First Presbyterian Church Greensboro

I drafted the case statement for First Presbyterian Church’s ‘God’s Vision—Our Mission’ capital campaign. The Greensboro, North Carolina church was an Allen MAC client.

Capital Campaign Case Statement

God’s Vision—Our Mission

“Years ago, l heard a world famous architect, H. Harwell Harris, say, ‘Form follows function.’ Our function as a church is to be a people called by Jesus Christ in mission to the world. Our form takes shape as we design ministries and build buildings in which our multifaceted mission can take place.”

Jerry Shetler

“This campaign is the ultimate statement by the members of our congregation to the community in which we live that we care. We care enough to stretch our giving, giving of our love, giving of our time, giving of our money.”

David Sprinkle

“The response of the congregation to our request for their comments, suggestions, concerns, and affirmation has been wonderful and has resulted in a deeper sense of shared mission within First Presbyterian Church. Let us now move forward with joy, faith, and belief as befits those who have experienced God’s grace.”

Darlene Young

God’s Vision

As Christians, we derive the essential meaning of our lives from our faith in Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of God’s vision for the world He created. We believe God has a plan to guide His universe, and we seek to understand and fulfill our individual and collective roles in realizing God’s divine vision on earth.

From our individual understanding of God’s vision through the Holy Spirit emerge the personal and family missions we and our loved ones seek to fulfill in our daily lives.

When we join with fellow Christians as a church, the body of Christ, we become part of a corporate mission based on our shared faith and larger understanding of God’s vision, empowered by grace to realize goals that otherwise would be impossible to achieve.

As members of the global Christian community, we extend our mission still further, ministering to those in need, spreading the word of God and helping realize His vision throughout the world.

Our Mission

The mission of First Presbyterian Church is to be God’s covenant community, proclaiming Christ s love, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, actively sharing our faith with all people through worship, study, prayer, fellowship, and service.

In response to God’s abiding grace, we are called to—

  • Gather as a congregation for the worship of God.
  • Study, teach, and proclaim the Holy Scriptures as a reliable witness to Jesus Christ, the living Word.
  • Contribute our energy, talent, and resources as good stewards of all God’s creation.
  • Demonstrate our faith through personal and corporate service, reaching out to each other and the world in caring ministries.
  • Strive for peace, justice, and reconciliation, even at the risk of personal sacrifice.
  • Participate as Presbyterians in ecumenical and global ministries of God’s church universal.

A Place of Worship, Study, Prayer, Fellowship, and Service

At First Presbyterian church, we are fortunate to have been preceded by a long line of Christian visionaries-men and women who shared the foresight and faith to found Greensboro s first church and, through ongoing Christian commitment and care, to nurture its growth into one of the largest Presbyterian Churches in our Synod and one of the most influential churches in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Since its founding by 12 members in 1824, the First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro has grown to more than 4,000 members.

As the First Presbyterian Church’s most visible, tangible connection with our past, our present building stands in silent testimony to the courage and commitment of the congregation who, in 1927, took a huge leap of faith to invest $750,000 in a sanctuary to seat 1,500 people-double the capacity of their old sanctuary. Guided by God’s vision for our church and their abiding faith in its future, they chose a design in the Fortress Gothic style, inspired by the Cathedral of Saint Cecilia in Albi, France. Today’s buildings have followed that grandeur, and it would require more than $12 million to replace the buildings of our campus.

For generations of families, First Presbyterian Church has represented a beautiful, inspiring place of worship and fellowship, a joyful setting for weddings and baptisms, a place of comfort at times of loss, a place where we, as children, learn about God, and where we, as adults, contemplate our personal and corporate missions as Christians in contemporary society. As our church has grown, succeeding congregations have built other buildings-Memorial, Corl-and, through their stewardship, have maintained our church facilities in excellent condition. (The Smith Building was dedicated along with the Sanctuary in 1929.)

At the same time, we have extended our ministry through Christian outreach programs whose impact and benefits range from local to global proportions.

God’s Vision—Our Mission

The Campaign

In recent years, the members of First Presbyterian Church have devoted considerable effort to translating and articulating God’s vision in ways that lend substance and direction to our ongoing activities as individuals and as a church. The fruits of our labors have taken such forms as our Mission Statement, our Strategic Plan, and our Master Facilities Plan. In seeking to implement our plans, we have identified a number of opportunities to modify our facilities and to support benevolences that will enable us to fulfill our mission to realize God’s vision.

