den United Church of Christ is a 107-year old pillar of the Jefferson Park neighborhood of Chicago, founded in 1914 by Volga German immigrants from Russia.
We're committed to serving our members and neighbors for a second century, and have launched "Raising the Roof: Restoring Eden's Sanctuary and Song" to do so. This Capital Campaign is about "more than a roof", and the restoration of our lovely organ. Over the last decade, we've moved from being a longstanding pillar of the community to being an active partner serving the community. Our sacred space has nurtured generations in faith and family tradition. As we share God's building with Jefferson Park and engage in new ways beyond our building, we're providing neighborhood sanctuary.
Here's more of our story and need...
Our sanctuary, gym, classrooms, and fellowship hall have been the center of family life and neighborhood meetings for decades. In the last decade, we have significantly increased our partnership and service in the neighborhood, developed regular intergenerational programming for After School and Summer Programs, and become a beacon for dialogue, peace-building, and conflict resolution education. We have twice hosted the "On the Table" neighborhood conversations as part of the Chicago Community Trust's city-wide annual initiative. We have hosted events for public servants like aldermanic leaders, Cook County president, and first responders. We share the building with Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and SuperSoccer Stars.
We are the conveners of the new neighborhood coalition Bridging Jeff Park which brings together neighbors past, present and future in appreciation for the neighborhood’s heritage and current community-building assets. Our pastor, Rev. Jacki Belile, is an officer of the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce and an active member of neighborhood organizations. In partnership with organizations like these, we are playing roles in a new working group for support of the homeless and upcoming “Racial Healing Circles.”
Our beloved carillon tolls the bells beloved by the surrounding neighborhood. The beautiful stained glass windows by Hans Muench have been featured in publications of the Northwest Chicago Historical Society and in the booklet entitled Light in the Windows, published in 2016.
Sadly, our 92-year-old sanctuary (original!) has sustained damage over time. Although we have frugally patched it many times, the water damage of Spring 2020 was "the last straw." For a number of years, the interior plaster has been compromised and is worsening with each season - gravely so over 2020.
We launched this campaign in 2020 knowing "The time is now."
Eden’s Möller Opus 5426 is literally at the center of Eden’s worship and at the center of the church building itself. Our Opus 5426 has served the congregation of Eden continuously for 92 years. In September 2020, its pipes were lovingly boxed up and stored safely off-site at Berghaus Pipe and Organ, while we undertake our Capital Campaign: “Raising the Roof: Restoring Eden's Sanctuary and Song.”
It will be re-installed under Eden’s new roof—the replacement of our 92-year old original roof—when it has been finished and proven to resist leaks.
The Capital Campaign goal is $250,000, including projected roof replacement, asbestos abatement, plaster repair, and the meticulous cleaning and restoration by Berghaus technicians.
Why are we undertaking this extensive and expensive renovation? Because the tradition of a music-centered congregation is our living tradition, and our preservation of the space is our sacred trust.
With your help, beautiful sacred music from Möller’s Opus 5426 will continue to enhance Eden’s worship and its worship space, as well as those who visit Eden. We hope that, with your generous donation, you will be a part of Eden’s musical legacy.
Since 2010, we've replaced half of the roof of our campus, replaced the gym floor, and numerous other appliances and windows.
We now turn to the immense challenge of replacing the original 92-year-old sanctuary roof after many repairs and patches.
Our Project Need is at least $250,000 adjusted for unanticipated costs and the surging cost of building materials. We're more than halfway there! As of June 1st, we've raised about $140K. This GoFundMe Campaign is designed to bring in at least $60,000!
Complementing the events and appeals launched in July 2020, we continue to seek grants, large donations, and wise, fun local events.
With sound planning and a wide number of partnerships, we are confident we'll meet this daunting challenge.
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