“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:14 -16
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Capital Campaign Improvements
Testimonial from Diane Haack
"Our new garden shed has made it possible to have all of our tools and supplies neatly organized in one place. Nancy Johnson lovingly built the shelves so we could have things up off of the ground. This allows us to have gardeners from apartments —-they usually have no tools of their own, and can readily use ours. It is a huge help and looks so much nicer."
Testimonial from Mark Unkenholz
Organist and Music Director
"There are three areas in the Nave that come to mind. First: There is new LED lighting throughout the Nave and the Narthex which throughout the pandemic has made the video and live streaming much clearer. Second: The loop technology for those who are hearing impaired and who have devices that use this technology now have improved listening capability. Third: The sound system throughout the Nave has been upgraded. It is hoped that when we are back to in-person worship those in attendance will hear a noticeable difference in the clarity of speech and communication in general."
Testimonial from Doug Taber
Member of the Sunday morning Men's Group
"We coined the men’s Sunday school class Men’s Bible Fellowship many years ago because it mirrored what the group was about: studying and applying scripture as well as bonding through our Christian brotherhood. The new upper building aids this goal through its versatility. At one point 10 men or so met in the church’s administrative office space where it was snug and open for interruption. We are now able to meet in an inviting classroom without disruption as well as fellowship with distancing outside under the pleasant pergola during these difficult times. We are blessed to utilize Ascension's contemporary upper building which provides our class deeper development in study, faith, and community; strengthening us at a time when it’s most needed.
Testimonial from Nancy Johnson
"The most literal project in the Let Your Light Shine campaign is the lighting in the Parish Hall. What a dramatic improvement! With our new lighting and lighter floor tiles, the Parish Hall has been transformed from dull and dated to bright and welcoming. Besides being brighter, the lights are more energy-efficient and have a longer life span. It Is now a beautiful space that will be enjoyed for years to come."
Testimonial from Suzan Fenner
"As a Greeter, I am excited about being able to welcome guests in our new Welcome Center, located at the far end of the Narthex. Our former Welcome Table was too small and falling apart. The new center is away from heavy traffic patterns by the center doors to the Nave so conversation will be easier. It’s also beautiful and is an obvious place for guests to come with questions! Further, it has enough room so that we can visit with guests, while also greeting our parishioners as they arrive. Thanks to the generous contributions from many parishioners, we will be ready to give a first-class welcome as soon as we start having in-person services. "
Testimonial from Sally Kittles
Food Pantry Volunteer
"When I began volunteering at the Pantry, we operated out of a large closet in the kitchen off the Parish Hall and our offerings were limited by its size. When we made the move “up the hill”, everything got bigger. The space is larger for storage and prepping bags for clients. We have the ability to store a much larger variety of staple items. We have refrigerator and freezer capacity. This new building has made it possible to offer the people who come to Pantry much more than we could before."
Testimonial from Kathy Wendling
1st - 3rd Grade Teacher
"In the unprecedented year of 2020, many parents of elementary students were very concerned about sending their children back to public school in the fall. With the support of Father Paul, Ascension Day school was able to utilize the newly renovated Upper Building to offer parents the option of a multi-age classroom in a safe, secure environment. The building has been the perfect spot for my 1st-3rd grade class where we have honed reading, writing, and math skills, as well as explored ancient civilizations like Egypt and Greece. We are currently constructing a rain forest with the flora and fauna of each of the four layers. The huge window offers wonderful daylight, as well as transparency for parents.
As a part of our curriculum, the class volunteers at the Food Pantry every 1st and 3rd Tuesday. We are in charge of packing produce for the clients. This past week we packed 300 pounds of potatoes, 100 pounds of onions, 6 crates of oranges, 4 of apples, and vegetables from the Ascension Garden. My class also has a garden plot in which we are currently growing broccoli to donate to the pantry.
This has really been a blessing for me, my students, and their parents. Thank you to all for your generous support!"
Capital Campaign Letter from Father Paul
March 18, 2021
Dear Ascension Family,
In May 2018, we launched our three-year "Let Your Light Shine" Capital Campaign, knowing we had hard but important work ahead of us. No one could have imagined our church buildings and grounds would take a direct hit from a microburst hailstorm in 2019 and that our brothers and sisters around the world would experience a pandemic in 2020 that continues to severely impact all our lives.
