VERONA, NJ - The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit announced it is kicking off a  “Be Cool” capital campaign to install air conditioning in the church.

“The sanctuary can be unbearable during the summer months,” says the Reverend Jerry A. Racioppi, who has been with Holy Spirit for about four years.  “We hold our summer services in the 1929 chapel, which has window air conditioning units. While it’s beautiful space, it’s small for our regular worship.” The main sanctuary is not used during the summer months, unless a large space is needed for weddings or funerals. “Anyone who has been to a funeral at Holy Spirit during the heat of the summer will tell you that it’s really uncomfortable in there,” says Racioppi.

In addition to the church’s Sunday services, the space is regularly used throughout the week.  Four 12-step programs meet in the church’s Fellowship Room weekly, serving more than 300 people each month.  Creative Beginnings Preschool meets in the Lower Level during the school year and frequently offers special camps during the summer. Cub Scout Pack 5 meets monthly at Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit’s four-year old  Food Pantry, open one Saturday each month, serves between 70 and 80 people monthly. The church is also used for occasional recitals and hosts other community groups on an as-needed basis. Many of these groups would also benefit from air conditioned space.

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“Preliminary estimates for the project range from $25,000 to $40,000,” says Tricia Smythe, Treasurer of the congregation. “It’s a hefty price tag that is outside the scope of the church’s operating budget.” After a recent funeral where more than 250 people came to pay their respects on a hot summer day, Holy Spirit’s leadership agreed it was time to start a capital campaign.

“We pride ourselves on being a church where everyone is welcome and can feel comfortable,” says Racioppi. “You are always welcome, but it can be tough to get comfortable when it’s so hot inside!”

Local organizations, businesses, and individuals are invited to support Holy Spirit’s “Be Cool” campaign by sending a  check to the Church of the Holy Spirit (please note “Be Cool” in the memo) or by donating online. There’s a donation button on Holy Spirit’s website, www.holyspiritverona.org.  Contact Fr. Jerry Racioppi at 973-239-2850.