In 2002, The Rev. Lisa Fischbeck was hired to gather a congregation and launch a new Episcopal Church in Orange County, North Carolina. The result is The Episcopal Church of the Advocate, now a congregation of more than 200 souls, with a 19th century chapel and 15 acres of land in North Chapel Hill. The Advocate is a church known for its engaging liturgy, its generous hospitality, and its creative engagement with the community and world.

Lisa will be retired from the Advocate in the fall of 2021. In thanksgiving for her “Vicary,” the Advocate Vestry is raising funds for a project that is at once visionary and practical, The Fold and The Field.

The Fold

The Fold, created by Szostak Designs, will be located between the Pond and Merin Road providing a place of play, private conversations, and small gatherings. Extending the Advocate’s welcome, The Fold will include a community oven where groups can gather for bread or pizza baking events. The cantilevered stone counter is designed to service the oven and also to serve as an altar for occasional small Eucharistic gatherings. The covered area will be 480 square feet and each uncovered “wing” will be 200 square feet. Decking will be made of recycled materials.

Construction of the Fold will supplemented with volunteer labor, especially for clearing the site, painting and staining the materials, and building the brick oven. The result will be a place of beauty and invitation, a place of welcome and hospitality.

The Field

The Field is, frankly, a euphemism for a required parking area for 25 cars on the Advocate site at the corner of Merin Road and Billabong Road. Cars parked along Billabong block two-way traffic and accessibility for emergency vehicles, and are not allowed by the Town.

Every effort will be made to make the parking area respectful of the environment. Small hardwoods on the site will be cut by people of the Advocate for future use, rather then be bulldozed and carried away.

Will You Join Us?

The total cost of the project is $225,000. To reach this goal will require generous gifts from the People of the Advocate as well as from friends near and far. Given the Town of Chapel Hill’s required process, it is likely that The Field will not be completed until late Spring 2022. That gives us time to raise the needed funds.

Pledges are helpful, as we sure would like to know that we have the funds given or pledged to make this happen. Pledges can be paid up until July 1, 2022.

Other ways to give:

  • Write a check: Write “Fold and Field” in the memo line and mail to The Advocate Church, 8410 Merin Road, Chapel Hill, NC, 27516.
  • Donate stock: To make a gift of stock, contact the Treasurer, Nancy Usher Williams.
  • Pledge via email: Email Include your name, mailing address and the amount you plan to pledge for 2021 or 2022.