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Frequently Asked Questions

Holy Cross Orthodox Church 2015 Capital Campaign

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Our vision since establishing Holy Cross as a mission church has been to be a beacon of Holy Orthodoxy in the middle of the Piedmont Triad area, offering English-­‐language worship services. God has blessed us, expanding our attendance from approximately 25 at our founding to often more than 100, including a great many children. A larger building will allow us to serve the needs of our growing parish. These include, as our listening sessions revealed, a strong desire for a community space where we can provide education for all ages, partake of shared meals, and enjoy celebrations and other events.

The goal of the Holy Cross building campaign is to raise funds for a church building that can accommodate 250 worshippers, a number based on our understanding from conversations with experienced Orthodox clergy that this is the maximum number of parishioners a single priest can shepherd well. In addition to a church, we also plan to build a fellowship hall with sit-­‐down dining for 200 people, along with restrooms, classrooms, an office, and a kitchen suitable for shared community meals and events. These structures will include essential furnishings and equipment, with opportunities in future years to add iconography. Outside, we hope to build a fenced playground, along with parking and landscaping which enhance the property’s accessibility and beauty.

After conducting listening sessions to hear the hopes and needs of parishioners, we followed with a survey that indicated that many parishioners stand ready to practice sacrificial giving in order to begin building a church and fellowship hall. Their enthusiasm and support, coupled with the availability of loan assistance and encouragement from the Diocese, indicate that our community is ready to begin the work of pooling our resources and planning to build on the land we voted as a parish to purchase in Kernersville.

The next step is to secure pledges for the building campaign. The Parish Council is working with Anthony Scott, an Orthodox Christian who has significant experience helping raise funds to build churches, as well as with others in our parish who wish to serve in this regard, to engage parishioners and friends of the parish in securing financial support. We are also organizing several subcommittees which will work under the umbrella of a Parish Capital Steering Committee to evaluate designs, develop a list of needed equipment and furnishings, evaluate options and finances, communicate progress to the Holy Cross community, and keep the overall project on track and within budget. (See question 6: "What opportunities are there for community input and participation?" for a listing of these subcommittees.) The Parish Capital Steering Committee will work closely with the Parish Council, which is charged with overseeing the project and ensuring we remain financially responsible and true to our calling as an Orthodox church serving our Lord in the Piedmont. Our earnest request is that every parishioner, regardless of availability to serve in one of the aforementioned capacities, will contribute to the success of this project by keeping it and all who labor for it in your frequent prayers.

Our final choice of church building design will take into account several factors:

  • Holy Tradition as reflected in Orthodox architecture
  • Related to the first, a requirement that our design be approved and blessed by our Bishop
  • Our community’s needs, as expressed in several all-­‐parish meetings, surveys, and listening sessions
  • Our desire to honor the many Orthodox cultural traditions represented in our diverse parish community
  • Available funds
  • Our responsibility to maintain a sound financial footing

The next step in our design process is for the Parish Council to appoint a Design/Building Committee comprised of parishioners with experience in building design and construction, as well as those with a strong interest in serving our community in this capacity. This Committee will pursue the following labors:

  • Thoroughly familiarize themselves with parishioner feedback and ideas gathered since Holy Cross first began planning to build a church, as well as with the fundamentals of Orthodox architectural principles.
  • Work with Father Christopher to educate the entire parish on the essentials of Orthodox architecture, so we all understand the purpose behind design choices, and are equipped to explain these to friends, family, and neighbors who will no doubt become increasingly interested as our church’s construction nears completion.
  • Interview architects and builders with experience constructing Orthodox or other churches, consider their proposals, and make a recommendation regarding these to the Parish Council.
  • Work with the architect Holy Cross selects to settle on a final design that incorporates the factors mentioned above, i.e., available funds, Orthodox tradition, etc.
  • Present the final design to the parish for a vote to move forward.
  • Present the design to our Bishop for final approval.
  • Solicit Statements of Work from contractors and builders, and make recommendations regarding these to the Parish Council.
  • Oversee our contractors and work alongside the Parish Council to resolve challenges as they arise.

Now that we are moving into the capital campaign, there will be many more opportunities for community participation in the process of working toward building our new church. Our new Parish Capital Steering Committee will include sub-­‐committees focused on Capital Campaign, Communications, Finance, Design/Building, and Fixtures/Furnishings. If you’re interested in learning more or serving on one of these committees, please speak to a member of the Parish Council.

And if you've given input in the past, it has not been forgotten! We have already received a good deal of input from both the surveys on the preliminary design presented in early 2014, and the listening sessions held in late 2014. That feedback, together with the amount of funds we are able to raise, will inform the final design, which will also be voted on by the parish before being implemented.

To foster ongoing communication, Holy Cross will hold small group gatherings for the purpose of disseminating information concerning the project. This allows for an exchange of ideas and the answering of questions.

One important component of this process is to be in daily prayer for the building project. One can add the prayer that is intoned at the Divine Liturgy.

We pray, O Lord, that Thou wilt guide, bless and fulfill our efforts to build a parish church, and that Thou wilt enable us to grow in spirit and in numbers, as a living witness to Thy love, power and glory.

