Third Task Force Mailing
January 13, 2022

Dear Members and Friends;

In our letter of December 18, sent to everyone by email and USPO, we spoke about
  • preparing for an all-parish conversation about what is next in the development of our campus and our buildings,
  • recent contemplation of when and how we might realize the vision of “Life-Giving Spaces to Enable God’s Mission”, as one of the pillars of our 2018-19 self-study which resulted in “Vision 2025”.
To introduce ourselves anew, “we” are the Task Force for Catch Up Communication on Campus Development, Sherrie DeWitt, convener, Chris Rowen and Tom Butler, commissioned by the vestry in September to share information about the journey of the parish of St John the Baptist from Depot Hill to Canterbury Drive with those who have joined us more recently so that everyone knows about our original vision and can feel a part of that path to the present.

The 1st December 18th communication included:
  • From Depot Hill to Canterbury – Everyone was involved
  • Detailed Timeline from 1889 to 2021
The 2nd communication in late December was the story of How We Got Here

Our message today is:
  • The Financial Story
  • What We Needed, What We Have and What is Missing…Still
Upcoming Presentations & Conversation! 
  • A Brief presentation with charts and pictures of our path to now
  • A Magical Slide Show – 12 months of construction in 10 minutes!
  • Question and answer time
  • Virtual tour through 3D models of the original classroom, office and sanctuary space concepts
  • 45 - 60 Minutes
  • Light snacks to be served and eaten outside, to carry you over to lunch.
2nd EVENT January 23, by ZOOM, 5 p.m. 3rd EVENT January 30 (noonish) - IN-PERSON IN THE CAFE, MASKED, DISTANCED with DOORS & WINDOWS OPEN.
  • 45 - 60 Minutes
  • Light snacks to be served and eaten outside, to carry you over to lunch.
REMINDER –and we can’t say this too often - this is still background information, not a promotion of a particular building project or any building at all. We are striving to ensure any and all interested parties, whatever their time with us, can know what has led to this moment and join us on the path. It is to prepare for a parish discussion and discernment about how we shall proceed to ensure “Live-Giving Spaces to Enable God’s Mission”.
The Communications Taskforce
Sherrie DeWitt, Convener
Chris Rowen and Tom Butler

Note: Copies of Task Force emails and materials can be viewed online here:


Part 1, How was the present church building and campus financed?

Short answer: a lot of people gave a lot of their time, prayed, gave their skills at persuasion by written and spoken word, prayed some more, made the coffee that fueled meetings, and gave their money. A lot of people gave up fancy vacations, gave up restaurant meals and movies, put off new cars, economized on their groceries – did whatever they felt they could to make the dream of building a new church, a church that looked to fulfill our dreams of what a church could be.

Long answer: In 1989 the 2nd Century Capital Campaign began, with Bill Kell chair, and a goal of $600,000 for purchase of new property. 73 pledges totaling $459,000 were received; a large bequest and other monies were added to meet the goal. Circa 1991 that 2nd Century Capital Campaign was reactivated to raise funds for site preparation; build road, drainage, sewers, pay legal, engineering and architectural fees, etc.; around $400,000 was raised.

May 2002 saw the beginning of the process to sell the Depot Hill property. After unsuccessful efforts to sell to religious organizations, it was put on the market and we received an option to buy the three parcels, the church, the parish hall/office building and the small house used for meetings, for $2,700,000 total, owner to take title in April 2007 but allowing us to rent back, giving up the “little house” in April 2008.
Janet Mize in her role as our realtor developed a lovely friendship with our buyer, Christy Bohnet, who made good her vow to make the church building more beautiful than it had been in a while, turning it into a beautiful home. She invited us to an open house to visit when completed and we all oohed and aahed in appreciation of what she had preserved and adapted. Christy was also instrumental in arranging donations given to the building fund by a local foundation.

In 1997 the new Capital Campaign Committee was formed and proceeded with a goal of raising three million dollars and blessed with a lead gift by Pat and Rowland Rebele of $1 million. Rowland then co-chaired the committee with Karen Greenleaf. Many were involved, preparing and assembling information for printed news bulletins (that’s what we did then) and forums to hear and answer questions, and, speaking personally with most parishioners. And the pledges came in; some very small, a few dollars a month for 3 years, some wonderfully large and many in-between. Some one-time donations were made from distant friends also. Shelley Phillips, then a member, gave a concert with the proceeds as her pledge; Debra Spencer did the same. Nice for all of us!

Then there were some unpleasant surprises – the County required that we build the infrastructure now for everything, including the phases we hoped to build in the future- a big increase in building cost. Another phase was added to the campaign. AND one subcontractor informed us his estimate was off by $500,000. Eek! We prayed; plans were re-examined, and cuts, painful ones, were made, and then another phase was added to the Capital Campaign. Still the parish came through.

All told, there were 4 separate phases to the “new” Capital Campaign, and a total of 276 pledges (pledges not people) were made for a total pledge value of $4,157,985. There were some special gifts as well, which came in at around $500,000. For instance, the bell tower was gifted to us by descendants of original parishioners. That bell came around the horn! That bell is heavy and requires special engineering to support it. That bell called people to worship from the beginning and is calling us still!

