About the Campaign
As the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin embodies the spiritual house that sustains our faith, so we are called upon to sustain the material aspects of our 54,800 square foot 19th century landmark in midtown Manhattan to ensure that these doors will always be open, to Times Square and beyond.
Building upon the success of a 1997 campaign to protect and restore the glowing interior of the Church, our charge as stewards of this sacred space today is to:
Repair roofing and exterior stonework that has been damaged by time and acid rains, including engaging artisans to re-carve and then replace substantial areas of the decorative stonework, in addition to replacing and re-attaching thousands of exterior limestone blocks
Prevent water damage to our priceless pipe organ and artworks while protecting our past investment in extensive interior restorations, by repairing roof drainage systems and leaking windows
Bring emergency evacuation elements up to code especially push-bar exit doors
Restore damages to the stained glass windows, most especially the rose window from which many panes are missing
Construct a barrier-free access to our sanctuary for worshipers, concert attenders, staff and visitors, by constructing a new a 47th Street ramped entry plus barrier-free access from sidewalk to sanctuary
Reconstruct accessible restrooms to create one ground floor barrier free restroom by re-locating both men’s and women’s restrooms one flight down.
The support and generosity of all who value Saint Mary’s can complete the Open Doors Campaign and keep the doors open to all, every day, to preserve and extend the ministry and the mission of the parish into the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why has the Church launched this ambitious campaign at this time?
Keeping a landmarked property of this age and size in good repair is a major responsibility of the parish, and one that often exceeds annual resources. When interior restorations were completed in 1997, annual exterior maintenance commenced on a modest scale, and continued until the global financial crisis in 2007 forced suspension of all but the most urgent repairs. On Easter Sunday 2010, pieces of masonry fell on to West 46th Street, thankfully without injury. Engineers were called in who assessed and stabilized evident damage to the roofs and stonework. A protective scaffolding was erected over the Church’s front entry, sadly obscuring the beautiful façade of the church. A major assessment of less evident damage was thereafter conducted, providing repair estimates central to the Open Doors Campaign goal. Today, an improved scaffolding still shields the entry and façade of the church while work funded by Phase One donors begins 80 feet above West 46th Street, hopefully to be completed through the generosity of all Saint Marians nationwide during a successful campaign Phase Two.
The campaign goal is challenging. Can my gift really make a difference?
Definitely, yes. The success of the Open Doors Campaign depends upon every parishioner and worshiper nationwide who is appreciative of the parish and its ministry. This ambitious campaign cannot be successful without the support and participation of every donor to sustain and enhance our Sacred Space in Times Square. Your campaign pledge at any level truly makes a difference, not only toward our goal but also by encouraging others who love and value the parish to join you in stepping forward to support the campaign.
Can my campaign pledge include elements other than cash?
Yes, many donors are making gifts that include a wide range of assets as well as cash. Typical elements that can be given, some with significant tax advantages, include stocks, bonds and other marketable securities, appreciated property including artwork royalties and real estate, life insurance policies and retirement accounts that may no longer be needed. Click here to begin a conversation with us about your giving options in confidence and with no obligation.
What are other parishioners pledging to the Campaign; what’s my fair share?
Typically, donors think about a campaign pledge that is a one-time significant “stretch,” three to ten times larger than their current annual gift. Campaign pledges are most often paid over three or four years, and many donors consider giving from assets in addition to giving from income. Some donors also consider the value of Saint Mary’s in their spiritual lives and take steps to give in their will or estate plan at this time as well. Individuals and families also think carefully about how encouraged others in the community may be by their gift and consider the value of pledge challenge or match gifts with significant impact.
Open Doors is a bricks and mortar sort of campaign. Where can I see the impact of this campaign in the mission and ministry of Saint Mary’s?
Saint Mary’s truly is –and always has been-- a sanctuary from urban life, a place of peace and beauty where worshipers can focus on the voice of God and the life of the spirit. But Saint Mary’s is also a public servant, a home to an active religious community of men and women, a nexus of social service programs and a destination for those of all faiths who attend concerts, plays and classes. Long delayed and much needed repairs to our Sacred Space in Times Square directly protect the annual impact of Saint Mary’s, both its ministry and its mission, while keeping it safe and accessible enough to sustain its valued relationship with worshipers, audiences and neighbors.
New restrooms would be constructed to serve those in wheelchairs or who cannot manage stairs.
Missing pieces and panels would be replaced in our gorgeous stained glass windows.
Brickwork, gutters, windows and doors in the Parish Building and the Church would be repaired.
Click here for a video of the Reverend Stephen Gerth, Rector of Saint Mary's, speaking about the Capital Campagn.
Water damaged exterior limestone blocks like this one would be repaired.
A wheelchair-access ramp would be added to the 47th Street entrance of the Church.
The Elliot Daingerfield murals in the Lady Chapel would be protected from further water damage.
The carved tympanum over the main entry doors would be stabilized.
Today, scaffolding protects passersby from falling masonry but also obscures the beautiful church façade.
Interior walls, recently repaired and repainted, would be protected from further damage.
Exterior sculptures like this one of Saint Cecilia would be repaired and would once again be visible.
Rusted iron bolts and plates affixing thousands of limestone façade blocks would be replaced.