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Community | Partners for Sacred Places in Chicago

20170608 174801


When renowned church architect Henry J. Schlacks applied classical models from Italy into his design of the Shrine of Christ the King church (historically known as St. Clara/St. Gelasius) on the south side of Chicago, he could not anticipate the church burning like a Roman candle. Unfortunately on the morning of October 7th, 2015 during restoration, a fire broke out in the church destroying large parts of the roof, choir loft, windows, and interiors.

Due to the efforts of the Institute of Christ the King religious order, the church is rising from the ashes, also in part due to work from Partners for Sacred Places, a non-profit organization of preservationists and strategists which specializes in fundraising campaigns for historic church congregations. Bailey Edward’s Robin Whitehurst and the rest of the Partners board members received a tour of the historic landmark from Canon Matthew Talarico during their quarterly meetings to view the progress on the phased renovations.

The Institute engaged the services of Partners for Sacred Places last fall to conduct a study on the Shrine’s fundraising potential. Partners made recommendations based on its findings for implementing a fundraising strategy for the Institute, involving both Catholic and preservation communities. At the present time, Partners team is working closely with the Institute to lay the foundation for an organized capital campaign, while carrying out programs for grant-writing and major donor solicitation.

As the campaign structure and process develop under the direction of Partners for Sacred Places in the coming months, Partners will be offering training workshops for the benefit of Shrine faithful and friends who want to take part in the Institute’s fundraising campaign by contributing their input and volunteer efforts as a Shrine family for its success.

Visit the church’s fundraising page to help restore the historic Shrine of Christ the King church and to see progress photos from the renovation. For other faith environments in need of preservation, consider applying for a grant through Partners’ National Fund for Sacred Places or contact Robin Whitehurst to discuss your project.