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Memorial Baptist Church Building Committee

Pastor Stephanie Allen, John Curler, Alice Eckles, Henry Freeman, Tom Howard (chair), Lou Nop, Jeff Rehbach, Dutton Smith, Melinda Williams


The building committee is an ad hoc committee established by the deacons to prayerfully explore the challenges

facing our church body in building constraints. We are exploring present and future needs.

We are asking for prayers for Gods wisdom.

June 3, 2024 UPDATE: Meeting with all but Alice Eckles present

We began with prayer.

Tom Howard elected as chair and Melinda Williams as secretary.

A set of room partitions became available to us FREE from an office in Colchester via Dutton. He has looked at them and they are great quality. Dutton designed a floor plan for their use in the Fellowship Hall. These partitions are almost 7 feet tall. There are enough to create two 'rooms' on the south side of the Fellowship Hall which means we could have three possible meeting spaces there. These are not, however, easy to move, so we will need to make them moveable (wheels?) for when we have larger events in the Hall. We voted to take them. Lou will pick them up in a couple of weeks.

In the Sanctuary... We have moved the north side long pews out and will be replacing them with nice cushioned chairs. We have not ordered chairs yet, but we started this transition by bringing up padded chairs from the Fellowship Hall. Lou and friends will store the long pews for a few months, after which we will decide what to do with them. We made this change tonight because Stephanie will be holding the class on Prayer in the Sanctuary beginning June 16. Melinda will continue to look into chairs and getting swatches of material trying to match the pew cushions as best as we can. Chairs are estimated at $50 each, not including shipping (from Georgia). (Lou jokingly volunteered to pick them up.)

Enhancing the wifi throughout the building is being looked into by Mitch H and Jeff R

Tom H is starting a file of organizations that offer Historic Building Grants.

We want to keep our need for prayer and listening in everyone's mind. We'll be putting the word out regularly in bulletin and chime.


We ended with prayer.

April 16, 2024 UPDATE: We met and discussed ideas to create space for our discipleship needs right now. We are looking to better our existing space and to create a couple more classrooms.  Along with those already noted in the last update, we are looking into doing different seating for the north (and possibly the south) side of the sanctuary so it will have the flexibility to hold a class and then be reset for worship (pews could be stored for a period of time). More info on that will be coming as we are now gathering information on possible chairs and cost. We will be looking into moveable dividers for fellowship hall. Also possible is revisiting the idea of a temporary building/trailer for the back yard in the fall.

As to the architect's drawings, we will be discussing those more in depth at a later meeting.   

MOST IMPORTANT: The Committee asks for continued prayer as we go forward. We all want to put aside our own opinions and be fully open to hearing what it is God wants in regards to space for discipleship and ministry at MBC. Thank you for your trust in us as we process together. Please keep bathing us in prayer.

April 11, 2024 UPDATE: We have heard from Matt C. from Middlebury College regarding using carriage house on Sundays beginning immediately. He wrote they are unable to do that at this time. He was going to check with others about an agreement on first refusal when the Inn goes for sale but did indicate that there could be problems with that.

The architects sent us the 2nd drafts with tweaks as we discussed in March. The committee will be meeting next week to go over everything.


We plan to give an update at the April 28 all church quarterly meeting. Can't promise showing any architect drawings until agreement is reached within the committee, after which we will display drawings and create time and space for thoughts and discussion. Again.... this does not mean any final decision has been made on what to do. That will be a congregational vote. We are only investigating and collecting info for that future discussion, when it is time.

Again.... In the meantime, we also are tasked with creatively looking to find ways to add classroom space right now and specifically for the Fall, and update existing spaces as best fits our current needs. So, in this in-between time we perceive needs for three kid's (preK-1st // 2nd-3rd // 4th-6th) classrooms, space for a Sunday morning small group experience, college discipleship class, a new believer's/baptism class, and less cramped space for our youth -- to name a few. The nursery will be seeing a few changes as well for safety concerns and ease of care for all our little ones.

March 2024 News: On March 18, the architects presented to us the very first drafts (three concepts) of what a new addition to existing church building could look like. They took our initial comments and will continue to tweak the drawings. This will be a process and probably happen a few times before anything is brought to the congregation. They were beautiful concepts, exciting to think about, and a good start.

We want to stress that we have not given up on the idea of the Inn purchase. Everything is still on the table. The possibility of the Childcare Center using the inn for 18 months may even be good news for that allows us more time.  Lou Nop will be asking Middlebury College for Right of First Refusal when the Inn does go on the market so we can lock-in that option without any commitment. Still waiting to hear. We are excited about his option as it has more potential in outreach to community in some way.  Our initial thoughts, should this pan out, is to link the carriage house to the church building and use the carriage house (four rooms and bathrooms and kitchenette) for our space.

In the meantime, we also are tasked with creatively looking to find ways to add space right now.


Lou Nop has reached out to Matt C from Middlebury College to ask about immediately renting a few rooms in the carriage house adjacent to the church (for Sundays only). Still waiting to hear. This would allow our youth to have a suitable space to meet on Sundays and give us another classroom so we can offer another adult option (new believers' class? or a College/Young Adult class. Just ideas right now.


