Final phase of diocesan capital campaign nears goal

CHARLESTON — As the “Our Heritage, Our Hope” campaign nears its $32 million goal, Block Three parishes are making the final push to encourage all parish families to participate, according to Matt Dwyer, campaign executive director.

Block Three, the final phase of the effort, includes parishes in the Midlands and Piedmont deaneries. Also, several parishes in the Coastal and Lowcountry deaneries have been working to promote and outline the campaign in their respective parishes over the past four months.

Several parishes surpassed their targets in the beginning of October, including St. Anthony of Padua in Greenville and Blessed Trinity in Greer. Both achieved their goals on Pledge Sunday, the designated weekend where parishioners are asked to turn in their pledge cards, Dwyer said.

Father Patrick Tuttle of St. Anthony of Padua said the parish leadership was concerned about having a debt on the church building and having to raise funds for the campaign.

“We were encouraged to conduct a pre-campaign to eliminate the church building debt first and not have two campaigns,” he said. “I was not sure how the back-to-back debts would be received. We trusted Guidance In Giving associate Jackie Perry, who believed in us and showed us their record of success. We were able to eliminate our debt and then give 177 percent of our goal with an impressive 53 percent participation. Pledges are still coming in and new parishioners are encouraged to support our solidarity with Bishop [Robert J.] Baker and the needs of the mission here in South Carolina.”

Other parishes that reached their targets were St. Ann in Santee, Sacred Heart in Abbeville, St. Mary-Our Lady of Hope in Summerton, St. Gerard in Aiken, St. Thomas More in Columbia, St. Peter in Beaufort; Sacred Heart in Blackville, St. William in Ward, Holy Cross in Pickens, St. Luke in Easley, and Divine Redeemer in Hanahan.

“Of the 52 parishes involved in the final phase, 31 have surpassed their targets,” Dwyer said. “Of those 31 parishes, 17 are currently involved in conducting or planning to conduct piggyback campaigns. A piggyback campaign allows a parish to focus on its own needs while still contributing a certain portion of its goal to the diocesan ministries that the “Our Heritage, Our Hope” campaign supports.”

The campaign has raised $18,252,000 in pledges and one-time donations in the third phase. This represents 88 percent of the $20.7 million goal.

St. John the Beloved Parish in Summerville, which is in the process of expanding its church, saw significant results. The parish achieved more than 70 percent of its $791,000 from 22 percent of its parish families.

“I think the strong response from our parishioners indicates that our members recognize the important work and long-term benefits of this campaign,” said Tom Epperson, co-chair of the parish campaign.

St. John had one of the most successful Pledge Sundays in the diocese by collecting over $230,000 in pledges in one weekend, Dwyer said.

The solicitation phase of the campaign will draw to a close before Christmas.

“We are very pleased with the results so far,” he said. “We’re still pushing for higher participation in several parishes and hope that the end of the year donations will bring on more participation.”

For more information about the campaign, e-mail the Diocese of Charleston Campaign Office at