1. Sustainability and Growth 1.1 End-State 1.2.1 Infrastructure - Staff 1.2.2 Infrastructure - Systems 1.3 Parish Community
2. Mission 2.1 End-State 2.2 Food Pantry 2.3 Music in Chelsea Series 2.4 Community Center for Ideas 2.5 Art and the Community 2.6 Social Action - Neighborhood Outreach 2.7 Chelsea Walking and Gallery Tours
4. Fundraising 4.1 End-State 4.2 Restoration fund for $15 million 4.3 Program Endowment 4.4 Columbarium
Summary Our vision for St. Peter’s is to be a place where anyone on our block or beyond can come and feel welcome, whether for program, spiritual or religious connection, or just to read in the garden.
Our mission for the next five years is to achieve the desired end-states stated below in the following four domains: Sustainability and Growth; Mission as concept and Mission as task; the Restoration of our buildings and property; and raising Funds to ensure the Restoration’s completion and preservation of St. Peter’s buildings and property in perpetuity.
Our first priority is to continue our progress toward being a sustainable congregation and to grow by inviting others to join us in our events and activities as we work to care for and connect with our near and far neighbors. Over the next five years, our goal is to be sustainable by managing our finances so that we can build our endowment through modest surpluses in each year; increasing the number of programs in our neighborhood; continuing to streamline our internal systems to make them more efficient; to restore our 1831 Rectory and 1838 Church buildings to structural and weathertight soundness by raising $15 million to do so, $4 million of which is intended as a building endowment that will allow us to maintain and preserve the buildings according to a 25 year maintenance plan; and to strengthen our administrative capacity by hiring a parish administrator.
We believe that this is an exciting time for St. Peter’s. It’s exciting because we have the opportunity to restore our beautiful and historic buildings and to ensure that they will be preserved and maintained in perpetuity. At the same time as the buildings are being restored, we are also developing our sense of Mission as underlying principle and our sense of Mission as tasks. We know that we are to care for our neighbors out of our strength. Our neighborhood has changed over the last five years and continues to change. In addition to our outreach to those who have little, we are developing our outreach to those who have much. One of the ways that we can reach out to both is to become a center for ideas through a lecture series for the neighborhood and a performance series of music, readings, acting, and film.
Our goal for these next five years is to literally put our house in order and to establish St. Peter’s as the neighborhood church in Chelsea. The Parish is behind this goal and we look forward to making it happen with your help.
May 13, 2015
A Brief History of St. Peter’s
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Chelsea, familiarly known as St. Peter's Chelsea, is an inclusive faith community founded on May 9, 1831, and recently celebrated our one-hundred and eighty fourth birthday. The church was consecrated in 1838 with land and funds donated by Clement Clarke Moore, author of A Visit From St. Nicholas. For this reason, St. Peter’s is also referred to as the Christmas Church. In honor of this connection, we host a Christmas Fair each winter and a tree lighting to begin the season.
The church building and art works were inspired by the various artistic movements in vogue during the 19th century. This includes the building inspired by Gothic Revival architecture, the pre-Raphaelite paintings on the east and west sides of the church representing biblical processions, Tiffany Studios and J&R Lamb Studios stained glass windows, and a three-panel mural painted by Ted Witonski.
In addition to its beautiful properties and garden, the parish was known for its community engagement and activism including providing support to lower-income communities in the 19th century through schooling and employment, among many other social programs. It hosted various civil rights and unionized groups during the 1960s. Later in the 20th century, the church supported and provided pastoral care to New Yorkers with AIDS and their families.
Today, the church continues its engagement through the Food Pantry program it began in 1981, which currently provides over 1,500 bags of food a month to neighbors in need. It is also home to Chelsea Risers (a morning AA group), a Girl Scouts chapter, Pictorial Photographers of America, the Music at Chelsea series, Chelsea for Peace, and the Chelsea Community Church.
Our Current Context
St. Peter’s has served our Chelsea neighborhood for 184 years. From our beginning in 1831, we have provided sacred space where our parishioners have come to worship, be baptized, married, and buried. We have responded to such neighborhood events as the Cholera epidemic, taught young women how to sew, and we have been involved in such world events as the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, the Civil Rights movement, and the AIDS pandemic. While there have been occasional gaps throughout the years, we have aspired to be a constant and a presence for good in the lives of our neighbors.
Our current context is that of a growing congregation in a neighborhood that is attracting wealth. We find ourselves in a new place because of the changes around us, and we find ourselves re-imagining our purpose and function as we grow. We are in a place of getting everything squared away, taking care of our physical plant, ensuring that our systems are lean and that everything is working the way it is supposed to.
We view the next five years as a time of ensuring the sustainability and growth of our programs and our parish. We are taking the next five years to re-position ourselves as a neighborhood church that plays an active part in the life of contemporary Chelsea by taking action in the following four domains:
1. Sustainability and Growth
1.1 End-State - Our desired end-state for December 31, 2019 is for the parish to be on a solid and sustainable financial footing. We would like to have established a $4 million endowment to generate revenue to preserve our buildings and property in perpetuity and to have established a smaller endowment to generate revenue for our programs.
