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'Raising Hope with Rising Hope' Meets Goal

They came, they listened, they gave.

Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church has witnessed its fair share of what some might call miracles during it short life span since being housed in the trunk of the Rev. Keary Kincannon's car in 1995. But few have matched what happened Sunday night.

During a Capital Campaign fundraiser at the Mason Neck area home of Bill and Molly Lynch for the new church building, Kincannon hopes to move into late this fall, not only did the turnout exceed expectations but the funds raised were enough to reach the ultimate goal of $900,000 — by $100.

"It was an amazing evening. I was hoping we would raise maybe $60,000 or $70,000 toward the $169,000 we still needed. But, when the pledges were counted Sunday night we had raised $169,100. This was the need. This was the goal. And God provided," Kincannon said.

"We are very pleased with the results. We made great strides in realizing the dream of getting Rising Hope into its new building," Bill Lynch said.

The effort to provide Rising Hope UM Mission Church with a permanent home began with Bill Lynch's father Edwin when "he decided he wanted to do something of a permanent nature for the Methodist Church as a legacy about five years ago," Bill Lynch said.

"We went to visit Keary and his church which was housed in what I would call a retail slum at the time," Lynch said. "So dad asked me to work with Keary to find something better. That took about four years and five locations until he was able to get into his present location."

For the past several years the church has been located at 8605 Engleside Office Park. But, sometime before the end of 2004, Kincannon and his parishioners hope to be in their first permanent home at 8220 Russell Road.

The 10,000-square-foot building was purchased in August 2001 with an initial $485,000 gift from Edwin and Helen Lynch of Mason Neck. In addition, the United Methodist Church made an additional $200,000 available.

THE CAPITAL CAMPAIGN, entitled "Raising Hope with Rising Hope," set a goal of $900,000 for renovations to the church building. Of that goal, more than $500,000 was pledged "from members of 41 supporting churches," Kincannon said at the renovation kickoff.

Funds contributed prior to Sunday night's event totaled $731,000, according to Kincannon. "I couldn't believe it when it was announced, after counting the pledges we had actually met and surpassed our total goal," he said.

But, Lynch said, "There are undoubtedly going to be some cost overruns in the reconstruction/renovation process. It not unusual for those to run about 10 percent to 12 percent. So they'll probably need another $150,000 before it's all said and done." Total cost of the church's new home including purchase, renovation and equipment is estimated at approximately $1.5 million.

Kincannon saw the evening as "so many serendipitous events. It came full circle. It was Edwin Lynch that got us started and we completed our goal at his son's home," he said. Edwin Lynch died this past March.

ONE OF THOSE spearheading the campaign has been retired General Carl McNair, former DynCorp CEO and a lay leader at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, and a speaker at Sunday night's fundraiser. "I was very pleased with the result. Rising Hope serves a very real need to our community and has helped a great many people in the Mount Vernon/Lee districts area," he said.

"Keary has devoted a great deal of his life to this mission. The least we can do is support that effort," McNair said. The mission of Rising Hope is to "bring the power of the church to the community living in poverty along Fairfax County's Route One Corridor."

Among the more than 60 people in attendance at the Lynch home Sunday night were Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman and state Sen. Linda T. "Toddy" Puller. "I was very thrilled that they reached their goal. It's [the new church] going to be a big addition to the Route 1 community," Puller said.

"It was a very successful fundraiser for a very worthy cause. Keary has certainly had success in lifting up the Richmond Highway corridor and making it something we all can be proud of. This church is a real life line for many on the highway who can't be reached by other government agencies or non-profit organizations, Kauffman said.

"We can't lose sight of those challenges our least fortunate face daily. By supporting this church we are helping to improve the lives of everyone," he said.

When Edwin Lynch was looking for a way to make a major financial contribution to the Methodist Church he went to the Rev. Stephen Bray, who, at that time, was the church's Alexandria District Superintendent. He suggested he talk to mission church minister Keary Kincannon.

Bray, now senior pastor of Fairfax United Methodist Church and the second chairman of Rising Hope's Capital Campaign, remains an avid supporter of Rising Hope and its mission. He was also present Sunday night.

"WE WERE DELIGHTED that because of the fundraiser we now have reached our campaign goal. Rising Hope is in the people redevelopment business, just as there has been a great deal of real estate redevelopment along the Route 1 corridor. And, there is a great need for people redevelopment," Bray said.

As noted in literature promoting the Capital Campaign, among its many mission activities, Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church:

* Assists approximately 2,000 individual per year with the help of over 500 volunteers from area churches

* Distributes food to 135 families weekly

* Supplies clothing to over 100 families weekly

* Provides telephone availability for over 125 calls per week to low income and indigent people to search for jobs, housing and social services.