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John Whiston (our first Rector) Memorial Stained Glass Window

December 18, 2021

Dear Members and Friends,

We at St. John's are getting ready to have an all-parish conversation about what is next in the development of our campus and our buildings. We don’t always attend worship thinking about the building we worship outside of and how it came to be, we’re just glad it’s there and we’re looking forward to returning to its full use again.

Three years ago, 2018-19 B.C. (Before COVID), the parish community (all invited; many attended) spent almost a year brainstorming and refining and focusing our thoughts about our communal mission, looking ahead into the next seven years.

  • We called the results “Vision 2025”.
  • One of the five pillars of that vision was “Life-Giving Spaces to Enable God’s Mission”.
The vestry has spent time in the past year contemplating if, when and how we might realize the vision of our campus and buildings and plans to further our mission and wants to have an all-parish conversation.

But wait! Our path to the present is long and we have each entered at a different place and time and it is important everyone knows about our original vision and to feel part of that path to the present, and to that end we are giving you information in response to some of the common questions we have heard:
  • What is the financing story? How much did it cost and how did we acquire that?
  • What is the history of how we came to move? What happened – the decisions, the big steps, the design and building - and when; who participated?
  • What did we envision back then? What spaces? What has been accomplished? What remains to do? How have our needs changed?
  • What assets do we have in experience and resources to figure out “what’s next?”
“We” are the Task Force for Catch Up Communication on Campus Development, commissioned by the vestry in September, led by Sherrie DeWitt, including Chris Rowen and Tom Butler. We have been gathering information to answer those questions. We are sending information out to you, just not all at once.

COMING YOUR WAY NOW
  • A Timeline of what happened and when by decade
  • Some people’s stories
AND you can view the architectural drawings of the original concepts of the future phases on the hallway wall at church anytime.

AND SOON
  • A delightful history of St. John’s development authored by our own Suzanne Krakover-Nickel, covering in detail the events in our time-line.
  • A tale of money; what we needed and how we got it.
AND LOOK FORWARD TO LATE JANUARY!
  • Get-togethers in Person and on Zoom – Dates and Times to be announced!
    • A Brief presentation with charts and pictures of our path to now
    • A Magical Slide Show - 12 months of construction in 10 minutes!
    • Plenty of time for questions and answers
    • A virtual tour through 3D models of the original classroom, office and sanctuary space concepts.
ADDITIONAL MATERIALS THAT WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE
  • The Architecture and Space Use committee’s assessment of current needs, “Architectural Implications of St. Johns’ Mission and Hopes, Annotated” which effectively updates the needs document created before the current parish hall was designed and built.
  • FAQ’s -Answers to frequently asked questions -
It is very important y’all understand the purpose of all this history is not to promote a particular building project – or any building at all. We are striving to ensure that any and all interested parties, for whatever their time with us, can know what has led to this moment and join us on the path. It is to prepare for parish discussion and discernment about how we want to proceed to ensure “Life -Giving Spaces to Enable God’s Mission”.

The Communications Taskforce
Sherrie DeWitt, Convener
Tom Butler and Chris Rowen

FROM DEPOT HILL TO CANTERBURY


EVERYONE WHO WANTED TO BE WAS INVOLVED

It is important that you who have joined us on this path more recently, understand that we wanted to and did move and build as a community, which you are now a part of.

The first steps in early planning in the 60’s have involved a small group of really dedicated people, but as discussions and planning progressed, everyone was invited to participate.

EVERYONE! Every part of the process of deciding to move and to build and deciding on who to hire to help us, from architect to construction company to capital campaign consultant, everyone had the opportunity to be involved. And every area of church activity participated in the planning.
  • The Altar Guild talked about what they would need – even what they dreamt of– in a sacristy. First that it might be bigger than a closet, which was their present condition; then that it might have its own sink, and plenty of storage for altar clothes and hangings.
  • The folks involved with hospitality – the kitchen folks – got to talk about space big enough to move around in, a real restaurant stove and oven, a big refrigerator – to have the capacity to feed a lot of people.
  • The people involved in worship planning got to talk about how to situate the (old) organ and maybe a piano – how to get help making the acoustics alive for both singing and speaking and instruments – about sound systems that would allow everyone to hear. And Eliza Lindley helped us talk about holy space and how the building itself could be a participant in our worship.
  • The gardeners who lovingly tended the small garden of the Depot Hill church planned for big spaces, for native plants, blossom and fragrance, for trees.
And all those, and more, independent, conversations were funneled into the planning committees, for inclusion in plans, with discussions taking place eventually about priorities and possibilities. And every effort was made to communicate with all parishioners the details of plans and decisions to answer questions all along the way.
And as for the Capital Campaign – that was an every- person effort also. (More about that later.)

