Time to Celebrate

June is a month of celebrations, graduations, and the beginning of our beloved Cathedral of the Pines camping season. There is much to celebrate at Mount Olivet, and with nearly 1500 youth signed up for our summer programs already, it is clear that God is up to something good at Mount Olivet.

On June 5, we will celebrate the mission and ministry of Mount Olivet. Your pastors and I look forward to gathering with you between services as we give thanks to the many people who share their time and talents throughout the year to make the ministry of Mount Olivet possible. Festive music, mini-donuts, and great fellowship between services make this a great weekend to invite a friend or neighbor to experience all that Mount Olivet has to offer. The entire staff will be on hand to greet you or answer questions about what’s happening in and around Mount Olivet.

And, speaking of what is happening around Mount Olivet, I’m often asked "What is happening with our capital campaign?"

I am pleased to report that $13.5 million has been received to date with over $9.4 million of that amount expended to build the new front entrance, elevator, parking lot, and kitchen renovations at our Minneapolis Campus; for preliminary East and West addition expenses; and for the Redeemer partnership. Many thanks to all whose generosity made this possible and to those who continue to pay their pledges. We are most appreciative.

As to next steps, here is a recap of what I recently told the staff ...
The process and timeline for moving forward are as follows: In conversation with the personnel and finance committee, I have agreed to write a "white paper" outlining the facts as we know them pertaining to both the West Campus and Mpls Campus James Avenue additions. This will be presented to the Congregation Council in June and will include estimated construction costs. The plans for the James Avenue addition are completed, and the plans for the West Campus addition are still under development, but that task force is working diligently. Both plans will be submitted for approval by the Congregation Council at its September meeting.

The number one priority for congregational dollars remains our annual stewardship effort – these gifts are foundational and support mission and ministry. Capital dollars always are sought as gifts beyond regular giving. We give annually out of our earned income. Giving to capital purposes is either extra giving out of income, or out of accumulated assets, or through estate planning. Because both our affiliated organizations and our church depend on strong year-end giving to meet budgets, the drive for capital purposes would begin after January of 2017.

We will be doing much planning for the capital campaign, talking with potential donors, enlisting leadership, and doing research. We estimate the total expense for both projects will be over $20 million, and we already have $10 million in pledges and gifts both paid and outstanding. In the meantime, costs go up about 4% per year. We can see a path to success, but it will take the generosity of many, many households. We need our members who did not participate the last time around to join us in this transformative effort. To those who have already given to the campaign, we extend our sincere thanks and hope you will continue to support with an extra gift. Estate gifts continue to bless our congregation, and there are several estate gifts that have not yet been designated. Some portion will need to be put into the Foundation (previously called the Endowment Fund) for the future, a portion will be needed to meet annual expenses, and another portion will be used for the capital campaign.

We continue to encourage one capital campaign embracing the concept of "one church, two campuses." We also know that donors have passions for certain projects, and they will be able to designate where their gifts go.

These are exciting times for our church. Thank you for your partnership.

Pastor Dennis Johnson