We are also looking into using the nursery space we have now to make it more efficient, so it better matches the current needs as well as improving safety issues. Susan Disorda and Sue Schweppe are spearheading this and communicating to us and the trustees.

We will be meeting again in mid-late April.

February 2024 UPDATE: Most of the Building Committee members met on February 13 to walk through the Inn on the Green buildings with Matt Curran. We learned Middlebury College will no longer house students in that building. They are currently talking with Otter Creek Childcare about the Inn being used as a temporary place while their Weybridge Street location undergoes a rebuilding project. Matt Curran told us if OCCC does use the Inn and Carriage house, it could be for up to 18 months beginning in June. 

     We asked about how that would affect parking. Matt said that staff would park in front. Drop off and pick up hours may see many cars coming and going.  The childcare center only operates Monday - Friday. 

     As to the buildings themselves... They are in good shape with lots of space. There was one kitchen and a few other kitchenettes. 

     After the OC Childcare moves back to their location, Matt told us the College would most likely be putting it on the market.

     The Building Committe has yet to meet to process all of this. We will post notes from that meeting when it happens. 

January 2024 UPDATE: The building committee will be taking a look at the inside of the Inn on the Green on February 13. It is still not for sale at this time. But it would be good to do so we have more information should it ever go on sale.

December 2023 UPDATE: We have learned from Matt Curran of Middlebury College that they have decided to hold off selling the Inn and will continue using the building.  We are still gathering data on this news and will report what we learn. We still plan to take a look at the inside of the buildings soon.

November 2023 UPDATE:
November 9, 2023

We are meeting to discuss the options before us, investigate details for each, and discern God’s will for MBC’s path forward in regard to space issues.



Alice Eckles, Henry Freeman, Tom Howard, Lou Nop, Jeff Rehbach, Dutton Smith, Melinda Williams, Pastor Stephanie (not present: John Curler)


We had an extended period of prayer for discernment


Meeting discussion:

We reviewed the Questionnaire the architect (VIA) provided and the comments created from a joint Deacons and Trustees meeting on July 2023. This helped get us started on the same page as a team.

Architect, Ashar Nelson at VIA, has communicated with Dutton that their schedule had slipped and they do not expect to be able to spend any time on the project until January/February, 2024. Until this is done, we have nothing to discuss as to this option.

This allowed us to focus our energies on the Buying the Inn option for now.

Lou spoke with Matt Curran (Midd College). They plan to sell the Inn in 2024 and the town wants it to return to some sort of “community use”, in other words, not a College use. The college paid $1.5 million for it and they would want to get that back.

All agreed that buying the Inn probably does give us more ‘bang for the buck’ than building an addition from scratch. (though that not what guides our decision. God does that.) It was noted that the parking that comes with the building is high value and perhaps the college would consider adding in more parking spaces to the deal?

The obvious thought is to use the Annex for MBC space issues (if it provides what we need) and then use the main house as something else, TBD. What are potential uses? Ideas about what that could be were mentioned. We only scratched the surface of this question, in full knowledge that God would reveal that later, if purchasing the Inn was where God was leading us.

(FYI: Dutton spoke with Dan Brown, former owner of the Swift House, to ask if he thought the inn house without the Annex could still be a viable business. He was doubtful that it would be.)

Two additional thoughts regarding the Annex building:

1) could be moved to back lawn which would provide additional parking spaces.

2. could stay where it is and build a connector hallway to the church building.

These ideas about potential for-profit uses and non-profit ministry uses brought up the question of taxes.

It is important to understand the tax laws related to these different uses as we move forward in discussion about the Inn. Lou will contact his lawyer to comment on tax issues and uses of the building. From what we know now, if the buildings were attached to the church building it would be considered part of the church and we would not have to taxes and if it wasn’t used for a for-profit business.

Will there be any pushback from the town if MBC buys this?
It was noted that the town officials were in favor of the church buying the property.

However there could be some pushback from the community depending on what the usage ends up being.

Lou will ask Matt Curran (Midd College) for more specifics about the sale of the property and the timing of it. Lou will also speak to Dave Wetmore (Town Official) to get his take on it.  Click Here for what was learned from Dave W.

Once we have some answers to these questions, we hope to put together a questionnaire for the church membership. (We all are in the discerning process together)


We don’t have any, but if God is leading us in this direction (Inn). We will need to gather info on loan and put out a call for donations.
When the time is right, we can establish a page on our website asking regarding donation. Congregational Church got a lot of contributions from their online community. Pastor Stephanie does not think all the money will be coming from just MBC people. We’ve received sizable donations in the past from outside MBC.

We will not be asking for pledges ahead of time. Any giving should not be instead of people’s regular giving/tithing

It was noted that the college just gave a valuable lot to Habitat for Humanity. Maybe they will be willing to cut us a deal if they know it will help the housing problems in Middlebury.

We have a budget meeting with the membership in a month. We can have a discussion then.

Lou will try to arrange it so we can physically get into the buildings to look around – during the college break.

The Building Committee should be totally transparent.

Lou will report to the committee after his meetings with the college, town and his lawyer.


Ended meeting with prayer.

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