$500,000 Ministry Donation Spurs Growth, Bucks National Trends

Church of the Redeemer parishioner Hugh Culverhouse has donated $500,000 to the parish, the largest ministry gift ever received by Redeemer outside of a capital campaign.

Through his gift, Culverhouse is challenging others in the congregation and community to both give and get engaged in the day-to-day ministry and outreach of Redeemer.

“Asking people to give by telling them, ‘No gift is too small,’ is just bad advice,” Culverhouse said. “We should be saying, ‘No gift is too large,’ because acts of generosity create more generosity in our churches and communities.”

Church of the Redeemer’s campus, in the heart of downtown Sarasota, is home to nearly 3,000 members. The church contributed a record number of hours and dollars to outreach in 2023 and continues to do so in 2024.

In December 2023, Redeemer awarded $70,000 in grants to nonprofits in Sarasota and around the world, including Second Heart Homes, Beauty Bridge, and Isaiah 117 House. In January, Redeemer awarded 80 public school teachers in Sarasota and Manatee counties with grants for classroom enhancements. Last week, the parish awarded $50,000 in Hurricane Ian relief to the Senior Friendship Centers, which will use the funds for vital programs and services in DeSoto County.

The record-breaking donation from Culverhouse is already spurring an influx of additional gifts and members that will help Redeemer expand its impact even more.

“I’m willing to bet this donation is among the largest gifts made this year for ministry, growth, and outreach to any congregation around the world,” said the Rev. Charleston Wilson, who serves as Rector of the congregation. “Churches and temples across the country are struggling to keep up with inflation and rising wages. Many churches can only afford a part-time minister and rely on a dwindling pool of volunteers. Church of the Redeemer is bucking the national trend, adding staff, volunteers, ministries, and outreach initiatives.”

Redeemer will use a portion of the donation from Culverhouse to engage a strategic planning firm to help the parish grow faster and more efficiently in 2024 and beyond. Construction of a much-needed church in the Dominican Republic is also planned.

“We aren’t growing for the sake of growing and building up our community to feel good about ourselves,” Wilson said. “The reason we need churches to grow is to enable humanity to be in communion with the Spirit of God and one another.”

Culverhouse was motivated to give because of his belief in the importance of healthy churches in the United States.

“The Church was created to provide and protect community, and I want my church to be here for generations to come, making a real difference in people’s lives,” he said.


Church of the Redeemer is a growing parish of nearly 3,000 members in the heart of downtown Sarasota. The parish is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida and a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Redeemer is known throughout the area and beyond for its focus on worship, preaching, music, faith formation, community outreach, and youth and families. Redeemer’s roots in Sarasota trace back to the late 1880s. The campus at 222 S. Palm Ave. occupies an entire city block and hosts about 600 services each year as well as concerts, guest speakers, community service projects, and more. In 2023, Redeemer welcomed nearly 180 new members, representing record new membership for the third straight year, and donated over $650,000 to nonprofits in Sarasota and around the world. The parish has ambitious plans to strengthen the faith of current parishioners and increase the number of people who call Redeemer home. To learn more, visit RedeemerSarasota.org.