Latest News

Next Steps (5/11/17)

You’re invited!

Last fall, we launched the Our One Foundation Capital Stewardship Campaign to provide new structures to meet our future needs while preserving our historic campus. It has been the most successful in our parish’s history, with pledges nearing $3 million.

Your parish leadership now cordially invites you to hear about some exciting developments and give input on the process going forward.

There are two opportunities to attend one of these Congregational Update Meetings:

Sunday, May 21, at 12:30 PM (After Church)

Sunday, June 4, at 10:15 AM (Between the 9:00 and 11:15 AM services)

Both meetings will take place in the Parish Hall.

Please RSPV to hilary@stalbanswaco.org or call the church.

Victory Celebration! (2/26/17)

On Sunday, February 26, 2017, a capacity crowd packed into the Parish Hall for our Victory Luncheon to celebrate the conclusion of the active phase of the Our One Foundation capital stewardship campaign. The campaign to date has received 146 pledges totaling $2,833,031, over five times annual giving. (Churches typically raise from two to three times annual giving; we far surpassed that.) This included $10,000 pledged by our college students, matched by two anonymous donors, tripling the amount! Thank you to all our donors whose generosity has made the Our One Foundation campaign the largest single campaign in our church’s history. As we press on towards our goal of $6 million, we will invite new members, as well as existing members still considering their pledge, to get involved as together we preserve St. Alban’s historic legacy and prepare for our future. In the meantime, the Building Committee will spend the next several months of 2017 working with our architect to turn the conceptual drawings of our Master Plan into a more detailed schematic design. The Building Committee includes John Burton, Jared Danford, Stewart Kelly, Kay Olson, Cathy Ratcliff, Joe Wade, the Rev. Aaron M. G. Zimmerman, and Senior Warden Jerry Campbell, ex officio.

A Night Under the Stars (10/30/16)

The stars in Texas’ night skies are “big and bright,” or so the old song goes. But the big stars in the heart of Texas were under our tent on the Great Lawn on October 23. Nearly 150 members attended our kick-off event for the Our One Foundation Capital Stewardship Campaign. Fitting with our theme, “A Night Under the Stars: A Chance to Dream,” large, pre-lit silver stars sparkled from every tabletop and along tent edges for a festive evening. Guests were treated to live music from St. Alban’s member Pat McKee. Joining him was Trammel Kelly, who grew up at the church. 

The Our One Foundation campaign goal is to raise $6 million, enabling us to begin the first phase of a four-phase building and renovation plan over the next ten years. It is our first major fundraising campaign since 1996, when we raised $1.5 million to renovate the church, Parish Hall, school, and offices.

Campaign co-chairs (L-R): Stewart & Tracy Kelly, Angela & David TekellDavid Tekell, co-chair of the campaign’s Steering Committee (and Senior Warden), gave a brief recap of the work that led to the vestry’s endorsement of the capital campaign. David, who co-chairs the committee with his wife, Angela, and with Stewart and Tracy Kelly, also discussed the long and careful planning that brought us to this point, and what the reimagined campus space might look like.

We were so excited that joining us was a very special guest, the Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Texas, and our 10th rector. Having finished a parish visitation in Houston that morning, and headed to Camp Allen that night, he was determined to make the drive to Waco to be with us and celebrate this milestone at a place he loves so much.

The Diocese of Texas stands with St. Alban’s, he assured us. He helped us see we are part of a much bigger picture: “Every parish in the Diocese has had to make the decision at some point in time to hold a capital campaign. I want you to know you are not alone in this endeavor.” 

Rector from 2006 to 2012, the Bishop spoke from first-hand experience of the life-changing work that happens here. “If the walls of my old office could talk, they could tell you stories of lives, marriages, and children saved—all by the grace of God.”

On a personal note, he told the congregation the impact the church has had on his own family, noting his sons’ current involvement in ministry. In a special moment, he turned to our current rector, the Rev. Aaron Zimmerman, and said, “It is because of the spiritual impact you have had on the life of my family and on their behalf that we make this pledge to your campaign,” and then handed Aaron his pledge card. 

The festivities included a video about the campaign and words from Margie Allen, who attended the first service at St. Alban’s as a 9-year-old girl in 1946 and was the first woman to serve on our vestry. “At first I wasn’t happy about coming here,” she quipped. “I left a wonderful church (St. Paul’s) where we had the most fun at Sunday School. Here, we had Sunday School on a porch.” It didn’t take her long, though, to grow to love St. Alban’s. “It has meant the world to me,” she said.

Near the end of the evening several children took the stage holding two-foot tall numerals. They scurried around before they got the correct order to “spell out” the total pledges already made during the Advance Gifts phase of the campaign. 

When they finally lined up, we were able to announce pledges totaling $1,630,450 from twenty-seven households. These pledges already surpass the 1996 total, giving our campaign significant momentum as it heads into its broader visitation phase. 

We are now in the phase when members will contact other members for a visit about the campaign. Rather than sending an impersonal letter, our goal is to meet personally, face-to-face, with each parish household. This will give everyone an opportunity to learn about the plan, ask questions, and see its potential for St. Alban’s and our community. We want each person to have a chance to best decide how they might support the future of St. Alban’s. Advance Gift co-chairs Tom Stanton and Kay Olson noted that this is our time to build upon our foundational legacy and extend on Our One Foundation for the sake of our future, for our children’s children. 

As the night drew to a close, Rev. Zimmerman stood on St. Alban’s Great Lawn in front of Waco Drive. Facing the congregation, he asked: “Have you noticed cars have been driving by us all night? Thousands do each day. This is our mission field! Each one represents a person or family we’d like to welcome to this church. This campaign will create a campus they can’t ignore. And it will say to them, ‘Welcome, come on in.’” 

We ended the evening in fine Episcopalian style with a rousing rendition of the hymn “The Church’s One Foundation.” Rev. Ben Maddison offered thanks to a host of persons who made the night possible and closed the wonderful evening with a moving prayer. Please continue to pray for this campaign and for our church. And when you get a phone call asking to schedule a visit with you about the campaign, say “Yes!” We are all blessed to be part of this exciting journey. 

Help Surround the Campaign in Prayer (10/18/16)

As we get busy with the activities of Our One Foundation Campaign, it is equally important for us to get busy in prayer—to listen to God, to ask God’s leading, and to ask God’s blessing. 

One way to get involved is to commit to pray for a one-hour segment during the St. Alban’s 12-hour Prayer Vigil. It will be from 6 PM October 22 (Saturday night) to 6 AM October 23 (Sunday morning) in the church (balcony or nave). This is the eve before our "A Night Under the Stars" kick-off event.

Please consider signing up and coming to the church for one hour to pray during this Vigil. We are hoping for four people per hour. Your hour is also a good time to reflect on the ways you have experienced God’s presence at St. Alban's, your hopes for the church, and your thanksgiving for what you have found here. 

Sign up by clicking here or email the church office at hilary@stalbanswaco.org

We invite you to “stay awake with Jesus.” 

Note: Access to the church during the vigil will be from the courtyard door at the side of the church. A reminder will not be sent – so write down the time for which you sign up.

Vision & Visits: A Campaign Update from the Rector (10/13/16)

This is an exciting time to be at St. Alban’s. Besides the Fall Festival, our new Small Groups, and the Night Under the Stars Kick-off event, we are also in the thick of the Our One Foundation Capital Stewardship Campaign. It’s a busy and thrilling time and I’d love to catch you up on what's going on.

The church and the vestry have spent the past two years thinking, praying, and working towards a Master Plan for our future. Some of these conversations began when Jeff Fisher was rector, and they picked up again shortly after I arrived. We began in earnest in 2014 with the hard work of the "Charting Our Course: Vision 2020" Committee. Many of you attended the small and large gatherings we held to get congregational input. We continued with the Master Planning Committee, appointed by the vestry in summer 2015. Through the hard work and keen eye of these committed laypeople, we learned some signifcant things. As membership has increased and ministries have expanded, it became clear that to fulfill our commitment to the long-term health, stewardship, and maintenance of our facility, we needed:

  • Better and larger spaces to provide for ministry to youth, children, seniors, and families;
  • A welcoming, coherent, and accessible campus for people of all ages and abilities;
  • A more visible and welcoming entrance and more of a presence on Waco Drive.
  • Preservation and updates to our historic church

The Master Planning Committee began work with CasaBella Architects of Austin, TX. The committee invited the congregation to a parish-wide gathering so the architect could hear your needs, desires, and concerns. With this information, the Committee and architects first considered renovating all existing spaces. However, the cost and the sub-par expected results did not support that option. The committee wisely decided to renovate a few buildings and also construct a new building to house a Parish Hall, classrooms, offices, and a chapel. In August 2016, we hosted twelve Focus Groups so that everyone in the church could voice their opinions and be informed of the plans. From those meetings, a feasibility study was given to the vestry about the Master Plan. With vestry support and excitement we moved towards the Our One Foundation Capital Stewardship Campaign, with the goal of achieving Phase One of the Master Plan.

After all the waiting...Now is the time! Dr. Andy Wisely, a co-chair with his wife, Dr. Lynn Wisely, of the campaign’s Spiritual Emphasis Committee, has said "Seventy years ago... people built St. Alban’s. Now it’s the right time to do something of that magnitude again." You can read the rest of Andy and Lynn's compelling words here.

Andrea and I believe deeply in the future of St. Alban’s. We believe that these facility improvements are essential for ensuring the future sustainability of St. Alban’s. Our pledge to the Our One Foundation campaign is the single largest we've ever made.

I've had an amazing experience in recent weeks visiting parishioners and asking them to consider a pledge. It has been with excitement and joy. And I find great enthusiasm among our members who understand the goal of this campaign: We are providing for our children, for their children, and for newcomers to our growing city, a beautiful, welcoming, serviceable campus in which to grow spiritually and serve God’s Kingdom for generations to come.

Some people have asked if Andrea and I plan to stay at St. Alban’s to see the campaign through. Let me assure you, it is our desire, and the desire of the Diocese, that we do so. God has called us to this place. We want to be part of that exciting celebration when we open our new, improved, and welcoming doors for the first time!

Having said that, there is an important truth to recognize. This campaign is the work and the responsibility of the people of St. Alban’s. I am here to listen, serve, and lead as we follow God's vision and mission for this parish and work for its success in every way; but this is our church, and even more so, this is Christ’s church, and we participate in God’s work in our community. In Christ, Our One Foundation, we can place our whole faith and trust.

Members of the Steering Committee—your friends and neighbors, clergy and lay volunteers—will be calling to visit with you to discuss Our One Foundation Capital Stewardship Campaign. I hope you’re as excited to hear about these plans as we are to share them. 

Early visits showing great generosity (10/9/16)

In the earliest stages of the Our One Foundation Stewardship Campaign, the Steering Committee is witnessing generosity from St. Alban’s parishioners that has humbled and inspired them.

“People are making pledges in dollar amounts that exceed the largest gifts they have ever offered to St. Alban’s, and in many cases to any other organization,” said Rev. Aaron Zimmerman. “The plans in this campaign are the biggest thing to happen to St. Alban’s physical space since the original sanctuary was built.”

There is more at work in these early stages than generous pledges, though. People are exhibiting a great pride and sense of ownership in St. Alban’s and an excitement for what its future can mean.

“There is a pride of ownership parishioners are expressing for this church that they care about deeply, and a ‘stepping into’ a faith for the future that is firmly rooted in Jesus as the true foundation of all that we do,”  our rector said.

Lynn Wisely, who is co-chair with her husband, Andy, of the Spiritual Emphasis Committee, shared this insight from Henri Nouwen’s book, A Spirituality of Fundraising:

“…[fundraisers] become more confident and joyful, standing up in their asking without apology. And in this they do not profit alone, because donors also participate in a new communion with others while becoming part of a much larger spiritual vision and fruitfulness.”

In the weeks ahead, we hope you will look forward to a visit from one of your friends at church as they share the campaign’s vision with you.  

Steering Committee Named (9/21/16)

The Steering Committee for the campaign has been recruited and are already hard at work. Since the vestry voted to approve and launch the campaign, the executive leadership has been seeking those gifted and committed individuals who can lead us forward. They are:

Campaign Chairpersons: Mr. and Mrs. Stewart and Tracy Kelly and Mr. and Mrs. David and Angela Tekell

Honorary Chairperson: Mrs. Margie Grossenbacher Allen

Advance Gifts Chairpersons: Mrs. Kay Woodward Olson and Mr. Tom Stanton

Kick-Off Event Chairpersons: Mrs. Cathy Ratcliff and Mr. Kenn Harding

Spiritual Emphasis Chairperson: Drs. Andy and Lynn Wisely

Publicity Committee Chairpersons: The Rev. Ben Maddison and Mrs. Vicki Kabat

Finance Committee Chairpersons: Mrs. Valda Rispoli and Ms. Lori Youngblood

Pattern Gift Chairpersons: The Rev. and Mrs. Alberto and Carol Melis

Executive Leadership: The Rev. Aaron M. G. Zimmerman, rector; and Mr. Russell Floyd, JDK&A Consultant

Campaign Launched (9/6/16)

At a special meeting on September 6, 2016, the vestry approved the launching of the Our One Foundation Capital Stewardship Campaign to enable completion of Phase 1 of the Master Plan.