From CMF news - winter 2006 - CMF is moving office [p1]
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CMF has to move. The building in which we are located has been sold to a developer and will be knocked down and replaced by a hotel some time between January and December 2007. The Church Missionary Society, our landlord, has already purchased a new HQ in Oxford and will move there between January and July 2007. Although our current lease runs to the end of 2007, CMS are entitled to give us three months notice, at any point from the end of September this year. We expect to have to move between 12 and 18 months from now.
CMF Headquarters has been located in Partnership House at 157 Waterloo Road for over 30 years. During this time we have expanded from a small team of three with a turnover well under £100,000 to a team of 25 with over £1m turnover. Over half of this expansion has taken place since the year 2000; and two years ago when merging with the MMA Healthserve we took over the whole of the fifth floor to occupy our current space of 4,500sq ft. Currently we occupy just over two thirds of this, subletting the remainder to the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship and Interhealth.
The timescale of the move has only just become clear but the CMF Executive, advised by an ‘Exodus Committee’, has been prayerfully considering options for some time and now has a clear plan for the way ahead. The main questions we have been considering are:
The major factors in making this decision have been staff retention, partnerships, accessibility and cost.
Over the past five years we have built a strong staff team who are skilled, well-trained and committed to CMF and we don’t want to lose them. All are located in the South-East but scattered throughout London and the Home Counties. Our partnerships with other organisations have increased significantly. In addition to our close links with Interhealth, PRIME and Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, we provide administrative support for Christian Nurses and Midwives, Christian Therapists’Network and ICMDA Eurasia. Many other organisations use our conference facilities. This has led to huge synergy particularly in our student ministry, public policy and overseas mission work. Many of our key partners are located in central London. Accessibility for day conferences, committee meetings and networking with partners is also a key priority and we want to be good stewards of the resources God has given us and keep cost to a minimum too. We currently pay well over £100,000 in rent and service charges; money that could either be freed for ministry or used to service a mortgage of over £1m.
A consideration of all these factors has pointed us very clearly to a central London location. London’s easy accessibility by road, rail and air, and the fact that it is still the UK centre for medicine (Royal Colleges, RSM, BMA and GMC), media and mission make it the obvious choice. So we are currently looking as our first option to:
We would not have chosen to move at this stage. Our landlords have made this decision for us, and yet it is God himself who is sovereign over it. We believe strongly that if God wants us to remain in central London then an ideal property will become available for us at a price we can afford. This will enable us to keep building our ministries and partnerships well into the 21st century and ensure that CMF continues to have a strong and growing influence in student ministry, public policy, world mission and the medical profession.
CMF has always been a highturnover, low asset organisation, and even following the merger with MMA Healthserve we hold substantially less than twelve months of our operating costs in assets. So in order to realise this option, in terms of costs of purchase and refurbishment, we will need to raise about £2 million by the end of this year, an amount equivalent to two years’ of our annual turnover. The International Healthserve Committee has already pledged the first 10% of this (£200,000) from funds realised in the sale of the old MMA Healthserve Headquarters in Camden.
I have been amazed by the generosity of members to recent requests. Under 500 members have given over £100,000 in the last year for our Tsunami and Kashmir earthquake appeals alone – and ten times this amount is given by members each year in subscriptions and donations.
We will be looking to members to support this venture. To this end we are launching an appeal during the spring of this year asking the membership to support this next significant step in CMF’s development, by donation, future pledge, or interest free loan.Watch this space as the plans develop.
‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse… Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’ (Malachi 3:10)