By Father Casey

As I write this, workers are assembling scaffolding around our church to begin the replacement of our church’s roof. Perhaps more than any other project, replacing the roof was a major reason for the Transfiguring Our Foundations campaign: we simply couldn’t have funded this work without major help from the entire congregation. It also represents one of the campaign’s central aims: taking care of our campus so that we leave it in great shape for future generations.

This particular roofing project is of particular significance to me. On my very first visit to the campus, before I was ever called as rector, I looked up at the large expanse of roofline and imagined it covered with solar cells. I’ve held onto that dream ever since, and I continue to believe that Transfiguration should be a leader in our community in transitioning away from carbon-based energy. We pray each week that God will help us become better stewards of “this fragile earth, our island home (BCP, 370),” and now it’s time to become the answer to that prayer.

So, in the next few weeks, workers will replace our slate roof with solar tiles. These tiles are lightweight, durable, and resemble the slate they will replace (you can see a sample in the Gathering Space). Best of all, they will help us reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. We anticipate they will generate 15-20% of the energy we use, and at times, we will actually be contributing clean power to the grid.

Furthermore, later this summer, we will install a set of batteries that will be charged by those solar tiles. These batteries will function as our emergency power, and ensure we can maintain basic operation even when power lines are down. This is an exciting project, since only a few years ago we were considering the purchase of large gas-powered generators to provide emergency backup power, which would have done the job well enough, but only furthered our dependence on fossil fuels.

I am enormously grateful to all the generous contributors to our Transfiguring Our Foundations campaign. We couldn’t do this roofing project, and so many others like it, without that incredibly generous support. I hope you’re paying attention week-by-week, as we’re slowly performing dozens of long-needed improvements and repairs. The new air conditioner, which was air-lifted on the roof on Palm Saturday, is working beautifully (maybe too well, according to a few of our colder-natured parishioners!). Lighting upgrades in the Tower Cloister have brightened our main thoroughfare. Roper Hall is in the midst of a major renovation, with new lighting and ceiling tiles installed, a new floor coming next week, and new A/V equipment to be installed in June. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Our fantastic Vestry, and particularly the Building, Grounds, and Technology Committee, is working diligently to manage all these projects, and they’re doing all they can to stay within our campaign budget. However, we are struggling with the same record inflation that is affecting everyone else. We built in contingencies to our cost-projections, but none of us foresaw the sorts of increases we’re currently experiencing. I hope you will be patient with us, as we are adapting our schedule, and some projects may not be able to start as soon as we’d otherwise like.

I also hope that any who haven’t made a pledge toward this campaign will give it serious consideration, for what we expected to cost $3 million when the campaign began will now cost 10-20% more. I share this not to deflate the pride we’ve all felt at successfully raising more than $7 million, but to be transparent about the challenges to our ability to accomplish what we set out to do.

In the meantime, remember to look up when you come on campus in coming weeks. We’re putting our money where our mouth is (and our prayers). We’re ready to let the power of the sun help us when we come together to ask the power of the Son to help us!

Click to Return to Enews