Monthly Archives: December 2014

Inquiring Minds

The end of the calendar year, the end of a successful building project, and inquiring minds want to know, what’s next?

You’ve seen our beautiful new parish house, and you know how it is already reinvigorating our parish programs and reigniting our ministry in the community.

The following is an update on our financial picture and how the original project roadmap is progressing towards its conclusion.

Since we began raising money for the capital campaign, the scope of the project has changed in some important ways:

  • Expanded third floor youth and choir spaces.
  • Totally remodeled and expanded Campus Ministry Center, including a new kitchen.
  • Replacement of the stone wall at the Memorial Garden and flanking a widened circle drive.
  • Modifications to the sprinkler system mandated for the entire building — old and new.
  • Painting, carpeting, and new ceilings for the old Yates and Battle wings.
  • State of the art HVAC controls and new chiller — resulting in lowered utility costs.
  • French doors along the hallway beside the Great Hall and darkening shades on the Great Hall windows.
  • AV system in the Great Hall, wireless access points throughout the buildings, voice over internet telephone system, and computer wiring in all areas.

The resulting building will have a final construction cost of slightly more than $9 million.  This includes substantial unforeseen costs of joining our old building with the new, including code requirements.

Many of you have completed your Light on a Hill pledge early or increased your original pledge along the way; however, our original plan to limit our borrowing to $2.75 million is probably too optimistic.  We may need to borrow $3 million or more.

As we begin the process of determining our final payment to the contractor, we are depending on substantial pledge payments here at the end of 2014.  Any advance payments we receive — of regular pledges or legacy gifts — will strengthen our financial position now so that we are better able to weather unforeseen risks later.

We have promised the bank that we will keep $300,000 in cash in the development account during the life of the loan.  Our cash flow model indicates that will start to be difficult in the second half of 2019. In 2020, our interest rate goes up from 3.25% to 6.50%.  The project financing oversight committee will need to plan for a retire-the-debt campaign to begin perhaps as early as 2019 and a refinance of the loan in 2020.  Incremental fundraising may be necessary as well.

Using the project roadmap and fairly sophisticated modeling, we’ve tried to be meticulous and farsighted in our planning.  The operating budget will support the building debt starting with a $5000 contribution in 2014, and increasing by $5000 a year through 2020, when that support is capped at $35,000.

The bulk of our operating budget will be directed towards living into our building and our ministry — funding our programming, outreach, worship, pastoral care, physical plant, and staff.  The 2015 annual campaign is vitally important to our use of our new building, and your annual pledge enables us to budget and plan successfully.

Other needs on the horizon include long-deferred work on the Chapel, from repairing a very porous roof to removing bad paint and replacing it with a historically appropriate lime wash.  We will need to address these problems starting in 2015.

Timely completion of building fund pledges and good response to our 2015 annual campaign will place us in an excellent position to move forward into the future.

If you have not made your annual fund pledge for 2015, consider doing it now.  Use the pledge packet you received in the mail or access the online 2015 annual fund pledge page.
To pay your building fund pledge or make an additional gift, go to the Light on a Hill: Building to Serve page.

Walker Mabe

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I am home

tn.jspAlmost every day at noon, a slight, beautiful woman with astonishing presence slips into the Chapel and takes a seat in the back right hand corner, where sun pours in through the leaded windows.

Eunice Sahle, the chair of UNC’s department of African, African-American, and Diaspora Studies, comes to the Chapel to center herself and to find peace.  More than a decade ago, she was a new professor, and felt very far from Toronto, where she earned her degrees, and farther still from her home in Kenya.  One day as she walked across campus, she caught a glimpse of Gothic windows, and the sight took her straight back to her Anglican upbringing in Kenya.  She quickly made her way to the Chapel of the Cross, and as soon as she walked through the doors, she thought, “I am home; I can make a life here.”

“The Chapel reminds me of home, and by that I mean the ideas, the rituals, and the practices that shaped me,” she said.

The Chapel resembles Dr. Sahle’s Anglican girls’ school chapel, and sparks strong memories of her family and her church.  She was “steeped in Anglicanism,” and was especially close to the late Archbishop Gitari of Kenya, who taught her how reason, tradition, and faith co-exist in the Anglican tradition.

Three years ago, in the wake of unhappy revelations regarding her department, Dr. Sahle was named chair, with the mandate to work with the faculty to reimagine the department, create a new curriculum, and move the department forward.

“During all that has happened, the Chapel has been in the midst of it,” she said.  “On the worst of days, I have found peace here.”

A recent review of the AAAD studies department held high praise for Dr. Sahle and her fellow faculty members.  The review panel noted that the department “has made enormous progress in recreating itself as a very good department on the cutting edge of its discipline.”  It called the “the scope of positive change in these two years…breathtaking.”

Dr. Sahle earned her BA and MA degrees in political science and international development at the University of Toronto, and her PhD at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario.  She worked for the Anglican church in Canada, focusing on African and Middle Eastern development, prior to beginning work on her doctorate.

During Advent of 2010, she was invited back to Kenya by Archbishop Gitari (pictured, with Sahle and her brother, Stanley) to speak to Kenyan students about democratic and constitutional reforms in Kenya.  “That was the last time I heard him preach,” she said.  “During Advent, my memories of him are particularly strong, and I come here to remember him.”

Dr. Sahle often recommends the Chapel to friends who are struggling with challenges in their careers, their relationships, or their health.  “They may not be part of our tradition,” she said, “but they are centered here, and they find peace.”

