Capital Campaign: Growing “The Gathering Garden”

Capital Campaign: Growing “The Gathering Garden”

Growing "The Wicker Park Gathering Garden"



COVID-19 has taught us about the importance of community. We need human interactions and safe places to gather. This campaign will restore lower operating costs, offer safer drinking water, and allow for better space to grow into our Looking Forward goals.

This two-part campaign will grow from below-ground into a beautiful garden!

Two Parts (to be funded in this order)
  1. Replace our lead water supply lines ($88,280.10). This the largest cost and most urgent need. The city recently removed us from the non-profit program in 2020 and began charging us $10,000 a year until this project is completed. It’s critical that we complete this project in 2021. Learn more here.
  2. Create a garden with gathering spaces, native plants, and security lighting after the ground is torn-up for the water line in level one ($37,997.34). Click here for details.
OUR Progress:

Give to grow the gathering garden

A hand drawing of the "Gathering Garden" following water supply line replacement including benches, native plants, and trees.
Hand drawing of the “Gathering Garden” following water supply line replacement.

How to Give to GROW THE GARDEN

RECOGNITION NOTE: If using PayPal or Venmo, we will recognize your gift using the name on the account. If you’d like it to appear differently, please email

TAX NOTE: If you are a first time donor on Venmo or PayPal and want to share your mailing address so we can thank you and sending a giving statement for tax purposes, please email with your full legal name and mailing address.


  • $13 – One chelone plant (see above)
  • $96 – One inch of the water line (720 needed)
  • $323 – All the geranim maculatium needed (see above)
  • $761 – All the fothergilla needed (see above)
  • $1,147 – Replace 1 foot of the water line (60 needed)
  • $3,500 – Back flow prevention valve
  • $5,735 – Replace 5 feet of water line (12 needed)
  • $8,184 – Replacement landscaping with native plants
  • $10,226 – Brick exterior patio
  • $17,199 – Replace 15 feet of water line (4 needed)

Give to grow the gathering garden

WHY Support This Campaign?

  • Provide water at the church without a lead water supply pipe for better health and safety.
  • Help reduce operating costs by allowing the church to apply for the non-profit program for water and sewer.
  • Better support our offering 4,000+ hours per year of low-cost space use by community groups related to addiction recovery, fine arts, physical health, and Chicago Public Schools learning cohorts during COVID pandemic
  • Enhance the ability to offer safe, socially-distanced spaces to connect and grow
  • Support our growing congregation with a 61% increase in attendance over the past 6 years
  • Further the work of the church as we help host local events including Movies in the Park, Boo-palooza, and WPLC’s CoroAmici community choir
  • Amplify the importance of the “Little Free Pantry” open 24/7 for food and necessities along with the WPLC’s COVID-19 community support grants
  • Be a part of the 141 year tradition of this radically-welcoming congregation committed to responding to injustice
  • Read our 2019 Annual Report for more information on your impact.

Give to grow the gathering garden

Image reads: The Wicker Park Gathering Garden

OUR Growing list of thanks

Tiller ($1-999)
  • Anonymous (6)
  • Erin Adams
  • Ellyzabeth Adler
  • Matt and Lisa Anderson
  • James and Linda Ayers
  • Becca & Jenna
  • Britta Bolin
  • Victoria Bruick
  • Anne Brusius
  • The Cerneys
  • Chicago Artists for Action
  • The Collier Family
  • Jessie and Mary Edelman-O’Brien
  • Laura Edson
  • Rev. Anna Ernst
  • K. Fleming
  • Chris and Nikki Gladfelter
  • Rev. Joseph and Cheryl Glombicki
  • Stephanie Guerrero
  • Allison Haber
  • Jeanne and Joshua Heffron
  • Patty Heiman
  • Bob and Anne Herrold
  • Esther Suzanne Hicks
  • Laura Hurley
  • Amy Jewel
  • Erica Kartheiser
  • Lauren Loew
  • Stan and Jan Lukasiewicz
  • Erin Lynch
  • Chris Massie
  • Oliver McDaid
  • Revs. Douglas & Christine Meyer
  • Gayle Militz
  • Sean and Leslie Mullins
  • Susan Okey
  • Don and Jane Opperman
  • Renee Paolino
  • Leslie and Grant Patrick
  • Dina Petrakis
  • Megan Piotrowski
  • Jill Remenar
  • Carol and John Scheidelman
  • Susan Schurman Family
  • Valerie Schurman
  • Catherine Schwalbe
  • David Sonntag
  • Helen Stellfox
  • Tim and Kristin Stellfox
  • Todd Stevens
  • Laura Stivers
  • Lydia Lane Stout
  • Sarah Sutton
  • Will Swenson & Sal Garza
  • Joy and David Tournoux
  • Robert Tournoux
  • Turpin Family
  • Sam Whelan
  • Brian and Monica Wilson and family
  • Tara Zuber
Mulcher ($1,000-2,499)
  • Anonymous (2)
  • Bill Benton
  • The Bolton family
  • Judy and Eric Dollard
  • GAINSystems
  • Markus Giolas and Tammi Franke
  • Rev. Jason Glombicki
  • The Gorsuch Wenzloff Family
  • Emily Grimm
  • Megan Gutierrez and Jonathan Meyer
  • Stephanie Hoeman
  • Todd Joseph
  • Ben and Anna Locke
  • Kane and Emily Mason
  • Nora Militz
  • Andy and Jessica Park
  • The Stanfield Family
  • Steven and Rebecca Westphal
  • Rev. Larry and Sherri Wick
Sower ($2,500-7,999)
  • Anonymous
  • The Muszynski Family
  • Josh and Kristin Schukar
  • Scale Landscape Architects
Planter ($8,000-15,999)
  • Anonymous
  • Rick and Anne McCall
Cultivator ($16,000+)
  • Jordan and Nevila Lowe
  • Metropolitan Chicago Synod (ELCA)

Give to grow the gathering garden


NOTE: List of projects below are in order of funding priority.

Water service piping diagram showing 6" combined domestic water into the building.
The below-grade foundation for growth!

1. Water for Growth ($88,280.10)

The most expensive and urgent part of the project will be to replace our small lead water supply lines (both are likely original water lines from early 1900s).

As of early 2020, the city of Chicago removed us from the non-profit program requiring us to pay $10,000 per year for water until we add a water meter. To put that into perspective, that will take over 3% of our annual budget to pay this cost and may limit our ministry. Previously, we did not have to pay for water in the non-profit program. However, to add a water meter to enter the non-profit program again, we need to replace the lead service line into the building.

Unfortunately, no funding is available from the alderman or the city to support this work. Until we add a meter, we will need to continue paying $10,000 per year for water and sewer. When we replace the lead water service, it will be sized to handle future building upgrades, including a sprinkler system required for our building master plan. Once the new water line and meter are installed, we will be able to apply for the non-profit program to reduce our water bill.

Site design plan for the gathering garden showing benches along with native trees and shrubs.
Design plan for the gathering garden.

2. Growing the Garden ($43,075)

After the water supply line is installed, we’ll be installing the Gathering Garden. This gathering garden will include native plants to attract pollinators like butterflies. Space will be created with bench walls along with accent and security lighting. It will provide space to gather in socially-distanced outdoor groups for religious activities, fellowship time, community meetings, and small concerts. The space will also allow for community members to enjoy the urban nature in a space designed to fit within historic character of our building and the neighborhood.

Give to grow the gathering garden

Growing Questions?

We are happy to answer any questions you might have about this project. Please email to get in touch with our Executive Committee with any questions. Alternatively, you can call the church office at 773-276-0263 and leave a message.