Monday, January 28, 2013

Annual Meeting Wardens' Report

Wardens’ Report
2013 Annual Meeting
 George Murnaghan, Senior Warden

As I began to prepare this report, I went back to Connie Parrish’s message from last year: that 2011 and the prior few years were about putting important pieces in place:  bringing Kate Ekrem in as our Priest-in-Charge in 2009, creating a Strategic Plan, and laying the groundwork to live into it, including calling Kate to be our Rector at the end of 2011.  Connie exhorted us that 2012 and beyond were times of opportunity for Redeemer, that we were ready to move forward together with the pieces in place.

As your incoming Senior Warden, I admit to feeling a sense of trepidation.  Could we take
good advantage of this favorable set of circumstances?  How would I, as Senior Warden guide and shepherd us and not squander this moment?  What do I tackle first, where do I start?  But, after a thankfully short period of agonizing, I realized that it wasn't up to me alone to sort this all out.  One of the great things about Redeemer is that we never have to be alone here.  Our strength is our community and our ability to work together to tackle what is in front of us.  So, I realized that we would set the path together and share in the effort, and that trepidation quickly gave way to excitement about what we could accomplish this year.  And I hope you will agree that it was a year that fulfilled Connie’s challenge.

At our Vestry retreat last February, we identified key themes to guide our work for the year ahead, centering on the notion of Building the Church, of thinking about what we need to live into our Strategic Plan, of how we support and sustain the efforts of staff and volunteers across the parish.
The three areas that emerged were: 
·         Developing and Supporting our Lay Leaders and Lay Volunteers
·         Strengthening our Church Community and 
·         Identifying our Building/Physical Plant needs and planning for potential renovation 
We established key tasks under each area and created working groups of Vestry members assigned to each one.  The work of these groups was central to Vestry’s work this past year.

The Leadership working group (Bob Bettacchi, Jim Bradley, Tony Johnson and me) identified leadership and succession needs within our key governance committees, including Property, Stewardship and Finance and assisted the Wardens and Executive Committee to fill openings and provide succession.  A key effort focused on the Property Committee, where Karen Schragle was looking to find a successor.  The task group helped develop and refine the job description and worked with the Committee to identify day-to-day responsibilities that could be transitioned to our Office Administrator (Lisa Bozkurtian) and Sexton (Roy McHoul), streamlining the role of Property Chair and facilitating the appointment of Lance Conrad to succeed Karen.

The Church Community team (Paula Antonevich, Sarah Neumann, James Surprenant) was charged with supporting a stronger sense of community across our parish through enhancing our communication and fellowship efforts. They developed a communication plan for regularly update the Redeemer community of key Vestry activities, investigated how we might use social media better, and looked at enhancing our web presence.

They also launched a new approach to coffee hour, known as the Hospitality Team, modeled on the Liturgy Team. The hope and expectation is that ALL members of Redeemer would take part in providing hospitality to each other on a rotating basis throughout the year.   The response has been good, and monthly teams have run coffee hour since the fall.  We are grateful for the help and look forward to your participation to enlarge the circle of support for this important fellowship time.

The Building group (Lance Conrad, Susan Emanuel, Ian Fox, Frank Kern) reviewed our current and potential space needs, to ensure that the configuration of our physical space supports our Strategic Plan objectives.  The group implemented several changes to support immediate Formation needs: we moved the J2A group into the Library to make room for our new Atrium 3 class; we moved Adult Formation into the Great Hall, to allow for growing attendance at our formation series, and to open up the Meeting Room for other needs; and we created the café space outside the Great Hall.  We held an Adult Forum discussion about the Great Hall in September, which voiced a strong desire to renovate the Great Hall to better reflect who we are as a community, and serve our varied needs.  And Vestry commissioned a Great Hall Renovation Team, who have already launched into their work with terrific energy and purpose.

I hope you’ll agree that a lot of important work took place within those key goal areas.  But wait, there’s more!  I hope you’ll read all the reports in the Annual Meeting packet-they are excellent and give a great sense of our collective accomplishments.  Here are just some of the highlights:

In February, we joyfully celebrated the installation of Kate Ekrem as our Rector, with Bishop Tom Shaw officiating.  This started our year off on a high and hopeful note which has carried us all the way through.

Under the leadership of Bernadette and the Music Committee, we had our chamber organ repaired so that it could be used more fully as part of our worship.  The Music Committee raised much of the cost themselves through donations and a very successful Battle of the Bands fundraiser.

