Windy Cove Presbyterian Church

A Brief History of Our New Development

In 1994 the Windy Cove Congregation participated in a planning process based on Twelve Keys to an Effective Church by Kennon Callahan.  This process included an extensive survey of members of the congregation about the life and ministry of the church.  In early 1995 the Session created a Long Range Planning Committee.  This Committee worked diligently through 1995 and 1996 reviewing the input of the congregation and the ministry of the church to develop a covenant for the future ministry of Windy Cove.


The important goals for our ministry were identified by the Planning Committee and drafted in the form of a Covenant of Ministry to be presented to the congregation.  In November of 1996 the Windy Cove Congregation officially adopted this Covenant of Ministry at a congregational meeting.  Shortly thereafter, the Session created a Fellowship and Education Building Committee (Subsequently, this committee became our present Building Committee.) charging them to develop plans for implementing important goals of the Covenant that called for more space in order to do our ministry well.

In 1997 the Building Committee looked at the different possibilities for solving problems with space for the ministry that the church was doing.  The Building Committee consulted architect Eldon Wood for advice on the problem.  Mr. Wood drew plans for an addition to our present building.  He was to show these plans to the Building Committee on July 24, 1997.  However, the flash flood of July 23, 1997 intervened.

On the evening of July 23, rain began at the church around 7 o'clock.  From 7 until after 10 p.m. there was a deluge of rain centered in the small watershed above the church.  By about 9 that evening the church was filling with water.  At the height of the flood water was flowing around the church and across Route 39 into the Cowpasture River.  At the back door of the church the water was 7 to 8 feet high.  The depth in the sanctuary reached about 5 feet high.  Beginning the next day and with the help of its members, many friends, and many other churches, Windy Cove recovered well from this otherwise devastating event.

However, after the flood, the Building Committee unanimously recommended to the Session that any future expansion of the church take place at another, more desirable site.  This recommendation was based upon a number of important factors:

    the lack of space at our present site

     the difficulty of site preparation at the present location

     the difficulty of integrating any substantial addition into our present structure

     and, particularly, the continued threat of flooding at the present site


Subsequent investigation also revealed the following problems with expansion at our present site:


     the difficulty of adding an adequate sewer system

     the potential for sinkholes during and after construction because of sandstone caves in the area

The session concurred with the recommendation of the Building Committee and authorized the Committee to explore the possibility of other sites for future expansion.  From September through December 1997 the Committee looked at nearby sites.  Seventeen different pieces of property were considered during this search.  Some of these were not available; some proved not to be suitable; among the choices which might have worked, the Building Committee settled on five acres of open ground owned by Heather and Jay Newmarker.  The property was located on Route 39 about four miles east of the present location of the church.


After becoming interested in this parcel of property, the Building Committee had it tested for sewer and investigated the availability of water for the property.  When the soil was tested for perking, it was not suitable for a conventional drain field.  Subsequent investigation by the Committee discovered a sewer system that was suitable for this kind of property.  The congregation voted at its meeting on August 30, 1998 to acquire this property.  The deed to the property was secured as of January 1, 1999 and an entrance was constructed that spring. 


After the vote to receive the property, the Building Committee interviewed three architectural firms.  The Highlands Group was eventually chosen on May 19, 1999.  From May of 1999 until April of 2000 the Highlands Group worked with the Building Committee, the Session, and the congregation to devise a plan for developing the new property.  On April 16, 2000 the Building Committee gave its approval to the architects' plans.  On May 7, 2000 the session voted unanimously to send the plan to the congregation for its consideration.  On June 4, 2000 our architects presented the plan to the congregation.  On June 18, 2000 the congregation decided to proceed with the development of the property according to the plans of the architects.


Since that decision in June of 2000, the congregation has made considerable progress in the development of the property even though much of that progress is hidden beneath the ground.  An electrical hook up was run to the property.  In October of 2002 a well was drilled on the property.  Although drilled at the end of a lengthy drought in our area, the well produced a flow of 50 gallons per minute.  In 2003 substantial improvements to the infrastructure of the property were completed.  The property was graded to level in accord with the plans for development, and an approved sewer system was installed.


In 2004 the Session provided time for the congregation to replenish the Building Fund while working toward several goals.  The first of these goals involved planning for a picnic pavilion on the property which would include bathrooms and a kitchen.  The idea of this shelter had been included in the original plans for development, and its construction will allow use of the property as the rest of our development proceeds.  Other goals for 2004 included acquiring a definite estimate for the planned building and establishing a close working relationship with an architect who could guide us through the completion of the project.  These goals were accomplished when the Session hired Community Housing Partners and its architect, Colin Arnold, to price the project and develop plans for the picnic pavilion.


The Building Committee and Session  hope and pray that the Spring of 2005 will see the first above-ground construction at our New Development.