At a Special Congregational Meeting held on September 23, the congregation of the Kirk of St. James unanimously voted to undertake a $1.0 million major capital campaign to restore and improve the church building. The vote came following years of deliberations about the future of the Kirk building and its congregation, after a 2014 Aged Building Audit by Coles Associates identified over a million dollars in necessary repairs to the fabric of the church.
During the meeting, David Robinson, Action Clerk of Session, outlined a three-point plan devised by Session to plot the way forward for the congregation. It called for: the launch of a five-year $1.0 million capital campaign to restore and improve the Kirk building; a program of congregational renewal to also roll out over a five-year period; and a commitment to maintain regular church operations and activities during the five years of the renewal program.
“We have worked very hard in 2018,” Robinson said, “to fashion a plan of action that will honour [the] desire to keep the Kirk going, and also deal realistically with the challenges we face in terms of financial capabilities and the number of volunteers available to undertake congregational renewal initiatives.”
The plan outlined will see necessary actions taken to restore the structural integrity and water-tightness of the building, restore stained glass windows, and also incorporate new washrooms, including barrier free washrooms to complement the Kirk’s recent actions to improve the accessibility of the Sanctuary.
The capital campaign will be led by a five-person Capital Campaign Executive Committee that was introduced during the congregational meeting. It will be chaired by accomplished Charlottetown lawyer and Kirk Elder, David Hooley, with fellow lawyer and long serving civil servant Shauna Sullivan Curley, another Kirk Elder, serving as Vice Chair. The committee’s membership is rounded out by Lorne Moase, retired provincial civil servant and former Clerk of Session; David Robinson, current Action Clerk of Session and a retired naval officer; and Rev. Amanda Henderson-Bolton, Minister of the Kirk of St. James.
Planning for the capital campaign will be facilitated by Campaign Coaches, a fundraising support company which helped Summerside Presbyterian Church run the successful capital campaign for its new church building; and by Coles Associates, which will provide engineering and architectural advice and support to the project.
Said Robinson in closing the meeting: “Friends, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for endorsing Session’s plans for our shared future. I believe that we are embarking on an achievable, forward-looking plan that will see us grow into a hopeful future. It is a plan that should allow us to hand down the legacy that is the Kirk to a new generation of believers. I am excited to be getting to work on this project, and I am sure that the rest of the Capital Campaign Executive Committee is as well.”
Plans call for the campaign to be formally launched early in 2019, after necessary preparatory work is completed.