As St. James the Apostle embarks on the United We Build Our Church Capital Campaign, we felt it was important to address some commonly asked questions. We are fully committed to transparent communications throughout the campaign and will continue to share additional information.

Why do we need to build a new church? We already have a place to worship.

While the current Multi-Purpose Hall has served us dutifully, the intention has always been for that space to become the Parish Community Hall.
In 1976, when the Most Rev. Floyd Begin – the first Bishop of Oakland – dedicated the Multi-Purpose Hall, it was meant to be a temporary worship space. Since then, St. James has continued to grow both in faith and numbers. Today, our parish includes more than 1,000 registered families. All the while – over the course of nearly five decades – several pastors and many lay leaders have envisioned building a permanent church at St. James the Apostle.

Now, it is time to take bold steps toward accomplishing our ultimate vision of finally building a church.

Why did we build the Mother Teresa Center before constructing the new church?

After much prayerful consideration, parish leaders decided that our children – the future of our parish – should have a better place to gather for their religious formation. Hence, we built six classrooms that can be converted into a hall for various purposes, including renting it out for weddings, quinceañeras, etc. We generate additional revenue from the preschool and afterschool programs housed here, all of which supports our dream of building a permanent church.

What was the process used to explore the possibility of a capital campaign?

In April 2019, we hired the Steier Group, a national Catholic fundraising firm, to conduct a planning study to gauge support for a campaign to build a permanent church. All parishioners were invited to partake in the study, and about one third of our parish families participated either through a personal interview, mail/ online survey or in-pew survey. Over 96% of those who responded indicated they would make a financial pledge to the campaign. Upon hearing the overwhelmingly positive results of the study, parish leaders decided to embark on the United We Build Our Church Capital Campaign.

What is the timeline for construction of the church?

Currently, we are in the design process, working on the schematic plans with our architect, Chris Kelly.

Many of you attended our town hall meeting on Feb. 11, where Mr. Kelly unveiled our preliminary plans. As he mentioned, the immediate priority is to solidify plans for the building’s exterior and finalize the building’s capacity. This information is necessary to obtain building permits from the city of Fremont. After that, we will spend about 12-18 months nailing down more intricate details, such as the location of the baptismal font and where to place specific pieces of art.

Our goal is to break ground on the permanent church after the completion of the three-year pledge period from this campaign – sometime in 2023. From there, the construction process will likely take at least a year or two to complete, depending on a variety of factors.

How much will construction cost?

Since we are still in the early stages of the design process, we don’t have a specific breakdown of costs. However, the contractors we’ve spoken to believe the project will cost $10 million. We believe we will be able to begin construction with $6 million cash in hand.

How will we afford it? Is this why we need a capital campaign?

Currently, the parish has approximately $3.2 million in savings, which is earmarked for construction of the permanent church.

Additionally, St. James saves as much revenue as possible each year. In addition to funds raised through the weekly offertory, monthly building fund and special events, St. James also generates significant revenue from the Mother Teresa Center (venue rental and daycare program) and parking lot (rental). This amounts to well over $500,000 a year.

While that is a lot of money, at this rate, it would take 20 years to raise the funds needed to build the permanent church. Due to the rising costs of construction and inflation, if we tried to address these projects without a capital campaign, most of us would never see the church built in our lifetimes. The United We Build Our Church Capital Campaign will allow us to complete construction in a far more expeditious manner. The Steier Group projected that we can raise between $2 million and $2.7 million through a campaign.

We know that it may be necessary to conduct a second capital campaign immediately following the pledge period from this effort in order to reach the $10 million mark. We will assess our needs at that time. Fr. Antony is committed to completing this project without taking on debt – similar to how we funded the Mother Teresa Center.

How is the campaign different from the monthly building fund collection?

The building fund has helped the parish save for the permanent church over the past several years. However, the United We Build Our Church Campaign is an extraordinary fundraising effort that we are asking all parishioners to support sacrificially.

With that said, we ask that any regular contributions you are currently making to the monthly building fund instead be factored into your campaign pledge.

For instance, if you typically contribute $100 per month to the building fund, we ask that you instead add $3,600 to your three-year campaign pledge (i.e. $100 monthly for 36 months).

We plan to keep the monthly building fund collection available for visitors who would like to contribute. However, we hope that all regular St. James supporters will consider a three-year pledge to the campaign. This allows parish leaders to prudently plan for the construction of the permanent church.

Who will be asked to contribute?

We will ask every St. James parish family to consider a campaign commitment. However, we ask that you wait until receiving your specific request from Fr. Antony before making a gift to the campaign.

Additionally, we will seek support from outside of the parish – such as area Catholics who attend our monthly devotion to Our Lady of Vailankanni and foundations that support Catholic causes.

How may I fulfill my contribution?

The most common option is a commitment fulfilled over the three-year pledge period. Payment choices include cash/check, credit card and automatic bank withdrawal, as well as planned gifts such as stock, real estate and life insurance. St. James encourages parishioners considering these options to speak with their financial advisor or tax attorney first.

If you have any other questions or need additional information about the Capital Campaign, please complete this FORM and a representative from the Executive Committee will respond to you. Thank you!