For Immediate Release
March 20, 2017
New York, NY – On Saturday, March 11 at 6 p.m., the doors opened to the beautifully decorated Reidy Friendship Hall at All Souls Church to celebrate their Third Century Challenge Campaign Kick-Off Event. Over 200 members of the All Souls community were in attendance for this special event.
While guests enjoyed delicious hors’ d’oeuvres and wine, the evening’s program began with the gift of beautiful music provided by several of the All Souls all-stars: Chloë Shaaf, alto; Devony Smith, soprano; Nathan Siler, tenor; and Peter Stewart, baritone, who were accompanied on the piano by Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez and Renée Louprette in a spirited performance of Johannes Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes.
George Collins, co-leader of Monday Night Hospitality, an outreach program held at All Souls which helps to serve New York’s hungry, shared the importance of opening the church’s doors to neighbors and being a community resource. He offered heartfelt insights about what it has meant to be a part of Monday Night Hospitality, the group that has served up to 300 meals to those in need each Monday, for over two decades.
Co-Chair Ramsey Shehadeh gave an overview of the critical needs of the church and how the Third Century Capital Campaign will “Renew Our Home” and “Shape Our Future.”
The evening continued with a short film, produced by All Souls member Jan Gero, featuring members of the All Souls community sharing what the church means to them and why they are committed to ensuring that it continues to thrive into the future. Laura Pedersen, Co-Chair of the Campaign was the keynote speaker, and recounted her experiences in the church.
Senior Minister Galen Guengerich, extended profound gratitude and admiration to all who made the evening so successful and spoke about the importance of ensuring that All Souls has a strong foundation not just for today, but for the next generation.
The evening ended with a champagne toast and Co-Chairs David Poppe and Cherie thanking all the volunteers and generous donors who made the evening possible. On a beautiful Steeple “thermometer,” painted by All Souls artist, Pamela Healy, they pulled back the beautiful golden curtain to reveal that over $5.3 million has been raised to date – almost 50% of their goal of $10,850,000! A hush fell over the room and guests were overheard saying: “This is going to work!” and “WE can DO this!”
After an exciting and elegant Kick-Off event on Saturday night, the Capital Campaign weekend celebration continued on Sunday morning with a program that reflected the church’s past and present state and aims for the future.
There were special RE classes for children that highlighted All Souls history and legacy, as well as the importance of stewardship. All children also had an opportunity to help design a special All Souls steeple, participate in a very special church history scavenger hunt, and participate in an activity to make sandwiches and fruit bags for the guests at Monday Night Hospitality. With a highly efficient and amazingly cheerful assembly line, the children created over 200 lunches to be distributed on Monday night to nourish those in need.
In Adult Education classes, Victor Fidel, former Chairman of the All Souls Board, shared the riveting story of All Souls’ migrations north and led listeners on a fascinating—and at times harrowing—journey from when the congregation first met in a town home on Broadway and Reed Street in 1819 until the current church welcomed congregants in 1932. And, Fritz Reuter, Executive Director of the just-completed Capital Master Plan Renovations at the UN headquarters in New York City, and Chair of the Building Advisory Task Force, shared plans for preparing the current church building for the future.
The afternoon program kicked off with exceptional music and an intergenerational, original Staged Reading: “We Are… the Past, Present and Future of All Souls” written by Larry Reina and including 8 members of all ages of the All Souls community. It was extraordinary and a perfect introduction for announcing the campaign progress again to those not able to make it to the prior evening’s festivi-ties.
After seeing hundreds of community members enjoying themselves this weekend and celebrating the success of the campaign so far, Executive Director, Eileen Macholl remarked that “The Klote-methodology” of training congregants to visit other congregants to talk about how much they care for their spiritual home is fostering new friendships, revitalizing volunteerism, and giving us a real chance to strengthen our foundations for the centuries to come. We are thrilled beyond our wildest dreams!”
With offices in Falls Church, Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; and Toronto, Ontario, James D. Klote & Associates is the largest full-time, on-site stewardship consulting firm in North America. For additional information, please contact the firm at www.jdklote.com or (800) 360-2315.