Capital Campaign 2014

Personal Testimony from Russell Bourne, Feb 23,2014:

 After my wife died five years ago, I joined St. John’s in hopes of finding a spiritual home.  And what a wonderful home it proved to be, full of worship, music, and Episcopalians of all sorts (the younger couples blessed with more-talented-than-avaerage children).  Now, having been asked to help with the Capital Campaign, I have discovered another aspect of the people of St. John’s:  They truly do prepare themselves in prayer for the task of serving the greater community, even at a sacrificial level.  I will continue to enjoy meeting other parishioners during the campaign.  There is not way we will let our historic foundations crumble or our cross -topped steeple waver .  [divider]

When we were married I was Episcopalian and my husband, Jay, was Catholic. We often attended services and supported ministries in both faiths over a number of years. And when Jay passed away ten years ago Father Snyder conducted his memorial service.
However the tall spire of St. John’s that I viewed from Buffalo Street hill always gave ( and gives ) me a feeling of peace and comfort. It was always there…a beacon. As I participated more regularly at St. John’s, in services and ministries, I was drawn in further to experience new friendships and to discover new ways to give back to my church home.
I was a Vestry member and, therefore, involved in the Heritage Campaign of 15 years ago that established St. John’s endowment. I learned so much more about St. John’s history and growth potential through both experiences and am grateful. Now, in 2014 a Capital Stewardship Campaign, along with Annual Operating Budget pledging is underway… LIVING OUR FAITH; SHARING OUR FUTURE…to positively preserve and renovate our building and impact current and future ministries.
We have a beautiful historic church, A landmark. Our spiritual home. I feel very privileged to participate in this campaign, to prayerfully and thoughtfully make my own five year pledge and also to share that experience with my parishioner-friends.

– Bettie Lee Yerka   Feb 16, 2014


I found Pastor Rich Rose’s remarks at the Capital Campaign kick-off lunch on January 26th really inspiring.  One of the things he said struck me in particular: he spoke about how well thought-of St. John’s is among the larger religious and secular community of Ithaca.  I don’t know why I was surprised to hear that, but I was.  Sometimes we’re so close to something that we lose perspective about it.  Sometimes we take for granted the value of what we have to offer to ourselves as well as to the larger community.   We often are not aware of how our actions may positively affect others and their ripple effect, both as a community of faith and as individuals.   But here’s an example: the very first Sunday I attended St. John’s in September of 2001 I walked into the parish hall after the service to attend the coffee hour, not knowing a single person.   The first person to walk up to me as I stood by myself to welcome me and introduce himself was Jon Meigs.   I felt welcomed and grateful that I didn’t have to stand alone.  Nearly thirteen years later, I came into the parish hall sort of late for this past Sunday’s coffee hour.  I looked around and saw a young woman I knew to be a newcomer.  But she was not alone, since I could see that Jon Meigs already had introduced himself to her and was making her feel as welcome as he had made me feel 13 years ago.   The acts of kindness we show each other as members of St. John’s and to the greater community as a place of welcome and caring are far-reaching.   It is as simple as that.  St. John’s offers us a place to worship in a beautiful sanctuary, to share spiritual moments with others, to watch children grow up and be educated about Christ’s love.  Those are among the many reasons I am honored to support St. John’s capital campaign with a pledge and to visit fellow parishioners to share St. John’s history and ask that they prayerfully consider supporting St. John’s future.

– Susie Backstrom  Feb. 5, 2014


February 3, 2014

How apropos that this past weekend was Groundhog’s Day, halfway through winter. It also happens to be approximately half way through the Capital Campaign.

Psychologically speaking, when I’m halfway through anything – I am at the height of knowing that whatever I am doing will be accomplished. I’m not too tired and not willing myself to take those last few steps, but really feeling the flow of my adrenalin, the move of my groove, and all the benefits of energy. And that’s how I feel now.

Today, we are more than halfway to our goal and today I’m thinking, “We’re not just going to meet this goal, we’re going to beat it!” And really, we need to! Our goal of $1 million is what is necessary to repair the damage that is done and that is happening all around us as we speak. It HAS to be met or the church we know and love will begin to structurally crumble. What would be tremendous is, if as a group we can collect more than the bare minimum in order to get to the next level on the hierarchy of needs – the level where we have extra funds for out-reach, in-reach for that matter, fellowship, and saving.

My family and I are supporting this campaign with our whole hearts, and with every bit of our spare time and every bit of our spare change in order that future generations will come to know and love St. John’s the way we do. I hope you will join us on this downhill stretch.

Melinda and Brett Oakes


February 2, 2014

For 30 years St. John’s has been our faith base. The beauty of the church interior and the Episcopal liturgy both play a part in the grounding of our Christian belief. More importantly it has been and is the family of Christians in this place that embody the power of the Holy Spirit and continuously strengthen our commitment and our journey to a stronger faith. This is why Jan and I have made a thought filled pledge to support the inspirational dwelling place and mission of the people of St. John’s.

Scott & Jan Russell


December 15, 2013

Surprise! I am Pat Clark. Last Sunday I attended the Focus Group meeting with dread and resignation… it was my “duty” to go. How thankful I am that I did so! It was a fascinating, extremely informative session. I learned a great deal about our building, our history, our fiscal operations, and how we can go forward with our many ministries at St. John’s. So, I strongly urge you all to attend one of these meetings. I think you will be well rewarded with a short, clear, positive presentation of where we have been and how we can all be a part of the forward growth of our parish. So Go!


December 8, 2013

I am Virginia Mansfield-Richardson, a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church since 1999. Three of my four children were baptized and confirmed here, three of my children are acolytes, all have sung in the Children’s Choir and three have attended Choir Camp, also I have had the joy of teaching Sunday School for 11 years. I can’t imagine my life without St. John’s and that is one reason I was so pleasantly surprised after attending one of the Focus Group Meetings and hearing about the proposed future vision for our church and other possible ministries. I learned so much about our church and its rich history, and all that we do for each other and the community we live in. Everyone who attended the Focus Group was able to give their input, and I could feel such energy and excitement growing in that discussion! I strongly encourage each of you to attend one of the Focus Group Meetings in the next couple of weeks. Think of what St. John’s offers you, think of where you turn for hope and solace during personal and national times of crisis, and please take 45 minutes to give back to this spiritual home by attending a Focus Group Meeting and to give your unique and valued thoughts. Maybe the beginning of the daily advent prayer will focus all of us in our mission here: “Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility.”


November 24, 2013

As many of you are aware, our church has undertaken an exploratory process to address deferred maintenance, undertake additional mission and outreach, and add to our endowment fund. Our Vestry, Capital Campaign Committee, and Finance Committee have completed much of the preliminary work. Now we are excited about presenting our findings to the congregation in small group meetings.

You are cordially invited to attend one of our Focus Group meetings.  The purpose of these meetings is to give everyone in our congregation an opportunity to hear about the needs and respond with their thoughts concerning the best approach to meet the needs of our present and future ministries.

Please check your schedules and mark your calendar for one of these very important meetings.  Each presentation will last approximately 30 minutes.  You will then have an opportunity to ask questions and to answer a brief, but important questionnaire before the meeting is concluded. Childcare will be provided at the Sunday morning meetings.

St. John’s Episcopal Church is important to all of us and your suggestions are needed to be certain we are fulfilling our responsibilities to our congregation and living into our faith.

In Christ,

The Rev. Richard A. Towers