As we move into discussion and discernment of how to proceed on the path to our next “future” you will be working with others, you will be part of the “everyone” creating a campus that fulfills our dreams and ideas of what our church should be.

TIMELINE

1889               JUNE 24 FIRST OFFICIAL SERVICE OF PARISH OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST, CAPITOLA
1899               LITTLE CHURCH ON DEPOT HILL CONSECRATED
1958               BECAME SELF SUPPORTING
1960’s           FIRST LOOK AT GROWTH PLANS AND FUNDING CAPACITY; PARKING AN ISSUE
  • Under new Rector John Whiston, first full-time rector, parish growth is anticipated and relocation discussed.
  • General Division of Research and Field Study of Episcopal Church of USA visits, recommends relocation.
  • Vestry decides that due to lack of funds, people and resources, relocation be abandoned.
1970’s           CONGREGATION GROWS AND FINANCES STABILIZE: PARKING AN ISSUE
  • Arrival of Rector Larry Mikkelson 1972; parish continues to grow in financial stability and in participation.
1980’s           LONG-RANGE PLANNING LEADS TO PLANS TO MOVE AND BUILD AND FUND
  • Vestry begins to focus on long-range planning; discusses and researches many possibilities to solve shortage of space such as lease additional space, buy more property on Depot Hill or find new location.
  • Acreage on McGregor Drive comes to our notice.
  • Partnership with Santa Cruz County Housing Authority explored to fulfill restrictions of required affordable housing.
  • 1989 Second Century Capital Campaign begun, Bill Kell, Chair; goal of $600,000 for purchase of property. 73 pledges totaling $459,000 received, with a large bequest and other monies added to meet goal.
1990’s           SITE ON MCGREGOR DRIVE IS PURCHASED; SPLIT WITH HOUSING AUTHORITY
  • Land on McGregor Drive becomes available for sale
  • Special meeting (a pot-luck, what else?) held to vote on whether to purchase the site. After much discussion, the vote was 88 yes (72%) out of 123.
  • Contract executed by Rector Mikkelsen with Housing Authority to share a portion of McGregor parcel, allowing for development of affordable housing next door.
  • Purchase contract signed, county requires road – now Canterbury Dr- be built.
  • 1993 Rector Mikkelsen passes away, building project pauses as search for a new Rector begins.
  • 1995 Rev. Steve Ellis called to be Rector; annual tradition begins of worshiping outdoors at Canterbury Site on Wharf-to-Wharf Sundays.
1998-99        THOROUGH PLANNING BEGINS OF OUR NEEDS, OF POSSIBILITIES; ARCHITECTS INTERVIEWED
  • Leadership transition is completed, exploration of next phase begun.
  • Two-year strategic planning study initiated, chaired by Anne Baker; other churches visited in many locations; exploration of pros and cons of each.
  • Detailed needs report generated with input from all ministries of the church; Altar Guild, Children & Youth, Hospitality, Worship and many others to inform potential architects
  • Architect proposals solicited, discussed and analyzed; process open to all.
2000-2005    ARCHITECT SIGNED, FINANCING DEVELOPED VIA CAPITAL CAMPAIGN AND SALE OF DEPOT HILL PROPERTY
  • Second Century Capital Campaign reactivated to raise funds to prepare the site; grading, drainage, sewers, plus legal, engineering and architectural fees. Around $400,000 is raised.
  • After many interviews and visits to other churches all around, Canterbury Site Team recommends signing a contract with noted Marin County architect, Warren Callister.
  • Escrow closes on property mid 2001
  • After unsuccessful efforts to sell Depot Hill site to religious organizations, property put up for sale; option received to buy all three parcels for $2,700,000, owner to take title in April 2007, with rent back provisions.
  • Capital Campaign Committee is formed and proceeds with a goal of three million dollars, blessed with a lead gift by Pat and Rowland Rebele of one million. Rowland and Karen Greenleaf are co-chairs.
  • In the very difficult financial climate of 2008, Mary-Nona Hudson, Parish Treasurer and Rowland Rebele use all their considerable skills of persuasion to coax two construction loans from Wells Fargo Bank and a line-of-credit for construction from Coast Commercial Bank.
