Letter To The Parish

September 2015

Dear Fellow Parishioners,

Since completing my term as Warden at the Annual Meeting this past February, I’ve enjoyed knowing the new vestry and leadership team are moving the church forward so well. So I was delighted when they asked me to chair the upcoming Capital Campaign this fall.

Why are we running a Capital Campaign? It’s about maintaining and improving the church, as each generation before us has done. And the church is all of us, sharing our experience of “living the transforming love of God,” teaching it to our children in Christian Education, exploring it together in Adult Education, celebrating it in our worship, and sharing that love with the community at large. We do these things in the Episcopal tradition, which we find beautiful – the elegance of our liturgy, prayer book, and music, within an architectural space which developed with that tradition and reflects its beauty.

Our last major capital investment in the church was 18 years ago, in 1997. The work we did was very successful and retains its integrity today, and now it’s time to take the next steps. A detailed history of the building, its repairs, and what still needs to be done is enclosed with this letter.

We plan to use our property and buildings to host the community more than ever before, allowing us to share our Christian love and care with people outside the parish. People who come under our roof come into our care, and share in our peace. We currently engage the community by hosting 12-Step programs, Greenwoods Counseling Service, community musical events and our own concert series, and we are called to do even more. As we maintain our buildings, we invest in our ability to share our gifts with the community now and in the future.

The Vestry commissioned a feasibility study to determine our capacity to take on the next phase of the work on the church building, and it was clear that we are happy with the current direction of the parish, and that we can raise enough money to permanently repair the next set of challenges below the tower. Based on that study, the Vestry voted unanimously to move ahead with a capital campaign.

This spring, the Seherr-Thoss Foundation looked favorably on a request to fund a grant, and they have put aside $500,000 of matching funds for our project, doubling the first $500,000 we raise. This is huge, wonderful news, and it shows that St. Michael’s is a treasure not just to those of us who worship here regularly, but to everyone in the community for whom it is a living reminder of Litchfield’s history. You may read the Seherr-Thoss grant letter here.

We have engaged a consultant, Maryann Doyle, to help us with the process, and she advised us to run the campaign on the same model as the annual stewardship drive. In fact, she said we should simply perform both as one, which saves us from doing twice the work. So we plan to do it over a two week period just before Thanksgiving, beginning with a parish wide Kick-Off Brunch on November 8th.

Chip Spencer has already agreed to be the General Gifts Chairman, and Ken Merz has agreed to be the Leadership Gifts Chairman. Just like our annual Stewardship Drive, we will need someone to chair Communications, telephone volunteers (don’t worry, no one asks for gifts on the phone), people to organize meals and hospitality, team captains and visitors. It will all be comfortably familiar, and I hope you will agree to roll up your sleeves and help when one of us asks.

This is an historic moment for our parish: We have just called Bevan Stanley to be our next Rector, only the 26th Rector since 1745. This is our time, and this is our opportunity to preserve the church for the next 270 years. Let’s do it beautifully!

Yours in Christ,

Peter Aziz, Chairman
Capital Campaign 2015