422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
Founded in 1828, Grace Church looks forward to celebrating our Bicenntenial very soon! Over the past several years we have listened, gathered, surveyed, focused, and discerned – asking how the Holy Spirit might be inviting us to grow in our next 200 years. Keeping all of our hopes and dreams in heart and mind, we have embarked upon a Bicentennial Capital Campaign for A Future of Grace.
We take our part in the mission of the Church: ‘To restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ,” (BCP, 855). To share in God’s mission, we have discerned three key areas of shared ministry in our community: Prayer, Compassion, and Belonging. These three focus points ground our entire life as a spiritual community and weave together every aspect of the development side of our campaign.
The Bicentennial Campaign is about BELONGING. It’s about what it looks like to belong within the Grace community – as families, adults, children, youth – through all of our worship, programs, and services. It’s also about the physical presence of Grace as a space that belongs to our community as a whole. How can we create and maintain space that exists for and with our neighbors in Gainesville? How can we be a blessing to our own members and to our wider community? How can we make belonging, as a member of the Body of Christ, both tangible and attractive? Individual and communal?
We are extremely grateful to all who have pledged their support for the Future of Grace campaign. However, with prayerful consideration, in March 2020 the Bicentennial Committee made the decision to postpone our campaign in light of COVID-19 and its impact on our life in and outside of Grace.
We will send out more details in months to come. All who have made pledges will have the opportunity to revisit their pledges prior to the campaign being finalized.
After a multi-year process of surveying the parish and investigating the needs and priorities of parishioners, three projects have come to the forefront:
In order to grow the existing building reserve fund, we will transfer 20% of up to $1,250,000 in pledges received to the building reserve in order to pay for any future repairs and maintenance required for our facilities. Doing this will alleviate pressure on the annual budget when unexpected repairs are needed and allow the focus of the annual budget to be on worship, outreach, and programs. Additionally, the vestry has agreed to include a line item in the annual budget to replenish the fund as it is used.
The youth of Grace are an integral part to the present life of Grace. Our plan is a complete remodel of the space used by our youth, which will include new hard surface flooring, modular furniture and storage solutions, and the installation of windows along the back wall to allow for natural light.
We will also upgrade the audio and visual technology to allow a better use of technology in youth programs and by other parish and community groups that occasionally utilize the space.
The worship space of Grace church is wonderful, but has some limitations. Successfully funding this campaign will allow us to address these limitations and enhance our worship and community events.
The current choir loft is too small and is difficult to access, which deters from being able to participate fully in the life of the church. Through this campaign, the loft will be expanded by a proposed additional 8 feet. This will allow for a larger choir. Additionally, the loft will be more-easily configured for special events and feast days. The piano will be relocated to the loft to provide more space at the front of the nave. Expanding the loft will include a reconfiguration of the stairs, providing better access to the loft.
In addition, the narthex space will be expanded out to the stone pillars currently in front of the entranceway. Currently, with service participants lining up, ushers and greeters guiding people, and parishioners entering for worship, the narthex is a crowded, chaotic space before a service. Expanding the space will allow more room for all. It will give service participants a place to congregate before the service and allow a separate space for greeters, ushers, and those entering to worship. This will change the dynamic of the space to one where a person entering the space can transition from the hectic outside world to the sanctuary that is Grace Church.
The project will also involve reconfiguring and enhancing the chancel space. First, the reredos will be replaced with a new reredos that allows for more space on the chancel and focuses attention on the stained-glass windows in the apse. The reredos incorporates the trefoil element from the early church and the wood compliments the organ casing.
The chancel itself will be expanded to a wider footprint, which will allow all servers to sit on the chancel. The stairs in the center of the chancel will be eliminated to ease traversing the chancel during service. The communion rail will be altered to run across the front of the nave. This will streamline communion and lead to less congestion at the communion rail.
Relocating the piano to the choir loft will allow two more pews to be added to the front of the nave to provide additional seating for parishioners.
The campaign to support A Future of Grace has set a goal of raising $1.5 million to prepare Grace for its third hundred-years. Throughout our history, the parishioners of Grace have always had the foresight to prepare the church to be a vibrant part of the community. As Gainesville grows and changes, it is our turn to join the lineage of those who have kept Grace a cornerstone of the city.
The campaign is also committed to not incur any long-term indebtedness. While this is good stewardship, it means that unless we meet our $1,500,000 goal in gifts and pledges, we will be unable to fully fund all three projects.
We are extremely grateful to all pledged their support for the Future of Grace campaign in the early months of 2020. However, with prayerful consideration, in March 2020 the Bicentennial Committee made the decision to suspend the campaign until 2021 in light of COVID-19 and its impact on our life in and outside of Grace. All who have already made pledges will have the opportunity to revisit their pledges prior to the campaign being finalized.
With your help, we will position Grace Episcopal Church as a thriving spiritual community as we step into our third century of shared ministry – with prayer, compassion, and belonging.
Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to thee, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly thine, utterly dedicated unto thee; and then use us, we pray thee, as thou wilt, and always to thy glory and the welfare of thy people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.