Important Planning Committee Letter to Congregation — July 2023

Thanks to the Fellowship’s Planning Committee for providing periodic updates on the UUFP Expansion/Relocation progress.

As many of you may know, the UUFP recently submitted an offer to purchase a church property at 326 Tabbs Lane, Newport News. Unfortunately, we were outbid by another buyer.   

This recent activity presents a good opportunity to review our process and how we communicate with the congregation. 

When the Planning Committee and Real Estate Task Force identify an interesting property, this group and the Policy Board and Minister tour the property with our broker. If there is agreement on the suitability, the Policy Board in conjunction with our real estate task force and our broker may decide to make an offer on the property. If mutually agreeable terms are accepted, 1 or 2% earnest money is placed into escrow and a 60-day window of due diligence is opened. During this time such things as the title, drainage,  any contamination, mechanical, roof, needed repairs or updates, and codes, etc., are investigated, and the Fellowship members are given tours and updates.    

The Policy Board and the congregation will have 59  days to evaluate, inspect and discuss together. Nothing will be final until there is a congregational vote to actually purchase the property under contract. If significant issues are discovered, we can walk away from the contract without losing our earnest money. In this 60-day window, we would see the first 30 days as analysis and discernment on any issues regarding the property and the second 30 days as a time for full and deep sharing with the congregation leading to a congregational vote. 

Many thanks to Rebecca (“Bek”) Wheeler, Rev. Andrew, the Policy Board, the Trustees and our negotiating team — Alan Sheeler, Jay Joseph and Sandy Burkes-Campbell — for working diligently and thoughtfully with our realtor, Bob Saunders, as we explored this possibility. 

Going forward, we will keep the congregation informed in-the-moment if we visit a significant property and if we make an offer to purchase. Of course, we will not be able to discuss any details of an ongoing negotiation, but we can inform everyone of the broad outlines – visit, offer, negotiation, success or not, and so on. 

Rest assured, we will keep looking to find our new church home. May it soon be so. 

Sandy Burkes-Campbell
Parker Stokes
Co-chairs, UUFP Planning Committee.