Proposal Summary

In a spirit of cooperation, the three arms of St. John’s have come together with a plan to maximize the potential of the sanctuary for all three groups, while at the same time, filling the need for some much needed repairs and upgrades to the space. The plan involves removing the current pews, resurfacing the floor of the sanctuary, erecting glass sliding panels to separate the narthex from the sanctuary, and purchasing new high-quality pew chairs. The funds for these renovations will be provided by the Montessori Academy, which will use the more flexible space to increase their offerings and capacity. After the renovations, the Montessori Academy will increase their yearly contribution to St. John’s Church to appropriately reflect their increased use of our shared space.

I. Removal of Pews

• St. John’s current pews are aged and in a state of disrepair. They are uncomfortable, and detrimental to the overall look of our sanctuary.
• They are especially problematic as we work to be more attractive to couples looking to hold their marriage ceremonies in our church.
• Refinishing the pews would be prohibitively expensive for our congregation. (Estimates have come in at around $25,000.)

II. Resurfacing the floor of the Sanctuary

The terrazzo floor in our sanctuary is in need of serious repairs and resurfacing.

  • The floor has been drilled into in several places for the purpose of securing the pews.
  • There are numerous cracks in the floor.
  • The wooden plates covering the rectangular holes originally designed for heating are rotting and potentially hazardous.
  • This project will significantly improve the beauty of our sanctuary.

III. Creation of separated narthex

Sliding glass panels and new doors will separate the space in the back of the church from the rest of the sanctuary to create a functioning narthex.  The sliding panels will give us the option of keeping the space either completely closed off from or completely open to the rest of the sanctuary.  A separate narthex will be beneficial for all three arms of our St. John’s community.

  • Our church will benefit from having a space for welcoming and greeting latecomers after the service has begun.
  • Arts at St. John’s will benefit from having a working lobby separate from the performance space.
  • The Montessori Academy will be able to use the space to operate a new class during the week using mobile supplies and equipment.  The space could be easily opened up to the rest of the sanctuary at any time.

IV. New pew chairs

We will replace the pews with 150 high quality pew chairs.  High quality pew chairs are designed to be modular and far more flexible than pews, without losing the traditional look of pews.  Our high quality chairs will have solid wooden backs, to match the wood in our sanctuary, and will include hymnal racks on the chair backs.  They will hook together in rows so that we can maintain the current reverent look of our sanctuary, while adding increased flexibility.  The chairs stack 6 – 10 high for maximum flexibility.

  • The increased flexibility will give us countless options for worship, including a traditional pew configuration, as well as seating in the round, or custom configurations for special Sunday services like Bible on Broadway.
  • We will be able to adjust the amount of seating on any given Sunday to match the expected attendance, encouraging people to sit closer together in community.
  • Arts at St. John’s will have the option of holding non-concert events like art exhibits, or panel discussions at the church, rather than exporting those events to the Betsy Hotel, Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, or other locations.
  • The increased flexibility will also provide more space for the Montessori Academy to operate additional programs, such as the proposed Spiritual Enrichment class, led by Pastor Glenn and Pastor Gaye.


The funding for the entire project will come from the St. John’s Montessori Academy.   The Montessori Academy is experiencing high demand, and cannot expand unless our shared space is made to be more flexible.  For this reason, they are more than willing to fully fund the renovation of our sanctuary, if that renovation gives them the flexibility that they need.  This means that these renovations, which will be just as valuable to our congregation as they will be to the Montessori Academy, will come at absolutely no cost to the St. John’s Church.  Our congregation is in need of the replacement or refurbishing of our pews, and we are in need of floor repairs and resurfacing.  We also stand to benefit from the creation of a separate narthex.  In addition to fully funding the project, the Montessori Academy plans to increase their annual contribution to St. John’s Church in an amount that will result in our congregation being able to pay our full apportionment to the UMC.  Their increased contribution will reflect their increased use of our shared space, and will begin one calendar year after the completion of the renovations.

Floor repair and resurfacing – Estimated $5,000
Glass panels – Estimated – $10,000
150 pew chairs – $20,000 – $25,000

TOTAL PROJECT COST $35,000 – $40,000

Our options

Our congregation will decide either to move forward with this proposal, or to choose one of two alternative options.

1. Maintain status quo – doing nothing comes with the opportunity cost of sacrificing the increased contribution from the Montessori Academy.
• Our church would continue to fail to meet UMC apportionment requirements, putting our community’s future in jeopardy.
• Failure to renovate could cost us potential wedding and space rental revenues.
• This decision would also hamper the revitalization of the Arts at St. John’s, and require ASJ to continue paying approx. $10,000/year in space rental fees for non-concert events to other venues.

2. Refinish/replace pews – to beautify our sanctuary while keeping the pews would not meet the Montessori Academy’s needs, and would require us to secure our own funding.
• We have received estimates for refinishing our pews that all came in at around $25,000. Replacement would be even more costly.
• We would also need to secure our own funding for refinishing the floors, which could be delayed, but will need to be done eventually.
• The total cost to the church would be $25,000-$30,000.
• Our church would continue to fail to meet UMC apportionment requirements, putting our community’s future in jeopardy.
• ASJ would continue paying approx. $10,000/year in space rental fees for non-concert events to other venues.

3. Accepting the proposal – this option comes at no cost to St. John’s.
• Replacement of pews with high quality pew chairs.
• Refinishing of the sanctuary floors.
• Construction of sliding glass panels to separate the narthex from the sanctuary.
• Increased revenue from the Montessori Academy resulting in the meeting of our full apportionment obligation.
• Potential increased revenue from weddings and space rentals.


Our congregation has an opportunity to renovate our sanctuary in a way that will benefit all three arms of the St. John’s community, and come at no cost to our church. The expansion of enrollment at the Montessori Academy will result in increased revenue for our church, allowing us to meet our apportionment requirements, and helping to secure the future of our community.