I am writing with some difficult news. With great regret, the session of Bay Area Presbyterian Church (BAPC) has, with my support, decided not to open Westminster Christian Academy (Kindergarten - 8th Grade & DLC)
for the 2017-2018 academic year. The preschool will remain open under the capable leadership of Mrs. Callie Edwards.
I know that this announcement will produce varying degrees of confusion, sadness, and worry, to say the least. I want to assure you that the church leadership, our teachers and staff along with me are committed to assisting our families, our students, and our teachers during this difficult time of transition.
We are equally committed to the goal of “finishing well” by upholding our contractual agreements we have made to you and to our teachers. From a day to day perspective, we will continue to proceed “as normal”.
For a more detailed explanation for why this decision was made and made now, please read Pastor Ron Dunton’s letter to the BAPC congregation below. In brief, the projected financial deficit for the 2017-2018 school year is much larger than in the recent years. The church is no longer able to make up this difference without putting at risk BAPC’s financial stability. For this I am deeply saddened. It has always been my hope and prayer that together we could put WCA back on a solid financial foundation.
We realize that you may have many questions and concerns about the decision not to reopen grades Kindergarten - 8th grade & DLC next year and how to best plan a way forward for you and your child(ren). I want to invite you to attend an informational meeting this Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 8:30 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in Room 97. If you prefer to speak with me individually, please call the office and schedule an appointment.
We are working with other Christian schools in the area to provide a “school fair” where our families can come to WCA to hear about these particular schools. We will keep you informed on dates and times as soon as they are available.
Finally, as difficult as it is to believe in times like these, the promise from our Lord still remains true: “My Father is at work to this very day and I too am working (John 5:17).” Knowing and resting in such promises has tremendous power to calm our fears, strengthen our faith and renew our hope in the midst of uncertain times of change.
Grace and Peace,
Dear Members and Friends of BAPC,
Since 1992 Westminster Christian Academy (WCA), and later the Preschool, has been an important ministry of Bay Area Presbyterian Church (BAPC). WCA has positively impacted thousands of students, their families, BAPC and the surrounding community. During her history WCA has experienced many ups and downs, including cash flow issues that required the church to lend funds to WCA. Now, to preserve the church’s financial integrity, the elders of the church (the Session), in consultation with Pastor Chris Yates and after many agonizing discussions and much prayer, have decided that the Academy (Kindergarten – 8th grade) will not open for the 2017-2018 academic year. The Preschool will remain open under the supervision of Ms. Callie Edwards.
We appreciate our excellent teachers and staff and will fulfill our financial obligations to them and assist those seeking other teaching positions. We are confident that with this early notice such exemplary teachers will be able to find new jobs. We are also grateful for the families who are currently enrolled and will offer any assistance we can to help them find alternatives for educating their children for the next academic year.
The Session also applauds the outstanding leadership Pastor Chris Yates has provided WCA since December 2015, when he succeeded Bill Pevey as Headmaster, after Bill suffered a stroke. When we desperately needed him to, Chris took on a role which was not a part of his job description when he came to BAPC. We regret that WCA’s financial woes have not eased even though, under Pastor Yates’ leadership, the school has enjoyed unity as well as a positive turn-around in morale. We are glad that after May Chris plans to stay and continue to minister to BAPC in his role as Assistant Pastor.
WCA has consistently struggled financially because of insufficient reserves to carry her through times of negative cash flow. Over the last few years many people in leadership positions in both the school and church have worked diligently to improve WCA’s financial position by trimming the budget and attempting to expand enrollment, but WCA’s expenses continue to exceed revenue. As a result, BAPC has continued to lend funds to WCA, anticipating the recovery that appeared imminent under Chris Yates’ guidance. Now the Session has concluded this pattern of lending is unsustainable without damaging BAPC’s financial stability.
We know this announcement will raise questions and concerns, many of which are shared by myself and the Session. Therefore, following the congregational meeting to elect officers on January 15, 2017, there will be an information meeting to address any concerns you wish to express. While there might be questions we are not able to answer to everyone’s satisfaction, we will be as open with you as possible.
I, along with the Session, urge you not to allow Satan to gain a foothold in our church because of this. Since I have been at BAPC I have found great joy in seeing unity restored, morale increase and new members added. I am committed to BAPC and look forward to leading our church into whatever God has planned for us in the future. Who knows what opportunities God has in mind for us to explore as a result of these events? Nothing is outside His control, and He works all things for the good of His people. So this is my prayer: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
Pastor Ron Dunton (for the Session of Bay Area Presbyterian Church)