What is Leap of Faith?

In 2007, Christ Church adopted a five-year strategic plan called “Expanding Our Vision,” which set the priority of making Christ Church a “spiritual home” for all parishioners. As the work set out in that plan was successfully completed, the Vestry started another planning process that has culminated in Leap of Faith.

Leap of Faith is the result of nearly two years of listening to and learning from the people of Christ Church. Hundreds of “essential conversations” took place in 2011 and 2012, in which parishioners listened to each other about the things that are most important in their lives, about how they experience God’s presence in their lives, and about what they long for.

A Visioning Committee, chaired by Arrington Mixon and Fletcher Gregory, continued the listening and learning process with guidance and support from The Lee Institute. The Visioning Committee found a powerful desire for depth, for connectedness, and for making an impact on the world. The Visioning Committee created three Missional Focus Groups, which represented a broad cross section of the parish, and included more than 50 parishioners, clergy and church staff. The three groups were based on the pillars of Christ Church’s Mission Statement: Love God, Care for Each Other, and Serve the World. They began to explore specific projects and programs in the spring of 2012. These groups and the Visioning Committee made recommendations to the Vestry. The Vestry unanimously adopted the comprehensive Leap of Faith Vision on November 19, 2012.

The Leap of Faith Vision is big and bold, and will guide Christ Church for the next five years. The Vision is people-centered, seeks to engage all generations, and focuses on renewing and serving. The Vision reaffirms the mission of Christ Church to Love God, to Care for Each Other, and to Serve the World, and to take each of these ministries to a deeper and fuller level in the lives of all parishioners. It includes programs and projects that can begin immediately, but allows flexibility for exploration of other ideas, and the ability to respond to needs that may emerge. And, the Vision includes specific plans for campus and facility improvements that align with the goals of community-building and equipping the people of Christ Church for life and ministry.

What is the purpose of the Leap of Faith campaign?

The Leap of Faith Vision will guide Christ Church over the next five years. This campaign will fund the programs, outreach and improvements to our facilities that are described in the Leap of Faith Vision.

What programs are part of the Leap of Faith Vision?

The specific program recommendations are outlined here for Love God, Care for each other and Serve the world.

Why do we need a campaign now?

First, this campaign will fund the Leap of Faith Vision, and the programs, outreach and property improvements that it anticipates. The Vision has been approved by the Vestry, and many of the projects are ready to start – or expand –when the funding is available.

Second, Christ Church has been blessed with steady growth, adding more than 1,500 parishioners since 2006. The needs of the parish have grown accordingly. In 2007 and 2008 the parish made the decision, based on this history of growth, to buy four houses on Providence Road (two of which are duplexes) between the parking lot and Portland Avenue. This acquisition was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and maximized the Church’s long-term ability to continue to serve the needs of a growing parish. It was funded by loans totaling $4.3million. The Vestry is committed to eliminating that obligation within five years. The Leap of Faith campaign will accomplish that, and provide for important improvements to the campus and facilities which will support the Vision.

And third, Christ Church has always done “big things.” The last combined campaign for capital and outreach at Christ Church was One in the Spirit, which started in 2001 and ended in 2006. Leap of Faith is our next big step forward.

What campus and facility improvements are part of Leap of Faith?

On the Church grounds:

  • A new parking area will be added, alleviating a longstanding issue
  • The two duplexes near Portland Avenue will be used for transitional housing, in partnership with Charlotte Family Housing (see HOUSING SPECIFICS)
  • Welcoming outdoor community spaces
    • The plaza in front of the sanctuary will be expanded and improved
    • A gathering space with a fireplace focal point will be built at the back of the upper parking area
  • The lawn along Providence Road will be bordered with an extension of the existing architectural fencing, addressing a need for safe recreation area for youth and Christ Church Kindergarten

In the Church facility:

  • New welcome area in the Rotunda
  • More office space for additional staff
  • Create new Gathering Space at the front of the parish building
  • Redesign and enclose the current Gathering Space for use as library and classroom space
  • Improved music rehearsal rooms

Regarding technology:

  • Improve website technology and streaming capabilities, so that worship and classes can be more accessible
  • Improve audio-visual technology in key learning spaces
  • Create wireless access throughout facility

Leap of Faith does not include a “new building.” Rather, improvements and changes are being planned that will align our facilities with the Vision today. But the Vision has the future firmly in view. If the growth of Christ Church requires more facilities, the acquisition of the Providence Road property funded by Leap of Faith puts the Church in the perfect position to take that next step.

What is the projected cost of the campus and facility improvements, and when will they occur?

These improvements are projected to cost about $1.5million. Not all of the changes will happen at once. The flow of pledge payments will determine when changes can be made. However, the construction of the added parking is a high priority and will hopefully take place in 2013.

