July 25, 2019

A Capital Campaign: Just One Piece of the Puzzle

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Medford, Oregon, will dedicate their new parish center on Saturday, July 27. This new building will welcome all who see it, day or night, with an accessible drop-off area leading to an elevated courtyard. From there, visitors will access the church entry, relocated parish offices, or the new Parish Center. Inside the facility, an elevator to all floors, clear signage, and flexible space will improve the experience for everyone, whether they are a child in Sunday School, a mid-week volunteer, or a member of the community visiting us for a meal.

St. Mark’s has been working toward this occasion for many years, and the Capital Campaign was just the final piece of a complex puzzle that made this day possible. Vision, planning, saving, investing, risking…all played major roles in leading up to this day.

In a previous decade, St. Mark’s embarked on a capital campaign that fell short of its goal. With the blessing of the congregation, the donated funds were saved and invested in anticipation of a day when their initial vision might be fulfilled. These carefully reserved funds formed a vital piece of the puzzle. Over the years, with a vision toward the future of an expanding mission, St. Mark’s had purchased property adjacent to their campus as opportunity and means presented themselves. It was a stretch to do this, but their vision overcame reluctance and the church acquired four parcels of land that were put to work in carrying out the mission of the congregation by providing: office space, meeting space, food storage, Sunday school classrooms, a community garden – and equity that might be put in service of a greater vision at some time in the future. These real estate holdings formed a second piece of the puzzle.

St. Mark’s has always been home to deeply committed and profoundly caring members. Their generosity of time, talent and treasure had sustained the mission and ministry of the congregation since its inception in 1889. A few among them recognized that they could still support the church with their treasure even after death had robbed them of the chance to give their time and talent, by including St. Mark’s in their will or estate plan. Within the last few years, St. Mark’s became the recipient of a significant unrestricted bequest from one of these faithful saints – which formed a third piece of the puzzle.

The leadership at St. Mark’s realized that they had in their hands three pieces of an amazing puzzle and that the fourth piece could be had by engaging a consultant to guide them in a modest capital campaign. This became the fourth and final piece of the puzzle.

Oftentimes, growing our ministries in meaningful ways can seem like a daunting task, but if you clarify your vision and start working on the various “pieces” that can turn that vision into reality, over time you might well discover that the pieces will come together in a stronger and more vital church.

The original text of this article has been edited to reflect ECF's current programs.