Capital Campaign Possibilities: Parish Meeting, Dec. 3, 2017

This letter was sent out to the parish in mid-October. 

Dear friends,

On May 18, 1957, a group of worshippers gathered for the first time as St. Dunstan’s Church. In its early years, the young congregation developed its identity and sense of mission to include an abiding sense of warm welcome for all; room for members to offer their gifts and skills to build, cook, create, and more; care for the natural world; and a commitment to serving the surrounding community. Sixty years later, these remain hallmarks of St. Dunstan’s Church.

Even as we treasure our past, we look with hope and curiosity towards our parish’s future – and strive to make provision for its needs. In our current season of vitality and growth, the constraints of our physical space are becoming evident. Our main building barely accommodates our growing programs for children and youth. Our gathering area constrains coffee hour socialization, and though we love to eat together, our too-small kitchen inhibits cooking together. Our stairs and cramped bathrooms limit participation by those with mobility challenges. The beauty of our nave is marred by shabby chairs. Too often, our building places limits on our fellowship and ministry.

In 2015, your parish leaders began to think seriously about the possibility of a capital campaign. Constantly seeking both guidance from the Holy Spirit and feedback from the congregation, we have followed that path for over two years now. The capital campaign discernment teams have heard your ideas, your needs and your hopes about how our building and grounds could better accommodate our mission – or as one member put it, how to make our building match what’s in our hearts.

On Sunday, December 3, there will be an open parish meeting from 9 – 10:30am. (Our 10am worship will start late, to give us enough time!) At that meeting, we will present to the parish what all those ideas, needs, and hopes could look like: new visions for our main building and grounds. Our architect, Bill Robison of Engberg Anderson Architects, and our capital campaign consultant, Linda Buskirk of the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF), will be present with us to share plans, explain the process, and answer your questions. If you can’t attend that day, don’t worry! We will make materials available on our church website and as printed handouts, which will be mailed to members who don’t use email.

We are placing all these possibilities before the parish so that we can decide together whether to continue down this path. The next step for us, in ECF’s three-step process, would be a parish-wide Feasibility Study. In the Study phase, we would work closely with our consultant to survey members’ interest in, and willingness to support, our proposed plans. That information would be used to finalize the vision for the project based on the congregation’s priorities and on a realistic sense of the funds we are likely to raise. At the conclusion of the Study phase, we would decide whether to move ahead with fundraising.

Following the December 3 parish meeting, or whenever you have a chance to review the proposed projects, all members are encouraged to share your reactions with the Vestry – either in person at an open forum (date TBD) or with an email message sent to vestry@stdunstans.com . The core question at this point is: Are we excited enough by these possibilities to take the next step down this path? The Vestry anticipates making a decision about moving ahead to the Study phase by December 21, and your input will inform their decision.

It’s been fascinating and wonderful to watch a concrete vision begin to emerge from all the frustrations and possibilities we’ve named over these months of shared conversation. We are looking forward to sharing that vision, and continuing to refine it together.

May the Spirit of wisdom continue to lead and inspire us.

In Christ’s peace,

Celia Fine & John Laedlein,
Capital Campaign Discernment Steering Committee Co-Chairs
The Rev. Miranda Hassett, Rector

Helen Lackore, Mary Ann Fraley, John Rasmus, Dick Bloomenkranz,
Steering Committee Members
Michelle Windle,
Vestry liaison to the Steering Committee

6205 University Ave., Madison WI