Case for Support Breakdown Campaign Goal: $2,052,000
The Diocese of Richmond through the Living Our Mission campaign is helping parishes address many of the current and future challenges they face trying to spread the Gospel of Christ. One of the challenges we face at Saint John the Apostle is the need for a larger, flexible faith formation, social, and meeting space. With the Living Our Mission initiative, the Diocese will help Saint John the Apostle Parish attain its goal of building the new, multi-use parish center within the next several years.
Saint John’s is a vibrant, expanding parish that has at its core the quality of fellowship! Our current activity rooms are not sufficient to meet present needs. The proposed parish center will be approximately 19,000 square feet. It will not only meet the current needs of our 3,000 families, but will provide sufficient space for years at our present growth rate. The approximate building cost is 4 million dollars, at current prices. Our parish goal is $2,052,000, of which two-thirds up to goal is returned to the parish, and 90% over goal is returned to the parish.
Parish Share: $1,368,000
Building a New Multi-use Parish Center
The positive effect this project will have on our faith community cannot be overestimated. While the brick-and-mortar needs of our parishioners must be met, constructing a parish hall is really about building the framework for greater ministry and parish fellowship. Take for example:
Faith Formation: Parishes must be more than just a place to gather for weekend Mass. Parishes must be vibrant communities that encourage and facilitate faith formation. A parish hall will accommodate our growing sacramental preparation and religious education programs. Additional space will allow us in some cases to expand sacramental preparation to include the parents of young children. Moreover, adult faith formation programs, such as RCIA and Sunday Theological will enjoy an environment that is more conducive to learning; a place where all can grow in their knowledge and love of Christ and His Church.
High and Middle School Youth Programs: Our youth are important members of our faith community, yet we are limited to what we can offer them at Saint John’s. Our youth groups require space to grow. A parish hall will provide adequate room for meetings, activities, and “fun” nights. We need to draw them in with a bigger and better area in which to explore their faith and mature.
Community Outreach: Our parish boasts a very large, very active Outreach Ministry with monthly collections throughout the year for ministries such as Holiday Outreach (food and gifts), Feed Our Neighbor (food for the homeless), Samaritan House (a shelter for victims of domestic violence); Support Our Troops, and Food Pantry support. During the holidays, we sponsor an Angel Tree for the needy as well as a Community Outreach tree to support our efforts with housing
and fuel assistance. Space to collect and sort food, clothing, blankets, and diapers is greatly needed to avoid over congestion in the commons and to provide a centralized drop-off location.
Parish Fellowship: Bereavement and hospitality teams often host receptions in the commons. These events support parishioners who have lost a loved one and aid in forming a sense of community. But they are often overcrowded. A parish hall would provide more privacy for bereaved families and a better overall social setting for the entire parish family. Can you imagine: the annual Valentine’s Day dance; the annual Veteran’s Dinner; parish teas for the ladies, men’s evenings hosted by the Knights, and our monthly Knights of Columbus Breakfast all hosted in a suitable space, equipped with commercial-grade kitchen, and geared to serve parishioners in a spirit of camaraderie.
Parishioner Connections: Few realize that the parish office receives many requests for space on the church campus to hold baptism, First Communion, and wedding receptions, as well as family reunions. Currently we cannot honor requests due to a lack of appropriate and adequate space. A parish hall will allow us to better serve and accommodate the myriad needs of our parishioners.
Saint John’s School: Finally, a parish hall would accommodate overflow from Saint John the Apostle School, which in turn means that school space will be freed for other academic uses with an eye towards improved student performance. Expanded summer camps, advanced learning workshops, and space for math and reading labs can be developed if the ministries currently using the school are relocated to the hall. Moreover, school classes will have access to the new building on weekdays for subjects such as Religion and Spanish. At its current growth rate, St. John’s School will exceed capacity in a few short years unless some of the classes can be transferred to the hall. If the school maintains this level of growth, we know that we will have to expand the school building. A new parish hall will buy us some much-needed time.
Through the Living Our Mission campaign, we hope to complete the goal we set a long time ago to build multi-use parish center that will adequately prepare our parish for future growth. A growth not just in brick-and-mortar, but an expansion that will allow us all to grow in faith and fellowship, and ensure we are prepared to reach out into the surrounding community to spread the Gospel of Christ.
Living Our Mission will allow Saint John the Apostle Church to fulfill its call to be “a place where all are welcome as we respond to the needs of our community and the world through Word, Worship, Stewardship, and Service.” To be truly Church to all, we seek to build on our parish’s desire to grow in faith and union with Jesus Christ and one another in a spirit of devotion, fellowship, and hospitality.Fr. Rob Cole, Pastor