  • Wells Fargo requires added security; seven parish families step up to secure the loans by guaranteeing their own homes’ equity.
2005-2009    PLANNING IN HIGH GEAR; PERMITS ACHIEVED; BUILDING BEGINS; FUNDING CHALLENGES MET
  • Architect Warren Callister dies; new architectural firm engaged to create from his work schematics that could be bid on.
  • A section of the plans is carved out for Phase one of Construction; subject to changes as funding challenges arise; Parish Hall, to serve as worship space, with kitchen; Sacristy, Music Office, a Nursery Space, storage
  • Remaining plans for future construction include Rector’s office, other offices, nursery and children’s rooms, meeting- and class-rooms, sanctuary, columbarium and possibly a garage with housing for an on-site sexton.
  • Ceremonial groundbreaking in June, 2007
  • Building contractor and project management consultant and other professionals contracted with.
  • March, 2008, County Planning Department approved permit to begin construction in April
  • County required that site work (grading, drainage, utility installation, sewers) for ALL phases be included now-in first phase.
  • Some stops and starts as surprise costs against funds available lead to both cuts in the plans, and emergency requests for more pledges. Once again the parish comes through.
  • Ready for the grading equipment, we bless the project wearing pretend “hard hats” and green “leap of faith” t-shirts and joyous smiles - finally!
  • Ray Wolfe, Vestry Liaison to Canterbury Site Team, and Anne Baker, Liaison to Construction Mgr., begin their daily hard-hat walks.
  • Joanne Peterson and Stu Fitch lead a weekly on-site prayer team, embracing everyone and everything connected to the project.
  • October; Granite Rock pours 2300 cubic yards of cement to complete the foundation.
  • December; a fir tree appears on top of the new roof.            
  • Strategic Planning Committee begins conversation about how to leave Depot Hill; how to carry the spirit of the church with us and how we might relate to our new neighbors.
  • Modular building is leased temporarily to house offices for Rector and Bookkeeper; permitted for 6 years.
JUNE 21, 2009, FEAST DAY OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST, OUR 120TH BIRTHDAY AS A CONGREGATION AND OUR FIRST WORSHIP SERVICES AT CANTERBURY DRIVE.
2009-2017    RECTOR ELLIS RETIRES; SEARCH AND TRANSITION
  • We explore and expand into our new campus.
  • 2015 Father Steve Ellis retires; Merritt Greenwood comes in as Interim Rector.
  • A Search Committee is formed, Win Fernald, Chair, and begins extensive process to create a parish profile, advertise, interview prospective candidates and make recommendations to Vestry; possibility of future construction is an interview topic.
  • 2017 Mother Tracy Wells-Miller called to be Rector.
  • Mortgage of 2.5 million paid off early! 2017! Faithful pledgers indeed! Plus generous bequests.
2018-2021    TRANSITION COMPLETED, NEXT STEPS DEFINED AS “VISION 2025”
  • 2018 E.& G.G. Hook Organ Opus 491 Organ purchased for $1 and moving fees.
  • After 10 years at Canterbury Dr; Parish-wide study undertaken, weekly over several months, to discern who we are now.  After much prayer, sharing and discussion, we verbalize our mission and our vision.
  • Vision 25 summarizes our many thoughts and ideas under five big areas, including “Life-Giving Space to Enable God’s Mission.
  • Architecture and Space Use Committee (ASUC) begins review of the needs first identified in 1998-2000 study; explores in light of changed times and changed needs.
  • ASUC presents to Vestry a document summarizing the results of their work “Architectural Implications of St. John’s Mission and Hopes, Annotated” in preparation for a parish wide discussion of next steps.
  • ASUC establishes the creation of 3D virtual walk-throughs of the original ideas for additional building areas (office and worship spaces).
  • Task Force on Catch-Up Communication for Building Development created by Vestry to create a parish-wide process for education of the parish on the history and status of building project.December 18, 2021,
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