August 9 & 30, 2014 – Meeting Notes

The Future Home Committee met on August 9 and August 30.   Meetings continue with the Archdiocese about St John’s Capital Campaign. The Archdiocese has waived the assessment of 5.7% on any money collected for this Capital campaign. Any Capital campaign in the future would be subject to the assessment. Plans for the fundraising campaign were discussed. The contracted campaign consultant will begin work at St John’s on September 2.

The committee agreed to move the Architect’s renderings of the master plan and the first phase plan to the entrances of the church beginning in September.

Harrison Press Article

St. John’s Pushes On With New Church Plans

Patricia Heulseman, Harrison Press Staff Writer

It has been just about a year since parishioners at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Harrison, voted to rebuild their church at a new site at Carolina Trace Road and New Haven Road. Since then, a committee was formed  and a master-plan created detailing the overall vision of the grounds.

                In the spring of 2013, the vote was cast and the decision to move made formal. As parishioners increased, it became clear the current church, which comfortably seats about 375 people, couldn’t accommodate the worshipers. The schedule now provides six Mass times between Saturday evening and Sunday. This situation is only made possible because the pastor, Fr. Jeff Kemper, is assisted by two retired priests. But when those two are no longer able to say Mass, it’s likely that Fr. Kemper will be on his own. The most reasonable solution was to expand the church so more parishioners could attend the same Mass and reduce the schedule to about three or four per weekend.

                Tom Gruber was asked to chair the St. John’s Future Home Committee devoted to making the project a reality. The committee has about nine members, including Fr. Kemper and business manager Paul Roell. There were many priorities the board considered when designing the future campus that will be built on 26 acres of what is today a cornfield or bean field. “The land was purchased in 2003 with the idea that as our parish grew, we would need more land and a larger facility,” said Gruber, “We’re now at the point where conditions dictate that we need to move in that direction.”

                The committee consulted the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which continues to support the effort and has given much sound advice, said Gruber. The committee also contacted architect group Entheos, Indianapolis, that works solely on churches and church like structures. Under its guidance, the committee developed a master plan presented to the parish at a town hall meeting. The committee worked on the master plan from January to July.

                “It seems to have been very well received by the parishioners at large,” said Gruber, adding the new church will maintain a traditional style. “What we’ve heard over and over again from our parishioners is we want you to build a church that looks like a church,” said Gruber.

                Since 1852, St. John the Baptist has been in Harrison, but the current church is the third building in the parish’s history. To link the past with the present, remnants of the current and former two buildings will be incorporated into the new church. The church’s stained glass windows will be installed at the new location. A crucifix from the second building and relics from the original edifice also will be at the newest church.

                The cost to build the church is about $5 million, and it’s just the first phase of the plan to bring the church, the school, and the administrative buildings to one campus. Best case scenario, the church will be open by 2016, and Gruber said it could take up to 25 years for the entire project to be completed.

                In creating the master plan, the Future Home Committee interviewed all the departments that would be affected by the move: the principal, teachers, administrators, music ministry, youth ministry, athletic group, and of course, the pastor and parish administration. Among those aspects necessary at the new site is more space for parishioners to attend Mass at one time. “We designed a church that will initially seat 800 people,” said Gruber. “It can be built to expand to seat 1200.” Larger seating space will allow the six Mass schedule to be reduced to three or four Masses per weekend.

                The next big, and Gruber emphasizes, most difficult task, is to raise the money. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati will continue to advise St. John’s, and the committee plans to hire a consultant to help strategize. “The rest of it is kind of easy once you get the money,” said Gruber.

(Corrections were made to the original article. Tom Grober was changed to Tom Gruber, expanded seat capacity should be 1200 instead of 12,000)


June 28, 2014 – Meeting Notes

Father Jeff reported that he and Paul Roell had met with the Archdiocese again to bring them up to date on our progress and to discuss the capital campaign.

Entheos presented the Master Plan and the phase one plans that will be presented at the parish meeting on July 27.  The cost options were presented for both the master plan and phase one.

Three members of the committee visited two churches on Sunday, June 29.  They attended mass at both to see how the two floor plans, which we are considering for our church, work at mass.

June 14, 2014 – Meeting Notes

Dan Losekamp reported that all the property owners on New Haven and Carolina Trace, that back up to the church property, were contacted and the surveyor has started.  The survey will be completed shortly and the report given to the committee and the Entheos.

Entheos presented a floor plan for the church based upon the changes requested at the last meeting.  They also gave cost estimates for the different phases of the development.  These will all be presented to the parish at the July 27 meeting.

May 31, 2014 – Meeting Notes

On May 31, Entheos presented the Master Plan approved at the last meeting with the changes requested.  The plan will be presented at the Parish meeting in July.  They also presented five floor plans for the church.  The committee selected two and asked for a couple of changes on both.  The changes will be presented at the next meeting.

The committee has received an estimate from a survey company for a survey of the New Haven property.  Contact will be made with all the homeowners on Carolina Trace and New Haven Road prior to the survey.

May 17, 2014 – Meeting Notes

Tom Guber reported that several members of the committee met with the Archdiocese regarding our Future Home.

Doug Hoffman gave a report on the future growth of the community and parish.

Enthons presented several variations of the two master plans selected at the last meeting.  The committee selected the master plan that they believe best for our current and future growth.  They asked for a couple changes that will present at the next meeting.

May 2, 2014 – Meeting Notes

Paul Roell reported that the tape of the Master Plan meeting held on April 10 is available for viewing on St. John’s Future Home web site.

Entheos presented four master plan concepts for consideration. These were based on the input received from the various parish meetings. After much discussion the committee selected two of the proposals for further consideration. At the May 17th meeting Entheos will present revisions to the two plans based on the committee input. Since the placement of the school is a major part of the master plan someone representing the school will be invited to the next meeting.

January 25, 2014 – Future Home Committee Update

Below are the key items discussed at the Future Home Committee Meeting that was held on Saturday, January 25, 2014.

-Fr. Jeff stressed that we need to get our operating budget aligned with proper understanding of stewardship.

-The feasibility survey results will be inserted into the bulletin this weekend.

-Fr. Jeff and Paul Roell met with Rich Kelly, CFO for the Archdiocese to discuss building project.

-Mike Ruetschle made a presentation on a possible building option.

12.14.2013 Future Home Committee Update

Below are the key items discussed at the Future Home Committee Meeting that was held on Saturday, December 14, 2013.

— Approximately 500 surveys have been returned so far from individual families.  The surveys will be accepted through December 22nd. The results of the surveys will be compiled and the results will be shared in a joint meeting with Pastoral Council and the Finance Committee on Jan 11th.

— David Kissell has accepted a position with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He will complete the feasibility study but he may not be available for the campaign phase.

— Fr. Jeff continued the discussion on the book “Built of Living Stones”. Reflections on the importance of processions, repository for the Triduum period, gathering space, and the placement of seasonal items in church.

–Doug Hoffman has been in contact with Sr. Malachy, Brownsburg, IN and St. Paul, Westerville, OH regarding their church building process. They shared the need for a marketing brochure and to understand architect fee structure.  Suggested to have a fixed cost for architect instead of a percentage of project.

–Paul Roell to meet with Ian Gilliagan to move forward with the website enhancement.  David Kissell will be transferring some of the website management to Paul.

— The next meeting for the Future Home Committee is scheduled for Saturday, January 11 following 7:30 a.m. Mass.

— For more information, or for questions about the work of the committee, contact Tom Gruber (Committee Chair) at or Paul Roell (St. John’s Business Manager) at