You are the light of the world, Jesus says to the disciples in the Sermon on the Mount. You are the light. Each of us, in our particular ways, bears forth the light of Christ into the community as we seek to live out our baptisms. Each of us uniquely reflects glimpses of the living God in the world. Our experiences of worship and the Eucharist nourish us to then go out into the world and to do the work that each of us is called by God to do. The Chapel of the Cross, this parish family, nurtures you on that journey such that you have the boldness, the fortitude, the courage to shine forth with God’s love in the world. You are the light.
In the fifth chapter of Matthew, in preaching the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus exhorts his disciples to be servant leaders. You are the light of the world. People do not light a lamp and hide it away. You must share your light with everyone. That is how you glorify God.
Jesus demands our self-offering, that we share our lights — our blessings, our fortunes, our treasures and talents are not ours to hide away. They are the very means by which we glorify God, through service, through sharing, through effort and work. As disciples of Christ we are called — we are commanded — to act. We may not hide, we may not hold back. You are the light of the world. Especially in times of darkness, we must shine forth God’s light.
In this time, we are called to fortify a foundation for the future of The Chapel of the Cross. We are called to use our blessings to ensure that the church will be equipped to serve our community for the years to come. We are called to steward our resources, to provide steadfast footing for programs that engage and serve, and to shore up our infrastructure.
You Are The Light. You are the foundation upon which The Chapel of the Cross will build its future. Join us as we shine our light — to strengthen our church, to nurture our community, and to prepare for the great works we are yet called to do.
Since its founding in 1842, The Chapel of the Cross has looked to the future. Visionary leaders called the church to protect freedom of thought, discussion and research in the face of protests against teaching evolution in schools. They integrated our parish years before Brown v. Board of Education. And they built up, restored, added to, and reinvented a church campus that could shelter the faith of the university community and a growing city through constant change.
In 1842, the 15 members of Chapel Hill’s Episcopal Parish worshiped in their homes while construction on their little church progressed. In 2014, we completed a renovation of our historic chapel, added new classrooms and youth space, and opened the doors to a new, 30,000-square-foot Parish Hall, ushering in an era of fellowship, teaching, ministry and community engagement that our founders could only have imagined.
Our Parish Hall has exceeded even our own modern-day expectations. It has hosted congregational dinners, worship, music, adult education, parish dialogues, dances, weddings and so many other moments of fellowship with our community partners. Other new spaces house our preschool, youth Sunday School, choir practice, the Johnson Service Corps, election voting, English-as-a-Second-Language courses, parenting sessions, and addiction recovery programs.
These remarkable spaces are the result of your generosity and commitment to the A Light On A Hill Campaign, which also raised funds for upgraded heating and cooling systems, enhanced fire and safety features, and renovations to our historic chapel. Thanks to you, our physical campus today embodies and amplifies our church’s vision – to equip and inspire parishioners to live out their faith, to grow as Christians, to create community, to welcome all, to share our faith, and to sustain and steward our church for present needs and those to come.
A Light On A Hill Campaign provided more than $7.9 million toward the $10 million cost of the new facilities, the chapel renovations, and other building upgrades with the difference funded through debt. Our parish leaders carefully and strategically managed the funds raised to ensure that every dollar was used to its fullest potential. And we have benefited so much from the blessing of our new Parish Hall, which has dramatically enhanced our ability to serve and build our community. The decision by the Vestry to move forward with construction of the new addition – at a time of historically low interest rates and when building costs were substantially lower than today’s prevailing costs – proved to be fortuitous. Its construction, along with the chapel renovations and other additions and refurbishments completed through A Light on a Hill Campaign, have immeasurably enhanced not just the physical campus but also our ability to live into our mission. We have the campus we need to move boldly and faithfully into the future.
But we cannot rest. We cannot dim our light. There is more to be done.
Now we are called to fulfill the promises we made in the Light On A Hill Campaign by retiring the debt incurred; by replacing the 40-year-old Kleuker organ, which has brought us enormous joy but is nearing the end of its mechanical life; by addressing renovation needs in older parts of our church’s campus; and by funding programs that will leverage our new spaces in ways that grow our community and advance our mission. These are needs that require urgent attention.
The You Are The Light Campaign seeks to raise $4 million to support four initiatives:
Carefully steward our resources to provide stability for the future. We must address our outstanding debt and free annual funds to fund ongoing maintenance needs. ($2.2 million)
Our current loan is expected to be paid off in 2021 – two to three years ahead of schedule. Every dollar of debt we can repay sooner, rather than later, will reduce the ongoing interest payments required to service the loan. When we fully repay the loan, we will redirect the portion of our annual budget–in 2019 $30,000 and in 2020 $35,000–that has been used to service our debt toward a new maintenance fund that can address ongoing building needs. In paying off our debts and creating the means by which we can more routinely care for our campus, we will position our church on a much sounder financial footing for maintaining our buildings and grounds in the years to come.