We enter the final phase of our campaign, knowing the hailstorm destruction, with insurance proceeds to supplement the campaign funds received, unexpectedly aided in funding the improvements we set out to complete. We are also grateful for completed renovations that allowed us to pivot, with relative ease, to a new pandemic-driven normal.
We began our improvements in the summer of 2018, with renovations to our Ascension Day School (ADS) and younger children formation classrooms and children’s chapel. The updates helped us maximize the use of all of these spaces. ADS continued to grow and thrive on this investment, and parents and others observing the changes responded by contributing to the campaign. These additional financial commitments allowed us to replace the young children’s playground equipment.
The renovation of the Youth and Outreach Center was next. This process took longer than we anticipated, in part because we were determined to get it right for present needs and long-term future ministry work. Creating a space that was both functional for years to come and inviting was important. Many of you have shared with me your positive reactions to the dramatic transformational improvements.
The timing of the Youth and Outreach Center's completion at the end of 2019, a mere two months before the pandemic, has hindered us from fully utilizing this space. Despite the pandemic, these renovations were a tremendous blessing. In March 2020, our Food Pantry shifted to a pandemic ready model; and aided by the expanded space, frozen food storage capacity, and new design concept, we distributed more food last year than ever before. This space also hosts a new ADS early elementary class to serve a wider community, and we launched our outdoor worship services from the Center's pergola.
Our main building experienced extraordinary improvements as well. The stucco exterior was repaired, and maintenance was performed following the storm.
· The digital sign was replaced with a newer model allowing for moving graphics and a higher resolution.
· The lighting system and bulbs were replaced in the Nave, Narthex, Parish Hall, Parlor, and Rector’s office.
· The sound system was replaced in the Nave, and its reach was expanded to adjacent spaces as well. These improvements included an induction loop to assist those with hearing assistive devices.
· The walls were repainted in the Nave, Narthex, Choir Room, Parish Hall, Hallways, Administrative Lobby, and Library.
· The floors were replaced in the Parish Hall, Choir Room, Administrative Lobby and Library.
· A new welcome center was installed in the Narthex.
· The garden shed was relocated and replaced with a larger, more secure storage building.
· The HVAC controller was replaced.
· The Wi-Fi access points, firewall, and network switches were replaced.
Many members have remarked that our facilities have never looked better. I am looking forward to our return to campus so that everyone can see and enjoy these improvements firsthand. In the meantime, we will post additional pictures of the completed renovation work and the ongoing ministry work that’s happening in the renovated spaces.
The entire parish worked to make these improvements possible. Your contributions and other designated resources totaling $822,136 received for the campaign to date allowed us to make financial and construction commitments three years ago. The storm allowed us to expand some of what was done as repairs overlapped with work we had planned to do. Your extraordinary generosity and commitment to regular giving throughout the pandemic helped us further as Cares Act monies paid salaries for a short time last summer, freeing up almost $100,000 to be directed to cover construction costs in excess of monies pledged and received.
The scheduled work is complete. As we finish out the final months of the campaign and in anticipation of receiving the last of the funds from outstanding pledges over the next three months, we're grateful to be in a good place financially. Never to be satisfied with the status quo, and through seeking God’s direction in moving forward, we have the opportunity to complete two critical projects if the parish is willing and able to extend its commitment a bit further to realize these projects.
Our first project is the installation of pan tilt Zoom cameras in the Nave. We will need to shift to these cameras to continue live streaming worship when there are people in the pews, hopefully in a few short months.
The other significant project is replacing the flooring in the Narthex and hallways, a line item in the original capital campaign renovations that was scaled back to adjust to be in line with the initial amount of pledged funds. The existing wooden triangular planter areas in the Narthex, in particular, represent a safety hazard, and additionally, this improvement would also enhance our welcome and functionality.
It is exciting to consider that with only an additional collective commitment of $75,000, which is less than 8% of the $983,091 construction costs incurred to date, we can complete these two projects and Let Our Light Shine to better serve God, you, and our neighbors. If you are interested in contributing for the funding of the additional projects in any amount, please get in touch with me. If we receive adequate funding, we’d like to continue the construction work while the building is closed due to pandemic precautions. You’re also welcome to donate directly through our website www.ascensiondallas.org/give or drop a check in the mail or hand-deliver your contribution to the church office.
I am grateful for your prayerful consideration of this request and continued support of the capital campaign. I look forward to hearing from you.
The Rev. Paul Klitzke