Building the Good News

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock, Arkansas takes its tag line from the Gospel appointed for the Feast of St. Margaret, Luke 4:16-22. Following in the mission of Christ, we are committed to “Bringing the Good News.” Beginning in 2016, the year of its 25th Anniversary, and with the help of the Episcopal Church Foundation, the parish undertook something new: “Building the Good News.”

It had been a long time coming. Founded in 1991, St. Margaret’s was initiated by leaders with a big vision to build God’s kingdom in the burgeoning area of west Little Rock. A site was chosen on what was then the far outskirts of town, and the architects designed an initial building that would leave room for two additional expansions. They dreamed of a flourishing and faithful Episcopal Church and planned for growth.

It has taken time, and much has happened since 1991, but as the parish celebrated its 25th Anniversary, the congregation was ready to take the next step in “Bringing the Good News.” The original building lacked adequate classroom and office spaces, and the parish had outgrown its parish hall. Through the discernment process shepherded by our ECF consultant, all these needs were identified, as well as a laundry list of improvements and repairs to the existing building. The “Building the Good News” Capital Campaign would endeavor to fund these needs and to build an addition named for St. Margaret’s former vicar, the late Rev. Peggy Bosmyer.

Construction began toward the end of 2017, and it has been slow. (Have you noticed how much rain Little Rock has received over the last year?!) Yet the chaos and inconvenience of construction have not slowed us down in our mission. While the Peggy Bosmyer Christian Formation Center has been under construction, the parish undertook RenewalWorksTM (a program of Forward Movement) to create a concrete vision of how we will engage in discipleship and put this new space to good use. We did not wait to implement the plan, but instead started having classes in every nook we could find, shifting them when necessary. It’s been an exciting time as the parish has grown in formation and outreach to our community.

Thanks to great parish leadership and the steady support of our ECF consultant, the “Building the Good News” Capital Campaign was a success. We exceeded the amount anticipated by the feasibility study, and met our goal. In hindsight, the fundraising was the easy part. More challenging and more important was the discernment that led into it, and the hopeful vision created by a community that is committed to do more than build a building, but to bring God’s Good News into the hearts of our people and to share it broadly.

Rev. Mary Vano
Rector of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Little Rock, Arkansas