Written by Chris Boyle Thursday, 12 June 2014 00:00
The congregation of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Farmingdale recently held a down-home country-style barbecue to kick off a new three-year fundraising effort.
The goal is to raise $1.4 million to help with the acquisition of a new building to expand both the parish and outreach to the community.
There were burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, salads, and a DJ spinning country tunes for the massive turnout.
Karen Wiking, director of Christian Education for the church, said that the festive, fun and free event marked the launch of their capital campaign, a 36-month long venture which was sorely needed after the church acquired some neighboring property.
“We bought the Chase Bank next door after they moved to Main Street so we could expand our parish, and we’ve been in there since April 2013,” she said. “The additional parking was really important... the bank was always good and used to let us park there, but we didn’t know if the next owner would let us do that, so we put in a bid on the property and won. But now we have to pay, and we need a little help, so tonight’s event is just to raise awareness.”
Apart from recouping the cost of buying the bank building, Wiking noted, St. Luke’s also requires financial assistance in bringing the building up to modern code, which she said currently falls far short
“We have to make it handicap accessible, and make sure it adheres to all the fire safety standards...unlike when Chase owned it, nothing is grandfathered in anymore,” she said. “Now that we’re the new owners, it’s going to cost us about $400,000 just to get it up to code. So, with all of that and the cost of actually purchasing the building, we’re hoping to raise $1.4 million.”
Some of St. Luke’s administrative offices have been moved into the former Chase bank building; however, plans to turn it into a community activity center of sorts will have to wait, however, until the needed funding is raised and the building renovated up to current standards.
Gary Grau, President of the St. Luke’s Church Council, was dutifully serving cheeseburgers to the long line of hungry parishioners throughout the evening; he expressed gratitude for the great response the community was showing — with a recorded 225 attendees — in St. Luke’s time of need.
“I think that it’s great that we have a fine group of people who have come out for us and who will support the growth of our church,” he said. “Hopefully, that growth will help the Village of Farmingdale and everybody around it.”
Farmingdale resident Diane McNamara was at the BBQ with her family, and said that they were ready, willing, and able to help out their church in any way that they could.
“We’re here to learn about what the plans are for the new property and how it can expand the ministry,” she said. “It’s more of a learning opportunity for us and to see how we can help.”
Peter Crusco, of Farmingdale, said that he attended the BBQ to show support for a church that has been a positive part of his family’s life for two decades and counting.
“My two daughters have been through the whole program, between the vacation Bible School, Sunday School, and the basketball program,” he said. “St. Luke’s is just a wonderful place, and a friendly place for a family to grow up here, and I’m more than happy to give my support to it.”
The capital fund drive will take many different forms over the next three years. Wiking said there will be weekly car washes, gift card auctions, and many other different fundraising ideas put into play, all of them to make St. Luke’s even more ingrained in the community.
“It’s an amazing place, and the theme of our campaign is ‘building our faith, our family, and our future,’ and St. Luke’s is really all about family,” she said. “That’s why we figured that a down-home country BBQ was the way to get things going.”
If you’re interested in participating in a St. Luke’s fundraiser, visit the church website at: www.stlukesfarmingdale.org.