Based on seven years of planning and nearly a year of plan revisions to reflect the will and wisdom of our congregation, the God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign represents the essential first step we must take as a church if we are to continue fulfilling our mission.

With its $7.5 million goal for new construction of the Fellowship Hall, purchase of the former Beard Building, renovation of our existing facilities, and outreach through supporting worthy projects, this comprehensive campaign focuses primarily on—

  • Creating accessibility, connectivity and flexibility in our facilities,
  • Enabling program growth and development for children and youth,
  • Reorganizing and renovating for more effective Christian education,
  • Expanding opportunities for community and fellowship,
  • Facilitating communication and interaction, and
  • Reaching out through benevolences.

Although our campaign goals are stated in terms of buildings and benevolences, the true and ultimate purpose of the God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign is to prepare ourselves and our church for continuing Christian service well into the next century. We will build our buildings and grant our benevolences because of our commitment to our mission and our faith. As the congregation of the late 1920s took their leap of faith and built the beautiful Sanctuary so central to the life of our church, so must we now invest our resources in this campaign to secure the continuing vitality of our church as we and the generations after us seek to fulfill God’s vision and our mission for First Presbyterian Church.

Creating Accessibility, Connectivity and Flexibility

Our vision of God has always been reflected in the grandeur of church buildings. On a much more mundane level, the facilities of a church define and reflect the congregation’s ability and commitment to serve God. Welcoming facilities that are accommodating and accessible enable the church to carry out its mission as a living, growing church through worship, study, prayer, fellowship, and service. Buildings that feature inviting entrances, are easy to get around in, and can accommodate the mobility impaired convey the church’s sensitivity and concern.

At First Presbyterian Church, we are blessed with a number of beautiful, sound, well maintained buildings. Unfortunately, these multilevel buildings are inaccessible to the mobility impaired and lack a coherent system of corridors and connectors. Through the God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign, we will make a number of key modifications to our facilities to create much needed accessibility and connectivity. Specific improvements include creating a system of enclosed connectors, ramps and elevators that will effectively remove barriers and facilitate free circulation throughout our church facility.

Two double-end, six-stop elevators will make all levels of the buildings and the Sanctuary, except for the Memorial Building basement, accessible without encountering stairs. The new enclosed connectors will provide direct, barrier-free access to all church buildings and the recently acquired parking deck.

Through other modifications, we will create a clearly identifiable, inviting common entrance to the Smith, Memorial and Corl buildings and the new Fellowship Hall, featuring a beautifully landscaped central entry courtyard. New driveway drop off entrances on both Elm Street and Greene Street will provide safe, protected points of access.

Enabling Program Growth and Development for Children and Youth

The Corl Building, which houses our weekday preschool program and our preschool church school classes, does not meet building code requirements for child care. We may have only four- and five-year-olds in the weekday preschool program and those only in certain areas of the building. We are allowed to have younger children in the building for church school only because we, as a church, are “grandfathered” for code compliance, not because we meet the proper codes. We are no longer able to provide a Mother’s Morning Out program because we do not qualify to provide child care for younger children.

The excavation, which will expose the entire south wall of the Corl Building’s ground level, will allow us to provide outside access to all rooms on that floor. A terrace or balcony along the south face of the building’s first floor will provide outside access to those classrooms. Modifications to the building will qualify it to be rated a one-hour fire protected structure. These changes will make all classrooms on the first and ground floors usable by preschool children. The classrooms on the top floor cannot be used by preschool children as there is no way to provide direct outside access.

Having two floors of the Corl Building usable for preschoolers means the weekday preschool program can be expanded to include children on the waiting list and/or the Mothers Morning Out program can be reinstated. An after school program and a proposed 12 week summer program for elementary children will also be possible.

A free-standing, fully accredited day care center is the long range dream of the Child Care Task Force and one that is shared by many within our congregation Such a center would require an off-site location and could not be included with this campaign. However, the lower level of the Fellowship Hall building will feature three new preschool classrooms built to comply with all current building codes and with access to the new kitchen. These rooms could be used for full child day care if it is decided that pursuing such a program on a limited scale would be feasible. These rooms could also be used for more preschool expansion and could serve as child care rooms for functions in the Fellowship Hall.

