A Letter From The Board: Mockingbird, Charlottesville and R.E.M.

On June 1st, Mockingbird will be moving its headquarters from New York City to Charlottesville, […]

Mockingbird / 4.30.10

On June 1st, Mockingbird will be moving its headquarters from New York City to Charlottesville, Virginia. One of Mbird’s chief supporting parishes since day one, Christ Episcopal Church has graciously invited us to make our “nest” there, and we have accepted! You may remember that The Rev. Paul Walker, rector of Christ Church Charlottesville, was the founding president of Mockingbird’s board of directors.

We see this as a tremendously positive development. The move will put Mockingbird on more solid ground financially and institutionally, allowing us to embrace our calling as a resource ministry with deeper confidence and enthusiasm. While the past three years have been undeniably fruitful in NYC, the financial burden of running a non-profit in this context, and during a recession, has been exhausting. Charlottesville seems to be an answer to prayer – God making an extraordinary way forward for us.

If you’ll forgive another flight metaphor, we see C’ville as the perfect launching pad for the future of this organization. It boasts the sort of stimulating mix of culture, thoughtfulness, beauty, and warmth that Mockingbird thrives on. Our Executive Director David Zahl and his wife Cate look forward to raising their first child, due in August, in such a wonderful town.

Christ Church has not only offered to lend Mockingbird its infrastructure, but the perfect (captive) audience as well: its flourishing ministry to young adults and University of Virginia students! In fact, David will supplement his work with Mockingbird by serving in a part-time capacity as the college and young adult minister there – we anticipate that the overlap will be as seamless and mutually beneficial as it has been in NYC with St Paul’s and Calvary St George’s.

Functionally, the move will have little impact on those outside of New York. The blog will continue at its break-neck pace, and the publications and conferences will only increase in regularity and impact. We are also optimistic that the move will put us in a position to pursue a number of the projects we have had to put on the back burner. New York will remain an important part of our identity, and not just because both of our web addresses (will continue to) contain the letters ‘nyc’! We are, by definition, a networked ministry, with board members and contributors not only in NYC, but across the US and even Europe. We plan to continue hosting our annual conference in the city.

To be clear, although Christ Church will be providing us with a stronger foundation in a less expensive setting, they are not taking over financial responsibility for Mockingbird. Mockingbird will continue to rely on the support it so gratefully receives from its donor base. Nor does this move reflect any formal denominational affiliation for Mockingbird. We will remain an independent entity.

Again, for our readers, supporters and friends, the move will bring almost no perceptible change to the organization, other than significantly more freedom to grow and pursue our mission of communicating the Gospel in as down-to-earth and creative a way as we know how.

This development has been deeply encouraging for all of us personally, and we hope you share our excitement. Please join us as we embark on this new phase – the story is just beginning!

Thank you so much for your faithful support, and we ask for your help and partnership to make this move a reality. We will be sending out a newsletter and appeal soon with more details as to how you can do so. If you would like to receive a copy, please sign up for our mailing list.

Finally, please note that beginning June 1st, our official mailing address will be: Mockingbird Ministries, 100 W. Jefferson Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902.

Sincerely and with love,

“The Mboard”
Tom Becker, Board Chairman
David Browder
Rutger-Jan Heijmen
Justin Holcomb
John Koch
Jacob Smith
Paul Walker
David Zahl

P.S. For an audio version of this announcement, made last week at our annual NYC Conference, click here. And please feel free to email us at info@mockingbirdnyc.com if you have any questions.

P.P.S. It’s only fitting that we give Michael Stipe the final word (top five latter-day REM songs?):