To post Questions and Answers from Town Hall Meetings & Questions submitted online (Submit your questions here:

Q: What is the “FCM prepaid expense”?
A: It is money set aside for unexpected or emergency capital expenses. Having a dedicated fund for this mitigates impacts on the general fund should such large repair expenses arise.

Q: What is the “Facilities and Capital Expense” under General Fund used for?
A: Utilities such as electricity, gas, water, building maintenance and repairs.

Q: What are “Investments” listed under the Expansion Fund?
A: It is interest from earned based on the current balance in the bank accounts.

Q: What does it mean by “other income”?
A: These income include income from bank interest and also rentals of facilities to outside organizations like BSA and ACNS.

Q: Does church re-allocate income to other funds?
A: No the church does not reallocate income designated for certain funds to other funds.

Q: Are we investing the money in emergency fund while it is sitting around?
A: Because of potential uncertainties, the funds are put in conservative investments such as money market or short-term CD accounts.

Q: How would expansion projects affect the general fund?
A: With any large Expansion project, the General Fund would be impacted. The specific impact would depend various aspects such as size of the project. This will be part of our study if we move forward on an Expansion project.

Expansion: Planned Development Area (PDA)

Q: In this PDA, how would the plans of the three different parties (BCEC, TDC, CCBA) impact those of one another?
A: The PDA does not restrict parties to build on the same timeline. Each party will be independently developing their own land. Future decisions on 120 Shawmut would not require the approval of other 2 parties, unless we change specific elements approved in the PDA.

Q: Is PDA a commitment that we must fulfill?
A: It is an application to build. But if for any reason our situation changes, we can apply for changes with the city. Timing on when we build is not specified in the PDA.

Q: Is there any time limit to the PDA?
A: No. The PDA stays with the property even through ownership transferred.

Q: Can we break down the build in phases?
A: Yes it is possible but this may not be cost-effective.

Q: Does our neighbor have anything to say about the PDA and our plan to build?
A: During the PDA process, our neighbors have expressed their opinion in multiple open community and city official meetings. The new zoning requirement as approved in the PDA will be our right to build.

Expansion: Potential Re-building of 120

Q: Can our proposed plans for building 120 be changed at a later time?
A: Yes within the size (square footage, height, etc.) stipulated in the PDA.

Q: Would we own the residences above?
A: It is not decided at this point.

Q: Why would we plan put the church in the lower floors rather than the upper floors if we have residences in the same building?
A: The lower floors would be more accessible for elderly and families with young children. People flow is also a consideration. As more people gathers, it would be much quicker and more convenient to enter and leave the space if they are lower floors.

Q: If we sold the air rights above to developers, who owns the space?
A: In this case, the entire building would be co-owned. There would be a condo/homeowners association (HOA). In case there is damage (e.g. fire) to the building, the liabilities would be handled based as in the HOA model. “Common spaces” would be covered by the HOA dues and building insurance. Each occupant would be expected to be covered by individual and shared insurance.

Q: What does the 20% affordable housing requirement mean?
A: This is a city requirement in which 20% of the area allocated for residence is to be designated as affordable housing.

Q: Would BCEC and the residences have the same entrance?
A: No they would have separate entrances.

Q: Have other churches considered or tried allowing for residences in the same building?
A: There are examples of churches sharing space with community and residential in the same building. We have discussed this aspects with leaders from those churches. Through the last 2 years of the PDA process, we have learned from both the community and the City the need of housing in the city, particularly affordable housing. Our church leadership feels that housing can be a new way our church share God’s blessing with the community. Final decision has not been made. Although this is the church Expansion, but the ministries and programs are not only for our members. Our hope is to be “the light of the world” through positively impacting the community we are part of.

Q: What theological considerations should be taken into account when entering into such collaborations with a commercial developer?
A: The BOE has considered this very seriously and looked in the Bible for guidance. The BOE has not found any Scripture that is against such collaborations. Any such collaboration would be a great opportunity for the church to reach out and contribute to the community by supplying much-needed housing. The BOE and BOD will earnestly pray about this through the decision-making process. The Congregation is also voting on this and have a say as to whether we move forward with the development.

Q: What are the capacities of currently planned worship spaces? How many can fit in 249 now?
A: The main sanctuary would fit around 800 and minor sanctuary around 200. The 249 Sanctuary can currently fit over 200 people.

Q: Why is such a large space needed?
A: We estimated the space requirements based on our current ministries accounting for 10% growth over time. We hope to position the building such that the future generation won’t have to worry about expansion like we have for the past 30 years.

Q: Can the two worship spaces be connected to increase the total capacity?
A: The current design is to have separate spaces so we can have services in parallel. The gym is also planned to be a multi-functional space. However, we should not be too focused on the building plan right now as it is tentative and by no means a final design.

Q: Is there going to be a dining space?
A: Yes and also a kitchen.

