February 9, 2015
To the families of Rockville Centre,
Please allow me the opportunity to attempt to give some perspective to an issue that has garnered much attention in our community.
Recently, after much prayer and discussion among our Board of Trustees and church council, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church came to the difficult decision to decline the renewal of the business relationship regarding space in our church building being leased to the nursery school.
We know that this is not an easy change for any of us to make but ultimately we believe it will be in the best interests of our church, the school itself and the children and families who attend the cooperative nursery school.
As you may know, in order to secure our survival as a house of worship and community center and to provide for our future, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church sold part of our property which contained our former parsonage.
One of the results of the sale was the pressing necessity of building a new parsonage to house pastors and their families now and in the coming years. It is mandated by the general church that pastoral housing be provided. But it is more than a physical dwelling or meeting a mandate. It embodies the hope of the church moving forward.
Pursuant to Rockville Centre zoning code the only plot available is the property on which the playground now resides. To replace the old playground our church offered to provide an area of 4,000 square feet and stock it with state of the art equipment. It would have cost St. Mark’s $75,000.
Unfortunately, the nursery school has told us that it requires a much larger area. We simply do not have enough property to allow for this while retaining the character of the St. Mark’s property that we know the community values.
Our position and offer was once again relayed to representatives of the Nursery School in September 2014. We asked for a decision. Since that time we have had no response from either the Nursery School or their counsel.
Given that we can no longer adequately meet the needs of the cooperative nursery school, it seems best for all parties that we terminate the relationship so that the school can find a home that better suits its needs. In light of the above, the Board of Trustees and the members of the congregation which comprise our church council have decided that the best course of action to allow for growth and opportunity for the congregation of St. Mark’s going forward is to regain and open the space which is now utilized by the nursery school.
We are in the process of developing several missional visions in this regard and will share our plans in detail with the community when the programs are more fully developed.
We wish the cooperative nursery school every success as it seeks to relocate and, where possible, we will do whatever we can to be of assistance.
Rev. Robert Grimm
Pastor, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church