Deacon Dave's Planning Committee Update January 2018

In October, 2017 St. Helen engaged the Steier Group, a well known capital campaign firm which specializes in handling Catholic parishes.  The purpose of the engagement was to have them do a survey of our parishioners to determine the interest, suggestions and recommendations for the parish to fund certain items through a capital campaign.  In order to obtain feedback, all parishioners were either interviewed in person or mailed a survey.   The items presented for consideration were replacing the Parish Center roof, paying off the Church’s long term debt, renovate office space in the Christian Living Center, renovate the Church sanctuary and paint the inside of the Church, expand the seating capacity of the Church, improve our parking areas and renovate for Church use certain of the homes owed by the Church on Tallahassee Ave. and DeLeon Ave.  The findings were presented to the     Finance Committee and the Planning Committee on the evening of December 11, 2017.  Following is a summation of the presentation:

  • ¨ Respondents love the sense of community and St. Helen’s many different ministries.
  • ¨ Participants appreciate the new direction of the parish and are excited for the future.
  • ¨ Participants view the roof replacement and the debt reduction as high priority.
  • ¨ Improvements to the sanctuary of the Church were positive but much less so to any expansion.
  • ¨ The need for additional space for Church functions, office and meeting space and for the school was favorably viewed.  However there was concern on the feasibility of renovating older buildings.
  • ¨ Participants were also interested in the long term plans for the use of all of the property owned by the Church for both Church use and the school use. 

In the discussion following the presentation of the survey findings, the joint committee concluded that even though proceeding with the capital campaign was a feasible alternative, the better alternative was to postpone any campaign until certain of the concerns about the use and renovation of existing space and the feasibility of new construction could be more fully determined and documented.  There was notable discussion on the immediate needs for the school, offices and ministry meeting space and the need to finalize a longer term master plan.  Additionally the Church is presently pursuing with the City of Vero Beach the proper permits regarding the property on Tallahassee and DeLeon.  St. Helen must also have all such plans approved by the building department with our Diocese. 

It was also concluded that staff and the committee needed to do a better job at keeping parishioners informed not only of tentative plans but also the progress on an ongoing basis.  In the future frequent updates will be provided through social media of the Church, the bulletin and the Disciple.

Lastly, Fr. Nelson expressed his gratitude to all of the St. Helen staff, especially Mrs. Joanne Bartolucci, who worked diligently on setting up the appointments and the parish mailing and to all of those who provided their input through the survey, it was important and invaluable.  The survey results also affirmed the heart and desire of our parish family to fulfill our mission to “proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ through a loving community which strives to meet the spiritual and physical needs of its members.”

Deacon Dave