23 June, 2020

Come and Try

Welcome to our new "Have a Go!" Portal

Here is where you can explore, try out, test, go deeper in the Christian Faith.

Jesus asked people to "follow him", to "have a go", "give it a try!" These people were called disciples. It seems Jesus thought the best way to find out if this Christianity is true, was to see if it worked!

In today's world you can do that online! You can walk with us online, and make personal contact when you are ready. We have amazing resources from around the world at our fingertips! So why do you 'have a go'?

Click on the topic below you are interested in...

- [Explore Christianity/Overview](https://www.redcliffeuniting.com.au/news/explore-christianity)

- [Explore/understand the Bible](https://www.redcliffeuniting.com.au/news/discovering-the-bible).

- [Who is Jesus? [Alpha Course]](https://www.redcliffeuniting.com.au/news/who-is-jesus).

- [Find your Spiritual Gifts and Passions](https://www.redcliffeuniting.com.au/news/find-your-gifts)

- [How do you talk to God?](https://www.redcliffeuniting.com.au/news/talking-to-god)

- [Who is the Uniting Church?](https://www.redcliffeuniting.com.au/news/the-uniting-church)

- [One Minute Topics? Thought provoking one minute messages](https://www.redcliffeuniting.com.au/got-a-minute)

- [Podcasts - Listen to some hour long topics](https://www.redcliffeuniting.com.au/news/no-humble-opinions-podcast)

We've just started this page - so come back often to find more or let us know what you are interested in!

14 April, 2020

Community HUB

Voting for the Redcliffe Community HUB project has now closed!

We had a wonderful number of people engaging in the process - 147 votes cast! In great news the congregation has voted 105 votes to 39 [3 abstain] to move forward. That's a convincing 71%. [Click here for the announcement!](https://youtu.be/rVUKOC-Kgec?t=34)

We will keep the information here for a bit longer for those interested!

Remember, there is lots of information also available [here](https://www.redcliffeuniting.com.au/news/hub), and key info [here](https://www.redcliffeuniting.com.au/news/key-community-hub-info), and see the Q&A below. Last updated 23rd April

Q1. Is the privacy of the vote guaranteed?

- Texts go to Elspeth and she separates the number and the vote.

- Emails to Chantelle who does the same.

- Online votes privacy is guaranteed as Google does not link your email to your vote.

- If you request a paper vote and send it in without your details - yes.

We have to do two things at once, ensure the right people vote and only vote once, and keep things private. We’re putting in place the best system available under the current circumstances

Q2. Are grants from the NJG to other Uniting churches still happening or have they been cancelled.

Most have been put on hold since mid 2018 until the HUB is operational. One exception has been the Regional Youth Worker between North Lakes, Deception Bay and Redcliffe Uniting churches.

Q3. Should we be moving forward during a pandemic and recession/depression when nothing is clear?

You’ll note that the document is about getting us to a stage where we can make a decision whether or not to build, not committing us to build. I came across this great quote from Peter Armstrong that sums up our approach, “In a crisis we can default to stagnation or speed … the better decision will be the next steps.”

The economic outcome of the pandemic is uncertain, and we obviously need to continually review the situation. It may be that the conclusion that the time is not right to proceed to construction. However, we believe that it could also be an excellent time to build as the Government will be looking for projects to fund that stimulate the economy and support the community.

Our decision is a ‘next steps’ decision. It does the ‘detailed design & tender’ so we are poised to take advantage of any opportunities that come our way. Already there are more Govt grants on offer and stimulus monies for community service groups. There is good reason to be ready to be part of the economic stimulus and community support, without committing ourselves to debt.

The Church Council’s consensus was that our main reason to move forward at an uncertain time was because, post the pandemic, our community will need this space more than ever.

Q4. Shouldn’t the document have given a balanced view of things, pros and cons. Case for yes and no?

If the committees and councils thought it was a tight decision, then the document would have reflected that. It is still quite a conservative and cautious document, but the consensus of all teams was to move forward. The document rightly reflected that.

Q5. Have we done our due diligence with finance and the current situation, or are we just trusting God?