There will be a new Middle School Complex on the third floor of the Memorial Building with a new Senior High Complex on the first floor of the former Beard Building. There will also be a Youth Lounge in the basement of the Memorial Building. These accommodations will allow the continuation and enhancement of our middle school and senior high programs.

Reorganizing and Renovating for More Effective Christian Education

With the recent growth of our Christian Education program, available classrooms are totally inadequate for our present church school classes and certainly offer no possibility for growth. There are very few classrooms to accommodate our growing number of large church school classes. Most of the classrooms throughout the entire education complex need renovation to make them more functional and inviting.

With the acquisition of the former Beard Building and the planned location of the office complex there, most of the Smith Building will now become available for adult education classes. With the relocation of the kitchen and dining hall to the new Fellowship Hall building, the basement of the Main Building will also become available for adult education classes. Elementary classes will be located on the second floor of the Corl Building and the third floor of the Main Building. The Middle School and the Senior High classes will be located on the third floor of the Memorial Building and the first floor of the former Beard Building.

Through these changes, made possible by the God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign, we will be able to accommodate all our present church school classes as well as provide space for future expansion.

Expanding Opportunities for Community and Fellowship

Our membership now stands at approximately 4,000. There is not an area within the church complex, other than the sanctuary, which can accommodate more than 300 people for a meeting or program. Our dining hall will seat only 200 people for a meal. These deficiencies severely limit the possibilities of our programs and activities.

As a key part of the God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign, $2,156,086 has been designated for building the Fellowship Hall, complete with a stage, kitchen, and spaces to accommodate banquets, community functions, outreach ministry functions, fellowship functions, lectures, recreational activities, and congregational gatherings of as many as 500 people for meals and as many as 900 for programs. The McAlister House will be moved to a new location in Fisher Park to make way for the new building.

The siting of the Fellowship Hall and the design of its 16,100 square feet of new construction, including connectors, take best advantage of the existing meeting spaces by joining the new facility to the Memorial Building and the former Beard Building. The new food service area will be strategically located so it can serve both the new multipurpose hall as well as many other meeting spaces within the Memorial Building and former Beard Building. Spaces within the Fellowship Hall and connected buildings will be flexible and versatile enough to accommodate five to ten functions simultaneously.

In documenting our need, the Fellowship Hall Task Force contacted eight other churches who have large, multipurpose fellowship halls, and without exception, all attested to the positive impact the facilities have had on their churches and programs.

With its generous, flexible floor plan and strategic location, the Fellowship Hall will create limitless possibilities for expanding existing programs and implementing new programs never before considered because of space constraints. All constituent groups within our church will benefit as children gather in the Fellowship Hall for creative play, young people socialize, adults meet for special presentations and workshops, and senior adults gather for programs and activities. Virtually any activity of the church that can benefit from food, fellowship, and community will be made easier and more enjoyable to more people by our new Fellowship Hall.

Facilitating Communication and Interaction

As we prepare for and rededicate ourselves to our mission as a church, we recognize a number of opportunities for reconfiguring and reassigning spaces in our existing buildings to facilitate our programs and activities. The former Beard Building will provide additional high quality, flexible program and administrative space.

With our investment of $1 million in the former Beard Building, we acquire 33,000 square feet of first rate, easily adaptable office space on prime property that will enable the church to complete ownership of the entire block. All administrative functions of the church will be located in the former Beard Building, greatly facilitating efficiency and effective communication among staff members. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to purchase comparable land and build such a facility at two or three times the price. We were indeed fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase the former Beard Building and its 69-space parking deck and parking lot, both of which will now be available for our use on weekdays as well as weekends.

The planned reconfiguration and upfitting of spaces, space allocation and siting of all new construction, as outlined in the God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign, will provide independently functioning zones for worship, church offices, weekday education, Sunday education, and activities. By centralizing various activities, we will effectively consolidate our resources, improve efficiency and communication, and create inviting, functional spaces that enhance the activities within them.

Music is an integral part of our services, greatly enriching our worship experience and our celebration of God’s love. As our ministry of music has grown, the spaces allocated for rehearsals, storage, administration, and preparation for services have become inadequate and inconvenient Through the God’s Vision Our Mission Campaign, we will create a new Music Complex on the third floor of the Smith Building and have funds available for major emergency organ repair.

