Negotiations to begin December 11, 2007Posted by davegoblog in Berea, Future, History, Religion.
Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
– John F. Kennedy
On December 9, 2007, the members of First Congregational United Church of Christ voted 87-18 to “authorize church leaders to negotiate terms of a possible (my emphasis) sale to Baldwin-Wallace College.” I have been a member of First Church for almost a year, but it’s where my wife attended growing up and where we were married over nine years ago. There were more people present on this past Sunday for worship, the following meal, and the subsequent vote than I have ever seen – even on an Easter or a Christmas service.
Earlier this year, B-W let us know that they were interested in our facility and surrounding buildings for an expansion of their Conservatory of Music. An offer to buy followed in October for the sale in return for either:
- A sum of money plus land in Berea on which to build.
- A larger sum of money with no land.
Baldwin-Wallace wishes to renovate the buildings for their use as classroom space and as a concert hall. They have stated that historical exterior nature of the church would remain intact, which is sometime that is important to all members of First Church.
Personally, I voted in favor of opening negotations with the college, but I am also interested in investigating ways in which we could remain in this wonderfully remarkable building that is full of history. At the time of the vote, I felt that all options were not explored as much as they could have been. As the process moves forward with B-W, we will continue to examine creative ways that may be unseen to us right now.
I do have faith that our congregation will make it through this time of wandering in the wilderness, and I have seen how it has brought us together to begin a dialogue about our church’s vision and future wherever that may be.