We are not doing either/or but both. We have done our financial due diligence with the model having been audited by a third party and continue to do this. Leigh Bennet stated he has not seen a financial model for this type of project more scrutinised. We are paying attention to the ever-changing situation, and as a church we are waiting for the moment to step out in faith with God.

Q6. When did David Baker, Mark Cornford and Vivien Bull write their comments?

Their comments were the last comments to go into the document and are up to date with the current situation.

Q7. Why does Matthew Neale, an outside consultant, get two pages? He has a vested interest in moving forward.

As a consultant Matthew can be held liable for his advice so he wanted to make sure his advice was very clear and had context. As such we didn’t feel we could edit his material down. We also considered that he has a vested interest in moving forward, but he was not against advising clients to wait – even us after this stage.

Matthew’s advice was also in accord with Leigh Bennet, Tony Hunter, Greg Adsett and other people in the industry at the moment. Everyone acknowledges that things are uncertain, but uncertainty does not demand inaction.

Q8. Who put together the finances and who checked them? Why are they grainy?

The original document was 25MB so we had to compress it, in that process the finances became grainy. A clear version is available [HERE](https://www.redcliffeuniting.com.au/d/tRJoEhvP0psuyO0h9ZjgNZ76a).

The original financial analysis was developed by Leigh Bennet. This was further refined and developed by Matthew Neale’s team and incorporated professional advice on cost to build, rental returns, land valuations. Kathy Campbell developed the initial chart of accounts for the HUB expenses which was refined by Fiona McPherson.

A team of Paul Clark, Greg Adsett, Leigh Bennet, Fiona McPherson and Matthew Neale, led by Tony Hunter then tested and checked and rechecked the financial analysis, spreadsheet and assumptions. Barbara Irvine [pervious Presbytery Treasurer] independently went through the spreadsheet to check all the formulae and challenge any assumptions. Synod have seen the financial model presented in the Information Portfolio and were happy with our work.

When we were confident of the spreadsheet Tony developed six scenarios – Worst Case, Best Case, Most Likely – at the current, and Synod sensitivity interest rates. All of these models give a successful outcome.

We understand that when the times comes to actually go to tender, we will need to refine the financial analysis on the then current data, and again when it comes to building.

You can access more detailed copies from Tony Hunter. tony.h@chrysalisconsultant.com

Q9. There seems to be a lot of assumptions and uncertainty in the financial analysis as shown by the notes at the end.

All models are built on assumptions and we believe that those we have used are very conservative. The notes reflect the usual uncertainties around forward looking assumptions used in any financial model.

We consciously took a very conservative approach to the figures We would rather ensure the HUB works financially even from a conservative point of view and have a potential positive upside than rely on optimistic assumptions.

Q10. Where is the money coming from - $300,000?

Presbytery have approved a no-interest loan without repayments for 5 years. [updated Feb 2021]

Q11. The motion seems a little vague – are we voting to build the HUB?

In the current climate it was intentionally left open. We did not want to 100% commit to building something but give the appropriate bodies the ability to say yes or no after tender. The Development Application lasts for a number of years. Detailed Design gets us to a stage to build. Tender takes us to the point of building. If the circumstances are right when we receive the tenders, then we can go ahead. If they don’t, we can wait. It’s a responsible way forward.

Q12. Where did the process come from? Shouldn’t we wait to have a meeting?

The process was on the advice of Presbytery and Synod given our strange circumstances. By the regulations we could just have had a consultation process. On the advice of Presbytery and Synod have gone for a vote with time to listen, ask, discuss where everyone can be included.

There has been continuous communication for the past two years and many opportunities to ask questions and share fears. Our present situation is new, but paralysis is not a good option during crisis. Our motion gives us the flexibility to act, prepare, wait and go when the timing is right.

Q13. What partners are locked in? Shouldn't we have partners locked in before we move forward?

Until we as a church are committed to the project it's hard to lock in those outside the church. This decisions allows us to work on memorandums of understanding [MoU] with our key partners. Having said that UnitingCare, ROPE, Moreton Bay Community Legal Service, Developing Lives, Department of Community Services, Peta Taylor Counselling are all waiting excitedly for the project, and a series of others are watching with interest; including the ORCA Project [Wesley Mission], Kidney Support Network and AfterCare. Our aim is certainly to have MoU locked in before we build.

