about the campaign
This capital campaign is intended to allow us to complete the transformative project we embarked on more than a decade ago, when The Chapel of the Cross began moving forward with a plan to build a new fellowship hall, to renovate our historic chapel, to add flexible classroom and meeting space, and to overhaul and update important parts of the church’s core infrastructure (e.g., heating and air, and fire and building safety), while improving energy efficiency and providing far greater flexibility to accommodate future program requirements. The project also allowed us to upgrade communications technologies.
While the original impetus for the capital campaign was to repay the money that the church borrowed to execute the above project, a new and increasingly urgent priority began to emerge as the campaign got underway: we recognized that the Kleuker organ, which has served us for the past 40 years, was failing at an accelerating rate and would need to be replaced, rather than repaired – sooner, rather than later. The long lead time associated with finding and installing a suitable replacement organ argued strongly for beginning now to secure the necessary resources to fund this major investment. Accordingly, the capital campaign was reconfigured to encompass the need to buy a new or used replacement organ, while continuing to prioritize the repayment of existing debt.
Why should an organ be placed so high among all the many needs that compete for our attention and our resources? Put simply, our organ and the music it makes possible are at the very heart of our worship life, inspiring us, moving us in ways that words alone cannot, deepening our relationship with God. Our organ also is central to our relationship with our broader community. It is an instrument for nurturing our partnership with UNC, for growing the next generation of leaders in church music, and for bringing artists from around the world to our church to inspire, teach, and create connection. Quite simply, without a functioning organ, we could not fully inhabit part of our mission as a parish.
In addition to procuring a replacement organ, a portion of the proceeds from the capital campaign will be used to repair and renovate parts of our infrastructure that were not addressed by the previous initiative. And, importantly, we will devote a small portion of the capital campaign proceeds, plus an equal amount of resources to be identified in the future, to catalyze and seed new, creative programs that further our mission – an initiative that we hope will lead to the eventual establishment of a special endowment that can support such work in perpetuity.
This capital campaign is the second leg of the fundraising effort that began in 2007. In 2013, when the Vestry decided to take advantage of comparatively low construction costs and interest rates, and begin construction on the new addition, it adopted a financing plan that envisioned a follow-up capital campaign that would begin in 2019—now, in other words. The immediate impetus for this second fundraising leg is the need to refinance a bank loan in mid-2020. In parallel, the accelerating decline of the Kleuker organ and the recognition that it does not warrant repair, means that we must begin now to raise the money necessary to replace it.
The new “addition” has quite simply transformed The Chapel of the Cross. The fellowship hall, which replaced an aging, claustrophobic space that accommodated only 50 parishioners at a time, has been the catalyst of dramatic change for our church family. The spacious hall and kitchen, completed in 2014, is now our family room, dining room, and event space—frequently hosting gatherings of 100, 200 and more. From the pancake supper to the ABC Sale, the addition we built is loved and well-used by our church family and by many community outreach partners .
The new, modern choir room is overflowing with choristers. New classrooms and meeting rooms have multiplied our engagement with the local community. We host dozens of local organizations and events, from the Johnson Service Corps to addiction recovery classes to election voting. With the new facility, the Preschool at The Chapel of the Cross now welcomes children and their families to a safe, beautiful space designed for learning and play. The new facility has delivered important, environmentally-responsible operating efficiencies.
Our revitalized foundation is also enabling our transition to a new generation of leadership, beginning with the recruitment three years ago of The Rev. Elizabeth Marie Melchionna as our rector and, in 2018, The Rev. Noah Van Niel as our associate rector, The Rev. Mary Catherine Young as our associate rector for University Ministry and Dr. Joseph Causby as our music director and organist. Finally, the timing of the decision to build, initiated during the Great Recession and based on years of thoughtful planning, was fortuitous: non-residential construction costs in our community have increased by 25% since 2013, while the cost of borrowing has risen even more.