Church: Park UMC
District: Big Waters
Submitted by: Communications staff
When Rev. Brenda King arrived at Park United Methodist Church in Brainerd more than a year ago, church members had a concern: Their beautiful old Cassavant organ, which the church obtained in 1928, was in desperate need of major restoration. A committee had been formed to look into what it would take to save the organ that provided beautiful music for the congregation.
Members were shocked to find out that the cost of restoring the organ would be $93,000. Because of its value and long history, they decided they wanted to try to raise the money.
Not knowing where to start, Pastor Brenda King contacted Val Walker, executive director of the Minnesota United Methodist Foundation, which provided resources to help the congregation raise a large amount of money in a short time.
Specifically, Walker told King about “Miracle Sunday,” a six-week fundraising program designed for congregations seeking to raise money for a single need over a short period of time. The program involves sending two letters to members of the congregation and delivering two in-person messages at church, all emphasizing the need and highlighting the opportunity to meet that need. “Every week, you build on the idea of giving from abundance,” says Walker. “You help people recognize their ability to make a difference.”
King took “Miracle Sunday” to heart and decided to give it a try. She was blown away by the results.
Some parishioners decided that monetary gifts would make a good memorial gift for lost loved ones. A gift of $20,000 was designated by the Board of Trustees. At the end of the day on June 30, the day the decision was made to move forward in trying to restore the organ, the church had $35,000 pledged.
Members of the congregation spent the next several weeks raising money, which slowly trickled in during the month of July—but they were encouraged to wait to see how much money could be brought in on July 28, “Miracle Sunday.”
During the first service that day, the larger of the two, people were shocked that $88,000 had been raised, just by church members and their families and friends. The second service brought in more than $2,000 to seal the deal.
In all, more than $95,000 came in for the project.
“As we give, God blesses our gifts,” says Walker. At Park UMC, members of the congregation rose to the occasion to save their beloved organ and, at the same time, grew in their discipleship of giving.
The Cassavant organ was originally owned (in 1928) by Assumption Convent in St. Paul. In the late-1960s, then-pastor Leslie Drake had a friend in the capital city who worked on organs, and he connected Drake with the one owned by Assumption, which had moved to the suburbs. The sisters of the convent were delighted that the organ would stay in a place of worship. Purchased for $2,000, the organ was installed in the late 1970s, when Park UMC built a new building.
The United Methodist Foundation offers a full range of financial stewardship resources. “Miracle Sunday,” which is effective for congregations of all sizes and can be used for projects with a wide range of price tags, is just one program available to local churches in Minnesota.
E-mail Val Walker at the United Methodist Foundation, or call her at (612) 230-3337, to explore how the United Methodist Foundation can assist your church in meeting its fundraising goals and overcoming fundraising challenges.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church