Q14. In this environment isn't there a real danger of our builder going bankrupt?

[From Matthew Neale] As discussed, the first and most important point that I’d encourage the Church to bear in mind is that no one is recommending that the Church proceed to sign a construction contract at this time. The decision to tender the project, let alone sign a construction contract, is a separate decision that needs to be made at the relevant time, based on the status of the economy and the construction market at that time. It has been our advice to several clients that they should not proceed with signing construction contracts at this time, pending further clarity and any developments due to the impact of COVID-19. The current decision facing the Church, which is in relation to the detailed design phase of the project, means that the Church will then be in a position to choose to proceed to competitively tender the project, and then consider entering into a construction contract at the time of the Church’s choosing.

When it does come time to tendering the project and selecting a construction contractor, it is important to note that several risk mitigation strategies are utilised specifically in relation to financial viability:

- Tendering contractors are requested to provide a statement of financial viability from an external accountant

- QBCC licences and associated records are reviewed

- Key subcontractors and suppliers can be interviewed, and references obtained

- Third party experts such as Corporate Scorecard can be engaged to undertake a comprehensive assessment of contractor viability

- In my experience of Uniting Church projects, the UCA Synod act as an independent review and approval body, and projects do not proceed without their approval

To reiterate the main point, no one is recommending that the Church proceed with construction at this point. Only that design work is completed so that the Church is ready to do so at the appropriate time.

Q15. Isn't the HUB income based on Government assistance continuing and growing to support groups like UnitingCare, but their finances mean they will looking to cut costs and pay less rent? With empty shops in Redcliffe are we wise to do this?

It isn't contingent on Government assistance for Community sector groups growing, it's been based on current rates. Yes cost pressures will be on such groups, this may also benefit us with cheaper building costs. The environment is volatile, there is no doubt. Part of the attraction of our vision is the multi-disciplinary, aesthetically pleasing, community enhancing aspects of our project. We are below commercial rates and would hope these factors together make us an attractive option. As said above, this is about getting us shovel ready when the time is right, not plowing ahead regardless of the situation.

Q16. The $300k get us up to building? Are their any other pre-building expenses?

No. We are paying a BSM. If we have to wait and delay that is a cost that will continue. The $300K includes the BSM wages for 6 months.

Q17. Has the role of Chair and Member of the Steering Committee with financial been experience filled yet?

Yes - Tony Hunter became Chair, Ralph Collins took on finance - [updated Feb 2021]

Q18. Is the 4.9% yield of NJG too high in our current economic climate?

Yes - but the model is over 15 years. It reflects the average yield since the fund was established. The Synod interest rate is also too high [5% instead of 3.25%] but again reflects a 15 year model. These rates will fluctuate but probably in sync with one another. Synod wanted us to use average rates over 15 years not today's rates.

Q19. The model shows the income from the Bequest offsetting the loan to build the HUB, which won't leave anything for RUC's budget. How will we keep paying staff?

If things go as per the model, things will be tight the first year but then there is fat in the budget for the congregation to allocate as the currently do the income from the Bequest fund. We are aware of this reduction in income and are working to reduce our dependance on the Bequest income. Any other grants, donations, bequest we get towards the HUB makes the financial situation more appealing.

Q20. The financial model shows the rental income being used for the HUB, no longer the parish. How will we keep paying staff?

Rent from the new building will be HUB income, rent from the current buildings will go to the parish. This is a reduction in parish income but there are some offsets with shared/reduced expenses because of the HUB [economies of scale.]. Again, we anticipate a tightening of our belt initially to get things going.

Q21. The financial model shows 20% of the BSM wages covered by the Parish, how will we do that?

What it doesn't show is the BSM role pivoting on opening to take some of the Administrator's role, and some of the receptionist being paid for by the HUB. So, overall we believe the HUB will allow more admin across the organisation for less cost to the Parish.

Q22. In the Inflows, an area is referred to as 'Large Meeting Room-Ground Floor (Church office)'. This seems to imply that the Church office is rented by the Hub?

