The Diocese of Massachusetts’ Together Now fundraising campaign has surpassed the $13-million mark toward its $20-million goal.
Nearly $9.8 million of the $13,162,014 raised as of June 8 comes from leadership gifts. Congregations conducting local campaigns in collaboration with the diocesan campaign have contributed another $2.6 million toward the diocesan goal out of the $8.7 million they’ve raised so far (30 percent of the total amount raised in collaborative campaigns goes to the overall diocesan goal while 70 percent stays in the congregations for their self-determined local needs).
Congregations have also given $145,625 in pledges and $312,500 in gifts from independently run parish campaigns; another $330,765 has been raised to date through in-pew collections, which are continuing through the summer months.
Behind the numbers are a host of local success stories from participating congregations of all sizes:
The small congregation at the Church of St. Augustine and St. Martin in Boston was reportedly daunted by an in-pew collection goal of $23,000 but then went on to collect nearly $27,000 on its commitment Sunday.
Leaders from one of the oldest parishes in the diocese, St. Andrew’s Church in Hanover, said they stretched beyond their comfort zone to learn new fundraising skills through a collaborative campaign and are now over three-quarters of the way toward their $400,000 goal.
All Saints Parish in Brookline took on a collaborative campaign at a time of transition, as its longtime rector prepared to retire, but nonetheless raised $1.4 million--$200,000 more than its goal.
“Because we are a culture of individualism and congregationalism, we do not always realize that we have more power when we pull together to do the work of the Gospel,” Bishop Gayle E. Harris wrote in the June 2012 Campaign Update newsletter, issued June 15, in which she asks congregations, if they have not done so already, to commit to one of the several options for participating.
“Whether we are working to fund mission hubs through which congregations will become creative partners to meet community needs; or joining with others in service as members of a global village; or caring for God’s abundant creation in responsible and joyful stewardship; or investing in ministry with youth and young adults so that the church can be relevant to them and enriched by them; or transforming our cathedral church into a welcoming common place for worship, exchange and witness—in each and all of these initiatives we are answering the call together,” Harris wrote of the various projects the campaign will fund.
In addition to first grants designated earlier this year from the diocesan campaign’s $2-million global mission tithe—for a new hospital in Uganda and vocational training and health care ministry in the Diocese of Jerusalem—money already raised through the campaign made possible in May a new round of grants to congregations of the diocese through the Creation Care Initiative—about $154,000 in Green Improvement Grants to help congregations make energy-efficiency improvements to their church buildings, and another $4,000 in Simple Acts Grants, which encourage smaller projects that focus on environmental awareness and conservation.
The Together Now campaign was publicly launched in November 2011 and will fund an array of mission initiatives. In addition to the $2-million global mission tithe and the $2-million Creation Care Initiative, the campaign will designate $4.5 million to create regional “mission hubs” and a mission institute (the latter a collaboration between Episcopal City Mission and Episcopal Divinity School); and $7.5 million for ongoing and expanded ministry programs with children, youth and young adults.
Another $4 million from the campaign will pay for renovations to the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston. The cathedral church announced in March the selection of a sculpture proposal by Philadelphia artist Donald Lipski to complete its long-empty pediment. (Read and hear more about the pediment project here).
The pediment project—hoped to be completed this November—is the first part of more extensive renovations planned for the cathedral church. Those plans include replacing the box pews with kneeler chairs around a central altar, so that the liturgical space will be adaptable for varied use; a glass-walled entrance and chapel area that will make the indoor life of the church more visible and inviting to the world outside; skylights to bring in natural light; energy-efficiency improvements to the heating system; and a new elevator to improve accessibility. Renovations are scheduled to being in early 2013.