First Presbyterian Church – Cedar Rapids

August 2017

Dear Friends,

First, let us celebrate what we have accomplished so far. On July 23rd, in what can only be called a Spirit-filled, joyous jazz worship, we dedicated our pledges to date of 1.5 million dollars to the restoration and renovation project. It was just last fall that we first became aware of how quickly we would need to address the infrastructure needs of our building and the organ. In a very short time we have assessed our hopes and dreams for the congregation, created a vision and plan for our future, and engaged in a capital campaign that has raised a significant amount of money. This indeed is something to be celebrated.

The reality is, however, that the needs of our infrastructure and our hopes for the future have a significant price tag, one that we at the moment are unable to pay in full. The Building Task Force, the Capital Campaign Committee, and the Session are hard at work discerning a path forward. Three priorities have risen to the surface over the past months of discussion and assessment.

  • The HVAC system. The failure of the heating and air conditioning system began this journey. It has been replaced, and we need to address that debt.
  • The organ. Central to our worship experience, the organ needs significant attention to address its age and upkeep.
  • The parking lot entry. Creating an entrance to the church that addresses needs of infrastructure, welcome, and security was by far the top-named priority during all the in-home gatherings and many conversations the members of the Capital Campaign Committee and Session have had.

Even with those three named priorities, there is still work to be done. A more detailed analysis of those three parts of the project reveals a price tag of approximately 1.9 million, so there is still a gap to be addressed. In the coming weeks:

  • The Building Task Force will be working with Rinderknecht to flesh out cost options and look for potential areas of savings, as well as having conversations with Reuter about the scope of organ restoration.
  • The Capital Campaign Committee is touching base with all those we have not yet heard from to determine their intentions towards the campaign and whether they have plans to pledge or give to the renovation effort. The committee also continues to explore grant opportunities.
  • We are asking you, the congregation – including those who have already pledged, to consider prayerfully if you might be able to increase your commitment. We have a shared history of generosity and careful stewardship that has enabled our congregation to serve Cedar Rapids for over 150 years. Now is the time for us to dig deep and begin to lay the framework for the next 50 years. We’ve included a graphic below to help you assess where your gift falls within our congregational pledge, and determine if you can make a “step up” in giving. A simple phone call to Joan in the office can adjust your pledge.

On August 22nd, the Session will meet again to assess the congregation’s position and prepare a plan for renovation that will be presented to the congregation at a meeting on September 10th. During these weeks I’d ask that you hold all of the Session members in prayer as they seek to be wise stewards of all that has been entrusted to them. It is indeed a privilege to serve a congregation that is filled with such energy and commitment, and I know that with God’s help we can do this!

Grace & peace,


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