This is the Activities Room - the current space UnitingCare have, returning to a space like the Activities room that would be rentable.

Q23. Given the likely increase in social unrest and crime, if we proceed to construction we may find we have a building site that has things stolen from it (which already happens to some extent) and is vandalised.

Damage or loss sustained on a building site is covered under the selected contractor’s “contract works” insurance policy. This policy is taken out by the contractor as a requirement of the project and is a standard required for commercial projects. On this basis, damage to the site, machinery or supplies on the site is at the risk of the contractor, and covered by their insurances. There are also steps that the contractor can take to protect their site, such as the installation of wireless CCTV systems, alarms and engaging mobile security patrols. [Matthew Neale]

Q24. New ways of living, working and delivering social services are emerging during Covid-19 that may change the internal, detailed design of buildings and the amount of space organisations require forever. To proceed to detailed design now will lock in current/old thinking rather than taking the opportunity to consider lessons learned over the next 6+ months and be at the forefront of offering space which can accommodate different ways of doing things.

We are proposing to build an open plan and relatively small office building. The proposed layout provides a high degree of flexibility for whatever the future may hold. I’m hearing some discussion that “hotdesking” and serviced office arrangements may be increasingly popular for businesses looking to minimise office overheads and allow staff to work from home following COVID-19. The Hub project is designed in a way to position itself on this basis given the flexibility in the design. [Matt Neale & Greg Adsett].

The planning of the new building has already been developed to allow flexibility and adaptability. The structure is set out to a grid to inform but not dictate the size of each leasable tenancy space. Non loadbearing partition walls (with appropriate acoustic properties) will shape each tenancy space that can be reinterpreted over time. Many of these walls are shown indicative (or not shown) at present and noted as a ‘tenancy space’. Post Covid-19, we will all use communication tools differently and this may result in both small and larger space requirements. Possible smaller consult spaces (with somethings moving online) but also there will be more importance on spaces that allow us to meet, socialise and connect that are flexible, safe and non-confrontational. The building relies on the outdoor circulation spaces to link many of the existing and proposed new programs – connecting people around a central town square and improve wayfinding with one reception point. The current design includes ‘sessional’ or shared interview rooms for meetings and consultations that could be time shared on an as required basis. This centralises technology for video conferencing type meetings into purpose built rooms maintaining flexibility but increasing efficiency and utilisation of the building.

The next stage, Design Development, will address issues such as the question proposes, as the Architect performs many design iterations to continue developing the design to meet and challenge the church’s brief, as we specify the use, define the purpose and make considerations for future uses. ‘Future-proofing’ of the building will be part of our consideration in the decisions we make. Design Development will also incorporate the specific requirements of many other professional secondary consultant’s such as: Structural, Electrical, Mechanical and Hydraulic Engineers and Landscape Architect. In short, there is a lot more time to consider the impact of the current Covid-19 situation and draw upon advice from the Church and potential users like Uniting Care and incorporate this feedback into the current design. [Bickerton Masters]

Q25. While the building is an important part of the process, how in our current Covid world are we building ourselves up to me mission ready for the HUB?

The new situations provides new challenges for this but Church Council are addressing these questions. There are some online courses we are going to offer to people [ie the Nikles' CURE course]. We also want to encourage people to consider volunteering [when we can] for a not-for-profit organisation working in similar fields so you can understand the complexities of the community service environment, and the importance of listening, understanding, empathy and referral to add to prayer! It will also help us appreciate the importance of having professional partners to work with.

Q26. How are we maintaining our connections during the lockdown so they aren't lost?

We are in contact with our partners during this and they with us. Our playgroup volunteers are ringing the over 100 families who have come to playgroup this year to continue to connect with them, and this is being much appreciated. This also allows us to refer to UnitingCare for people doing it tough, maintaining that partnership.

Q27. How will people with walkers get into the church?

As they do now they can be dropped off at a new kerbside drop off and walk in. It will add about 20m to the journey. Or park in the car park and walk up.

Q28. Many people oppose selling the land but this seems to have been ignored?

