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Dear faithful people of St. John’s,
For over 90 years, our spiritual forbearers have left us with a rich legacy in this Parish community that serves families from Chicago to as far south as Kankakee, and from Western Indiana to Frankfort.  Leaders in our community and region have at various times called St. John’s home; and it is not lost on me the shoes that I have the privilege to fill, faithful servants like Bishop Montgomery, Fr. Barks and Fr. Vanderslice, who, along with my other predecessors have shaped, not only this congregation, but this community in many ways.  But, as they say, to whom much is given, much is required.  Our buildings are beginning to creep past the ripe age of 72, and the grand lady has not aged so gracefully.  
We have been called to be stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us, and our buildings are among our greatest resources.  There is a stream of thought in Church circles that suggests our buildings and properties are draining the resources of the Church and are contributing to the decline of congregations.  I do not believe this is necessarily the case.  Our buildings do require much maintenance and do strain our budgets, but when used well, our buildings can also be a significant driver of our mission and one of the best evangelism tools we possess.  
Over the years, though, we have fallen into a pattern of raising money for urgent repairs, and then settling into a fallow period of complacency, and at times neglect.  We are not alone in this, and while we have made some significant improvements to our property in recent years, particularly by installing a lift and expanding our columbarium, we have also ignored other serious building maintenance issues.  There was a time in our history when a Rector could go to key individuals and request a check to replace a roof, or to install air conditioning, but those days are in our past and the church faces new realities, some of which we, as an institution, are ill equipped to deal with.  It is in this spirit that I am inviting you all to join me in our Capital Campaign 2020 to Rebuild the Church to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus!  
Some of this work has already begun, and we have taken out a $50,000 loan against our endowment in order to address urgent needs.  We have already repaired the mosaic wall behind the altar and addressed the source of water intrusion, and over the course of the next month we will be remediating the asbestos floor in the undercroft that is no longer intact or sealed; repairing cracks in the foundation that are allowing for water intrusion each time we get heavy rain; and will be making significant repairs to the air conditioning system.  There are still many other issues that need to be addressed, but rather than approaching this challenge as a problem to be fixed, this is a beautiful opportunity to reflect on how we are using our space, or not, and to create a vision for our future in which our facilities are being used to further our mission. 
Please join me on Sunday, August 4thas we kick-off the first stage of our Capital Campaign, the Discernment Phase.  On that Sunday, our consultant from the Episcopal Church Foundation will be here to share with us and to answer questions in a forum following both services in the Resource Room, and you can begin signing up for our Cottage Meetings. In these Cottage Meetings we will be listening for where the heart and soul of our mission lies.  This is our opportunity to dream big about the ways God is calling us to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus in our community. This is not the time to be pragmatic, but to dream big!  The second phase of our Capital Campaign will be the feasibility study, when we continue dreaming, but begin to pair those dreams down as we look at specific areas of mission, and specific uses of the building.  This is when we begin to put on paper our actual needs and mission goals. This is also when we will begin to look at how much it will cost to adapt our space to new needs, to make repairs and engage in the necessary maintenance to ensure that this church is still here and engaging in ministry in another 70 plus years.  The final stage of our Capital Campaign will be the ask. This will be we begin the work of securing gifts and pledges specifically for our capital needs.
Our Capital Campaign 2020 will be a marathon over at least the next three years, and will represent only one aspect of our overall Stewardship goals.  It is separate from our annual Pledge Drive, which will begin this Fall, and from the Planned Giving Campaign that you will be hearing more about in the coming months.  
In the meantime, I ask you to pray.  DREAM BIG and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your imagination as we envision and discern the work that God is calling us to at this time in our history together. Please visit the Capital Campaign page on our website, for more information, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact myself, or any of the members of St. John’s Long Range Planning Committee: Mark Moxley, Sue O’Brien, Bryan Burke, Debbi Huggett, Pat Smith-Huntoon, and Donna Blackburn.  
Fr. Jeremy
Copyright © 2019 Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, All rights reserved.

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