We then had to consider loans and there was some anxiety to talk about- would we be able to make those loan payments? It was a big step. A Lutheran church in Scotts Valley had hit the news recently having had to sell their church to pay off their mortgage-and dissolved their parish in the process. There were all-parish meetings to talk about the possibilities and probabilities- spreadsheets galore! Mary-Nona Hudson, Treasurer, created many financial scenarios to consider. It looked possible and still, in the end we had to take a leap of faith. We adopted a frog mascot - a frog leaping from lily pad to lily pad.

Then Mary-Nona Hudson and Rowland Rebele went searching for a lending institution, amid the post 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, mind you, with conversations much like this:

The bankers, scanning the annual financial reports.
“Why is there no profit?”
“Um, we’re a church, not a business.”

“Pledges! What kind of collateral is that?... How can you assure us that the amounts people have pledged will actually be paid?”
“Based on our past campaigns, people fulfill their fiscal obligations.”

Finally they were able to use their considerable skills of persuasion to coax two construction loans from Wells Fargo and a line-of-credit from Coast Commercial Bank, with the only (only?) added protection requested by the bank that parish families be willing to secure the loans by guaranteeing their own homes’ equity as collateral. There was a gathering of families, there was prayerful discussion, and thanks be to God, seven families offered their homes in that way. Talk about leaping in faith!

I tell you, our financial story was only partly about money. It was also about faith and commitment. There was lots of prayer and lots of generosity and quite a bit of sacrifice, and we were amazed and full of gratitude at what, together as a congregation, we were able to accomplish.

And you want to know how this part of the story ends? Those pledging were indeed faithful: the line-of-credit was paid off, mortgages were granted. And thanks to the addition of bequests of dear parishioners who passed, we paid the last loan off early - in 2017. And now we own the building free and clear. Thanks be to God!

Finance Story, Part 2
Where do we stand today, in terms of capital funds and commitments in hand?
We are blessed to have considerable resources in hand. To be clear, these resources are designated for capital use only. The parish has a balance of roughly $1M in designated capital building funds, largely from legacy gifts already received. A parish family has created a gift fund managed by the Episcopal Church Foundation designated for a future St John’s building project. That fund currently has a balance of about $3.5M. Another parish family has promised a donation of $500K - $1M, again for the St John’s building project. These gifts and promises give us a starting point of $5.0-$5.5M towards a capital campaign for building development.
Not a bad start, eh?

What we needed. What we have now. What is missing…still.

What were the basic needs motivating our drive to expand; our journey from Capitola to Aptos?
  • Hidden in an isolated residential neighborhood,
  • Parking – only 6 spaces,
  • Inadequate and inflexible sanctuary space for major services and events,
  • Inadequate parish hall and kitchen,
  • Inadequate and inaccessible bathrooms,
  • Inadequate space for children and youth programs,
  • Inaccessibility overall – lots of steps, no ramps; narrow doorways and halls.
What did we build?
We achieved the planning and zoning approval for 3 phases of building and development. Then we did the site development: accessible road, parking and landscaping which are visible to visitors to Seacliff Beach and many other passersby.

Phase 1 (as completed)
  • Parish Hall, now temporary Sanctuary, totally accessible.
  • Sacristy, home of the Altar Guild, storage and work space with sinks.
  • Library; currently set up as children’s space.
  • Kitchen; a real restaurant quality stove and oven, with additional oven, microwave and warming oven, 2 dishwashers, a nice big refrigerator, plenty of storage and work area and accessible.
  • Youth Hutch
  • Storage and Utility space; including on-site washer and dryer.
  • 4 Restrooms, 2 with showers, all accessible
  • Nursery space; established by hanging a wall to separate from Parish Hall; meant to be temporary until real nursery space can be built.
  • Bell tower
  • Trailer; for Rector and support staff and equipment; temporary, permitted until 2014
  • Infrastructure for all then planned future building phases; heat, power, water, sewers – and of course the aforementioned parking
Phase 2 – for future development
  • Offices for Rector and staff; work areas for staff and volunteers, copier space.
  • Classrooms and meeting rooms; dedicated spaces for children and youth; spaces for small group and committee meetings
  • 2 More bathrooms.
Phase 3 - for future development
  • Sanctuary
  • Other: There has always been discussion of 2 other significant items, though they were not included in the original plans:
  • Some version of housing for an on-site sexton
  • Columbarium – A structure for respectful storage of cremated remains of deceased loved ones. A traditional part of our Anglican heritage, the planning of a columbarium at St John’s is ongoing and currently under discussion with the Vestry; financing is to be separate.
What is missing? What are the issues that have been raised about the current campus?
  • Lack of office space for our Rector! And for support staff and volunteers! Especially given that current office trailer was supposed to have been removed in 2015, according to our agreement with the County.
  • Lack of a permanent properly equipped nursery for babies and toddlers.
  • Lack of classrooms for children, youth and adult education or for hosting of possible school initiatives.
  • Lack of small meeting spaces for our own small groups and for community programs
  • Lack of dedicated sanctuary space:
  • to easily realize our “communion circle” tradition,
  • to host large services or community performance events,
  • to have proper hospitality set up with services in progress.
  • Lack of permanent accommodation for an on-site sexton.
This is a very concise summary of the questions about why we moved, what we needed and planned to build, what we completed and what some of the unmet needs are now.
The Architecture and Space Use Committee has spent a lot of time looking at the needs document created by parish-wide discussion before our current campus was developed. They have assessed those needs in great detail and updated them in terms of what has been completed and what remains. The resulting document, “Architectural Implications of St John’s Mission and Hopes, Annotated” will be available at the get-togethers later this month (January 2022) and will help us in our discussions going forward.
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