Christ Church Cathedral, Diocese of Eau Claire

Christ Church Cathedral, Diocese of Eau Claire

By: 
The Rev. Canon Heather L. Melton, Staff Officer for the United Thank Offering

Christ Church Cathedral Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire WisconsinWe’re in the middle of granting season, which means that many of you are working on applications, helping folks with their applications, or eagerly awaiting applications to review and submit for your diocese. Each year, the UTO Board receives more eligible applications than they have funds from the Ingathering to award. And each year, really amazing sites do not receive funding simply because we don’t have enough to give to them. For me (and I think the Board), this is the hardest part of our year. So, this past year, I asked a couple of applicants who were just below the funding line if I could share their stories with you. I know how powerful it is to hear about the sites that were funded, but I think that it’s even more powerful to hear about the ones that weren’t. Sites like the one I’m about to share often go on to work really hard to raise the money themselves, or they wait and apply again for grants from UTO or other programs because this work is really important and good and holy. Today, I want to tell you about an elevator for Christ Church Cathedral in the Diocese of Eau Claire, with thanks to Bishop Jay Lambert for permission to tell you about this great church. I hope you’ll share this story with others so they might consider giving more to UTO, maybe a nickel instead of a penny each time they are grateful, or a year-end tax-deductible donation.

Last year we received an application from the Diocese of Eau Claire to install an elevator. You’re probably thinking that UTO doesn’t fund things like this. But we do, as long as the renovation will allow for the expansion of current ministries or for a new ministry to begin. I’ve not been to Christ Church Cathedral in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but Bishop Lambert told me that when he was consecrated bishop, the reception afterward was held in the hall, which is upstairs, and several beloved people in attendance couldn’t go to the reception and had to stay on the first floor because they couldn’t climb the stairs. So the problem wasn’t a new one, but it became a bigger issue as the cathedral desired to expand its current social justice ministries. The cathedral offers a literacy program, a non-food pantry (which gives away toiletries and other needed supplies that aren’t food related), Head Start, and other programs. This is all done from the limited space available on the first floor, with the second floor reserved for times when participants can work around the accessibility issue or for events for those who can climb the stairs. The elevator would allow the cathedral to expand its programs and increase the number of classes offered to the vulnerable in the community. The demand is increasing for after-school programs for at-risk children, such as the literacy program, and for safe places for the youngest among us, such as Head Start. This grant would have expanded these programs, provided space to start new ones, and allowed the cathedral to reach more people in need in the community. It was a great application and eligible for funding, but we simply did not have enough funds to give. The cathedral is now working on a capital campaign, and we are hopeful that it will be successful so that the cathedral can continue its amazing work in the community.

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