Q: Is the current plans for 30 parking spots going to be sufficient? Can more space be made for parking:
A: To maximize the worship space on the first floor (for the convenience of elderly brothers and sisters), parking is proposed to be in the basement. But currently this is a crude proposal. The actual number of parking spots will be confirmed when the building plan is finalized. The city is envisioning moving parking garages out of the city and building bike-only lanes, etc. In fact, many recent housing developments within the city does not have parking for their residents.

Q: Who would own the parking if there are residences?
A: The final arrangement for parking will depend on the final building plan. We could own all spots or they could potentially be co-owned with condo residences. However, we should not be too focused on the building plan right now as it is tentative and by no means a final design.

Q: Can we still use Herald Street Garage? Is the parking going to be an issue?
A: Herald Street Garage is still available to us. The long term availability of Herald Street is an issue regardless of Expansion. In the event that we no longer have access to Herald Street Garage, we will need to consider other arrangements.

Expansion: Sale of 249 Harrison Ave

Q: Does BCEC own the land at 249 Harrison?
A: Yes, BCEC own the land and able to sale

Q: Do we know the City’s offer?
A: We have a rough idea but have not received any formal offer. The City is required by law to offer the market price. The market price is determined based on assessments made by real estate appraiser hired by the City. BCEC has also hired appraiser to make independent assessments as a reference. Based on verbal communications there could be provisions for temporary space to accommodate the transition.

Q: When is the formal offer going to be received, and what happens after receiving the offer?
A: We expect to receive the official offer soon. We will plan to share the details of the offer as well as how that would impact the plans for building of 120 to the Congregation at that time. A decision to sell 249 would require the approval of the Board of Elders (BOE) and the Board of Deacons (BOD) as well as the Congregation. A special congregational meeting would be held to cast the vote.

Q: What is going to happen to 237 if we do sell 249?
A: The City is only interested in 249, but the expansion team, both boards, and others will look into various financial models (selling, keeping for our own use, renting, etc…) to see how it plays into the whole expansion plan.

Q: How does this affect our current rental of QES?
A: There are currently no plans to change the rental at QES for now.

Q: Since the QES rental is not based on a long-term contract, is there any risk of being vacated?
A: Since our rental agreement with the City is renewed on a yearly basis, even though it is highly unlikely but yes there is potential risk.

Q: Are there other options for 249 besides sell or keep?
A: The Expansion team and church leadership had studied renovation or rebuilding plans for 249 many times in the past and could not find a cost effective way to gain the space we need for our ministries there. Therefore, we have no plans for 249 at all. The City’s inquiry is the only reason we are considering taking any action for 249.

Q: Is there any concern or repercussions if we don’t sell 249 to the city?
A: While the City has lawful ways to acquire any properties in the city for public use, they are very to eager and sincere to work with us so that both the church and the community will be benefited. They have not expressed any desire to use any of those measures.

Q: How might the sale of 249 affect the Newton campus?
A: We are ONE church. We share the blessings and burdens (e.g. financial, personnel) as one church. We hope to use our resources to build up our community and share the love of Christ through ministries and programs run in our facilities. We all need to pray and seek the Lord’s guidance through these major decisions, as they affect not just us but many generations to come.

Q: What is the purpose of sharing these expansion plans?
A: We want everyone at church to be aware of and pray for Expansion. There are still many details to consider. No vote is asked right now. The BOE and BOD would first vote. Assuming the leadership voted to move forward, we will provide more updates through more townhall meetings and bulletin inserts followed by a special congregational meeting for the Congregation to cast the vote. Any decision on sales of our property or major Expansion plan will require a vote from leadership and the Congregation.

Q: Are there any updates on staffing in Newton and the status of renovation plans for Newton Campus for the coming year?
A: We have just filled 3 positions in Newton this year. There are no additional hiring plans for 2019. The BOE is currently discussing a 3 year hiring plan overall. As for renovation plans, in addition to the newly installed basement floor and better lighting for the sanctuary, we are planning additional maintenance and minor upgrades. No major renovation is currently planned. Please bring any suggestions to your Pastors and we can evaluate how they would fit in our plans.

Q: What does BOD do?
A: The Board of Deacons (BOD) consists of 13 BCEC members responsible for various administrative functions of the church, which includes finances, personnel, managing facilities and infrastructure, and information technology, etc. to support ministries in fulfilling the purposes of BCEC. Each deacon is nominated by the Nomination Committee and elected by BCEC members at the annual meeting to a two-year term with two term limit.

Q: Are there any community organizations that want to rent 120? Do we charge them if we rent out space to these parties?
A: A number of other organizations have approached us to rent church space. It is the responsibility for BOE and BOD to evaluate and determine whether or not to rent based on the faith behind these organizations, the nature of the work they do, and other criteria. There is a written policy for outside use of all church facilities. We do charge rent for most of the rentals. Additionally, the South Cove Manor office space in 120 is free for them to use, according to a clause that was written into the sales contract when we bought the property.