Part of the desired end state is for us to have the staffing that we need to sustain our programs and growth and for our administrative systems to be lean and working. Externally, we will have an interactive website and a recognized presence on social media.
At the end of 2019 we will be positioned as a neighborhood church in Chelsea with balance between religious services; a neighborhood center for ideas and programs; and living out our mission through social action.
In order to achieve our desired end-state for sustainability and growth, our plan calls for the following objectives for the following areas:
1.2.1 Infrastructure - Staff - Our current paid staff consists of a 0.5 FTE Priest, 0.4 FTE Food Pantry Administrator, 0.5 FTE Consultant Bookkeeper, 0.5 FTE Sexton, and a Seminarian and a Music Director and Organist at 0.25 FTE each, for a total of 2.40 FTE paid staff. We have two 0.5 FTE and one 0.25 FTE Volunteers who serve as Office Manager, Receptionist, and administrative support for a total of 1.25 FTEs. Our public relations, marketing, website, and social media is done by a parishioner on a pro bono basis for another 0.5 FTE, which all add up to of 3.15 FTE staff.
We have an ambitious program of events, programs, and outreach scheduled over the next five years, in addition to our restoration and fundraising goals. We are committed to staying lean and to involving our parishioners and neighborhood volunteers as much as possible. We will need to transition from a Volunteer Office Manager to a paid Parish Administrator and either to extend the clergy position to a full time position or to hire an administrative assistant or full time seminarian to assist the priest on a short-term basis. We may also need to consider making the transition from a volunteer to paid marketing and social media professional.
To ensure that we remain a sustainable and viable organization we anticipate hiring a full-time seminarian in the Fall of 2015 at the cost of $24,000 for the 2015-2016 academic year. We plan to hire a 0.5 FTE Parish Administrator in the Summer of 2016 at the annual rate of $30,000 plus benefits.
If all goes as planned, we would look to add another 0.5 FTE staff position in 2017 or 2018 depending on our needs and revenue stream at that time.
1.2.2 Infrastructure - Systems - Because our staff is all part-time, our internal systems need to be efficient and to be used. We have invested in a Local Area Network (LAN) and a server to share files to increase productivity. We have a robust financial and accounting system and improved internal procedures for direct communication between parishioners and staff. For marketing, we have an adequate listserve vendor and a volunteer marketing and social media expert.
We may upgrade our internet capacity as demand increases and we are likely to purchase two additional computers in 2015 and to upgrade our three existing computers in 2017.
The upgrades for the various electric, plumbing, heating, and audio/visual systems in the church building and the rectory are anticipated and included in the restoration budgets for each each building.
1.3 Parish Community We will continue cultivating our parish community focusing on pastoral care, parish cohesion, and our various groups to encourage connection, socialisation,, spiritual growth, and relationships.
We have formed several standing committees, such as the Restoration, Mission, and Events Committees, which are comprised of members from St. Peter’s and Chelsea Community Church. We plan to invite several members from our neighborhood to join us, particularly on the Mission and Events committees.
Our Parish groups include the Book Group, as well as several short term groups focusing on diverse themes such as the spiritual journey, racism and inequality, and revisiting our parish history.
2.1 End-State - By December 31, 2019 we will be living out a clearly defined and articulated sense of mission as underlying concept through our social action programs. We will have reconnected with our neighbors, who will see us as a neighborhood center.
The Food Pantry will be on a secure financial footing and will have changed into a ‘store’ model, rather than keeping the current ‘giving’ model; we will have established a presence and a weekly service at Fulton Houses and reclaim our partnership with the Hudson Guild.
We will have established relationships and developed programs with the following members of our neighborhood:
192 Bookstore Alcoholics Anonymous* Cafe Grumpy* Chelsea Community Church* Chelsea for Peace* Chelsea Interfaith Council of Religious Leaders EMS Station 7* FDNY Engine 3, Ladder 12, & the 7th Battalion* General Theological Seminary* The Girl Scouts of America* NYPD 10th Precinct* St. Paul’s German Lutheran Church* The Pictoral Photographers of America* The Atlantic Theatre Company The Avenues School Fulton Houses The Hudson Guild PS 11 *Already in relationship and partnering with this organization.
2.2 Food Pantry - St. Peter’s Food Pantry is one of the church’s longest running and most successful programs. During 2014, over 22,000 bags were distributed to those in need. It hosts several corporate volunteer groups such as the Armani Exchange and Banana Republic. We would like to further develop the Food Pantry program and leverage its relationships for its long-term growth and stability. Over the course of the next five years, the program will evolve into a store model where our customers may work in the store in exchange for food items of their choice. Our hope is to expand our offer to satisfy some of the ever-increasing need and touch the most affected.
