Building the Good News: "Gear Up!"

by Toby Sernel on May 6, 2016
When I was in fourth grade, I remember my Church holding a Capital Campaign. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I remember that I participated in the advertisement campaign for “The Pony Express,” similar to St Margaret’s 25th Anniversary “Bringing the Good News” Campaign.
As we Bring Ourselves, Bring One More, and Bring Our Light, we quickly realize that our Parish’s space is getting tight. Sunday school classrooms and the choir share space with required office space. Our fellowship and worship halls cannot fit the Parish. Ten new households have joined our Parish this year, yet every Sunday morning we use every inch of space for worship, education, and fellowship. We are literally “bursting at the seams” on Sunday mornings.
As your Vestry, we decided that the time was right to determine if YOU, the Parish, wanted to conduct a Capital Campaign. That’s right! We’re asking YOU if YOU think we are ready to commit our collective efforts to facilitate this growth. Over the past four weeks you hopefully had the opportunity to participate in one of sixteen Discernment Meetings where we held an all-inclusive, reflective, prayerful dialogue about the potential Capital Campaign. At these meetings, we hoped to capture the Parish’s vision for what God is calling us to do and be in this world. Over one hundred and thirty of you participated in these meetings and shared your vision for the future of St Margaret’s. I’m happy to report that most families or individual parishioners participated. Our EYC even participated in one of these meetings. I have the deepest gratitude for all that participated, hosted, or facilitated these meetings. Thank YOU!
The results of the Discernment Meetings were enlightening.  We received and have begun to analyze your voices and vision to determine where the Parish should focus our efforts to grow St Margaret’s mission and ministries. You told us that St Margaret’s is a welcoming, inclusive, diverse, intellectual community. This community creates an environment that encourages our ministries, volunteerism, and outreach. We discovered that our classroom and welcome center space is not big enough, and many of our ministries are limited by our current space. Hearing that, we will plan to audit our current space for use and efficiency. You also told us that many of you want to see our Parish continue to “get out there” and serve in the community. Our opportunities for Outreach with the St Francis House and Fox Ridge could grow. We could also expand the use of Church facilities to support youth ministries, recovery programs, and seniors and fight hunger in the region. You also told us that the potential to grow these ministries and our Parish is limited by our available space. Over the course of these sixteen meetings, many of you highlighted the need for more education, office/administration, worship, and/or fellowship space.
What’s next? The Discernment Phase of “Building the Good News” is not complete. Following your vision for St Margaret’s, we will next define the scope and cost of proposed projects to enhance our ministries. We will then communicate this collective plan to YOU, the Parish, which will include specific projects that will help achieve the vision YOU developed. Over the next several months, the Parish and Vestry will conduct a feasibility study where we determine if St Margaret’s is ready to grow and build. We’ll soon be asking for your honest input and prayerful commitment to continue to participate in the Parish’s growth. 
Thank you again to all of you who have already participated in this process.  We hope you will continue to let your voice be heard.
Why do I bring up “The Pony Express”? My childhood church in Bartlett, Tennessee grew substantially after we were able to build a new education wing resulting from that campaign. Suddenly, individual grades had their own Sunday School classrooms. The entire church became involved with leading the children along the path of spiritual growth; and, yes, my parents taught my class on at least one occasion. But the things I remember most was that the Church raised money to build, and that the congregation, ministries, and Christian education opportunities grew.  I will always cherish that memory.