Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Good Shepherd submits Bishop Peter J. Lee grant request


Project Narrative

Good Shepherd, Bluemont is undertaking a capital effort to update our physical plant in order to make our spaces more appealing and welcoming to newcomers and community groups, to support our ministry and outreach efforts, and to be better stewards of creation (by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and being more environmentally responsible).  Three primary physical systems need major work: HVAC, water, and roof/paint.  We have identified our heating system as phase I of this effort, since this is where a large part of our budget is allocated and where we can have the greatest environmental impact.  Consequently, this grant request is for procurement of a new 92% efficient propane furnace, a new propane storage tank, a 14 SEER heat pump, insulation of hot water pipes, and repair of air infiltration points under, and at the base of, our sanctuary.  

Currently, we have a 1960’s vintage oil furnace (pictured here) that provides forced air heat to our sanctuary and parish hall.  This furnace is very inefficient, currently rated at 74,5% although we have our doubts as to the accuracy of this efficiency rating.  This inefficiency results in huge fuel expenditures and emissions levels much higher than modern systems. Our annual costs for heat alone have averaged $5,676 over the last four years.  The furnace also requires frequent maintenance, totaling $2,906 over the same period.  Even with the furnace undergoing regular maintenance, we have had to cancel Sunday morning service and Saturday evening Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on several occasions due to loss of heat on frigid days.

We plan to replace this system with a modern, high efficiency dual-fuel system, converting from fuel oil to propane, which is cheaper and cleaner, providing heat during extremely cold weather, and incorporating a minimum 14 SEER heat pump to provide clean, low-cost heat in transitionally cool weather and air conditioning in the warmer seasons.  Our contractor says that upgrading to a dual fuel system is the best long term solution for the efficiency of the church and for the environment. This solution reduces reliance on fossil fuels, greatly reducing the operating cost to heat the church. Their cost analysis estimates a 45%-58% reduction in heating costs annually. Plus, we would also eliminate future maintenance issues with the oil tank, oil piping, and flues.  Based on this anticipated reduction in heating cost, we estimate annual savings as shown in Project Budget – “Table 1. Potential Heating Cost Savings”, additional funds that can be redirected into church programs.

To save additional energy, reduce draftiness, and make hot water more readily available in support of church and outside organization functions, we will repair holes and cracks in the exterior foundation walls and at the base of the exterior sanctuary walls and insulate the hot water pipes.  Total anticipated costs, comprising all parts, supplies, and labor (including volunteer labor) are shown in the Project Budget section of this application. 

John Edmonds, our Junior Warden, will lead the technical side of the project.  John, with his life-long career in the energy industry, brings a wealth of knowledge and background to the effort and is looking for the highest efficiency and most cost-effective solutions.  John has already met with three different potential HVAC contractors, from whom we have chosen Climatic Heating & Cooling of Middleburg, VA.  Climatic provided the most comprehensive proposal to date, included herein as Attachment 2.  Nevertheless, John is continuing to research other potential suppliers. 

Furthermore, John has worked out an agreement with our current fuel oil provider, Valley Energy of Purcellville, VA, to swap out our fuel oil tank for a 500-gallon propane tank, including exterior gas lines and regulator at no cost, with the exception of the initial propane fill and ongoing agreement to purchase our propane from them.  Valley Energy has been a faithful supporter of the church, always arriving in extremely timely manner whenever our old furnace breaks down and providing annual generous monetary Christmas gifts to Good Shepherd.

Lois Tapscott, our Senior Warden, will lead the financial side of the project, having responsibility for fundraising and ensuring project bills are paid.  Lois is in the process of putting together a fundraising committee to oversee tasks required to raise the additional needed funds.

We respectfully request as much financial support as the Diocese can provide through the Bishop Peter James Lee Small Church Revitalization grant program, hoping this grant will provide 50% of our funding requirement.  We will raise the necessary additional one-for-one funding primarily through donations by church members and close friends of the church, with additional support sought from local businesses and parish fundraising events, which will help build community support and enthusiastic parishioner involvement.

Good Shepherd is a small mission church with limited financial capacity.  We are exceedingly thankful to the Diocese for the support you have provided us over the years, especially for our annual Committee on Congregational Missions (CCM) support, allowing us to continue our 107 year tradition of glorifying God here on the slopes of the Shenandoah.  We, in turn, have been faithful in our financial support to the Diocese, to Region XIV, and in keeping our audits and parochial reports up-to-date. 

