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 retiring 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.

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. Our hope is to raise the funds before Lisa retires in late October. Given the requisite process of the Town of Chapel Hill, however, it is likely that The Field will not be completed until Spring 2022.

Gifts can also be made as follows:

  • Checks can be written to ECOTA, with Fold and Field in the memo line, and mailed to The Advocate, 8410 Merin Road, Chapel Hill, NC, 27516.
  • If you would like to make a gift of stock, please contact the Treasurer of the Advocate: Nancy Usher Williams <>.
  • Pledges can be paid up until Easter (April 17) 2022. Pledges can be made by email to