After being challenged to raise $100,000 in a little over a month, the congregation of Gale Presbyterian church stepped up and met the goal.
In late November, an anonymous donor approached the church offering $10,000 toward the construction of a new building – provided the congregation could raise 10 times that before the end of the year.
By Dec. 31, the final total was $100,215.76.
“It was a stretch, that’s for sure,” said fundraising chair Vicky Hammell. “I think everybody dug deep to make us get there. In fact, I heard that somebody had called who wasn’t in town to make sure we had made it because if we hadn’t they were going to donate some extra that they planned on doing in January.”
The church has now raised more than $500,000 toward construction of a new church, which will cost an estimated $2.3 million. The land, located at Church Street and Barnswallow Drive, has already been paid for.
The congregation has been looking at building a new church since 2003. The present location is landlocked, with no parking, and not very visible.
Kim Denstedt, co-chair of the church’s steering committee, said the anonymous donor isn’t a member of Gale, but was impressed with the congregation’s energy and support of the new church.
“It was extremely generous of this person to do that,” she said.
Gale rallied behind the fundraising drive; there were a large number of donations, ranging in size up to $15,000.
“We were very happy and pleased that we were able to end the year on such a high note,” Denstedt said. “Our next major step will be at our annual meeting when we present an idea of what it could look like and costs and so forth.”
Currently, the building committee is looking at draft plans and offering feedback to the design process.
Fundraising is ongoing, as the church still has a long way to go toward the final total.
“We’d like to keep it to two or three major fundraisers and then there’s a bunch of smaller things that we’re doing as well, so we’re not taxing people too much. We do a lot of “fun-raising” as well as fundraising.”
Planning for the new church has brought people out to meetings and committees, which has helped bring people together, she said.
“I’m meeting people that I’ve sat across from in church for years, but I didn’t really know. I think that’s happened for a few people. When you do things together, you get to know each other and that builds community, builds caring.”