From the Rector's Desk: Reflection and Gratitude from Fr. Linsky
Dear Parishioners and Friends of the Basilica Parish:
As I shared with those attending our English Masses last Sunday, we have reached an important milestone in our Capital Campaign that merits reflection and gratitude. When we envisioned having a Capital Campaign nearly two years ago, I listened to our staff and parishioners and met with our Parish and Finance Councils to discuss areas that were holding us back in our ministries. Aware of the growth we had experienced, the diversity of our parish life, and the expectations of sustained and rapid growth in this area of between 28 and 35% by 2035, nearly all were concerned we lacked the facilities and staff to meet both our existing and anticipated needs.
I shared our needs with the principals of Lambert Architects who, in turn, made our “vision” into renderings we could share with you. Unfortunately, we had to put everything on hold when COVID-19 struck. Instead of launching the Campaign in April 2020, we pivoted to focus on ministering to you during lock-down when Mass was only accessible via Facebook. Rather than cutting back, we pushed forward: writing, calling, and having all staff be present to you in whatever way possible. We continued with this high energy as we re-opened our doors and staff served you as both greeters and ushers, seating you according to public health authorities’ recommendations of “social distancing” for everyone’s safety and comfort.
Saint Peter’s won loyalty with our open, yet careful response to the pandemic by seeking to make all people who came through our doors welcome even if they had to sit occasionally in “overflow” seating. We even finished major work in the Basilica to include refinishing floors, installing new and breathtaking pews and further enhancing our Peragallo Pipe Organ, demonstrating our forward momentum and belief in God’s Providence through YOU.
By the Fall of last year, it was time to re-engage the Capital Campaign, with an initial goal of $5.3 million and a stretch goal of $6.3 million. We began initial meetings with parishioners to gather commitment and buy-in in October, followed by meetings with some larger groups from December through March. By April we had brought it to all in the parish. And the results sustain our belief in God’s goodness and your commitment to the ministry of our 200-year old Basilica parish in the heart of South Carolina’s capital city! I am overjoyed to report that as of today, July 21, 2021, 439 individuals and parish families, representing approximately 32% of parish membership, have pledged $5,868,453 to A New Generation of Founders Capital Campaign.
So, “we’ve come a long way, baby” as the saying goes and yet, “we’ve only just begun” as Karen Carpenter once sang! Today, let’s celebrate how far in this journey we’ve come! Our progress enables me to meet with the Finance Committee next week to chart our way forward – to authorize the design stage and seek construction approvals through the Diocese of Charleston and local planning agencies. With your gifts and God’s blessing, we hope to break ground by May, 2022!
Clearly, there is more to be done and if another 20% of the parish comes on board, we can accomplish all we had initially hoped for. So our Campaign does not end – but will continue until ALL the work is done.
To you who are sharing in this endeavor, I say thank you! You demonstrate why I am so honored to be your pastor and the first rector of our wonderful Basilica. To the others, I say, “come on board! Partner with us, because together we can achieve great things for Almighty God!”
With sincere gratitude, I remain,
Fr. Gary S. Linsky
The Very Rev’d Canon Gary S. Linsky, V.F.