We welcome outside groups for meetings in our church, including the CCM, which most recently convened their quarterly meeting here on 17 September 2016.  We provide space for an Alcoholics Anonymous group that has been meeting in our parish hall every Saturday night for many years.  St. Peter’s Episcopal in Purcellville, VA, has used Good Shepherd for vestry retreats on several occasions, and we have hosted Education for Ministry (EFM) retreats.  Numerous weddings and other life events occur here, often for folks that are not closely associated with the church.  We hope that this plant upgrade will draw even more people and organizations to use our church, both on a regular and as needed basis, including congregational growth.  We would welcome additional vestry and/or other church groups, including Region XIV, to use our space.

The success of our project will be, first and foremost, a reliable, energy-efficient HVAC system that saves substantially on energy costs, freeing up funds for other church ministries, and provides comfortable, conditioned space that can be used not only for worship, but also to reach out to the community.  Our further success will be seen in Good Shepherd’s growth as a go-to place to walk into and a place from which we, as a church, can walk in love ministering to the needs of the community… through AA support, growing community and outreach dinners, and welcoming friends and strangers in ways we do not yet imagine.

Project Budget

            Project Expenses:

  1. Carrier 14 SEER Comfort Heat Pump – 25HCE4, including coil, 
    Carrier 92% Gas Furnace – 59SC2, including all peripheral
    equipment and installation (proposal included as Attachment 2)                        $ 9,210.00
  2. Oil Tank - drain and remove                                                                                $        0.00
  3. Installation of new propane tank and outside gas lines, w/ permits                      $        0.00
    1. Initial fill of 400 gallons of propane at $1.799/gal                                           $    719.60
  4. Carpentry to close existing return register in center aisle of sanctuary and
    cut two new return registers under rear pews (materials & labor)                        $    200.00
  5. Repair of foundation/wall infiltration areas (supplies)                                          $    100.00
  6. Hot water pipe insulation (pipe sleeves, duct tape)                                              $      60.00
  7. Exterior Door (2) weather stripping and window caulk                                         $      30.00

TOTAL Expenses                                                                                                  $  10,319.60


            Project Revenues:

  1. Existing Church Funds                                                                                         $ 1,000.00
  2. Individual Monetary Donations                                                                             $ 3,000.00
    1. Funds received:     $        0.00
    2. Funds pledged:     $ 1,500.00
  3. Business Monetary Donation                                                                                $    500.00
    1. In process of identifying local businesses. 
    2. Nothing received or promised to date.
  4. Propane tank installation donation                                                                              NC
  5. Church members: time donations for sealing & insulating                                           NC
  6. Fundraising events                                                                                                $    659.80
  7. DOV Peter James Lee Small Church Revitalization Grant                                     $ 5,159.80

TOTAL Revenues                                                                                                  $  10,319.60


                                                         Table 1.  Potential Heating Cost Savings


Total Fuel Consumption

Total Fuel Cost


1,792.8 gallons



2,082.2 gallons



1,705.1 gallons



1,999.7 gallons


Average fuel consumption/cost per year

1,894.95 gallons


Anticipated annual savings (at 45% decrease)

Based on average cost

Based on year 2016 cost



 * Payback = 3.6 years             ** Payback = 4.9 years

 Project Timetable

Our plan for implementing this project is to accomplish it in the mild springtime weather, after the need for heating the facility is over and before the Summer cooling season begins.  In order to begin work in the May/June timeframe we will begin project fundraising right away.  This will include direct mail and email appeals to membership and friends of the church, approaching local businesses for support, and scheduling and holding fundraising events, which have not yet been identified but may include bake sales, a yard sale, and music concerts.

We are currently working with our selected HVAC contractor, Climatic Heating & Cooling, Inc. of Middleburg, VA and with our selected propane provider, Valley Energy of Purcellville, VA, to identify the most advantageous time to accomplish this work. The installation of the new propane tank will be done prior to installation of the new dual fuel furnace and heat pump in order to allow for testing of the furnace after it is installed.  The swap out of the fuel oil tank for the propane tank is estimated to take 3 days, including permitting and inspections.  Subsequent to that, the installation of the HVAC system is estimated to take 1-2 days.  Assuming that the heating season is over when we schedule the work, the carpentry to close the existing floor return register and cut the two new registers can be completed at any time before the installation work commences.  Additional work of repairing leakage areas, insulating water pipes, weather stripping doors, and caulking window will be done by church volunteers in the Spring/Summer timeframe

Annual GSB Congregational Meeting Agenda
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