How do I get involved in one of the Outreach Projects?

Some of the Serve the World Outreach Projects involve taking existing partnerships much deeper. If you want to get involved now, contact Reverend Marty Hedgpeth for guidance. If you are uncertain where your interests lie, stay tuned…one of the Care for Each Other programs will be the implementation of a process for discerning your spiritual gifts.


What is the campaign goal?

Our financial goal for the Leap of Faith is $9.5million over five years. However, the Leap of Faith Vision is about much more than just money. It is about making a difference in people’s lives and equipping them for service and ministry.

How is the money going to be used?

The outline set by the Visioning Committee and approved by the Vestry is:

  • Property purchase* $5.0million
  • Serve the World Outreach Programs $2.0million
  • Love God and Care for Each Other Programs $1.0million
  • Campus and Facility Improvements $1.5Million
  • Total $9.5million

*Includes interest expense and campaign costs

What oversight will there be on spending the Leap of Faith money?

A Leap of Faith Implementation Team will make recommendations to the Vestry regarding all expenditures, and will make sure that the programs funded are consistent with the Leap of Faith Vision. The Vestry will approve all Leap of Faith spending.

What happens if Leap of Faith pledges total more or less than the $9.5million goal?

The Leap of Faith Implementation Team and Vestry will decide. The Vestry has firmly committed to eliminate the $4.3million loan used to purchase the Providence Road properties within five years, so that is a top priority. The Leap of Faith Vision and the Master Plan for the Christ Church campus will guide all decision-making.

Can our Leap of Faith pledge be paid over time?

All pledges can be paid over a five-year period ending December 31, 2017. Of course payment of pledges in the early years is welcomed, so that the interest expense on the property loans can be minimized. There are many ways to plan your pledge. Contact the Office of Stewardship, 704.714.6973 to discuss creative ways to plan your Leap of Faith pledge.

Can we designate our pledge for a particular project?

The Leap of Faith Vision is comprehensive and interconnected. It is important to fully fund the Vision. Thus, we are asking that pledges be made to support the entire Vision, and not be limited to a particular project. Christ Church’s tradition has been to not name spaces or projects for donors or as memorials. However, gifts may be made in honor or memory of a family member or loved one, and appropriate notifications will be provided.

What is the budget for campaign expenses?

The total campaign budget is $150,000 which is less than 2% of the campaign target. Christ Church is not paying a consultant to plan or support the Leap of Faith campaign.

If we can’t give a large amount, does our pledge really matter?

Yes, absolutely! All gifts matter regardless of the amount, because we all participate according to our ability. Our hope is that every member of the parish will support the Leap of Faith Vision.

What forms of contributions will be accepted?

Gifts can be made by cash, check, credit card or transferred securities.

Is our Leap of Faith pledge confidential?

Yes. Only key campaign leaders and the Church’s finance office will have access to the pledge numbers.

Do you have to be a parish member to participate in the campaign?

No. Participating in the Leap of Faith campaign is a personal decision for each of us, and anyone may contribute to God’s work in our church.

How is Leap of Faith different from the Annual Stewardship Campaign?

The Annual Stewardship Campaign funds more than 93% of the annual operating budget, covering all day-to-day expenses associated with running Christ Church. A campaign like Leap of Faith has capital, outreach and programmatic elements. Leap of Faith, following the tradition of One in the Spirit, Seeds of Hope, the St. Francis Fund, and Matthew 25, seeks pledged gifts to fund major projects and expanded ministries.

What is the current operating budget for Christ Church?

The operating budget for 2012 was approximately $4.2 million, and the budget for 2013 will be in the range of $4.4 million.

How does Leap of Faith compare to the One in the Spirit campaign?

One in the Spirit, which began in 2001, resulted in pledges of over $10.5 million. Approximately $9 million was used to build the Beverly Drive structure, as well as renovate the kitchen and All Saints’ Hall. The remainder funded a series of successful outreach programs, many of which continue to this day.


Is Christ Church opening a homeless shelter in the duplexes on Providence Road?

No. The two duplexes will be affordable housing for families who are working toward self-sufficiency, and who have saved enough to qualify for the transitional housing program run by Charlotte Family Housing (CFH). Transitional housing is very different from a shelter. It is long-term housing for working families who have demonstrated the capability to reach self-sufficiency. Christ Church and CFH are taking their longstanding partnership to a new level: Christ Church will provide the duplexes and “Hope Teams” to work with the families, and CFH will run the program, manage the property, choose the participants and provide supportive services.

Who will live in the duplexes and for how long?

