A campaign for ‘the heart of campus’: ‘The Final Stretch’ seeks to raise $750,000, wrapping up G2G Phase 2

By Susan Shinn Turner

Phase 2 of G2G is now underway. A campaign to wrap up this part of the fundraising, “The Final Stretch,” will run through April 11.

Phase 2 of Generation to Generation will replace the core infrastructure in the sanctuary building and bring needed updates to the Child Development Center. A total of cash and pledges equaling $2.8 million has been raised toward the $3.5 million project, creating $750,000 which is still needed.

“This is the first major renovation of the Sanctuary since 1975,” says Mike Agee, a longtime member of the G2G Steering Committee. “This is our opportunity to focus on what I consider the heart of the St. John’s campus. When you think of St. John’s, you think of our sanctuary. If you look where we have the most people, it is in the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall.”

The committee originally embarked on the final phase of the effort this time last year — then coronavirus hit. Fortunately, the work being done with the architects, Diane Gibbs and Bill Burgin of Ramsay Burgin Smith Architects, continued.

“We had three excellent general contractors who bid,” Agee says. “We talked with six contractors and three submitted bids. We were a little bit apprehensive, but the bids came back favorably.”

R.L. Glover Construction Co. was unanimously selected by the Congregation Council to be presented to the congregation as the general contractor. That vote is slated for April 25 during a called congregational meeting.

The base bid includes the core work for the Sanctuary building and improvements for the Child Development Center.

“We have a real good set of plans of what we know about now,” says Franco Goodman, who serves with Agee on the building team. “We are head and shoulders above where we were the first go-round.”

Thus far, 178 pledges have been received of a total 516 giving units, with 338 potential pledges remaining, according to Mark Lewis, Steering Committee chair. Like Phase 1, Phase 2 is a three-year pledge campaign.

“We are building for future generations just like they did for us,” Agee says. “Phase 2 was part of the original plan. We needed to take a breath, we needed to use our facilities that we had just put in place, and then find the time to move forward.”

“Our community of faith is pretty amazing,” Goodman says. “Most people are very generous and want to be able to step up and help in any way they possibly can. This building is a beacon for downtown. When I went to see somebody, there was never any hesitation of trying to do as much as one could do. And I think that’s the way it’ll be this time. We were in the midst of a plan that got delayed by COVID. Hopefully we can continue to raise the dollars we need and complete the whole project.”

“We built a beautiful building in the Faith Center,” Lewis says, “and the building is wonderful. We are all proud of it. But what we are more proud of is the ministry that takes place there. That’s at the heart of this phase 2 plan, as well.”

“The programs that we have initiated since Covid began have been amazing,” Goodman says. “That’s been the glue that’s holding us together. Kudos to the leadership of our church.”

“Our ministry hasn’t stopped during Covid,” Agee says. “It’s just been different.”

In early December, he remembers, an older couple from church came in just to see the Christmas decorations.

“They came just to sit in the Sanctuary for a period of time,” he says. “That building and that environment means a great deal to a great many people. It brings them comfort and strengthens their faith just by being in that building.”

If the congregation approves the plan on April 25, construction will start in early May and take 10-11 months to complete.

Informational meetings are set for 1:30 pm April 18 and 5:30 pm April 21, both in the Faith Center and zoom.  The Congregation Meeting is set for April 25 at 10:30 am in the Faith Center and zoom. Zoom links are available on St. John’s website and upcoming FaithLife emails.

 

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