Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I have an important announcement to make. This past Sunday, we officially launched a very special capital campaign effort that will help us become who we say we are. It’s entitled, the Called To Welcome campaign.
When you walk in the front door and notice our welcoming statement prominently displayed across the narthex wall, it publicly identifies us to be a welcoming place. We make the audacious claim that we welcome everyone because God welcomes everyone.
I can tell you that from the very first day we adopted this statement almost three years ago, we have done our best to live it out in our ministry and work as a congregation.
Recently, we have come to realize that our facility is in the way of making this mission a reality. Our facility is limiting our ability to make anyone with physical challenges feel welcome. The purpose of this campaign is to address these issues.
By now, you should have received a campaign newsletter either during worship on Sunday or in the mail that describes these issues in greater detail. But, let me describe each of them in a sentence or two:
- Look around the Sanctuary for a minute and you will see that if you are in a wheelchair, you either sit behind a big, brown post or underneath the preaching pastor (which is a scary place to sit).
- You will also notice that if you are a choir member or musician, you have to be able to climb 15 very steep steps to get up to the loft. I would probably be in the choir myself if I could make that climb (and, if I could sing).
So, our campaign raises funds to make our Sanctuary accessible.
- We have a good number of bathrooms in our building, but not a single one of them is truly accessible. Believe me, we have taken people around in wheelchairs to every restroom to prove it.
So, our campaign raises funds to make our restrooms accessible.
- Our kitchen is also not as accessible as it needs to be. But, the work we need to do in our kitchen is mostly about safety. Come and watch me light the stove. It’s scary and it isn’t even up to code. Or, come and watch me take a load of hot, steaming dishes out of the dishwasher and I will show you an accident waiting to happen.
So, our campaign raises funds to make our kitchen safe and accessible.
Nursery and Sunday School Area.
- In terms of being a welcoming place, our Nursery is small and unattractive. Unconsciously, it says to a young family, we are not planning on having very many little kids here at First Lutheran and we don’t think they need a very nice space.
- In terms of our concerns for safety, we need to have better access to bathrooms in our Sunday School area. Teachers can not let students go to the bathrooms unaccompanied, while they stay with the other students. That’s not safe.
So, our campaign raises funds to make our nursery larger and brighter and our Sunday School ministry safer and more accessible.
- Besides all the above items, we need to take a look at our 52 year old roof and some of the HVAC systems in the older part of the facility.
- We need to look at the steep entrances to the facility.
- We need to make it easier for the physically challenged to get into the building.
So, our campaign raises funds to fix our entrances, put a covered portico by the front door and upgrade the HVAC issues.
Put all these things together and we have a big project on our hands. So, as you can imagine, we are trying to raise the funds we need to get it all done.
Read about it in the campaign newsletter you received. Read the information we will be sending to you in the coming weeks. Then, please consider doing these three things:
- Pray. Use the campaign prayer card you received during Sunday’s worship as a part of your daily prayers. If you didn’t receive the prayer card, you will see it at the end of this message
- Volunteer your time. It takes many, many volunteers to make a successful campaign. Please fill out the blue card you received on Sunday or are also available from the church office. We need your help.
- Consider a financial gift.
- Join us next Sunday at Noon for the Kick-Off Celebration of our campaign. There will be food and much fun. Please join us!
Finally, thank you for being the generous, welcoming people that you are. Thank you for wanting to be a community that is welcoming and accessible to everyone.
Let us pray,
As your disciples, we are Called to Welcome because you welcome all. Open our eyes, ears and hearts to use our resources as we serve, learn, worship and pray. Empower us to care for each other and serve you always. As God’s community we are stronger when all are engaged in mission together. Throughout the ages, you have challenged your people to do your work. Be with us as we each discern how we will support the work you have given us and guide us as we share our gifts. We ask your blessing, Lord Jesus, on our efforts with faith, hope and love.
God bless you.