In addition to developing a model for the Food Pantry that respects the dignity of our guests, we will have established periodic health screenings for our guests. These screenings will include a brief medical exam and history, free blood pressure and diabetes screenings, HIV tests, other basic exams, flu shots, and assistance in finding clinics for those who need medical care.
As part of our work to serve people who are unemployed, we will develop a Day of Beauty to our program. The Beauty Day consists of makeovers for homeless women, resume writing assistance, and a partnership with Dress for Success. The Day of Beauty will be led by several of our parishioners who work in these fields and external partners.
2.3 Music in Chelsea Series - For the last twenty years St. Peter’s has sponsored the Music in Chelsea series in the Spring and Summer. Professional musicians have come together to perform concerts of classical music on Sunday afternoons as a benefit performance to support the Food Pantry and a modest admission is charged. In addition to attracting neighborhood residents into our buildings and serving as a community center, all proceeds go to support the Food Pantry.
We anticipate expanding this Spring and Summer series over the next five years.
2.4 Community Center for Ideas - As we look at our changing neighborhood, we are preparing and positioning ourselves to take advantage of the emerging demographic of an increase in the number of families and single persons moving to our neighborhood. While there are a number of services available to Chelsea residents, we see an opportunity to become a center for ideas in our community.
We will hold two series beginning in the Fall of 2015: a series of lectures and a performance series. Both are intended to be a vehicle for us to reach out into our neighborhood, to attract people to the church building, and to raise money for the restoration project, as each lecture or performance will be a benefit.
We have a series of speakers and performers planned and are in the process of confirming their dates for 2015-2016. If, as we anticipate, this program is successful, we will continue it through 2019. We believe that this series will be a great opportunity for our church to connect and build relationships with the public and support our overall objective of becoming a neighborhood church in Chelsea.
2.5 Art and the Community - As home to one of the highest concentrations of galleries, art pervades most of modern-day Chelsea. Our parish itself has a long history with the arts from Clement Clarke Moore, author of A Visit From St. Nicholas, to painter and sculptor Louise Bourgeois. Therefore, we would like to continue reaching out to the community through the arts providing spaces for exhibitions and talks. We will host artworks by professional artists and upcoming artists from PS11. We also have a Photography Group that uses our space for meetings who will have exhibitions, and 192 Bookstore who will use our space to host literary talks.
This would round out our commitment to the arts already present through our music series and commitment to the preservation of our own properties.
2.6 Social Action - Neighborhood Outreach - As part of our social action program of providing pastoral care to our community, we are developing a relationship with our neighbors at Fulton Houses. Our initial step will begin in the Fall of 2015 when our priest begins to meet the residents of this low income housing site and starts to hold regular church services in their community center. We intend to cultivate this relationship over the next five years and become a presence in their community.
We also intend to reconnect our historic relationship with the Hudson Guild, a community-based center in Chelsea. We have worked with them in the past and look forward to working with them to provide services and programs to our wider community.
2.7 Chelsea Walking and Gallery Tours - We are developing relationships with Chelsea Walking and gallery tour guides to open up our church and buildings for visits. This will enable us to further communicate on the history of our church and welcome new groups of people into our doors to visit the grounds. These relationships will further enhance our presence in Chelsea and support our vision.
3. Buildings & Grounds Restoration
3.1 End-State - The Garden walls will be restored/replaced by the end of 2015. The Rectory will be restored by the end of 2017. The church building will be restored by the end of 2020.
3.2 Six-Year Church Renovation - To continue our programs and presence in our community, and to preserve this historical landmark in Chelsea, we have embarked on an extensive restoration project. This project would ensure the restoration of our buildings and their ongoing preservation. It would also allow us to cut costs by updating our electrical and heating systems, as well as provide additional features to build on our program offering and space use.
The initial steps began this Spring when we began repairs of the piers on the South elevation of the church building. We also hosted several open door events for our neighbors to see the grounds and explore the church building. Our next steps in 2015 will be the reparation of the garden wall, the rectory wall, and replacing the church roof. We are working with a Building Conservator and have already begun the bidding process for the renovation as well as the creation of a 25-year maintenance plan by the Conservator.
4.1 End-State - We will have raised a total of $17.5 Million by the end of 2019: $11 million for restoration of the rectory, church building, and property; $4 million for a building endowment; and $2.5 million for a program endowment.
4.2 Restoration fund for $15 million - The $15 million for the restoration project include the $11 million for the work and a $4 million building endowment that would provide us with funds in perpetuity for the maintenance of the buildings and grounds. These funds will be exclusively used for the preservation and maintenance of the buildings and property of the church.
Please refer to the Master Plan for the Church and for the Rectory prepared by William Stivale for more information.
4.3 Program Endowment - The $2.5 million program endowment will be used to provide revenue for the support of our programs and mission to our neighborhood.
4.4 Columbarium - Our garden and grounds have been used as a final resting place for many over the years. We would like to further develop this as an option for our community and use it as an opportunity to raise additional funds for the maintenance of our grounds and properties. We are currently in the process of gathering data for the development of this program.