Dean’s Letter: New Doors

Hello St. Paul’s,

After twenty plus years of dreams, plans, and hard work, we have arrived at a Kairos moment to relaunch our identity as the Cathedral for the City, offering new doors to walk through and new opportunities for the community around us to share in our life and benefit from our facility.

We are now in the midst of our Grand Opening Week Extravaganza. The initial events have been very successful, and I am looking forward to the weekend Soirée and blessing of the space. We have come up with a creative and equitable method of inviting donations to offset the cost of furnishing and equipping our new offices and meeting rooms, and I want to describe it for you now, so that you will be prepared on Saturday – or so that you know how to give, if you can’t join us on Saturday.

There’s a tradition in the Episcopal Church of inviting people to make large donations to capital projects and in return giving them “naming rights”. When we started talking about a fundraiser for 525 Olive, that was how we framed the opportunity. But a wise person pointed out that when you invite people to make a large donation in return for having their name on a wall, you implicitly disenfranchise and disrespect those who are able to give only a small amount, which might in fact be a more sacrificial gift. Honoring the spirit of equity and justice, we got creative, and we came up with a plan that allows every donor to be recognized. It’s just one of the ways we are celebrating our New Doors and New Opportunities.

As you may know, Bob Oslie, our devoted facilities manager, will retire at the end of this year. Bob has been a lynchpin in our corporate life, and overseeing our move into the new space will represent his last major project. Bob and his late wife Melinda have been a part of the cathedral’s fabric for many decades, exemplifying our mission statement to Love Christ, Serve Others, and Welcome All, and we want to honor their ministries. The new Guild Room will carry their names, and all gifts offered at Saturday’s Soirée will go to defray the costs of furnishing and equipping the space.

We are also offering an opportunity for you to express your support of specific ministries by designating part of your gift in honor of one of the ministry areas that will be led from our new offices. These include Liturgy and Music, Outreach, Administration, Children, Youth, and Families, Communications, and more. When you arrive on Saturday you will be issued a giving number to carry with you through the space. To remind you of the wonderful work being done, each ministry room will highlight recent accomplishments and key activities. Each room will have a sign-up sheet where you can put down your giving number and an amount you’d like to donate. (The use of numbers instead of names will protect your privacy). We suggest that you limit your gifts to two rooms in total.

If you choose to make the gift there and then, volunteer cashiers will be on hand to receive your donation via check, PayPal, or credit card, All donations will go towards covering the costs of moving into and providing new equipment for the ministry each space supports. All donors will be recognized, regardless of amount given, on a Giving Tree mural in the first-floor pre-function space, with donor names on each leaf. The tree itself will be made up of wood from our old pews, honoring the traditions of St. Paul’s as we grow into our new space. Temporary leaves with donor names will be placed on the tree immediately on Saturday, with engraved brass leaves to follow.

I am thrilled to tell you that we have already received some very generous pledges, including $40,000 to be used as matching funds, and a separate $50,000 gift. As our cautious initial goal was $100,000, we have already almost reached that goal, and I am confident that we will far exceed it, assuming that we are together able to match the $40,000. I hope you will be generous in your support of our mission and ministries.

Saturday’s event, which runs from 6 to 8 pm, will be very special as we open our new doors to the community, with prominent leaders of the community participating in the ribbon-cutting, and lavish refreshments provided by Barrel & Board. If you are unfortunately unable to attend on Saturday, you may give online at any time via check or through stpaulcathedral.org/give/, designating the gift as Grand Opening Week; or you can send an email to bookkeeper@stpaulcathedral.org with your pledge and its designation.

Finally, on Sunday, at the end of the 10:30 am service, we will process out to the new building and bless the space liturgically. This weekend will be a grand celebration of a project long in the making. I am deeply grateful for the faithful managers of Nutmeg and Olive LLC who have worked to make this dream a reality, especially founding members Ken Tranbarger and Kendall Squires, and our consultant Tom Delaney.

See you on Saturday night!

Your sister in Christ,
Penny

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1 thought on “Dean’s Letter: New Doors”

  1. Thanks, Penny, and EVERYONE who has made this possible beginning about 20+ years ago! It will be a blessed, glorious weekend.

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