Preserve and extend our musical heritage by replacing the Kleuker organ, which is slowly failing and does not warrant further repair. ($1.5 million)
Over the past year – even as this Capital Campaign was being formulated, and after it had commenced – the mechanical failings of the Kleuker organ have accelerated, to the point that experts believe it may become unusable in the near future. As a result, we need now to begin raising the funds for the purchase, installation and routine maintenance of a new or used replacement organ. Our initial evaluation indicates that we will need to secure $1.5 million in pledges to place in service a new or used organ of a quality in keeping with our historical musical standards. This amount includes a reserve of $100,000 that will be set aside to ensure the routine maintenance of the replacement organ in the future. No commitment to purchase a replacement organ will be made until we have received enough pledges or outright gifts to ensure that the organ can be purchased and installed without borrowing any money.
Repair and renovate aging parts of the church’s physical infrastructure to care for the church that cares so well for us. ($200,000)
Until our annual budget can assume a greater role in ongoing maintenance, we must address new and pressing needs. Items in need of repair or refurbishment include the sanctuary windows, the Yates wing restrooms, and chapel pews and flooring. We also need to invest in new technology and other communication tools that will enable us to better serve our parishioners (e.g., by live streaming services). Tending to such necessities is an important way in which we sustain our church and fulfill our mission — by being strong stewards of our people, facilities, and resources.
Enrich and sustain our capacity to establish and support new and creative programs that nurture our growth as disciples, that welcome and include all, and that share our faith with the community and the world. ($100,000)
As we work to live into our mission of ministering to our community and growing as disciples of Jesus Christ, we must explore new ways to engage and welcome new and diverse segments of the community. To do so, we will use these funds – plus an equal amount of resources to be identified in the future – to catalyze and seed new, creative programs that further our mission. Our goal is to fund such initiatives at the rate of $20,000 to $25,000 per year for a 10-year period, until such time as we are able, through future bequests and other dedicated gifts, to create a special endowment for the ongoing support of these programmatic objectives. An example of an initiative that would fit with this concept: the Royal School of Church Music Program, which would offer youth and adult music and leadership training to the community, possibly in collaboration with UNC and the local public school system.
Through the You Are The Light Campaign, we will shore up our resources, strengthen our financial foundation, and develop ways to responsibly care for our church and advance our programs far into the future. It is an opportunity not just to give but to engage, together, in the ever-continuing transformation of our faith and our relationships. And in doing so, we follow in the footsteps of our predecessors in preparing our community for the generations, needs, and opportunities yet to come.
We are commanded to shine our light on the world, both our own lights – our gifts, our treasures, our blessings – and the light of our church, which has done and can do so much to uplift and sustain our faith and our community. We invite you to prayerfully consider how you will shine your light in the service of our faith community, to the glory of God.
It may be challenging to imagine how to make a significant outright gift to this campaign. Careful and creative planning may make the impossible easier. As you consider an investment in the future of The Chapel of the Cross, you may want to evaluate several gift options described below. Early payment on commitments will be especially beneficial in reducing future interest payments as more of our debt can be paid off at an earlier time.
Gifts of Cash
Cash contributions may be made through a commitment over three years or on an annual basis. Donors receive full tax benefits if they itemize. To meet the goals of this campaign, please consider a pledge over a three-year period. Note: We would encourage you to consult with your tax advisor about the deductibility of contributions to the church. Because of the changes in the tax law enacted in 2018, it may be to your advantage to ‘bunch’ contributions to the church in one year rather than spreading your contributions over three years.
Gifts of Securities
A gift of appreciated securities, either publicly traded or from a private company, may provide greater tax advantages than gifts of cash. You may be entitled to deduct the current fair market value as a charitable gift and, in most cases, avoid capital gains tax on the appreciation of the securities.
Life Income Gift
You may make gifts in the form of charitable remainder trusts or charitable gift annuities. These gifts retain an income for you or others and provide substantial tax advantages. Life income gifts are significant financial, tax and estate planning tools.
Retirement Account Beneficiary Designation or Transfer
Many individuals save for retirement through Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), 401(k)s, Keoghs and similar plans. You may find that after providing for your loved ones, you can make a meaningful gift to The Chapel of the Cross from your retirement accounts. Additionally, if you are of the age where you are required to take a minimum distribution from your retirement account then you have the ability to redirect some or all of that minimum distribution directly to the church and not treat it as taxable income. Please consult your tax advisor if you wish to consider this option. This method of gifting can create a desirable tax outcome. Also, using your retirement account as the funding method for making a gift to the church at your death is especially tax efficient because it will avoid paying any income taxes on the money donated to the church. You are encouraged to consult your tax or legal advisor concerning the implementation of such gifts and the tax savings that can be achieved.
A life insurance policy can offer a meaningful way to fund a charitable gift. You could name The Chapel of the Cross as a primary or contingent beneficiary of a policy you already own. This can be a convenient way to make a substantial gift in an affordable and tax efficient manner.
You may make provisions for The Chapel of the Cross in your will (or revocable ‘living’ trust), designating either a dollar amount or a percentage of your estate. Bequests to The Chapel of the Cross are free from federal estate tax and inheritance taxes. This is an opportunity to make a permanent investment in your life of faith.
Ford Worthy, Campaign Co-Chair
Stephanie Perun, Campaign Co-Chair
Faith Turchi, Parish Administrator and Stewardship Manager
The Rev. Elizabeth Marie Melchionna, Rector