Dear Friends in Christ,
In 2020 the Diocese of Charleston will be 200 years old, and in 2022 St Mary’s Church will be 170 years old. Both of these milestones will be celebrated in a variety of ways, including a combined capital campaign. The diocesan Bicentennial Campaign, which will run over five years, seeks to raise a total of $60 million which will be divided 50/50 between the diocese and all of the parishes, and the amount which St Mary’s needs to raise for the diocese is $1 million. None of this money will go towards lawsuits or settlements related to the misconduct of clergy, and all of it will be spent on the essential ministries of the Church – Catholic schools, the education of future priests, social ministries of many kinds, and the direct service of the poor.
At the same time as the diocesan campaign, St Mary’s will be running a five-year parish campaign called Forward in Faith, and our goal is $6 million to pay for four major projects for our campus. We need to build a two-story annex next to the church along Washington Street that will provide indoor rest rooms for the church along with handicapped accessible confessionals, a nursery, and a practice room for our musicians which will connect directly to the choir loft. We also need to make major improvements to the side of Gallivan Hall and cover the sidewalk where children enter and exit vehicles for school and religious eduction, and it is past time to expand the church office building by enclosing the small space within the garden wall to provide room for our growing print shop and expanded facilities for our staff. And last but not least, it will soon be time to update the church interior by installing new pews and kneelers, replacing the rotting wood wainscoting throughout the building, patching and painting all of the plaster, and refurbishing the organ.
These two campaigns combined mean that in the next five years we seek to raise $7 million, and for many months our parish Finance Council has provided steady guidance in preparation for this moment. The two campaigns will run together from 2019 to the end of 2023, and the projects we need to fund will be accomplished as the funds become available. It is my desire that we not incur any debt during the construction of these badly needed improvements, and I ask you now to begin thinking about the sacrificial commitment you will make to turn these plans into realities.
On Tuesday 4 December we will have a parish Town Hall Meeting in Gallivan Hall at 6.30 pm, and I will explain in detail what each of these projects means to our congregation and how we intend to accomplish them. I will also gladly answer any questions you may have about this plan or anything else in the life of the Church. Please plan now to join us for the Town Hall Meeting on December 4th, and watch for more information soon on how we move Forward in Faith.