Also, pray for unity and peace in our parish during this time. Designing a church—especially in a community based on many diverse traditions—can bring unity or division. As in any large family, some of us will disagree, and in the end, not everyone can have everything he wants. We will all face temptation to be angry, to be resentful, to withdraw. We must all strive against any passion which threatens to divide the Body of Christ.

In 2014 we saw what a project goal of $1.3 million would build for Holy Cross. The Design/ Building committee will need to take many things into consideration, including total pledges received, amount available for a commercial loan, total amount of church-­‐friendly loans, and liturgical and practical design concepts. We believe that we can build a church and hall that satisfies most needs for between $1.0 and $1.5 million, but until we have collected pledge amounts and received some of those donations, we cannot set the entire project cost.

Holy Cross will launch a capital campaign in the fall of 2015, assisted by Anthony Scott of Stewardship Advocates, an Orthodox fundraising professional who has advised on over 40 building campaigns by churches, dioceses, seminaries, etc. Following the recommendations of our consultant, the Parish Council has determined that the goal for our capital campaign will be $750,000 in gifts and pledges. We will conduct our campaign in accordance with professional methods used by universities, museums, hospitals, and other similar institutions.

Over the next few months, every person and family in the parish, as well as friends of the parish, will have the opportunity to make their own sacrificial gifts as pledges to the campaign.

Our goal has been to plan our fundraising and building process well, heeding the excellent professional advice available from those who have helped many churches through this type of project. We must receive a significant percentage of pledged funds before moving ahead with borrowing and building. During that time, we as a community will be addressing important issues of design along with the daily work of striving to be a good parish community. The builder we eventually select will help us develop a realistic timetable for construction, and then we will be able to anticipate accurately when we will be able to worship in our new Holy Cross Orthodox Church.

Capital Campaign volunteers will be calling parishioners and church supporters to offer personal visits, during which you can ask whatever questions you may have about the project, as well as receive complete information about how pledges may be made and fulfilled.

In a nutshell, pledge payments can be made in a variety of ways, including setting up regular automatic payments from your bank or charges to your credit card. Many people find that scheduling frequent, smaller gifts can help them fit sacrificial giving into their budgets. If you’d like to know more about how to pledge, and to discuss what method might work best for you, please contact a member of the Parish Council.

All contributions are appreciated. We ask that you “give until it feels good,” to make a sacrificial gift that fulfills the call of the Gospel of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ which says: “since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.” (1 Corinthians 14)

While understanding, of course, that unforeseen circumstances can arise, the goal is to have all pledges fulfilled within three years. This will allow our parish the certainty we need to commit to a design and construction schedule. Of course, pledges which are fulfilled earlier will help us begin the building process sooner.

If a parishioner (including a family member or friend of a parishioner) has money that they are free to invest for a few years, they can loan the money to the Diocese of the South, and in turn that money will be used to help Holy Cross finance our church, not just in the building phase, but in advance of this, by accruing interest for our building fund. Typically this is money that someone will need returned (such as a retirement fund or college savings) but is not immediately needed by the individual or the family. The lender can set the terms after speaking with our Treasurer, Steven Iltis. The range of terms is very favorable compared with traditional bank savings accounts or a certificate of deposit (CD), offering whatever interest rate the lender agrees to, up to 4%. Your loan will be guaranteed by the Diocese of the South. If you are interested in seeing some of the financial data from the Diocese, please have a conversation with Steven Iltis.

The Parish Council and Capital Campaign Committee understand that when people commit to making sacrificial gifts, they deserve prompt acknowledgement. As noted, it's our intent to run the Capital Campaign in a professional manner. This means timely confirmation letters for pledge commitments, immediate deposit of gifts received, and accurate quarterly and annual statements to Campaign supporters.

Concerning recognition of gifts, let us remember the teaching and example of our Lord who praised the widow. This woman, though she gave a small amount in the eyes of the world, in fact gave a great amount in the eyes of God, because it was a truly sacrificial gift. Every gift to the campaign will be recognized and appropriately acknowledged. We want to balance demonstrating the church's gratitude for each gift with parishioners' desire to give sincerely, humbly, and without fanfare.

All past and future gifts to the Building Fund are truly appreciated and will be used for the new buildings and associated costs. Thanks to the gifts parishioners have faithfully made to the building fund in the past, we are now in position to launch our Capital Campaign. This campaign will only be successful, however, with ongoing, sacrificial giving.

That is why we ask you to make your pledge after careful consideration and prayer, indicating the amount that you plan to give in the future to the Capital Campaign. The total of already-saved plus newly­‐pledged funds will help the Steering Committee set a realistic budget for the building project.

The goal of the Capital Campaign is to raise $750,000 in new donations and pledges, which is needed in addition to the amount previously raised if our parish is to achieve its goal of building a church home for Holy Cross.

When people commit their funds and prayers to such a crucial project, it's important to keep them informed about its progress. After all, this is something that belongs to all of us! In addition to announcements and displays at church, there will be regular email updates, information at this new website, and updates on the Holy Cross Facebook page. If you have any questions at all, please ask a member of the parish council, or email info@raisingthecross.org.

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Holy Cross Orthodox Church · www.holycrossoca.org