Heritage and Hope Update

October 3, 2018

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Five years ago, the Cathedral of Saint James inaugurated our Heritage & Hope capital campaign in an effort to address these three priorities:

  • Accessibility to all who desire to worship, learn, and grow spiritually here,

  • Improve our capability for ministry and programs, and

  • Preserve the historic integrity of our cathedral.

A fundraising goal was set at $1.2 million—the amount our consultant advised we could expect to raise within our congregation—with a stretch goal of $1.8 million—the amount needed to accomplish all of the building and renovation plans drawn for us by our architect, Joe Dzierla. While it took every bit of the five-year duration of the campaign, this past summer we received a significant gift that brought us right up to that $1.2 million threshold.

You are receiving this letter because you are among the many generous souls who contributed to our Heritage & Hope campaign. First and foremost, on  behalf of the entire Cathedral community, I thank you for your support. I also wish to update you on our progress in addressing our campaign priorities.

The preservation of our 1894 Cathedral building was the first major issue addressed. In the fall of 2013, the entire church building was tuck-pointed and many limestone elements were repaired in award-winning work done by Ziolkowski Construction. In 2015, all of the stained-glass windows and window frames in the church were restored and new, properly ventilated protective glass installed. Small steps towards accessibility were undertaken in the sanctuary with the addition of movable chairs to provide for flexible seating to accommodate a greater number of wheelchairs and walkers as needed, and the elevated pulpit and lectern were replaced by a single, accessible ambo. Additionally, in 2015 the Cathedral’s beautiful, traditional baptismal font was moved into the sanctuary and the baptistery re-purposed as a Memorial Chapel with doubled columbarium capacity thanks to a gift in loving memory of W. Scott Miller. And, of course, in 2016, with a gift from the estate of Helen Waterson, we were able—at long, last—to acquire and raze the Marathon station next door. This purchase was significant not only in expanding the Cathedral campus, but also in allowing us to develop, for the first time, a comprehensive plan to address disability access for all levels of the Cathedral buildings.

In June of this year, knowing that the full execution of the plans drawn for us could still be several years away, Cathedral leadership met with our architect to discuss what could be done with the resources available to us at present. In short, we can do the entire interior renovation as proposed with only a few modifications needed that will have to be undone when the new addition is eventually built. Without building the addition, we will not have an elevator, new stairwell, and new entrance. The renovation we are undertaking as Phase I does, however, address disability access in several significant ways: 

  • A platform lift, capable of carrying persons using wheelchairs, scooters, and  walkers, has already been installed in the Garden stairwell, giving better   access to Cathedral Hall than ever before. The lift is awaiting completion and inspection before it becomes operational.

  • Two new accessible restrooms are planned on each level of Cathedral House (the office building), and the women’s room in Cathedral Hall will be · completely renovated. A ramp to that restroom will be constructed along the east wall of the Chapter room to make it accessible.

  • A ramp will be constructed to connect the Church and Cathedral House from the Chapel area to what is currently the corridor where the vestment cabinet is located. This will provide access to restrooms, classrooms, and meeting rooms on the main level.

  • The Cathedral offices will move to second floor of Cathedral House. The main level will include the nursery and three generously-proportioned rooms for Catechesis, Sunday School, and Adult Forum on Sundays, as well as other meetings.

  • The existing ramp to the back door will be modified with a landing at the top and installation of an automatic door. Those with mobility issues will be able to operate the door without assistance.

In other words, the Cathedral complex will be fully accessible except for the second floor of Cathedral House, which will be fully accessible in that eventual day when the addition to house the elevator is built.

This plan was sent to Majority Builders to rebid the project as modified for Phase I. Upon receiving a favorable bid last week that is within our current means, we signed a construction contract. There are several variables affecting when construction will commence, but according to Majority Builders, it could be as early as mid-November.

As with many things in life, this process has taken longer than expected and has evolved over time. Disability access in these old buildings that resist it at every turn remains our highest priority. Accessibility also expands our possibilities for outreach and ministry in downtown South Bend and as the Cathedral for the Diocese of Northern Indiana. We know there is more to do, but we are thrilled to be able to take these major steps at this time, and extremely grateful that you have made this possible.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to call me at the Cathedral or send an email to bggrantz@gmail.com. And, because seeing what I’m describing may be the most useful thing of all, I invite you to an hour-long meeting to go over the plan with a set of drawings in front of us: 

 Thank you again for your continued prayers and support. May God bless and keep you!

 The Very Rev. Brian Grantz
Dean & Rector

Brian Grantz