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Capital Campaign: Opening Doors

We are called to missions that support our community, lift up our neighbors, expand our ministries, deepen our discipleship, and welcome newcomers into the Westminster family. Now’s the time to finish what we started with our 2018 “Making Room” capital campaign. Our new campaign, “Opening Doors for Mission, for Community, for Faith,” will enable us to steward and utilize our new Fellowship Hall for the benefit of the church and the community in life-giving and transformative ways.

The goals of this new $1.5 million campaign are to:

  • Complete enhancements to the Fellowship Hall to increase its use for our church family and the greater community. Improvements include building a covered picnic shelter for the playfield, installing partitioned doors to create additional, flexible classroom space in the Fellowship Hall, and repaving the church parking lot. There are also plans to update the carillon bells to call us back into community and welcome a new era in WPC’s history.
  • Pay off the Fellowship Hall construction loan so that all Westminster’s financial resources can be used for missions, Christian education, and discipleship.
  • Support the community outreach and mission initiatives that will take place in Fellowship Hall, including programs for the YMCA literacy program, La Nueva Jerusalén, Scouts, Westminster School for Young Children, and much more. The church has already paid the first round of funding for the Y Learning program.

With these changes, we’ll be opening our doors wide for mission, for community, and for faith. We are guided by God’s call in Micah 6:8 for this important work. Our capital campaign project will enable us to continue to:

  • Do justice, carrying out mission work that meets deep needs in Durham and beyond;
  • Love kindness, building relationships of care that knit us together as a community; and
  • Walk humbly with God, deepening the faith that sustains us as we serve and support one another.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll have time to think, listen, and talk about how the work God does through Westminster can be expanded through this campaign. We ask you to prayerfully consider your gift to Opening Doors prior to April 25, which is Commitment Sunday.

  • Celebration Sunday:  May 15 – Celebrating our life-giving missions and ministries with breakfast and fellowship
  • First Fruits Sunday:  May 22 – Giving the first installment of our pledged gifts
  • Announcement Sunday:  June 5 – Announcing and giving thanks for the total commitments to date
  • Conclusion of Fundraising Phase:  August 31 – We will conclude the active fundraising portion of the campaign; however, contributions toward the campaign can be made at any time.

 

In March 2021, the Session approved planning for a new capital campaign to pay off the construction loan for our Fellowship Hall and “launch” it into the community. The Session formed a team to find a way – through our available space and financial resources – Westminster might positively impact our broader community. This team met into the summer, consulting with the deacons from our Mission Committee and Neighborhood Mission Team and reaching out to our community partners. How can we use this new Fellowship Hall for our neighbors? What does our community need right now?

One answer soon became apparent: pandemic learning loss and lack of social and emotional engagement have been detrimental for many children, especially those in under-served neighborhoods and schools with high poverty rates. Children fell far behind in school during the first year of the pandemic and have not caught up, according to NWEA, a research group. Children’s overall social and emotional health have also been aggravated by the isolation and disruption of the pandemic.

Those conversations resulted in the Session’s approval of a partnership with the YMCA, and beginning in January, Westminster became the host site of a Y Learning program, where 25 students from Hope Valley Elementary School come for after-school tutoring to strengthen their reading skills and engage in teacher-led social- and character-building activities.

Hosting children from Hope Valley Elementary School has a significant meaning for Westminster. Hope Valley School served as the meeting place for our church’s worship services and Church School from 1963-1967. Now we are hosting children from this school for vital learning and social and developmental support, offering these young students a safe place to learn and grow.

In addition to making room for Y Learning, the new Fellowship Hall now hosts the worship services and fellowship gatherings of La Nueva Jerusalén, the Hispanic church that has been meeting on our campus for the last few years. La Nueva had outgrown the space of the Calhoon Cabin; our new larger Fellowship Hall has allowed the church to welcome new families and expand its Sunday program offerings.

Westminster has a long history of providing a home to the Scouts. The Fellowship Hall Terrace has offered additional space for Scout troops to gather and increase their numbers, offering some normalcy for children and an opportunity to gather with their peers as school and school-based programs were canceled or disrupted during the pandemic.

These are just a few examples of how our “Making Room” vision has come to life and, in some ways, to full circle. But we can do more! We continue to envision ways of breathing life into this new building, a physical space for the Westminster family to come together for Christian education programs that help inform our faith; for weddings, baptisms, funerals, and other gatherings that help us better serve and care for each other; and for more opportunities to open these doors and welcome in our neighbors in need and the programs that can help.

How much should my commitment be?

Your commitment is a decision you’ll make through prayer and discernment. Not all gifts will be equal in size, but they can be equal in the sacrifice made by the giver.

What about my annual pledge to WPC’s operating budget?

Your gift to the capital campaign is above and beyond what you give to the operating budget, which funds the missions and ministries our community relies on each year, on an annual basis.

When do I make payment on my commitment?

We will dedicate our pledges in worship on Sunday, May 15. Pledges to our capital campaign are payable over three years. We ask that you make the first payment on your commitment on May 22, 2022, and complete payments on your commitment by December 31, 2025.

When was the last time Westminster had a capital campaign?

In 2018: To renovate the Fellowship Hall, perform needed maintenance on our Sanctuary and Mission Center, and pay off the mortgage on the property adjacent to our campus, which we purchased in 2015. The Opening Doors campaign will help bring this work to a financial conclusion.

In 1995:  To expand the Mission Center to add the Parlor, Music Room, and Youth Suite. Approximately four years later, the church organized another capital campaign to raise the funds needed to retire the construction loan. The effort was a successful one for WPC, so an identical approach was sought for the 2018 Making Room and now, the 2022 Opening Doors campaigns.

Who is leading our capital campaign?

The Opening Doors leadership team is composed of Elizabeth Aldridge, Erica Hill, Chris McLaughlin, Page Page, Anne Sherman, Nathan Swiggett, Kim Tupper, Anne Vann, and Jim Young, with Dave Mountain and Sara Pottenger serving in the area of lead gifts. This team and WPC staff are helping to guide the campaign process with support from Tom Norwood of Horizons Stewardship, who worked with us on our 2018 “Making Room” campaign.

 

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