It’s that time of year again. A time for family, friends and thanksgiving. Mission San Juan Bautista, the largest and arguably most visited mission in all of California, has nurtured family, friends, and thanksgiving from it’s beginning in 1797…and now it is time for us to nurture it.Mission San Juan Bautista Preservation Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, is raising the funds necessary (approx. $14 million) to ensure the structural integrity, conservation and historic character of this state treasure. We are dedicated to protecting the legacy of this very special piece of California History so that future generations can experience the inspiring serenity of Mission San Juan Bautista.“Mission San Juan Bautista is more than just a mission, church, or building. It is the heart and soul of one of the last small agricultural towns in California. It is a living tribute to all the lives, families, and people who have come before us and will come after us. It is a place of endearment for so many couples married here or had their children baptized in her waters. Or for the countless visitors and young students who have come and walked in her hallways, wondered at her art, and played in her plaza”.Wont you please join us by becoming stakeholders in our “mission” to save Mission San Juan Bautista. THANK YOU!
We began just about a year ago!
- We organized, debated, and shared a vision to save the Mission.
- We knew it would be hard, the hardest being the unknown.
- So we came up with a prayer to help us through.
- We created a board of directors that would have the grit and determination to see us through.
- We agonized over, debated and shared until a beautiful logo was created.
- We became a 501(3)(C) in October and it was official.
- We wrote countless articles, made beautiful marketing material and even produced some videos for us to use as instruments in fundraising and awareness. We are continuing to find new ways to publicize the Fund.
- We looked at events we could participate in to generate awareness of our Mission’s needs and started with the Faith Formation Conference in Santa Clara and our message was well received.
- We decided to have a concert at the Mission to show what the Fund is fighting to preserve. It was nothing short of a truly magical evening and opened many doors for us.
- We received our first “Angel Donor” with a matching grant of up to $500,000.00 effective through the end of 2016, to start the ball rolling.
- We hired a Web designer to get our Website up and running, we have a Facebook page and registered for GoFundMe.com as well as AmazonSmile (smileamazon.com). We also participated in Silicon Valley Gives.
- In February, we paid the Parish the first invoice for soft costs for the mission restoration – truly a milestone for the Fund
- We started a satellite campaign in the Bay Area and they are sponsoring a fundraiser in October which will help to bolster our matching funds donation and more.
- We hired a grant writer to help us find donations through grants. She is an incredible young lady whose creativeness and competence is truly a gift for the Fund.
We are so pleased that to date we have raised over $320,000.00 in donations, pledges and matching funds.
In June, a wonderful book about Sula, the Mission cat and a cancer survivor, was published. A generous amount of the proceeds from sales will be given to the Fund.
We are planning to reach out to the local community and continue to find ways to raise awareness (and funds) and to find those philanthropic individuals that will be stakeholders in our mission to save the Mission. We are ready to go where ever we can to “get the word out”!
Eating with the Seasons, a community supported agricultural program (CSA) that reaches San Benito, Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties have agreed to let us put a flyer in their weekly bags.
We hope to raise at least a quarter of the $14 million by the end of year 2017 and are making plans for an annual fundraiser that will become a yearly celebration for the stakeholders in our beautiful Mission. We hope it will open many more doors for us as well as build an ongoing relationship with the Mission and the community.
So if you are wondering how you can help, of course donations are always welcomed. But getting the word out about the plight of the Mission and what our community stands to lose if nothing is done, is paramount to hopefully finding those philanthropic individuals and/or companies that will become stakeholders in our mission to save The Mission.
We have a beautiful website, www.savemissionsjb.org, with more details of what the issues are and what you can do to help. If you utilize Facebook, please “like” the Mission San Juan Bautista Preservation Fund PAGE and have your friends and family “like” the page as well as it is vital to maintain a presence on line to spread the word. We have also joined the Community Foundation of San Benito County and are hoping to get greater exposure there as well as becoming a sponsor on Benitolink.
If you shop on Amazon, you can sign up for “AmazonSmile”, where you can designate our Fund to receive a percentage (½%) of sales every time you shop.
We also have a “GoFundMe.com” page (“29bft5nw”), and people can donate there as well.
