Top Priority Project
As many of you may have noticed, the roof of the church has been leaking for some time now. While there have been some light damages to the roof in the past, the situation became critical during last 2-3 years due to heavy thunderstorms. Strong winds which accompanied these storms caused on several occasions large damages to the roof that has cost us about EUR 13,200 since 2017.
The most evident result was major leaks at several spots in the front part of the church (e.g. before the tabernacle). But a non-negligible and more dangerous consequence was that several roof tiles fell on the ground and damaged property. Fortunately, for now, we have avoided a major tragedy as falling tiles could have easily led – in worst case scenario – to even a loss of life. Hence, during the past year, fixing the church roof has been the top priority for the Fabrique d’église (FdE) – the Church Council. While we secured a part of financing, we are turning to the communities to help us finance some EUR 60,000 of estimated total costs.
Why does the reparation start so late?
The easy answer is ‘the money’. But let us give you a bit more of background. First sings of roof deterioration were spotted already in 2016, when the FdE started to discuss the issue and was planning to request the Commune for financing the reparation together with the refurbishment of the electricity as financing needs were expected to be beyond our own resources. While the electricity renovation project went through, FdE was not given high chances to receive a subsidy for the roof.
Hence other ways to finance the reparation had to be found. Given a large surface of the roof, an idea was raised to offer the roof to a company which produces green energy through solar panels – in return we wanted to ask that they finance costs of repairing the roof. This proved to be a dead-end street, which was unfortunately realized quite late. The FdE also tinkered with an idea to present the reparation of the roof as a ‘green energy’ project to the Commune to increase its appeal. But lacking a positive feedback, the subsidy was not requested during that period.
At the same time, in 2017 the FdE decided to renovate the basement of the church to provide communities with a place to meet and carry out their activities. The decision was taken also due to the fact that there were accumulated assets sitting on the bank account yielding meager returns in the low interest environment. The decision was taken also because at that time, the roof situation did not appear to be that acute. The newly renovated hall was a major investment consuming a substantial part of our savings.
Damages to the roof have started to become more recurrent, but still did not seem overly critical which took off pressure to deal with the issue and unfortunately led to further worsening of the situation. During the Covid-19 pandemics, the leaks started to become more and more evident. Therefore in 2021, the FdE tried again to approach the Commune. After an inspection of the Commune’s technical service of the roof’s condition, it was confirmed that the situation is urgent implying that the chances for receiving a subsidy for the reparation were sufficiently high. Therefore the FdE requested in its 2022 budget a subsidy. Unfortunately, nobody has ever informed the FdE about the final decision.
Where do we stand now?
With no news on the subsidy allocation, the FdE decided in 2022 to carry out the reparation irrespective of the subsidy and finance it through a bank loan and increased contributions of the faithful. At the end of 2022, the FdE found out by accident, that the subsidy requested for the 2022 budget was actually approved and it could still be used in 2023. During the first half of 2023, the FdE consulted and prepared documentation for the public tender, which is an obligation for public institutions for projects whose projected costs exceed a specified threshold. The call for tender was published on 9 September and the FdE is expected take a decision on contract allocation in October. We hope that some works will start already before the end of the year and finish in the first quarter 2024.
What is still needed?
The received subsidy will not be sufficient to finance the whole reparation. A 2021 price estimate prepared by a construction company put the total costs at around EUR 240,000. With high inflation over past years, we expect the costs at about EUR 260,000. The subsidy however amounted to “only” EUR 180,000. We are therefore missing some EUR 80,000. While the FdE can finance a part of the outstanding amount from own resources, it would still be obliged to take a loan to cover the whole amount. To avoid indebting itself, the FdE would like to request the faithful to co-finance a larger part of the missing amount in order to keep the church open for regular mass services and other activities.
We want to raise EUR 60,000 from the faithful to co-finance the project costs. To facilitate your contribution you can use any of the following channels:
You can use the online form to easily make your contribution online. When choosing a payment type, chose “Mollie” payment gate which will allow you to contribute using your credit card or your (Belgian) online banking app.
Contribute after each Sunday mass via a payment terminal. We use a nice and modern payment terminal from SumUp which will allow you to contribute using your credit or debit card.
You can also always make a bank transfer to the bank account BE45 7360 5718 4089 with a reference ‘Church Roof Project’.