeting House.) The
Meeting House property is currently platted as part of the church property. This lot
would have to be separated from the church property before sale via a routine lot
split. The lot split may impact the current location of the Community Garden east
side fence.

2. The properties were purchased over a 50-year period to expand the footprint of the
church and provide Manse housing for the Pastor/Head of Staff.

3. The work group reviewed the potential cost of maintaining older and historic
structures. Past expenses required to maintain the Manse and Meeting House have
generally exceeded budget and can be expected to do so in the future. Proper
maintenance of the properties will require a larger line item budget than has been
allocated in the past.

4. Continued use of either 749 or 761 Summit as a Manse is no longer a priority due to
current attitudes toward Manse residence for pastors. Discussions with a member of
Presbytery Committee on Ministry and with Pastor David Van Dyke reinforce the
work group’s belief that a Manse is not as attractive to pastors as it once was.

5. Research into the possibilities of re-purposing/monetizing included assessing the
likelihood of transforming 749 Summit into an event venue. The group explored
several aspects of this option, including competition in the event venue space, cost
to upgrade the property for this purpose and zoning and land use issues. Although
either of these properties might be attractive to a developer, the work group could
envision no realistic alternative use for monetization of either the Manse or the
Meeting House to be owned and operated by the church.

6. Preliminary estimated values of the properties have been determined and factored
into our analysis of ongoing cost of ownership vs. the benefit of returning this
capital to the endowment or in part to other uses determined by the church. The
return of the proceeds of sale to the endowment would result in an increase in the
amount of money that could be contributed to the annual budget of the church.

Actions required to accomplish the recommendation:

COMPLETED

1. Communicate to HP&I, Trustees and Session the recommendation from the work
group to market the subject properties.

2. Request that Session support the recommendation and call a meeting of the
Congregation to approve the marketing of these properties.

PENDING

3. Hold two or more informational/Q&A meetings to inform the Congregation of
this recommendation.

4. Concurrently, request the assignment of a liaison from the Board of Trustees of
the Presbytery to advise and assist the work group and the Trustees in
completing the sale of church property.

5. Hold a Congregational meeting to vote on the motion to approve the marketing
of these properties. This vote will not approve any actual sale of property, only
the authorization to market them.

6. The work group will interview and select a realtor and list the properties for sale
(timing and sequence for listing of individual properties TDB).

7. Prior to marketing 761 Summit, a lot split will be determined and a transition
plan with TCHH will be developed and approved by the Session.

8. The work group and Trustees will monitor ongoing activity with the realtor and
make any adjustments to marketing strategy as needed.

9. The work group and Trustees will review any offer(s) and develop proposed,
contingent sales agreement(s) with suitable buyer(s). Any sales agreement
proposal will be contingent on approval of the terms of sale by the Session of
House of Hope, the Congregation at a properly called meeting, the Board of
Trustees of the Presbytery and by the Presbytery, in conformance with the Book
of Order and the requirements of the Presbytery as outlined in the Presbytery of
the Twin Cities Area Property Sale Packet.

10. The Trustees will close upon any sale only after the proposal has gone through
the entire approval process.