On Epiphany Sunday, January 6, 2019, the historic downtown Kirk of St. James launched its “Renewing Hope” five-year, $1.0 million capital campaign. The campaign will raise the funds needed to weatherproof the building, restore stone and brick work, repair the church’s beautiful stained glass windows and provide new washrooms, including barrier-free facilities.
Campaign Chair David Hooley announced the launch, saying: “Our ancestors bequeathed us a very beautiful sanctuary here at the Kirk of St. James. This generation is now the Kirk’s stewards. During the five year process leading up to today we heard over and over how attached this congregation is to their Kirk. This campaign is all about breathing new life into both our physical facilities and into our Christian ministry and community outreach. We chose the campaign name and theme “Renewing Hope” most of all because that’s exactly what this campaign is all about: Renewing Hope. Charting a bright new future for the Kirk of St. James.”
Offering the sermon at the launch, Rev. Amanda Henderson-Bolton tied together the themes of the Wise Men and Epiphany Sunday, and the campaign launch. “It takes courage to start out on a journey like the magi did so long ago. That is part of the reason we chose to launch the capital campaign on this particular day. We pick up on their theme of hope and tenacity.”
Rev. Amanda continued: “I know that we are setting out on this campaign to fix up and improve our building, but it is about more than that. It is about a community who loves one another and loves God. It is about being at home with one another. It is also about the possibilities for the future. We will be working not only on the building but on congregational renewal….I trust in God, who has been with us every step of the way and who I am certain has surprises in store that we cannot yet imagine. Whatever happens, we have our faith and we have one another and at the end of the day I give thanks for that.”
Eight months pregnant, Rev. Amanda reflected: “I feel anxious about this baby coming and how it will shake up my life, my routines, and my sleep. There are tons of anxieties and questions and concerns. But more than any of it is the potential and excitement. I feel the same way about this campaign. I am nervous and anxious but more than anything I am excited to see what God will do with us. He has been working with us for nearly two hundred years and I know he is not done with us yet – we still have things to do!”
David Robinson, the Action Clerk of Session, expressed excitement at the campaign’s launch. “I love the Kirk because of the wonderful community of faithful people it represents, and because of the caring outreach it does in the community and the world. Whether it is serving meals at the soup kitchen, visiting seniors in their nursing homes, helping Habitat for Humanity provide needed homes for people, supporting the Salvation Army Helping Hampers campaign at Christmas, building a family farm in Guatemala, or helping to welcome a refugee family from Syria, we are living out our faith together. This capital campaign will help ensure that the Kirk remains a beacon of Christian hope on the corner of Fitzroy and Pownal streets for years to come.”
The Kirk of St. James was established in 1825 as the original Presbyterian church in Charlottetown. The current stone Kirk Sanctuary was completed in 1878, just over 140 years ago. The phased five year schedule of building restoration and improvement envisioned by the capital campaign should ready the Kirk to joyously celebrate 200 years of service to the Charlottetown community in 2025.
Those who wish to learn more about the “Restoring Hope” capital campaign or who would like to make a tax-deductible donation are invited to contact the Kirk’s office at (902) 892-2839.