My Turn: Church of Holy Trinity back where it belongs

Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Church of the Holy Trinity is back home at the corner of Fourth and Gold streets, and we are very grateful. We thank God, through whose grace the loss of our beloved and historic building has yielded so many unexpected blessings.

We thank the community of Juneau, whose support and generous contributions have enabled us to dream of rising from the ashes stronger and more relevant. We thank the architects, contractors, engineers and skilled laborers who competed for the opportunity to rebuild our church, and we especially thank those entrusted with the task... and who have performed so well under challenging conditions. We thank the sources of building supplies and services and the City and Borough of Juneau where the level of service has often gone beyond "good business."

We thank our neighbors in faith, the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who have so generously shared their space during our reconstruction. Our relationship has gone far beyond the sharing of facilities. We also thank members of the Northern Light United Church who have hosted our Wednesday night suppers and myriad meetings. We thank members of the RealLife FourSquare Church whose immediate and amazing response to our tragedy was such an inspiration. And we thank our friends of Theatre in the Rough whose vision inspired us, and who have worked so diligently towards our mutual goals.

We thank everyone who has made generous donations and who have thereby become a part of our team. Together we can accomplish so much!

Finally we thank the Rasmuson Foundation who has awarded us a "top-off" grant of $500,000 for the completion of McPhetres Hall.

So when can you expect to attend a performance in the new McPhetres Hall?

A Rasmuson top-off grant is contingent on having all other funding in place to complete the project. Holy Trinity accepted a challenge when we initiated a five-million dollar reconstruction project with a three-and-a-half million dollar insurance settlement. Thanks to many generous contributors we have raised well over half a million dollars already. This top-off grant from Rasmuson boosts us into the home stretch. The end is coming into view with only another four-hundred thousand dollars to go. While a lot of hard work remains we optimistically expect to complete our project this year, and to host events in McPhetres Hall by next Christmas.

I mentioned unexpected blessings, and I want to elaborate on two of the most apparent. First, our church has experienced a rare opportunity to be reborn. The opportunity to replace our building has inspired us to rethink our mission. McPhetres Hall and our sanctuary were well located and they were well used. As the performing arts community began to understand the loss of McPhetres Hall, and the church began to understand our opportunity, we recognized common ground. Our long-term relationship with Theatre in the Rough matured into a win-win partnership. Together we have developed a compelling vision that includes church-related spaces with a purpose-built live theatre and rehearsal space. And the compelling nature of the project, our partnerships, and the generosity of Juneau have allowed us to raise the needed funds to bring this project into the home stretch.

Finally, we have learned valuable lessons about fundraising. We have come to understand that fundraising is not about asking for money, but about offering opportunity. With Theatre in the Rough and hundreds of donors, we are part of the most exciting community project in Juneau this year. Have you heard that our facility may simultaneously host a Bach Society Concert, an Opera-to-Go rehearsal, a First Friday art exhibit, and a Theatre in the Rough Shakespeare play? And have you heard the acoustics in the new sanctuary? And we will have meeting rooms and host twelve-step programs and garage bands and weddings and receptions and.... It isn't too late to join us in making this vision a reality.

Please contact us at 586-3532 to arrange your tour of the project. We would be delighted to show you the sanctuary and artists' renditions of the future McPhetres Hall (McPhetres Hall is currently a construction zone and not open for tours). And by the way, you are welcome at our Sunday services, too - at 8:30 or 11!

• Larry Talley is chairman of the Holy Trinity Church Council.

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