St. Luke’s Montclair Kicks Off “Breaking Down Barriers” Capital Campaign


For Immediate Release
January 15, 2016

Vibrant, historic parish seeks $2.1 million to renew facilities and sweep away longstanding physical barriers to ensure buildings and services are more accessible to parishioners and community at large.

Montclair, NJ – St. Luke’s Episcopal Church celebrated the kick-off of a five-year capital campaign on Sunday, January 10th with a festive luncheon celebration. With over 130 parishioners and guests in attendance, campaign co-chairs Tom Cochran and Liz Perez along with Reverend John Mennell addressed the myriad of urgent physical challenges of the nearly 170-year-old-parish is experiencing.

Attendees at the Kick-off EventAttendees at the Kick-off Event

The proposed upgrades include a ramp from the sanctuary to the Fellowship Hall, installation of an elevator to make all floors accessible, a new family-friendly restroom, repaired sidewalks, and improved access to the Second Time Around Shop, a store that provides clothing and household items to the wider community.

St. Luke’s is the oldest Episcopal Church in Montclair and is grounded in the commitment to celebrating a unique mix of people through caring, education and ministry. In addition to worship, music and spiritual enrichment for those of all ages, the congregation runs a well-known noonday feeding program, Toni’s Kitchen, which along with partner programs provides mental health care, nutritional counseling and medical support for the broader community.

Co-Chairs Liz Perez and Tom Cochran, Rev. John Mennell and Campaign Director Mel KalagianCo-Chairs Liz Perez and Tom Cochran, Rev. John Mennell and Campaign Director Mel Kalagian

Following an emotional and thought-provoking video presentation that highlighted the church’s rich history, diversity and programs, Reverend Mennell offered a vision for the campaign, replete with renderings of the much-needed work and proposed upgrades. “For the past decade or so St. Luke’s has been one of the fastest growing episcopal churches in the country. The reason for this vitality is our welcoming nature and dedication to always pursuing new and creative ways to help those in our community. Our church family takes great pride in joyfully seeking and serving Christ — not just on Sunday, but every day,” said Rev. Mennell.

The celebration culminated with children of the congregation revealing that $741,000 had already been raised after visiting with just a handful of members. “We all know that bible verse in Luke that says ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’ That is all of us folks, we need to ensure that we continue to be that cathedral in the community, for all of those around us,” said Campaign co-chair Liz Perez.

St-lukes-kids“There are physical barriers that prevent us from being the fully welcoming church community to which we all aspire to be. Every week, St. Luke’s touches – and makes a positive difference – in the lives of many parishioners and about four times as many members of the broader community. Our goal is to be an even more effective, safer and barrier-free ‘cathedral in the community’,” said Campaign co-chair Cochran.

With offices in Falls Church, Virginia; St. Charles, 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 or (800) 360-2315.


Erin West
James D. Klote & Associates

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