Capital Appeal Questions and Answers


On Sunday, February 10, both motions were approved at the Special Congregational Meeting. Approval was granted to move forward with the next steps of the building project, which will consist of contracting Miller Architects & Builders to complete construction drawings for the project and to proceed with project bids. And the second motion of proceeding with installing a new digital sign was also approved. 

     Another congregational meeting is anticipated in August 2019. Once the bids are received there will be scopes of work to vote on.  As of June 4, cash and other gifts have totaled $965,000 designated to Salem’s capital appeal. In addition, recent additional pledges have been received pushing the total over $2 million in overall pledges. It would be exciting to reach $1M of total received cash and gifts in hand by the end of June. Can you help reach that goal? A big thank you to everyone who regularly contributes generously and confidently toward “Renewing God’s House Together.”

Nearly $500k was given in 2018, some of this was pledged and some of this was unpledged. The initial pledge request was for a three-year commitment which could be fulfilled at any time. A separate Capital Fund has been established in an interest-bearing account to be withdrawn when funds are needed. The more cash we have on hand, the less we will need to borrow to fulfill financial obligations when they occur.

The most dominant focus of our MAP survey was that we feel called to grow. Grow in membership; grow in worship and ministry participation. Evangelism—reaching out with the Good News of Christ—has always been at the heart of Christian mission and it is clear this needs to continue through Salem. The renewal project is therefore more than building improvements, it is about renewing and expanding our mission focus and gospel impact.

We will be looking at everything from PR to social media to personal invitation as together we renew this ministry, draw others into the care and embrace of God’s family, and grow the church! It is exciting to consider what additional ministry opportunities develop with a renewed facility and a renewed sense of purpose. It is also exciting to be doing this together!

A capital appeal is implemented to help expand a congregation’s mission and ministry. It is most helpful when a project involves numerous upgrades and improvements, such as for us here at Salem, and when that necessary funding is beyond regular ministry budgeting. The appeal will, of course, show us the full breadth of support so that we can determine whether any borrowing might be recommended to cover the overall project costs. Whatever final or next steps plan will be brought back to you, the congregation, for dialogue and decision making.

This will depend on what is approved at the Special Meeting on February 10 and how soon commitments are fulfilled through donations. If it is determined there will be need for a long-term loan, the request may be made to ask people to extend pledged support for a longer period of time or to request another fund-raising effort to pay off the balance of the loan. This will be a congregational decision announced in advance of a vote.

Pending approval at the February 10 meeting, Miller Architects & Builders anticipates 4-6 months for both detailed construction drawings and soliciting of bids to local contractors. It is anticipated that work would begin in the fall of 2019 and completed the following spring.

Having a facility that was built in 1962, much of the building is dependent on inefficient and worn mechanical systems. The heating and cooling systems as well as overall electrical service are no longer adequate by today’s standards. The flat portion of the roof has reached the end of its life expectancy. When it fails, leaks will cause internal damage. The building also does not meet accessibility and fire standards. Lighting throughout the building is inadequate and the layout is no longer viewed as welcoming and inviting. Roughly half the cost of the anticipated project is related to deferred maintenance and code compliance issues. Simply put, we have put off repairs and maintenance for many years and now need addressed.

The photo renderings show a modernized facility that creates openness and brightness. This in itself, creates a contrast to the reality that Salem has neglected updates for many years. Efforts have been made to ensure the renovation project addresses needs and therefore functions more than simply appearance. And yet, we believe that the improvements planned for the design are consistent with intentions to create a more welcoming and inviting facility, one that helps ministry and mission to happen more effectively. The project will utilize complimentary materials consistent with Salem’s current design.

As with any remodeling project, there will be items that may not be practical in the new design, particularly those that relate to accessibility and security concerns. The sculpture on the first floor and endowment tree will be relocated and incorporated into the new design. Portions of the sanctuary will be given special consideration in consultation with the design team to ensure Salem remains unique as well as accessible for a variety of worship possibilities.

With all the updates, the overall project is anticipated to cost just under $3 million.

Several upgrades at Salem are inevitable. A congregational meeting will determine what can be done at this time and what may need to be postponed for future updating. We will also discuss any recommended borrowing, if we feel this would best serve our ministry goals. It is not unusual for a church to require more than one appeal when there is a large project being undertaken. But YOU will ultimately decide that.


Salem has always done what is necessary for the ministry God calls us to do. Our prayer and hope is that each and every Salem household will give as generously as you feel called to for the sake of the project and the ministry we share. Upon conclusion of the appeal, we will know just where we are in relationship to our goal. Leadership will then return to you, the congregation, with a plan for exactly how we might move forward. There will be an opportunity to discuss and then vote on a recommendation.

Kairo’s experience is that a special appeal does not result in decreased regular giving and often is seed resulting in an increase. This happens when members feel more invested and engaged with the concept of joyful giving and the power of creating a culture of generosity. It further helps move beyond day to day operations costs and rather encourages hope for the future. Both regular giving and additional appeal giving will be necessary for a successful campaign.

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Salem Lutheran Church affiliated with the E.L.C.A. Salem is a vibrant welcoming Lutheran community that, through the grace of Jesus Christ, is connected within by love and reaching out in hope to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with one another, the community and the world.

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