Friday, October 14, 2011

Promoting the Capital Campaign

When I received my invitation to the Festive Evening tomorrow, I was a bit put off by the information that we would “Celebrate our 175th Anniversary and Kick off our Capital Campaign,” and I quickly checked with people who should know that the anniversary celebration was not simply an excuse to give parishioners the hard sell on the capital campaign. Presumably, I was not the only person who harbored such suspicions, as Lou has emphasized in church that there will be no soliciting at the Festive Evening.

Yesterday, I received my weekly electronic newsletter. I was surprised to see next Saturday’s Mike’s Episcopal Café listed as a “Capital Campaign Fellowship Event.” Mike’s Episcopal Café has, for a number of years, been a fund-raiser for the music program put on by members of the choir. The newsletter made it seem as though the event had been hijacked to benefit the Capital Campaign.

As it happens, the church wanted the choir to cancel the event, presumably because it was seen as competing with the Capital Campaign. A compromise was reached whereby, during the serving of dessert, attendees will be subjected to a 10 to 15 minute pitch for the Capital Campaign and the stewardship campaign. This arrangement seems rather like blackmail, but others will perhaps not find it objectionable. In any case, do note that proceeds from Mike’s Episcopal Café go to the music program, not to the Capital Campaign.

As for the Capital Campaign itself, let me again say that I think that more parishioner involvement is called for. I believe that many specific projects are ill-conceived and that most projects are so vaguely specified that they are impossible to evaluate. I am troubled that so many prominent parishioners have lent their support to such a poorly conceived and poorly marketed enterprise.

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