Grace for Generations Capital Campaign


“One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.”

+ Psalm 145:4


Our Story

For 100 years, First United Methodist Church’s Sanctuary Building has stood as an architectural witness to God’s love in the heart of the capital city. In its construction, the congregation staked out ground where the Gospel would be proclaimed, both in that day and for generations to come. They built a place from which the story of God would have an influence on the story of Austin that was and is being written, as thousands have been shaped by the movement of grace rooted at 12th and Lavaca.

We are still rooted in our downtown location, drawing people from across and around the city into our mission to build a community where all people are invited to know God’s love and sent to join God in transforming the world.

Today, First Church is the beneficiary of the vision of its leaders 100 years ago.

First Church is a flagship church; a leading voice of progressive faith in Austin, in Texas, and throughout the United Methodist Church. While many churches, especially downtown churches, are shrinking and even closing their doors, we continue to draw new families and people of all ages into redemptive community.

Our facilities are essential tools for our ministries. Even with online opportunities increasing, our “home base” in downtown Austin provides crucial space for ministry. The Sanctuary Building was excellently constructed and remains structurally in good shape. Still, no element of construction lasts forever.

Restoration & Renovation

The century-old stonework on our Sanctuary Building began to fail last summer. Our priority must be safety first, so we are moving forward with a capital campaign, Grace for Generations, to restore the Sanctuary Building roof and stonework, and renovate the interior of the Sanctuary itself. We look forward to inspired worship in a newly revitalized space.

Cost & Scope

The estimated cost of restoration and renovation of the Sanctuary Building is $6.1 million. Our goal is to raise at least $5 million through the Grace for Generations campaign, while qualifying for an additional $1 million through the National Register of Historic Places. Gifts to the campaign can be made over a three-year period.

When & How

Grace for Generations will launch on Sunday, April 23. On May 21, we will consecrate our commitments and celebrate what God has done and will do through us. Following this time of commitment, campaign gifts can and will typically be given over three years.

How You Can Help

Prayerfully consider what commitment you can make to future generations by making a gift to the Grace for Generations campaign as we restore and renovate our historic Sanctuary Building, remembering that God asks not for equal giving, but for equal sacrifice.

Make Your Commitment Electronically

Gratitude Sunday

Join us for Gratitude Sunday, led by First Church’s children and youth. Our Sanctuary has been a spiritual home for generations. Through this campaign, it will be one for generations to come. Together, we are answering Christ’s call to draw the circle wide, inviting all to feast at the table of God’s love and grace. In celebration of this spirit, composer Mark Miller will lead worship music on April 23. Join us as we welcome Mark—and the interplay between music, social justice, and the joyful, beloved community that he brings—and share in this special worship experience.

Ministry Impact

On Impact Sunday, witness God’s transforming work in the lives of friends and neighbors through First Church’s ministries. Which ministries drew you to this community of faith? How have they had an impact on your life? What impact do you hope First Church has in its next hundred years?


Celebration Sunday

Celebrate with your church! Fun, food, fellowship—we are planning something for every generation after 11:00AM worship concludes! Join us for live music, carnival games, snacks and drinks, prizes, laughter, and the chance to celebration all that God has given First Church in its time at 12th and Lavaca as we respond with joy to the question: “God, what do you want to do through me” for generations who will find a spiritual home in this place for years to come. 


Advance Commitment Gatherings

For more than 180 years, First Church has been a place of welcome and transformation, and we believe it will be for generations to come. The Grace for Generations capital campaign will help us make this vision a reality. If you are eager to learn more about how you can make a commitment, join us for one of several casual gatherings, which will include snacks and bites and the fellowship of friends as we discuss the vision, scope, and goals of Grace for Generations, our capital campaign.

Our initial master planning process included a thorough look at how our facilities serve the needs of our current and future ministry and what updates and adjustments might be needed. That process was interrupted when the century-old stonework on our Sanctuary began to fail and became a safety hazard for the congregation and the public. Recognizing that our priority must be safety first, we’ve chosen to move forward with an initial campaign for restoration of the Sanctuary Building roof and stonework, as well as interior renovation of the Sanctuary itself, since these are essential to our current ministry. Following this campaign, we plan to continue the master planning process to determine how to better utilize our whole campus for ministry in the future.

The first priority is to provide safety around our 100-year-old Sanctuary Building and to restore the exterior elements of that building that are currently failing. The second priority is to renovate the Sanctuary interior so that our worship space will be more flexible and accessible. Updates to lighting, sound, and technology will facilitate more engaging experiences in worship and performance.

The church’s work is to build a community where all people are invited to know the love of God and sent to join God in transforming the world. While many non-profit organizations do crucial service work in our community, the Church’s distinctive and essential work is that of formation: through singing and telling God’s story, through prayer and sacrament, we engage with God in ways that transform us so that when we are sent out into the world, we are ready to join God’s world-changing work wherever we find ourselves. The Sanctuary has been a spiritual home for this transformative work for generations; with our sacrificial gifts, it will continue to be a home in the heart of downtown Austin for generations to come.

The ornamental elements of the building are minor; the primary expense will go toward the removal and replacement of the cast stone blocks that are important for maintaining the integrity of the walls. In addition, the replacement of the roof is simply a functional need; updated materials and design will extend the life of the walls, as well, so that the replaced stonework will last well into the future.

The estimated cost of restoration and renovation is $6.1 Million. Because our building is in the process of being recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, we will have access to receive funding of more than $1 Million for this work. Thus, we are seeking to raise $5 Million in gifts through the “Grace for Generations” campaign.

While nothing has been planned, we anticipate that this is not the only campaign we will need in order to fully address our master planning goals. Our Executive Team will keep the congregation up to date as further plans progress.

The Campaign launches on April 23. In preparation this spring, we have been securing commitments for the top campaign gifts. The campaign effort will wrap up on May 21 as we consecrate our commitments and share in celebration for all that God has done and will do through us. Following this time of commitment, campaign gifts can and will be typically given over three years.

Yes, in addition to cash gifts, we are able to accept gifts of stock, IRA or 401(k) distributions, and other investment options. See the “Creative Strategies for Giving” brochure for more information.

If you have questions about the campaign, please don’t hesitate to email Pastor Taylor, campaign co-chairs, Robbie and Tom Ausley and Cassie and Will Gresham, and/or lead gifts co-chairs, Fara and John McMullen and Sharon and Noble Doss.