Congregation at Duke Chapel

October 13, 2017

Dear Friends in Christ,

Sunday worship service in the Chapel

As chair of the Stewardship and Finance Committee, I ask for a moment of your time to consider the value of the Congregation at Duke University Chapel, both to you and to our community.

Sunday worship service at a retreat

What our membership and staff do together as the Congregation cannot be done by individuals alone but only as a church community, as a body in Christ. This is true for all of our education, fellowship, and outreach ministries. What we give to the church is not simply passed on but transformed through our common faith in God and desire to embody the example and praise of Jesus Christ in all our works.

Having considered the value of the Congregation, please become a financial Sustainer or increase your level of commitment now. Commitments made by sustainers increase the confidence of Congregation leadership to grow our ministries and our impact as a church community. To join the entirety of the Congregation Council, staff, and our committee in being Sustainers, return the enclosed card, visit the Giving section of the Congregation website, or complete and send this email.

We ask that Sustainer commitments be returned by November 20, but why not do it now? If a new commitment is not received, your prior Sustainer commitment will be assumed.

cutting up at a Habitat build

In addition to funding our annual budget, we also challenge Congregation members to support a new, unbudgeted item. The Council recently approved the creation of an Empowerment Ministries Fund to make possible initiatives that help individuals to become economically self-sufficient. One such initiative is a new, local program by Habitat for Humanity of Durham to sponsor a Repairs Intern. Durham Habitat will use seed funding from the Congregation to hire an un/underemployed person and train the intern in construction skills. The intern will transition to providing reduced-fee repairs for existing Habitat homes, creating a concrete pathway towards a meaningful job upon completion of the program. The Council has already made a one-year commitment to this initiative.

installing siding on a Habitat house
a participant in second year of support via ZOE

We also want to respond to calls from members to support an additional group from ZOE on top of our budgeted commitment to ZOE. We have seen how ZOE helps to transform highly disadvantaged children in Zimbabwe and six other countries into self-sustaining communities through the creation of small businesses.

group of participants with three years support via ZOE

There is no shortage of need for this proven empowerment program. ZOE asks sponsors to make a three-year commitment to support a specifically identified group of children.

We challenge our membership to raise $50,000, above and beyond our annual contributions, to fully support the above initiatives. To contribute to the Empowerment Ministries Fund, indicate “Empowerment” when writing a check to the Congregation at Duke Chapel or giving through another form as listed in the Giving section of our website. Funds raised beyond this challenge amount will support additional empowerment initiatives.

Thank you for considering all of the above and for your financial support of the Congregation.

With gratitude,



Craig DeAlmeida
Stewardship and Finance Committee