We all are connected to the First Congregational Church of Stockbridge. Some of us have been coming to the church since before we can remember. Some came as children and then “life got in the way.” Some of us were drawn to the church because of the beautiful music or inspiring sermons, study groups, or other gatherings, and discovered that a continued connection somehow enhanced our lives. Some of us come on special occasions—Christmas, weddings, baptisms, funerals. And some of us know the church as that quaint New England church behind the bell tower—something right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
Although the church officially began in 1734, the current building is just now beginning to anticipate its 200th anniversary. Our church and its purpose have been shepherded by generations. Now it is our time to restore, renew, and rejoice. In October, church members unanimously approved the launch of an $850,000 capital campaign.
The focus of the campaign is to ensure that our church is welcoming and that our buildings are sound, safe, and properly equipped. The beautiful front marble steps have been reset, and we will continue with needed repairs to the Manse, home to our pastor and family. The organ will be repaired, and the steeple repainted. A new universal access ramp to the Jonathan Edwards (JE) Room will help renew our commitment to be welcoming to all. Also, we plan to renovate the JE Room and enhance spaces for Christian education and gathering places for all.
Let us restore, renew, and rejoice together!
Breaking News: Stockbridge Town Meeting voted on May 16 to approve a Community Preservation Act grant of $100,000 toward one of our capital campaign projects. The vote represents a tremendous show of support from the townspeople, many of whom, of course, are not members of this church. Thanks to Carl Bradford and Shirley Blanchard, who put together this grant application and effectively demonstrated the ties our church has to the wider community. The funds are earmarked for the new access ramp that will lead into the Jonathan Edwards Room, as well as to smaller projects to improve access. While the CPA grant does not count toward our $850,000 goal, the amount that we are raising from individual gifts, it will help us complete more of the projects on our comprehensive list (price tag of about $1,250,000). Rejoice!
We come to you!
If you have not yet had a personal visit regarding this Capital Campaign, please know that the Family Visits are well under way! Over the next four weeks, you will receive a call from one of the 18 people reaching out to visit with each and every one of you! Please welcome them with open hearts and minds – they are eager to hear from each of you — and also have much to share.During your visit, you will have an opportunity to ask questions, learn about the projects, share your thoughts – and prayerfully consider your gift to the campaign. Visits can be in person, (at your home, outdoors, at church, or anywhere else that would be comfortable for you); or via Zoom or telephone; and will last 30-45 minutes. Have you heard the good news? As of May 17, we reached the 70% mark towards reaching our goal of $850,000! Your gift toward our campaign will help us get to the final goal. We are hoping for 100% inclusivity – every gift – no matter what size – will assure our success. If you have any questions about your upcoming Family Visit – feel free to reach out to Patty Strauch or John Canning, co-chairs, Family Visits.
Universal Access to the Church Building
Elizabeth Young writes about the video she produced for Childrens Time: In this video, I talk with my friend Pat Sheely and her service dog Shadow about different ways of navigating the community we all share. I hope you enjoy learning a bit about a motorized wheelchair, a service dog, and how things like a universal access ramp can make it easier for us all to get to know each other. To see the interview, click here.