The Music Complex’s rehearsal room provides consolidated space for rehearsals of the adult choir, the children s choir, the youth choir, and the two handbell choirs. Ancillary offices for the minister of music and assistant minister of music offices are adjacent Storage spaces for equipment, robes, and music, robing/ dressing rooms, and restrooms accessible to the mobility impaired will also be part of the new Music Complex. The complex is situated to provide direct access to the front and rear of the Sanctuary.

The God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign also addresses security and safety concerns in two important ways. The zones created by the new construction, renovations, and reallocation of spaces can function independently, allowing each to be used as needed while leaving unused areas secured. By bringing all facilities up to code specifications, we can better assure that our buildings are safe.

Reaching Out Through Benevolences

First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro has a longstanding tradition of extending our Christian ministry into our community, our region, our nation and the world. As part of the God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign, our Benevolence Task Force has developed recommendations for distributing $1 million in benevolences that will allow us to minister to families and children, to the sick, and to the poor and homeless in Greensboro and

Extend our ministry through local, regional, national, and global missions, including selected projects of the Bicentennial Fund of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Through these benevolences, we also realize God’s vision for our church locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.

HealthServe Ministry

Through the HealthServe Medical Center, HealthServe Ministry provides basic health care to economically disadvantaged members of the Greensboro community. Until now, the center has primarily served adults, but with our $125,000 benevolence to fund salaries for a full-time pediatric nurse practitioner and a half-time social worker for three years, the ministry will be able to offer more comprehensive pediatric care.

Presbyterian Church of the Cross

In 1950, our church established an Outpost Sunday School in an area of Greensboro formerly occupied by an Army camp. From those beginnings evolved the Presbyterian Church of the Cross and the Presbyterian Church of the Cross Children’s Center, Inc., a nonprofit day care center serving families with limited financial resources. The church facilities, now more than 30 years old, need renovation and repair, particularly to provide better safety and security for the three- and four-year-old children in day care. We have designated a $50,000 benevolence for this worthwhile project

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro, Inc.

Working with volunteer construction crews using donated materials, Habitat for Humanity provides affordable housing to families who would otherwise be unable to qualify for home ownership. Our church has, for a number of years, supported Habitat through a special annual offering and through about 100 member-volunteers who serve on regular work crews or have worked on one of the houses we have cosponsored with other churches. Through the God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign, we will designate $42,500 for First Presbyterian House, a Habitat house funded and built entirely by members of our church for a deserving Greensboro family.

Summit House of Greensboro

Summit House of Greensboro offers alternatives to incarceration for mothers convicted of non-violent felonies. Through two programs, Summit House teaches clients good citizenship and parenting skills and provides opportunities for education and job training. Our benevolence of $25,000 will be used to train and educate program participants.

Triad Health Project

Triad Health Project is a community based nonprofit organization that provides emotional and practical support for people living with HIV/AIDS. To receive comprehensive medical care, agency clients must travel to Infectious Disease Clinics at teaching hospitals in Greensboro, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Winston-Salem. Our benevolence of $50,000 will cover the costs of transportation for clients to medical facilities, including the purchase or lease of a vehicle, insurance, gasoline, drivers’ salaries, and parking fees for three years.

Guilford Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (GRAIN)

GRAIN offers in-home care for people with HIV and AIDS and their families through a network of congregationally based care teams, including two from First Presbyterian Church. Our $25,000 benevolence will allow GRAIN to offset the expenses of a new office, including the purchase of a computer, a photocopier, and furnishings for offices, a workroom, and a reception area.

Greensboro Urban Ministry Chaplaincy Program

Patterned after the clinical pastoral education model found in many hospitals, the Greensboro Urban Ministry Chaplaincy Program focuses on poor and homeless rather than the hospitalized clients. The type of training, sensitivity, and experience the program offers will be invaluable to clergy serving in urban settings.

We have earmarked $30,000, at $10,000 a year for three years, to help with operating expenses during the program! s startup phase.

Project Independence

Project Independence is a program of the Greensboro Urban Ministry that helps families dependent on the welfare system to achieve economic independence. Our benevolence of $20,000, at $6,667 a year for three years, will help four families become self-sufficient through training and education.

Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church

Our previous Heritage and Mission Campaign made possible the purchase of land for what is now the Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church. As part of our Guilford County Denominational Ministry to support new church development in the Salem Presbytery, we will designate $25,000 for the building fund at Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church. (A Bicentennial Fund project)

Presbyterian Home of High Point Foundation

From time to time, residents of the Presbyterian Home of High Point encounter financial problems and need help meeting their living expenses. Through our Guilford County Denominational Ministry, we will offer a benevolence of $67,500 to allow these residents to enjoy their retirement years free of financial worries. (A Bicentennial Fund project)

Project Outreach

Our benevolence of $25,000 will help Project Outreach, a community based transitional program within Salem Presbytery, to provide referral and support services for African-American men reentering community life after discharge from North Carolina prisons. (A Bicentennial Fund project)

School of Evangelism

We have designated a $24,000 benevolence for a school of evangelism to promote evangelism in congregations within the Salem Presbytery. (A Bicentennial Fund project)

Saint Andrews Presbyterian College Scholarship Fund for Career and Personal Counseling Service

With the help of the Saint Andrews Presbyterian College Career and Personal Counseling Service, clients identify career aptitudes and preferences, solve personal problems, and find direction and meaning for their lives. As part of the God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign, we have designated $25,000 to endow a scholarship for those who need, but cannot afford these vitally important services. (A Bicentennial Fund project)

New Vision Construction Fund

The New Vision Council has sponsored trips to Johns Island, South Carolina, and Chinle, Arizona, for the last five years, with approximately 50 of our members participating each year. The trips combine building a Habitat type construction project and helping congregation members teach Vacation Church School at the host church. With our $40,000 benevolence, the council will buy construction and teaching supplies.

Fort McDowell Church

We have designated a $38,700 benevolence for Fort McDowell Church in the center of Arizona’s Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Indian Reservation to help the church build a much needed multipurpose building. (A Bicentennial Fund project)

Fort Defiance Youth Ministry and Latchkey Program

With our benevolence of $24,000, the Fort Defiance Youth Ministry and Latchkey Program will be able to fund a program led by a full time minister to provide a structured outreach program for 50 children in a church on the Navajo Indian Reservation 60 miles from Chinle, Arizona. (A Bicentennial Fund project)

Lehi Church

Our $18,844 benevolence to Lehi Church on the Salt River Reservation in the Grand Canyon Presbytery in Arizona will help build a new sanctuary and playground. (A Bicentennial Fund project)

Extra Commitment Opportunity Projects

Our Benevolence Task Force recommends a $132,000 benevolence for eight projects involving missionaries currently supported by the First Presbyterian Church.

Support for New Missionaries

Our campaign will provide $187,800 for the Bicentennial Fund to support urgently needed new missionaries. With our help, the fund will be able to support mission work and two missionary couples for two years in countries we designate. (A Bicentennial Fund project)

Evangelical Waldensian Church in Uruguay

The God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign will fund a benevolence of $24,788 to purchase subcompact cars for ministers of the Evangelical Waldensian Church in Uruguay’s rural areas. (A Bicentennial Fund project)

Your Response

At $7.5 million, the goal of the God’s Vision—Our Mission campaign represents a significant undertaking for First Presbyterian Church. The financial commitment becomes meaningful, however, only when considered in light of the commitment in Christian faith the campaign represents for us, our children, and our grandchildren.

By creating accessibility, connectivity, and flexibility in our facilities, enabling program growth and development for children and youth, reorganizing and renovating for more effective Christian education, expanding opportunities for community and fellowship, facilitating communication and interaction, and reaching out through benevolences, we enable ourselves to realize God’s vision for First Presbyterian Church now and for years to come.

Pledges and gifts to the campaign are part of an individual’s or family’s enhanced stewardship to God for the church. These pledges and gifts are in addition to the annual commitments given each fall for the church’s work the following year. With enhanced stewardship, each of us has the opportunity to support both the campaign and the annual day-to-day mission of the church.

Just as the facilities and benevolences are potent symbols of our mission and faith as a congregation, your gift- to the campaign is a powerful symbol of your personal faith and commitment as a Christian. Your gift to the God’s Vision—Our Mission Campaign reflects your faith in the future of our church, your acknowledgment of God’s grace at work in your life, and your sacred mission to extend that grace to others now and in the future.