Frequently Asked Questions

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. The funds raised from the capital campaign will be used to repay money that the church borrowed to fully execute the above project. A portion of the proceeds from the capital campaign will also be used to repair and renovate parts of our infrastructure that were not addressed by the previous initiative. And, importantly, we will add a portion of the capital campaign proceeds to the church’s endowment, for use specifically in supporting catalytic-type efforts that grow and deepen our overall missional impact.

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 followup 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.

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.

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 two and a half years ago of Elizabeth Marie Melchionna as our rector and, last year, Noah Van Niel as our associate rector, and Joe 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.

Financial information

The fundraising target is $3.5 million – of which approximately $2.5 million will be allocated towards loan interest and principal payments; $500,000 will be added to the church’s endowment for use in supporting catalytic, generative initiatives for growing and deepening our overall missional impact; and $500,000 will be used to repair and renovate aging parts of the church’s physical infrastructure, while also allowing the church to continue to integrate technology and other means of engaging with parishioners.

An important objective of the capital campaign is to add to the church’s endowment, thereby generating income that can be used to catalyze and augment programmatic initiatives long into the future. This prong of the capital campaign is intended to extend the opportunities for sharing our faith and ministering in the community, by serving as a spark – a fiery light – that can turn promising ideas into self-sustaining realities.

We’ve done this throughout our history. A good example is the Johnson Service Corps, which was created by the Chapel of the Cross through a generous bequest by a long-time parishioner. In 2018 the Johnson Service Corps welcomed its nineteenth annual class of young-adult servant leaders, who participate together in a year of social justice engagement, intentional community living, servant leadership training, and spiritual formation.

Our plan now is to permanently enshrine this part of our DNA, by creating a special endowment that can be used to spark new initiatives to drive our mission. The framework for thinking about how such resources should be directed will be developed in parallel with our fundraising efforts. However, exciting possibilities are already percolating. For example, a natural extension of both our rich musical tradition and our role in fostering servant leadership would be to fund a music-centered training program that would invite the community into the parish and allow us to collaborate with the University in cultivating student leaders. That’s just one idea. The Vestry would love to hear your ideas.

Approximately $500,000 of capital campaign proceeds will be used to pay for repairs and renovations to aging spaces within our physical plant and to further invest in technology that facilitates more effective communication and promotes greater administrative efficiency. Items in need of repair, renovation or replacement include the pipe organ, sanctuary windows, Yates wing bathrooms, and the chapel pews and flooring.

The Vestry will determine how these needs are prioritized. Once the money is raised, some of the needed work will be performed right away, while other expenditures will be spread over the next few years. A case in point is the Kleuker pipe organ, the organ in the main church. It came into service in 1980, was last refurbished in 2000, and currently needs a wide range of repairs, according to three experts who have examined it over the past year. Our plan is to spend a relatively modest amount now (less than $25,000) on immediately needed repairs that can sustain the organ for another five to eight years, at which time a thorough overhaul, or perhaps replacement, would be undertaken. If more substantial – and more costly – repairs are required between now and then, the Vestry might draw on resources from the present campaign.

Your contribution to the capital campaign will help strengthen the church’s ability to address ongoing capital expenditures and repairs. Our long-term loan repayment plan includes an annual contribution from the operating budget. When the loan is fully repaid, the Vestry will be able to re-direct funds previously directed to debt service to a capital maintenance fund. This plan will substantially increase the budget for maintaining our facility, including areas of our building that are more than a century old.

The previous capital campaign, which began in 2007, raised $7.9 million from more than 500 parishioners. Roughly $7 million of that amount had been paid in when the Vestry decided to proceed with the project, at an overall cost of $10 million. We used the money then on hand, plus a $3 million loan from a local bank, to build the fellowship hall, new classroom space, and meeting rooms and offices, and to renovate our historic chapel and replace and enhance important parts of the church’s core infrastructure, while improving energy efficiency and providing far greater flexibility to accommodate future program requirements. The project also allowed us to upgrade communications technologies. Completed in 2014, the space has made an enormous difference in the life of our church.

We borrowed $3,020,000, roughly 30% of the $10 million budget for the overall project. The plan for repaying the loan was adopted by the Vestry in 2013 and has the loan being refinanced in 2020 and repaid with proceeds from a second capital campaign.

We have repaid $900,000 to date from pledges made to the previous campaign. Our outstanding loan balance is $2,100,000. Gifts made to the current capital campaign will repay the loan, grow our endowment, and address our maintenance issues.

The current loan is a five-and a-half-year, fixed rate term loan, with a due date of July 10, 2020. Proceeds from the capital campaign now underway will allow us to refinance the loan next year. Our goal is to repay the loan by 2024, or earlier, if feasible.

The interest rate on the current loan is 3.25%. Our original financing plan assumed that interest rates might rise substantially by the time it was necessary to refinance the first loan. That plan assumed that the interest on the replacement loan would be 6.5%. While we won’t know for a while what the actual interest rate will be on the replacement loan, the rate would likely be around 5.5% to 6% if the refinancing were to occur today.

More information

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.   Matthew 5:14-16

 We named this campaign “You Are the Light” to honor the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus compels us to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us and through our good works to give glory to God. In the last capital campaign, more than 500 parish families gave $7.9 million to support the expansion and renovation of the church – a project that cost $10 million. Now it is our turn to finish what was started and create a lasting foundation for future generations in our parish. Our needs at this moment total $3.5 million.

We understand that every member of our church has different financial circumstances. Some of you may be able to consider gifts of $50,000, $100,000, $250,000, or even $500,000, while others may consider making gifts that are three times your annual pledge. All gifts – irrespective of size – make a difference.

Will you make a gift that is meaningful to you? Will you give more than you gave last time? Will you make a stretch gift? Will you give with joy, and give glory to your Father in heaven?

As you consider your gift, please pray about how this gift will help you declare Jesus’ name and then see where He leads you.

You may make a pledge by clicking the Pledge link on this website or by contacting the Parish Administrator and Stewardship Manager, Faith Turchi, at fturchi@thechapelofthecross.org or 919-442-2566.

As you consider a pledge to the capital campaign, please also consider including the Chapel of the Cross in your estate plan. Several of the largest gifts to the previous capital campaign came from parishioners who accelerated their planned gifts, so the church could move forward with construction at a time when both interest rates and construction costs were highly favorable.

Other ways to give include gifts of appreciated stock, which may positively impact your taxes. You may also want to give quarterly using a credit card that provides you with points and other perks.

Please think of your pledge over a three-year period. Every pledge dollar received is valuable, but payments that are made sooner are extremely valuable – because money used to reduce the bank debt now has the added benefit of reducing the amount of interest that must be paid on that debt.

“You Are the Light,” the name of the capital campaign, is taken from the Sermon of the Mount, where Jesus preaches: “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) “You Are the Light” is intended as an extension of the years-long journey that resulted in the dedication of the addition to the Chapel of the Cross in October 2014. That undertaking was called the “Light on the Hill” capital campaign. It called upon us to provide the financial resources necessary for the Chapel of the Cross to continue to be a shining light upon a hill, in the service of God. The theme of the new campaign reinforces this same imperative, emphasizing the personal role that each of us plays in carrying out the mission of the church.

We are already looking forward to celebrating the successful conclusion of this fundraising effort in the summer of 2020.

Read the full Case Statement >>

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