There is still work to be done under difficult circumstances for Dr. Sahle and her colleagues.  Through it all, our Chapel will be in the midst of it, a reminder of home, a spiritual haven, and place to find peace.

We are here — a beacon to the University and the community, our Chapel doors open to all.  Chapel of the Cross parishioners provide the funding that keeps the doors open and the lights on. Our operating budget supplies funding for global missions and campus outreach.  If you have not made your annual fund pledge for 2015, consider doing it now.  Use the pledge packet you received in the mail or access the online 2015 annual fund pledge page. Discern your ability to contribute and respond to the call with a pledge for 2015, even if you are unable to contribute.

Walker Mabe

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It’s one of the best times of the year

“It’s one of the best times of the year.”

It’s exam time, and the campus center is full of students studying, singing, laughing, and commiserating as our parish house becomes the best place in Chapel Hill to prepare for tests and crank out papers.

This morning we found four students around the big table in the campus center — Morgan Burke, a senior history and political science major from Raleigh; Kate Borden, a junior mathematics and Arabic major from Atlanta; Caroline Warburton, a sophomore journalism major from Marion, NC; and Julia Warren, a junior anthropology and dramatic arts major from Alexandria, VA.

Each young woman had a slightly different path to Episcopal Campus ministry.  Morgan learned about ECM from a past student chaplain’s mom, while Julia and Caroline knew about ECM from counselors at their respective diocesan summer camps.  Kate tried ECM as a freshman but found it hard to shoehorn in another activity (she was on the rowing team).  She returned as  a junior intent on getting involved and was welcomed into the community.

Caroline and Morgan are student chaplains, working closely with Tammy Lee and planning and implementing programming for the weekly meetings, cooking dinner on Tuesday nights, and acting as “servant leaders for the ECM community.”  All four are active in ECM year-round, but exam time brings a special closeness.

Kate was studying for an exam in non-Euclidean geometry, which she describes as more like a philosophy class than a math class.  “Our last lecture was called, ‘What is Truth?'” she said, “and the answer is, ‘Nothing.'”  She explained that non-Euclidean geometry is useful for mapping and for designing planes and satellites.  “Kate wants to build satellites,” her friends said.

Morgan was writing a 25-page paper on Eleanor Roosevelt and her role in the anti-lynching legislation movement in the 1930s, a pile of reference books stacked beside her laptop.  She was soliciting opinions on how to cite a specific source in her bibliography.

Julia was writing analysis of skeletal remains for her osteology class.  Next week she will use the campus center as home base to construct scale models for a dramatic arts class.

Caroline was studying for her exam on the Canterbury Tales, which would require her to identify passages in Middle English.  Her journalism focus is on advertising and public relations, but she “just felt compelled” to take the class on Geoffrey Chaucer’s work.

The newly renovated campus center offers “wi-fi, couches for napping, a giant table, and so much food and coffee,” said Morgan.

“Here, your study break is people,” said Caroline.  “There will be an hour of silence and then someone looks up and says, ‘Hey have you seen the latest Buzz Feed survey?’ and everyone engages in the conversation.”

The students are surrounded by a supportive community that empathizes with the grind of preparation, sends them off with loving support to take an exam or turn in a paper, and celebrates academic and personal triumphs.  The all spoke enthusiastically of fellow student and musician Eric Stuber, who occasionally shows up, sits down at the piano, and announces, “It’s carol time!”  Scholarship is briefly abandoned as four part harmony (with descant) ensues.

Chapel of the Cross parishioners are also welcome guests — cooking lunches and dinners during exams, providing healthy and unhealthy snacks, and offering an adult presence.

“It’s so easy to be overwhelmed during exams by individual stress and a sense of hopelessness,” said Caroline.  “ECM is a loving community that eases the stress and gives you hope.”

We are here, in the heart of the University community.  Chapel of the Cross parishioners provide the funding for  Episcopal Campus Ministry programming and support our priest associate for campus ministry.  Our ECM program is recognized nationally for its vital work with university students.  That work is one of the major reasons we are here, in the center of Chapel Hill.  If you have not made your annual fund pledge for 2015, consider doing it now.  Use the pledge packet you received in the mail or access the online 2015 annual fund pledge page. Discern your ability to contribute and respond to the call with a pledge for 2015, even if you are unable to contribute.

Walker Mabe

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Changing Daily Liturgical Schedule

by Stephen Elkins-Williams

When the “new” Prayer Book was adopted in the late ’70’s, my predecessor, Peter Lee, kept the use of the 1928 Prayer Book at one midweek service as a pastoral response to those for whom the old Prayer Book was still very important. With the Bishop’s permission, I continued that practice, keeping the ’28 BCP at the Wednesday 10 a.m.

service. It is finally time to change that. Attendance has become very, very low, even calling into question whether that hour and time is optimal for offering a midweek service. After consultation with the other clergy, I have decided to stop the Wednesday 10 a.m. service altogether and begin a Tuesday 12:15 p.m. Rite II Eucharist. That will give us two midweek Eucharists, on Tuesdays and Thursdays (5:15 p.m.), in addition to Evening Prayer at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Our last Wednesday 10:00 a.m. service will be on Dec. 17, a week before Christmas Eve. I will have the privilege of being the Celebrant. The first Tuesday 12:15 p.m. service will be on Epiphany, January 6 and then on every Tuesday thereafter. My thanks to those Altar Guild members who faithfully enabled our Wednesday 1928 Prayer Book service these many years, to the clergy who celebrated it, and to those parishioners, living and dead, who found meaningful worship there. To God be the glory.

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