Synod and Presbytery also would not like to see us sell the land, and our plan is to sell the land as a last resort.If we did sell the land it would be to a Uniting Church entity [ie Wesley Mission] who were going to put something like supported disability accomodation on the land. We do need to 'realise the value of this land' by seeking some development or partnership. We are currently in some initial talks with ‘Coast2Bay’ - https://coast2bay.com.au who build affordable community housing - about what to do with the William’s St land strip. They have about 4 ideas from Low cost housing to Supported disability accomodation to DV safe house and Youth Housing for the Uni. They can access State Govt funding and would build it with us receiving rent. They love the idea of their build integrating into our community HUB. The financial analysis assumes a ‘return on the William’s St land equivalent to selling’. So rental return from the above would be about the same as shaving $1M off the loan. We have three years to achieve such a partnership.

Q29. With a Global pandemic, shouldn't we hold onto our resources to look after ourself?

One question church Council were asking is, ‘how do we use these resources to help a hurting community? Is it unethical to sit on so much when others are hurting?” People are already asking, ‘why are churches standing empty while people are sleeping on the streets?” We believe our faith compels us to help our community as such a time as this.

Q30. Apart from a building, what will we have to show for all our money spent?

The Community HUB is not simply a building. It is a Ministry space, a Kingdom access point, an integrated model of church. The wider Uniting Church are looking to us as a model of what the church can be. The Community HUB should make a greater return than the NJG bequest currently does in terms of ministry and finances [the amount of ministry it empowers - lives changed, and return on investment]. Over 30 years this return should enable the future congregation to be in a similar position to take another bold step into the future. It will also be a guiding community in the Uniting Church for how to do ministry in and with your community.

Q31. Why aren't we building something really radical like a poor shelter or an eco village?

We went to those helping the poor in our community and asked what could we do. They said, an integrated service space that brings together agencies in one location is what is needed. It would bring more services onto the peninsula. It would offer wholistic support not piecemeal, it would connect people to a community [what people need most who are going through disadvantage and disfunction is a supportive community to consolidate positive change]. It might not be sexy, but it is what our community are looking for.

22 March, 2020

Playgroup Online

Welcome to Redcliffe Uniting Church Playgroup online!

- GOOD NEWS - Playgroup is back face-to-face; Tuesday to Friday, 9:30-11:30am. Contact becky@redcliffeuniting.com.au for details! We'll leave all these online lessons here for a bit!

"These online sessions are possible due to a generous grant from Moreton Bay Regional Council. Thanks MBRC!"

Playgroup Online

Our latest video: Term 2: Week 10 -[21st June - Pandas](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXnlPvoWol0&list=PLDmPa84qAodfXC9HCZE1IG8F8dWnF3k5D&index=1)

Term 2: Week 9 - [14th June - Giraffes](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW4WcSBhSqo&list=PLDmPa84qAodenrZrEqq0wca5MhZ-mi3_h)

Term 2: Week 8 - [7th June - Chickens](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4l_NzgDKqU)

Term 2: Week 7 - [31st May - Ducks](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKW3jkrywOQ)

Term 2: Week 6 - [24th May - Penguins](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oWKFoxoiBw&list=PLDmPa84qAodcf7_Se8Fzs78_OHZBKrPJw)

Term 2: Week 5 - [17th May - CATS AND DOGS](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bjI_hFU6oo)

Term 2: Week 4 - [11th May - HIPPO](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L04_BtW8_xY&list=PLDmPa84qAoden2Iel81eZVkj6EzVeUFAH)

Term 2: Week 3 - [4th May - COW](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69nSjYwxCjI)

Term 2: Week 2 - [26th April - DINOSAURS](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nnVzUDIm7Y&t=38s)

Term 2: Week 1 - [19th April - New Term 2 Theme - Animals - DONKEY](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKTawMBhdx0)

[Bonus ANZAC Biscuit video](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StK_Mtu76Cw)

Holidays: Week 2 - [12th April - Treasure](https://youtu.be/M8jMIr1ewoY)

Holidays: Week 1 - [5th April - Easter](https://youtu.be/2gDHKltzntw)

Term 1: Week 10 - [30th March - Boats](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQrF-zGQZZg)

Term 1: Week 9 - [23rd March - Flowers](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-nn9DkqZOc&feature=youtu.be)