When it comes to making capital improvements, churches often take a while to consider their options and make their plans. Built in 1835, historic First Congregational Church in Jefferson, Ohio had once hosted abolitionist John Brown in its pulpit. The oldest in Ohio’s Western Reserve, the church was well-preserved — but their last major remodeling project was completed in 1910. For a long time, the 191-member congregation had talked about the need to update the building and improve accessibility. Read the rest of this story »
For the 205 members of Melfield United Church of Christ in Haw River, North Carolina, ministry means continually growing an open heart for the community. Centered in a rural area that is home to many farmers and textile workers, the church has sponsored a successful food program that feeds 150 families. But to meet another big need — supporting working and single parent families with after-school programs — they required more space. After considering the project for several years, the church turned to the Cornerstone Fund when they decided to move forward.
To meet their goal of offering before- and after-school care and tutoring programs, Melfield UCC built a 2,500-square-foot educational building. Borrowing part of the funds for the $164,000 project from the Cornerstone Fund, the church conducted a capital campaign that enabled them to pay the mortgage over a period of time. The new building provides space for Sunday School, houses the clerk’s office and accessible restrooms, and even offers shower facilities should the church be needed as an emergency shelter.
The pastor of Melfield UCC, The Rev. Dannie T. Williams, got to know the Cornerstone Fund when serving as an Associate Conference Minister. “The Cornerstone Fund is very helpful — not just with loans, but with the business decisions that go into making capital improvements,” he said. “I’d strongly encourage any congregation to consider the Cornerstone Fund when building or renovating, or for investments. It’s definitely the way to go.”
Holy Covenant UCC in Charlotte, North Carolina moved to the growing north side of town when people were just beginning to move that direction. These days, the church is surrounded by a thriving, rapidly expanding suburb — and they were running out of space. With a loan from the Cornerstone Fund, Holy Covenant built a new wing to accommodate more Sunday School and meeting rooms, to pave the gravel road and parking lot that circle the church, and to add attractive and prominent signage to extend their welcome to the thousands who travel by every day.
Situated in the 7th Ward of New Orleans, Beecher Memorial UCC has served its community since 1904. For more than a century, the church weathered storms and rebounded — including 1965′s Hurricane Betsy, which destroyed Beecher’s building leaving only the bell that now sits in the church’s front yard. Read the rest of this story »