We are also very excited to have reached the Bronze level GuideStar Nonprofit Profile. This is a testament to our Fund’s commitment to transparency and reaches more than seven million annual visitors to GuideStar, which travels to more than 180 websites and applications that are powered by GuideStar. For example, employees of PG&E can choose to donate to the Fund via their paycheck through the GuideStar program.
I want to thank you all for taking the time to read this…but perhaps most importantly, I want to thank you, in advance, for becoming stakeholders in our “mission” to SAVE MISSION SAN JUAN BAUTISTA.
Tami Adam – President
Mission San Juan Bautista Preservation Fund
Almost since its founding, Mission San Juan Bautista has been known as the “Mission of Music.” Prominently displayed in the Music Room of the Mission museum is a barrel organ built in the 1730’s, a standing bass (looking like a five foot high violin) and in a nearby room the books and hymnals of music sung by Native American choirs in years past.
In keeping with this tradition, plans are underway by the Mission San Juan Bautista Preservation Fund for a late January concert featuring composers of many of the popular songs heard in both Catholic and Protestant church services. “Mission San Juan Bautista: An Evening of Music and History” will be at 7 pm on Thursday, January 28, 2016, in the 200 year old Mission. Admission is free but those who are able may donate $10 for the evening. The musical performances will be interspersed by narratives of the Past, Present, and Future. The Past will acknowledge the Native Americans who are the First Peoples and the Present will touch on the preservation of the Mission.
There will be a special appearance by one of the St. Louis Jesuits, Dan Schutte, whose compositions include “Here I Am Lord,” “City of God,” and “Sing a New Song.” In addition to being translated into many other languages his compositions have found wide use in Protestant communities.
Also performing will be Bob Hurd, whose compositions include “Taste and See,” and “Pan de Vida.” Jaime Cortez, author of “Rain Down,” and Anna Betancourt, who has recorded with Bob Hurd, Jaime Cortez and Eleazar Cortes of Watsonville will also be performing. Additional performers include Rodolfo Lopez, and John Flaherty. All are accomplished composers, musicians and singers who are affiliated with Oregon Catholic Press (OCP), sponsors of the concert benefitting the Mission.
Continuing the musical tradition of the Mission, a piece of music was written specifically for the Mission in the recent past. It has been obtained and is being sent to the OCP performers so it can be featured at the concert.
The musical heritage of the Mission began with the acquisition of an English barrel organ in the early 1800s by Father Felipe Arroyo de la Cuesta. It was reportedly constructed about 100 years prior and transported to California by an English sea captain. Initially given to Father Fermin de Lasuen, it is over five feet high, two feet in width and a foot and a half deep. Ornamental wooden pipes adorn the front and the barrel cylinder sits on top. There are 3 cylinders each containing 10 songs. Song titles include “Go to the Devil,” “Spanish Waltz,” “College Hornpipe,” and “Lady Campbell’s Reel.”
The music was better suited for the English sailors than the Mission congregation but the barrel organ was used by Father de la Cuesta in his travels to convert the Native Americans in the surrounding area. He would set it up, turn the crank and fascinate the Native Americans, who grew to like it after initially being fearful of the strange sounds.
According to material gathered for docent training, a Native American war party from out of the area once came to the Mission to make trouble. Father de la Cuesta brought out the barrel organ which he played furiously. The warring natives, first fearful then puzzled by the sounds, were later calmed by the music and a potential disaster was averted.
The music books on display in the museum show a color coding system developed by Father Esteban Tapis to teach the Native American choirs. The pages are of sheepskin covered with rawhide and closed with iron clasps. The colors enabled each voice to carry the tune in their respective tones. The notes are in the square shape popular in that time.
The Preservation Fund, a qualified 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, is currently mounting a campaign to raise funds for a massive preservation project. Expected to cost $14 million, the project will rebuild and replace the huge Mission roof and strengthen the adobe walls by reinforcing them with steel rods. Contributions may be sent to the Fund at PO Box 222, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045. In addition to the roof and walls, many other tasks are needed to extend the life of the oldest building in San Benito County and prepare it for the next 200 years.