Since 1985, through the ministry of Wee Care, Barrington Baptist Church has provided a safe and nurturing place for generations of children to grow socially, emotionally, and spiritually. After a season of conversation, evaluation, prayer and discernment, the Church Council decided to no longer continue the Wee Care ministry and communicated the decision to the church in January 2017.
Recognizing at that time that Wee Care consisted of 32 employees and was serving the families of up to 81 children at any one time, the Church Council asked the daycare's director and advisory board to form a new, separate organization and relocate so that Wee Care might prosper and grow beyond its years at BBC. The initial deadline for transition was set for August 2018, roughly nineteen months beyond the date of the announcement.
Since January 2017, the transition deadline was extended twice at the request of the Wee Care advisory board, with a final deadline set for June 29, 2019. This would allow the church to once again use space that it had not been able to adequately use for decades.
During the now 27 months of transition, the church has prayed for, financially provided for, and continued to support the ministry of Wee Care in sincere hope that the daycare would have a thriving ministry beyond its decades-long start at BBC. Unfortunately, the board of the newly incorporated Barrington Early Learning and Family Center (ELFC), Wee Care's successor organization, notified the church on Good Friday that they had decided to not open a daycare on Maple Avenue.
As the church proceeds with its plans to end its Wee Care ministry, here are some Frequently Asked Questions that may be helpful to the church, Wee Care staff and families, and others with interest in how we got to this point.
Why does this seem so sudden?
As the church brings the Wee Care ministry to a strong end, the June 29 deadline has been approaching steadily. Last November, the church's Senior Pastor wrote a letter to Wee Care staff and families celebrating the anticipated transition of the daycare to Maple Avenue and informing everyone of the church's deadline. While June 29 is just a couple of months away now, information concerning the deadline was communicated more than 7 months prior to the June 29 deadline.
Wee Care said they were making plans to move. What happened?
Indeed, the ELFC was working with its contractor and others to ensure a smooth transition between the church and Maple Avenue. Parents may recall receiving a letter in February wherein the daycare noted a tuition rate increase, a heads up that the move was coming, and that parents would be invited to informational meetings soon. Unfortunately, the ELFC Board has since communicated their decision to not open the daycare due to unforeseen obstacles.
Why doesn't the church give another extension to the ELFC?
The church has made plans that are underway which preempt the use of the space by Wee Care beyond the June 29 deadline. Additionally, with two previous deadline extensions already missed, there is no assurance that the ELFC would be able to meet another deadline.
You mention that the church has financially provided for Wee Care. In what ways?
For 34 years now the people of Barrington Baptist Church have provided in various amounts nearly 6,000 square feet of space for the operation of Wee Care, in addition to costs related to maintenance and general overhead.
But wasn't Wee Care funded by tuition?
In large part, yes. However, as a ministry of the church, BBC offset significant costs related to the facility in which Wee Care has operated. In addition to facility costs, the church has provided professional help in terms of payroll and office staff including the Church Treasurer and Buildings & Grounds Supervisor, who have served the ministry faithfully.
Wee Care is a ministry of the church, of course the church provided financially. Am I missing something?
After the church decided to end the Wee Care ministry, it has since continued its operation uninterrupted for an additional 27 months. In addition, the church disbursed $100,000 to the ELFC to help in their renovation plans on Maple Avenue.
Other than the financial investment, how has the church helped with this transition?
Two of our Council members, both professionals themselves, have come alongside the ELFC team in a spirit of collaboration and with a desire to be helpful along the way. Many hours have been devoted to meetings, emails, conversations, and reports... all with the desired goal that the ELFC would flourish on Maple Avenue.
Why is the church kicking Wee Care out of its building?
The church has attempted to help Wee Care end well as a ministry of the church, while providing for the best possible start of its successor on Maple Avenue, for the past two+ years. Time, capital and human resources, and much prayer has been invested toward that goal. The ELFC Board has decided it cannot make a go of a daycare on Maple Avenue, and the church will continue to help Wee Care finish well as a ministry of the church after 34 years.
Why did the church “oblige” the ELFC to endorse a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and impose the June 29 deadline?
Agreements help mitigate disagreements. With two deadline extensions having been granted at that point, the MOU was proposed to help the process move forward with clarity and intention. The church desired to see the ELFC have a strong future, and it was important to have an agreed upon timeline by which the ELFC would have vacated the church property.
I’ve heard that the church is going to turn the Wee Care space into a youth room and coffee shop. Is that true?
The church has no plans to open a coffee shop; however, with the church soon able to use the nearly 6,000 sf of space that Wee Care currently occupies, the church will be able to relocate ministries within the building and free up another 2,000 sf of space to be used by our growing ministry to youth. On Sunday mornings we will once again be able to utilize classroom space for children's classes that are currently meeting elsewhere on the campus.
The ELFC Board wrote that the ELFC will be dissolved. What will happen with its assets?
Only the ELFC Board can answer this question. The financial investment made by the church in the ELFC was made without expectation of repayment.
What happens to Wee Care employees?
The church has begun drafting information that will be helpful to Wee Care staff as their employment by the church ends on or before June 29. The church is committed to helping in whatever way possible as the staff seek employment elsewhere.
What should Wee Care families do now?
Now that the ELFC Board has decided to not open on Maple Avenue, each family should find alternative daycare. One reason for the church's communication to Wee Care families and staff in November 2018 was to give ample time for parents to make decisions related to their daycare needs. Church's letter to Wee Care Families on 4/26/19.
-last updated 04/27/19-