St. John’s Squamish – Debt Free at Last! July 26, 2018
After a series of extraordinary donations and a grant in the spring, the parish of St. John the Divine in Squamish went from barely making small payments on a third building loan of over $20,000 to seeing our eternal roof fund debt reduced to about $6000. With this good news, Church Committee resolved in June to start a fundraising campaign over the summer to pay down this debt by the end of the year. Some of us were jaded, “Here we go again…how will we raise this kind of money when we’ve been barely able to make minimal payments since the last building crisis?”
Fortunately there was a small group with some novel fundraising ideas: raffling a gift basket of donated wine and preserves, shave and shear the Pastor to “Shingle the Debt”. Somewhere in the two-week campaign for Karen Brumpton’s Wear a Hat to Church idea , people galvanized. Photos of Reverend Nick and People’s Warden in fancy hats went around. We heard thatArchbishop Melissa, the Diocese and anonymous parishioners sent in donations of $1000 and more. When we came to church on July 8 and rented a hat from Karen’s collection, the day’s offering, together with the other donations put us over the targeted $6000 goal! This happened in about a week, a significant accomplishment for a large parish, a miracle (again) in the little parish that could.
This is big news for St. John’s, Squamish. Since forming a building committee in 1996 for a beautiful new sacristy that opened in 2000, we have been overseeing construction, as well as meeting, planning and fundraising for this and subsequent building repair and maintenance projectswithout a break. It seems that when needed, we have been blessed with people with the skills and energy to plan and complete these projects, along with others able to galvanize the membership to find extraordinary ways to pay for them. We also have a debt of gratitude to Diocesan staff and council, as well as the Anglican Foundation for expertise and grant support to these accomplishments over the years.
And yet, necessary and worthwhile as they have been, these building projects have been a burden and distraction for many of us at times. We have created beautiful spaces for ourselves and the community to use, but parish outreach has been limited by the energy these projects required.
We have recently been inspired by what we can accomplish when we open ourselves to the creative spirit within each of us. But now comes a new luxury and challenge: We are free from debt – for now. So, how do we meet Christ’s expectation to spread the gospel in new and creative ways? Do we use this extra money to build a contingency fund and support the usual causes, or do we dare to be fools for Christ, and dream big, novel or even a little crazy in how we use it? What unique gift can St. John’s make to Squamish, and maybe even the wider world?