The families who will rent the duplexes have sought the help of Charlotte Family Housing. CFH will select the families based on its guidelines, which can be found on the CFH website: www.CharlotteFamilyHousing.org. The families are primarily working single mothers with children. They often work as teacher aides, school cafeteria workers and elderly caregivers, thus providing some of the most important, yet most low-wage jobs in our community. Some have to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet. The average length of stay in CFH transitional housing is 18 months, so the turnover in the duplexes should be relatively low.

What is Charlotte Family Housing?

The mission of Charlotte Family Housing is to empower homeless families to achieve long-term self-sufficiency. CFH’s programs are based on a unique model of empowerment and accountability. Rather than follow a charity model that “gives” to families, CFH’s social workers and volunteers are trained to “motivate” and “transact” with them, thereby preserving dignity, increasing personal accountability and decreasing dependency. CFH was formed in 2010, and is at the forefront of streamlining the “housing continuum” in Charlotte. As of December 2012, 88 families were in the CFH transitional housing program.

CFH is the product of the highly successful combination of three proven organizations: Family Promise, Charlotte Emergency Housing, and Workforce Initiative for Supportive Housing (WISH). Christ Church was a charter member of the Family Promise project in Charlotte, and participated in the shelter phase of that program for several years. Christ Church helped establish WISH with a venture-philanthropy outreach grant. Christ Church continues to be deeply involved in CFH at multiple levels, providing financial, volunteer and program support. Three parishioners serve on the board of CFH, including the board chair.

How successful is the Charlotte Family Housing transitional housing model?

For the year ending in June 2012, 78% of the families (52 out of 67 families) successfully exited the CFH transitional housing program into unsubsidized, quality housing.

Is Christ Church the first church to partner with Charlotte Family Housing in providing transitional housing?

No. CFH and Covenant Presbyterian have a successful transitional housing program in Dilworth that is a valuable model for Leap of Faith. This will be CFH’s first transitional housing program in Myers Park / Eastover.

Are the families on their own, other than having a house to live in?

No. Charlotte Family Housing has a clear and comprehensive set of expectations that program participants must follow, assuring that they will be good neighbors. CFH provides comprehensive support services that make this program unique, and Christ Church volunteers will have many opportunities to be involved. CFH pairs each family with a clinical social worker. CFH provides vocational counseling and extensive personal empowerment programs, such as matching savings accounts, microloans, transportation funds, education through the “Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World” curriculum, and access to their Jubilee Store, where families can purchase items for holidays at very low cost. Each family will be paired with a Christ Church “Hope Team,” a program that has been in place for several years. A Hope Team is a trained group of parishioners who serve as friends and supporters to the family in whatever way is best. Some families need help with managing finances, some with setting up their homes, some with children’s homework, and some with the simple need for a sympathetic ear. Training is provided via the familiar “Bridges Out of Poverty” curriculum. Being right next door to the Church makes it especially easy for us to provide hospitality and friendship to these families who are working very hard to overcome difficult circumstances. We will learn as much from them as they learn from us.

Do the families in the program pay rent?

Yes. Charlotte Family Housing sets rent at 30% of family income. The rent is paid to CFH, which uses the funds for maintenance of the property.

What schools will the children in the program attend?

That will be a family decision. The CMS policy is that children may stay in the same school throughout the calendar year. So if a family moves in mid-year, they may opt to keep their children wherever they are currently enrolled. But if they are in the duplexes at the beginning of the year, these homes are zoned for Dilworth Elementary, Alexander Graham Middle, and Myers Park High School.

When will families move into the duplexes, and what costs will Christ Church incur?

Some refurbishment, renovation and landscaping will take place first, paid for by Charlotte Family Housing. A family accepted into the program by CFH should be able to move into one of the duplexes in February 2013. CFH plans to add families in the duplexes in stages, allowing six weeks between move-ins. This will give CFH time to complete the renovations in each unit and train additional Christ Church Hope Teams. Christ Church will have a comprehensive agreement with CFH regarding responsibility for upkeep of the property, insurance and other key details.

Is it a good idea for families who are having trouble making ends meet to live in Myers Park/Eastover?

Charlotte Family Housing will be sure that the families who qualify to live in these duplexes will be able to pay their bills. Living in this area of Charlotte will give them many opportunities that will make their journey toward stability easier – a safe, stable neighborhood, good schools for their children, easy access to public transportation, and often prices at local grocery stores lower than those in poor neighborhoods. In addition, these duplexes have always been rental properties. The families served by the Christ Church/CFH partnership are productive, working families who are on a path to self-sufficiency.

Has Christ Church decided that the duplexes will always be used for transitional housing?

No permanent decision has been made about the properties. Our partnership with Charlotte Family Housing preserves the flexibility Christ Church needs to provide for potential future growth. The success of the program will be constantly monitored. If we decide to use the property in other ways, we can do so at any time. But for the foreseeable future, we are excited about this partnership and the possibilities it presents for changing the face of transitional housing in Charlotte.