- 1) What is Changing Lives Together and what are its goals?
Changing Lives Together is a capital stewardship initiative designed to create a stronger future for each parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Every parish will be conducting this initiative over the next two years. SS. John and Paul Parish’s Changing Lives Together initiative will continue from now through the fall. For us that stronger parish future includes a permanent Parish Life Center, a top concern that came from our parish-wide goal-setting process in 2005.
Every parish household and members within each household will be asked to participate. We ask each person to make an informed, thoughtful, and prayerful decision as to the financial commitment that they can make during the next three years. To achieve full success we will need the majority of parish households to make a sacrificial gift of some sort. “Equal sacrifice not equal gifts” is both our hope and challenge.
2) Who will be asked to participate?
3) What is the financial goal for this campaign and how will funds be used?
We have set a goal of $1,662,000 for our parish Changing Lives Together campaign. $1.5 million will be designated to be used only for building our permanent Parish Life Center. $162,000 will be donated to the Archdiocese for specific archdiocesan needs.
4) Why that amount to the Archdiocese and what are those Archdiocesan needs?
The Archdiocese set a target for each parish, based on 90% of their Sunday and holyday income in a given year. Up to that amount (for us it means $540,000) the parish keeps 70% and the Archdiocese receives 30%. However, everything over $540,000 goes to the parish 100%, no tax or other Archdiocesan claim on it. If we reach our stated goal of $1,662,000, that means we keep 90% ($1.5 million) and the Archdiocese receives a maximum of $162,000.
The $162,000 Archdiocesan portion goes toward these four specific initiatives and nothing else: a) picking up the cost of paying the fund-raising consultants (NB: a savings of $70,000 or so for our parish); b) expanding seminary and formation facilities and programs at Sacred Heart Seminary; c) strengthening the Catholic Church’s presence in the city of Detroit; d) strengthening Catholic education throughout the archdiocese.
Please review some of the Archdiocese of Detroit CLT material, including a number of candid responses by Archbishop Vigneron to pressing financial and pastoral matters in the Archdiocese called "Sharing the Light of Faith".
5) How will the request for pledges/donations happen? When and how will we be asked to pledge/donate?
A packet of material has been created for every parish household which includes much of the background material previously sent out in earlier mailings. In addition we have added a pledge/ committment card we are asking every household to return after prayer and reflection. NB: for the parish to succeed in this endeavor it will take sacrifice on the part of most of us. Take time to pray about what a three-year sacrifical gift/pledge would mean in your situation. Some samples of various levels of monthly giving over a three year period are included on the back of that card, as well as a brochure on various non-cash gifts that might be possible (stock, bonds, IRA rollovers, etc.). After you prayerfully consideration, please fill out the inside of the card, place it in the enclosed envelope along with any initial payment, and return it via the Sunday collection, by mail, or to the parish office.
On the card, list your total gift, any initial payment you are putting toward that gift, and the balance due. Check the box that matches the schedule of payments you want to use to pay off the pledge. If you want to donate stock or other non-cash gifts, check that box as well or fill in any other instructions you want to give us. Also, please correct any information in the address label.
The weekend of October 22-23 is designated as “Commitment Weekend” and we are encouraging as many as possible to return their commitment cards by then. But take whatever time you need. The campaign is spread over three years and will continue until we have a response from every parish household.
6) Will people be asked to pledge a certain amount?
No. Circumstances vary so greatly. “Equal sacrifice not equal gifts” is what we want people to consider. What level of commitment is possible for you, given a reasonable sacrifice for the next three years? All gifts will be gratefully received and acknowledged. Pledging over three years allows even smaller monthly gifts to have a greater impact.
For the parish to reach its goal, however, we clearly need
people to make as generous a gift as their circumstances allow.
Pledging over three years allows even smaller monthly gifts to
have a greater impact. Prayerfully consider your circumstances
and make the sacrificial gift that you are able to make.
7) If financial circumstances change, can the pledge be changed?
