The Growing Heart Campaign, our capital campaign will commence this spring. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about the campaign:
Why are we engaging in a capital campaign?
The capital campaign has two financial goals. First, we need to raise funds to complete the organ restoration that began in 2007. This remarkable historical instrument was in significant decline, and after over a decade of discussion and consultation, the members of CHUMC voted in 2005 to restore it. In addition to the organ, our building’s interior space does not meet the ministry needs of our growing congregation. Our desire is for CHUMC’s building to outwardly reflect who we are as “church.” This includes making downstairs accessible to all; adding showers and overnight facilities that allow us to expand our social justice ministries; and improving lighting, flooring, and paint throughout the main building spaces to better embody our ministry of hospitality. For more detail about specific projects, please refer to the Building for the Future document.
How did we determine the total dollar goal for the capital campaign?
Capital campaign consultant John Hewett has said churches typically raise twice their annual operating budget in a capital campaign. For the last several years, the CHUMC operating budget has been around $250,000. This gives us a target goal of approximately $500,000 for a capital campaign. This target goal allowed us to complete the organ restoration as well as lay the groundwork for some ministry empowerment projects such as accessibility, compassion, and hospitality.
But we are in a recession. Shouldn’t we wait until the economy bounces back?
We need the funds now. We are contractually obligated to pay for the organ restoration in full at the completion of the project (now estimated to be June 2009). For the first year of restoration, organ payments were made out of the organ restoration fund. Once that was exhausted in August 2008, the church voted to acquire a line of credit in order to make payments on the restoration until fundraising for the capital campaign commenced. In addition to funding the remainder of the organ restoration, the funds raised will help us equip the building to adequately meet the needs of our growing congregation and our expanding ministries. Creating hospitable, accessible, and flexible spaces will provide the physical infrastructure to support our growth.
What’s the big deal about our organ? Why invest so much in it?
Our organ is a remarkable instrument. It is one of the few original Whitelegg organs still in existence and is considered a “tonal masterpiece.” The organ is an M.P. Moller Pipe Organ which was built in 1939 by that company in Hagerstown, Maryland. The organ was designed by Clarence Dickenson and built by Richard O. Whitelegg, one of the most renowned organ builders of the early 20th century. In fact, an independent organ consultant said of our organ, “With some understatement . . . the 1939 Moller at CHUMC is of more than routine interest. The organ’s sound ranges from lush to heroic . . . I have yet to hear another instrument in North America that comes as close to duplicating the massive effect of the Willis organ at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, England.”
The organ was originally built and installed in the National Presbyterian Church (NPC). Capitol Hill UMC purchased the organ in 1966, when NPC moved to its present location on Nebraska Avenue. The organ is one of the few original Whitelegg organs still in existence that has had few alterations. Even though the organ was downsized somewhat to fit into a more limited space, the Whitelegg tonal quality remains in effect. “In the world of organs, ours is a Mona Lisa,” says member, Carol Anderson. To build a new, comparable organ would be upwards of $2,000,000.
Why should the organ be restored? Why now?
An immediate restoration of the organ is needed for several reasons. The organ is an instrument of ministry. It participates in our worship services and sacraments. And it was in immediate need of repair. The organ restoration will prevent irreversible deterioration and preserve this historic instrument for the future. It will broaden the range of music that can be played. The restoration will also take care of multiple ongoing repairs and resolve some tonal issues. The repairs will restore the brilliance and color of tone to the original Whitelegg design.
How much have we already paid for the organ? How much is left?
The total contract for the organ restoration is $542,925. We have paid $193,875 to date. We owe $371,675.
But why are we allocating so much money to the organ? Shouldn’t we give this money to the poor or ministries that actually help people?
Our organ is central to the worship life of CHUMC and has been for the last four decades. It is an instrument that has been with us through every service, every wedding, and every baptism. The music has marked the passage of time, linking us with all the generations of worshippers that have passed and through our doors. It is the soundtrack of our worship life.
The organ is a uniquely Christian instrument. With its sustaining tones, it is ideally suited to accompany the human voice. Both an instrument and architecture, the organ is designed to proclaim the glory of God in a liturgical way. The instrument allows us to praise God communally, uniting us in a sacrifice of adoration and honor. It helps us give back to God. A restored organ will be a legacy to future generations.
In addition to our worship life, the Growing Heart Campaign, the name of our capital campaign, is aimed at equipping our building to better help the poor and guests of CHUMC. The projects identified provide the physical infrastructure necessary to expand our ministries of hospitality, reconciliation, and compassion.
How were the building projects selected?
During January 2008, about three dozen CHUMC members came together for Vision 2010, a morning of prayer and community that focused on the future of the building. The topic was how the building could be used to advance ministry. Surveys were taken and projects were identified during this brain-storming session. In summer 2008, a group of the church’s architects met to further refine the initial ideas identified in Vision 2010. The architects met with contractors and suppliers to assess the feasibility and cost of the various projects. During fall 2008, the refined project list was presented once again to the congregation in a series of six house meetings. Participants had an opportunity to discuss the projects and rank the projects by priority. The final project list was presented and approved by Church Council in November 2008.
What happens if we don’t raise all the money?
The organ restoration is the first priority of the campaign since the church has already contracted to do that work. The congregation will determine the priority of the non-organ projects once funds are available.
How long do I have to fulfill my pledge?
The Growing Heart Campaign will span three years. John Hewett’s experience is that a three year campaign allows individuals to make a significant pledge while moving a project towards completion. Also, because of the likelihood of some members moving, he recommends not extending pledges beyond three years.
How can I find out more?
The Growing Heart Campaign will host four congregational gatherings during the first week of March (see attached letter for times and locations). You are invited and encouraged to come to one of those events. You can also call or email Pastor Alisa, campaign coordinator Abbey Levenshus, or Thomas Rainer with any other specific questions you have. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you.