An identifying mark of being an Episcopalian is being part of a larger body of Christians, geographically organized into Dioceses. Our Diocese, the Diocese of California (consisting of the Bay Area), is embarking on a major capital campaign called Expanding Horizons. This campaign seeks to raise between $20-$32 million from direct contributions and from shared campaigns with individual churches. St. James’ was invited to participate in our own capital campaign, using diocesan consultant resources, with the caveat that 30% of what we raised would be contributed to the larger diocesan campaign. In October of 2016, after much discussion and prayer, the Vestry decided that this was not the opportune time for St. James’ to begin a capital campaign. Rather, we felt it best to focus on strengthening and stabilizing our operating income, allowing for long-term sustainable ministry.
However, the diocesan campaign is meant to enable the diocese to make significant impacts in our churches and local/global communities. Among other things, the campaign funds will be directed towards advocacy to slow/eliminate climate change, support for the Dioceses of Haiti and Jerusalem, essential housing for the underserved and for clergy, long-term solutions for the poor through Episcopal Charities, and increased facilities and resources at our retreat centers. The campaign funds raised will also benefit the local congregations through grants for new ministry and endowment funds for new staff positions.
While the vestry did not feel the timing right for our own campaign, the value of the diocesan effort and the potential for positive impact was recognized and generated excitement and enthusiasm. In addition, we recognize the importance of being one part of the Body of Christ in the Diocese of California and want to honor that relationship and strengthen that connection. To that end, the Vestry voted in our January 2017 meeting to make a one-time donation of $10,000 to the Diocese of California Expanding Horizons Capital Campaign. This money will come from funds designated as the Schader/Streckfus line item in our special interest accounts. This line item consists of direct, undesignated donations made from Shirley Schader and Frances Streckfus.
Please join me in praying for every success for this campaign and for the ministry of our Diocese and churches. For more information on the campaign, you can check http://diocal.org/expanding-horizons.