The Capital Campaign for First Church addresses two vital goals:
● one, the need to foster growth and further the mission of The First Church in Oberlin, UCC – including service to the community and imaginative programming – through improved facilities so that First Church will flourish in the future.
● two, a commitment to preserve the Meeting House for future generations of Oberlinians.
The historic Meeting House is much more than a beautiful place for worship: it is a vital community asset which provides a welcoming, safe space serving the greater Oberlin community through civil discourse, lectures and debates, support groups, musical and other performances, education and celebration. It is a cornerstone of our community, a reminder of important social justice issues of the past, and a call to improve lives and relationships.
Related facilities including the JFO Room, Fellowship Hall, James Brand House, and outdoor areas, will be renewed and upgraded to be more inviting, accessible, flexible, and useful – all toward furthering the growth and mission of First Church.
To remain vital now and well into the future, our fundraising goal is $800,000. This, along with other anticipated funds, will allow us to make nearly $1.5 million of capital improvements to our beloved church. This will be the largest investment ever made to secure the future of our historic church.
Improve facilities for greater accessibility, flexibility, and appeal, to grow and further the mission of First Church:
The centerpiece of the Meeting House renovations will reconfigure the chancel to include a larger, raised platform for better visibility and usability; reconnect the platform to the choir loft via steps (as existed prior to 1920); and make the pulpit moveable for greater flexibility to allow full use of the space. In addition, ramps and lifts will be added to increase accessibility, along with a hearing loop. Necessary repairs will be made to the front entrance steps and the classic tall windows will be restored to full use, improving energy efficiency.
In fellowship facilities, we will update the John Frederick Oberlin room to be more appealing and facilitate broader use; renovate the bathrooms and install new ADA-compliant facilities; updating lighting and furniture; improve acoustics in Fellowship Hall; and create a welcoming patio and accessible entrance on the east side of the building.
First Church is proud to share its facilities with and for the benefit of numerous other organizations including Oberlin College and Conservatory, Oberlin Community Services, Oberlin Community Music School, Oberlin Heritage Center, Oberlin City Schools, Choristers, MAD Factory, Family Promise, Alcoholics Anonymous, other churches and many others. First Church is used by tens of thousands of people from nearly 100 different organizations every year.
For more than 175 years, the congregation alone has maintained this important community asset. At this time, we are seeking generous support from both the congregation and the greater community to preserve and renew these facilities so that our community will flourish.
Importantly, a special opportunity exists within this capital campaign: the church has received a 2:1 challenge grant of $250,000 from the National Fund for Sacred Places for the preservation and restoration of the Meeting House. As a result, every gift to the campaign is matched by the National Fund. The church has also received grants from the State of Ohio that total nearly $40,000 for the preservation of this historic structure.
As stated above, this campaign represents the largest investment ever made to secure the future of this historic church. The total cost of this project is expected to be nearly $1.5 million. Our fundraising goal is $800,000.
Please help us! Make a gift today!