Yes, certainly. Some are in a difficult economic situation now which might change in the next couple of years. Others are in good shape now but the future can bring surprises. Pledges can be changed as needed.
8) Does it have to be a three year pledge?
No, it does not. However, by stretching our commitment to three years, it does allow for higher gifts. But if someone prefers a shorter pledge period or outright donation, that will be gratefully accommodated. Likewise, if someone wants a longer pledge period (four or five years) we will work with them. But as a general rule, the question being asked is: “What would be an achievable sacrificial gift, over and above my Sunday and yearly C.S.A. donation, if I spread it over three years?”
9) Will there be an opportunity to memorialize a gift?
All gifts of whatever size will be permanently acknowledged in the new Parish Life Center in some way. However, as mentioned above, we will need those who are capable of doing so to aim for significantly large gifts/pledges. To help encourage that, we do have memorial opportunities available, many of which will be connected to a new parish Prayer Garden we are creating.
The memorial bricks and other memorial opportunities are not paying for that garden (that will come out of ordinary operating funds). Rather, these memorial opportunities are directly connected to raising sufficient funds for our Parish Life Center. Memorial opportunities start at the $100/month, 3 year pledge level, and go up from there.
10) Do we have enough households in the parish to raise that much money, esepcially in current economic conditions? What happens if we don't reach our goal?
We have been waiting to do such a capital campaign for several years. With the Archdiocese picking up the fund-raising consultant fees and providing support material, this became an opportune time to conduct our campaign.
Although the economic times are challenging, we believe it is possible to achieve our goal, with the current size of the parish (1200 households). If, for some reason, we have insufficient funds to build what we want, we will address that issue then. Because all parish monies are going into a separate building fund account, no monies donated will be used for other purposes without the consent of the donors.
11) Does Changing Lives Together take the place of the annual C.S.A. this coming year?
support. It is a once in a generation capital campaign that is
necessary for the future of this parish. Please do not reduce your
Sunday or C.S.A. donation in order to increase your Changing
Lives Together gift.
However, this capital campaign is vital for our future. Just as the
early members of the parish sacrificed to build the church we now
worship in, so we need to provide for the current and future
generations of parish members.
12) Who will keep track of the pledges and how/when will the parish have access to the funds?
After the initial auditing of the pledge/gift, all monies are sent to
the Archdiocese for processing. The monies are deposited
monthly into our parish account. You will be given an opportunity
to pay the remainder of your pledge via electronic funds transfer
or credit card or payment reminders mailed directly to you,
beginning in 2012, following the payment schedule you indicate on
All such payments, even though handled by the Archdiocese, go
into our SS. John and Paul Changing Lives Together account. In
this way we can make sure all monies from this campaign are used
only for the purpose donated. The money in the Changing Lives
Together account is the parish’s; we have access to those funds
like all other monies we have in savings with the Archdiocese.
13) Is any of the money being used to pay off the parish debt on the 11 acres on the north side of the parish property?
We are directing all monies raised in this campaign toward our
Parish Life Center project, not our debt or any other project. We
set aside a portion of our parish savings to more than cover any
requirement the Archdiocese might make to pay toward our debt
at this time, so that we wouldn’t have to use this campaign for
debt repayment. In the meantime, we are waiting a final
response from the Archdiocese to adjust our $1 million debt to
more fairly reflect the price of land at the time of purchase.
14) Do we have any model or detailed drawing of what the Parish Life Center will look like?
We have included in the October information packet an aerial overview of the parish property and its current facilities, along with an approximate outline of where the proposed Parish Life Center will be situated, with its approximate size. In addition, we have a 3-dimensional scale model in the Social Hall of the Activities Center. However, please note that all such renderings are conceptual only, not final plans. The exact configuration, square footage, etc. cannot be known until we begin the detailed work with an architect. That will take place as the pledges are being paid off, so that we can be ready to build at the end of the pledge period, if at all possible.
15) A further question I have about the "Changing Lives Together initiative is: