College Park Baptist Church, Greensboro, NC
College Park Liberal Baptist Church, Greensboro NC






captial campaign - access for all

More: Capital Campaign Summary Page | Steeple | Chapel | Elevator | Kitchen
Special Newsletters: Number 1 | Number 2 | Number 3 | Number 4 | Number 5

As in all things, years of wear and tear have taken their toll. To continue to serve our city from this mission outpost, we must address these needs. Also, we must have a vision for the future, so that our roots will continue to nourish new growth.

See our Special Newsletters (PDF):
Number One
| Number Two | Number Three | Number Four | Number Five

Total Pledged as of January 2014: $527,000 (Goal: $452,000)

Restoration and repainting of the steeple, painting of the front columns and the front of the chapel. See more photos.

These words embody the church’s effort behind this capital campaign. Fundamentally, the projects supported this campaign are about access… for everyone. Of course, the elevator will allow members and visitors in wheelchairs, with hip problems, or with other limitations to easily access basic, core areas of the church, such as the fellowship hall and the kitchen where we frequently gather.

The steeple project is also about access—it is a beacon to our church and gives us access to steady income (via cell phone tower rental) that sustains our missions and operations expenses. If the steeple is not repaired and painted, it will sustain continued structural damage. In a worst case scenario, it would have to be demolished.

Similarly, renovating the kitchen is about our access to an area that has provided not only weekly dinners and fellowship, but used to prepare for church celebrations such as the Male Bakeoff. Simply put, without the repairs funded by the capital campaign, our ability to use this space, to access this space, to its full potential is in question. The kitchen is also crucial to our mission work as a church, including being the launching pad for feeding those in need at Greensboro Urban Ministry.

Finally, the chapel renovation is about “accessing” space in a way that preserves its history and at the same time, makes the space accessible and useful for a variety of church needs in the future – whether it is the Tessera service, weddings or other church events.

All of these projects are about sustaining the church. The church, as a vehicle of our faith, sustains us. We, in turn, should sustain it by providing for maintenance of the facility and ensuring that its use and enjoyment can continue to sustain future members, as well as our current membership. The plans that the church approved are not “Cadillac” plans to make our church something gaudy or fancy; rather, these are projects to sustain the church, to nourish it as it nourishes us.

And, insofar as the church sustains us, it allows us to seek our own path to our faith, and, as part of that seeking, to serve, as we are called to do by Christ.

This campaign isn’t about money, it’s about access; it is about sustaining; it is about seeking and serving. Certainly, financial contributions from the membership are what facilitate this, but the mission is greater than that.

The Capital Campaign, approved by church membership, consists of four, fundamental projects to sustain present and future generations’ use of and access to the church.

Church Steeple – $68,000: Restoration and repainting of the steeple, painting of the front columns and the front of the chapel. The steeple needs particular attention because the paint is chipping and blistering in places, which has caused the wood to become rotten. Thus, the structure of the steeple needs restorative work and paint to protect it from the elements.

Elevator – $207,000: This project would make the church fully accessible to all individuals, regardless of their physical limitations. Large portions of the church (the fellowship hall and kitchen, most importantly) are entirely inaccessible for those with limited mobility.

Chapel Renovation – $127,000: Built in 1940 as the original sanctuary, the chapel is a formal meeting space. The renovation would not only update and beautify the chapel, but it would retain the chapel’s intrinsic beauty while making it a more flexible worship space for future generations.

Kitchen – $50,000: This repair would replace deteriorating walls, replace counter and cabinet space and install new ceiling tiles, as well as new paint. The kitchen renovation assists the fellowship, as well as the mission work of the church.

TOTAL GOAL: $452,000 (donated through 2014)

Instead of a prayer For the World, please consider this an open-eyed prayer for College Park Church In The World.

When the Capital Campaign Committee held our first meeting this Spring, we looked at the four projects the Church had voted to include and recognized that all four of them provided physical access to the Church facilities in its own way. We decided to use “Access For All” as the theme for the Campaign.

Over the past 4 months, we have communicated to the congregation the critical nature of these facilities needs in terms of providing physical access for various groups. We listened to Michael and Ann speak of sacrificial giving as the right way to think about how much we should give to the Capital Campaign. They told us they would make a commitment of $10,000 over the next three years. We all know how much Michael makes and are aware that they have begun the financially challenging phase of life when children are attending college. Their $10,000 is truly sacrificial giving.

We heard and saw Brian Carden begin his talk about the elevator with the words “I’m going to try this standing up. Don’t worry if I fall over. I fall over a lot actually.” It was a vivid reminder that, in the blink of an eye, any one of us might need that elevator to fully participate in the life of the Church.

Last Sunday we listened to Peggy’s wonderful reminders of what this Church has meant over the decades and how the entire Church will benefit from the Chapel renovation and we listened to Lin’s outstanding sermon that included some of her own personal journey.

And as I listened, I suddenly realized that I personally had totally missed the full meaning of the theme of this campaign – Access For All. Up until then I had thought only about physical access but, as I sat in church, my mind began racing back over the decades.

In the 1940s, the people of Forest Avenue Church moved to this location to serve the neighborhood and the UNCG community. This Church was providing Access For All.

In the 1960s, when the ugly specter of racism exploded across this Nation, it was the people of College Park who provided a forum for Jesse Jackson when he was searching for a white congregation in which he could speak to issues of freedom and racial justice. This Church was providing Access For All.

In the 1980s and 90s, when the Southern Baptist Convention was denying women the opportunity to serve God as pastors and deacons, it was the people of College Park who called Peggy Haymes as our Interim Pastor and who said that God wants all of God’s children to fully serve – including women as deacons and any other leadership role. This Church was providing Access For All.

In the past two decades when Christian churches all over the world were saying that gays and lesbians were not welcome in their churches and certainly not in leadership positions, it was the people of College Park who welcomed gays and lesbians as full members of this Church and of the body of Christ. This Church was providing Access For All.

I had the distinct feeling that God was laughing at me – because I was totally clueless and did not recognize how God was leading us when we chose Access For All as the theme of this Capital Campaign.

Yes, Access For All is a good theme for this particular campaign, which provides access for people with physical needs. But now I have come to understand that God is saying that we, the people of College Park over the decades, are God’s people and one reason for our being a church in Greensboro, North Carolina is to serve as a beacon to Greensboro and beyond in providing Access For All – regardless of the barrier. Amen

When the church voted to establish the Capital Campaign and tasked the Finance Committee with establishing a Capital Campaign Leadership Team. That Leadership Team subsequently created sub-groups to assist with the campaign. The Leadership Team members are:

  • Chair: Frank & Patsy Kendall, Janice & Robert Kirkman
  • Members: Jerry Cunningham; Angela Brady-Fleming; Mark File; Leslie Hicks; Paul Hicks; Bill Ingold; Matt Lojko; Amy Lowrance; David Lyall; Ginny Olson; and Sean M. Olson.

Upon the approval of the Capital Campaign by church membership, College Park’s Building and Grounds Committee went to work establishing “Construction Leadership Teams.” Each team is tasked with spearheading the particular projects that are part of the campaign. Team members work with each other, other church members, contractors, and other parties to ensure that the project is completed. Headed by Ed Smithey, chair of the Building and Grounds Committee and the Construction Leadership Teams Director, the teams are:

  • Chapel: Bill Ingold, Wayne Jones, and Peggy Haymes
  • Elevator: Kevin Shortt, Brian Carden, Paul Hicks
  • Kitchen Renovation: P.J. Stocks, Lisa Shortt, Adam Team
  • Steeple Painting: Dan Cottrell, Sean M. Olson

A church is not a building. A Christian church is a joyful tribe of people who walk together for a time. They support one another, love one another, and try to channel the one true God to a world weary with hurt, hunger, and humiliation. This is one reason that our signage says, “College Park: An American Baptist Church meets here.”

The goal of our buildings and grounds are to free the spiritual energies of our congregation to be about our service of love in the world. They are the place where we train our young people and ourselves to be countercultural for Christ, and where we talk to each other about living with honor. It is where we exhale our hurt and inhale a divine wild spirit. Our buildings are our way station, base camp, forward firebase, our pocket of resistance to evil in the world and in ourselves.

We could meet most anywhere, I suppose, but we must meet somewhere. We are not just an online community, or a group that exists only in theory. Where we meet has shaped us. Being across from UNCG has kept us curious, honest, and fresh, and we are a home for students and professors who believe that God welcomes all our questions. Being two blocks away from Lee Street has kept those who are struggling before us, and shaped our ministries. Being in College Park has focused our attention on all different times of families, their children, and teens.

We meet in wonderful buildings that we did not build. By the grace of God and the faithfulness of those who went before us, we have a good place to meet and grow and laugh and learn. We stand on the shoulders of generous women and men who gave time, energy and money to create sacred space for us, even though they did not know our names. I don’t know if, in 1906, they envisioned a free Baptist congregation alive and well in 2011; but they did prepare for us. Because of them, we are here, and now we are called upon to sustain this vision and to prepare to pass it on to the next generation. I invite all of us to be a part of sustaining this vision for those who come before us in the years to come. We do not yet know their names, but we will be ready with access for all when they come to serve God with us.

By Ginny Olson

Prayer of Praise & Thanksgiving
God, thank you for bringing us together in this place. For creating a space open to all.
Remind us to rejoice with our newest members and help guide us back to the extravagant joy we encountered when we, too, first found this loving community.
Remind us to rejoice with our oldest and our eldest members and help them model for us the extravagant joy that comes from fully understanding the history and sustaining spirit of this space.
And God, we ask you to remind us to rejoice over those yet to come, and we ask that a vision of their future guide us this day, this hour and this year to prepare a place of extravagance in your honor that will be worthy of their joy, too. Amen.

Prayer for the World
God, you tell us, "Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
God, we are weary. Your people do need rest.
Around the world, your people struggle against oppression, hunger, war, disease. So many ills to distract us from you.
We forget your command to come unto you, that you promise rest.
Speak to our hearts. Quiet our souls. Infuse us with your light that brings peace and calm.

By Michael & Ann Usey

Michael: I’ve always believed in leading from the front.

Ann: Of course it’s crucial when leading from the front not to be so far ahead that you’re mistaken for the enemy.

Growing up one of my favorite verses from our bible was Ez. 22.30, God is talking through the prophet and says, “And I searched for a man among them to stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found no one.” I have always wanted to be that sort of person. What I’ve learned in 53 years is that standing in the gap isn’t as dramatic as it is daily. Daily we decide to be parent, partner, pastor, son, friend …

Daughter, mother, teacher, choir member, church member, Christian. The courage required of us to live for others is rarely dramatic, but almost always daily. It is a long obedience to God in the same direction.

You know what I am paid here.

And you have a good idea what a high school English teacher at a private school makes too.

So, we’ve talked and prayed, and we want to share with you that our family’s pledge for the next 40 months for the Access for All campaign is $10,000 over our regular tithe. We’re going to do this in the following ways:

Our Hannah who is so good at soccer is going to live in Panama to sew soccer balls for 12 cents an hour.

Zach, our 16 year old, is going to be one of those fellows who advertises for the Halloween stores by dancing in costume on the traffic islands in front of Friendly Center.

Nate has agreed to open an online dating service at his college that has women and more men than just him.

And I have finally agreed to pose for Hunky Pastors of the ACC. Previously I had turned them down because they wanted me to pose with a King James Bible, and I’m strictly an NRSV guy. It says Chunky not Hunky, dear. Whatever. And I don’t think it says pastors; isn’t that a “b”…?

ANYWAY, the real way we plan we on sacrificing is not eating dinner out once a week.

Like many busy families, we eat out too often, and dinner for four at our favorite Thai, Greek, or Indian place is $40 with a coupon of course. But eating out once a week is something we’d miss. We’ve also brainstormed other small ways we can tighten our budget.

But we believe it is a rare honor to give to what God is doing in this place. There will not be equal amounts given by everyone—some will give more, some less—but I hope there will be equal sacrifice by all for all.

This church is incredibly special to us. I hope you know how deeply we value College Park. As churches go, this is a rare and amazing place. I trust our pledge underscores how invested we are here. I appreciate that you have responded to Michael’s leadership with genuine openness over the years, and I hope you will respond in kind to this, his latest challenge.

You are surrounded by people who take the church and claims of God seriously. This is reflected in their stewardship of money. There are enough of us to do some very significant work, but there are not enough that we can say, Let someone else do it.