In April, we said goodbye to Sabeth, our Assistant Rector, and sent her off with our love and blessings to her new parish in Fairview, OH, and in September, we welcomed Danielle as our new interim Assistant Rector.

We strengthened our nearly 30 year relationship with Lexington Playcare Center through the execution of a new 8-year lease.

We extended our Atrium program to a third age group, filling the space between our second level Atrium and the Journey to Adulthood curriculum for our youth, and we introduced new, well-received curriculum for the newly combined J2A and YAC groups.

Property tackled a number of big projects, including repairing rotting fascia board that was discovered behind the gutters at the roofline and making needed repairs to the Rectory.

In Mission, we sent 15 people, including 6 youth, to El Hogar to work, learn and serve.  We held another in a growing tradition of Patriot’s Day Pancake Breakfasts.  And we saw our Mission efforts continue to grow in size and impact.

In September, Kate began holding her weekday morning prayers in the Sanctuary, welcoming any and all to join her-I hope you will take her up on it if you can.  And we began the second year of our Education for Ministry program, with 5 new members, joining 8 who began in 2011.

So 2012 has been a busy year, of progress made in many areas and involving many people. I am so pleased and grateful for the hard work, generous spirit and loving effort of people so many people across our congregation.  Today, we can celebrate and give ourselves a collective pat on the back for what we’ve achieved this year….and then we can get back to work!

2012 was also a year of transitions in a host of ministries.  In addition to the Property transition I’ve mentioned, here’s are some notable ones:

On the Altar Guild, Marion Hayes, after many years of faithful service and leadership, handed the baton to Joyce Dufault and Janet Kern.

As mentioned earlier, our Coffee Hour is now provided by monthly Hospitality Teams.  We thank Debbie LeBlanc and Joan Charlton for their many years of organizing this essential component to our fellowship together.

John Wright stepped forward to take over as Acolyte Director from Sandy Keshisian and Jean Ricci.

Charlie Coons assumed responsibility for the monthly Liturgy Teams, taking over from Bob King.

Bob, however, is not going far, as he is taking over as Chair of the Mission Committee from Chris Needham.

Bob and Mary Etta King have concluded three years as our Parish Retreat Team Leaders, and Janet Kern and Connie Parrish have stepped forward to take their places.

Nancy Grayson took over Atrium I, our youngest cohort for Christian Formation, from Evelyn Hausslein, who moved up to Atrium II, freeing Linda Kukolich to start the Level III class.

To those stepping aside, I give my gratitude and appreciation.  Your service to our parish is remarkable and so essential to our lives together.  I hope that the experience has been as fulfilling and worthwhile for you as it has been for the rest of us.  And to those taking on new roles and responsibilities, please know that you have our thanks and support as well.  May your service help you grow in Christ and deepen your bonds with this community!

I’d like to give special thanks to Karen Schragle and to Bob King.  Karen, the time, care and commitment to Redeemer that you exhibited as Property Chair over many years is truly remarkable, and we are deeply appreciative.  Likewise, Bob, you so wonderfully welcomed and invited members of all ages, new and not so new to Redeemer, to participate in worship through service on the Liturgy Team over many years, and we give you our heartfelt appreciation. 

These transitions are a sign of a healthy congregation.  We have talked a lot at Vestry about encouraging, inviting and supporting lay leaders, and about the importance of succession.  It is clear that Redeemer has many talented people ready to take on new roles, and this is very hopeful for our future together.

I also give thanks to my fellow Vestry members.  We have good reason to take pride in what we achieved together.  We’ve had easy decisions, and not so easy decisions, we’ve have unanimity of view most often, but we’ve differed on a number of occasions.  We’ve had a spirit of common purpose and collegiality, and we’ve melded a myriad of viewpoints into a collective whole.  I am so thankful to each of you for what you brought and what you gave.

To our outgoing Vestry members, I give my thanks and appreciation for your contributions.  To Sarah Neumann, thank you for, in your words, being a youth representing the whole parish.  Your gift for seeing the larger picture and willingness to be engaged will serve you well in the years to come.  To Bob Bettacchi and Susan Emanuel, thank you for your service over the past three years, and especially for your willingness to challenge our thinking and to resist doing things just because they have always been done that way-those are valuable, necessary and much appreciated ingredients to well-functioning governance.  To Paula Antonevich, whose three years on Vestry included two years as our Clerk, service on our Executive Committee and leadership of our 2011 Priest-in-Charge Discernment Committee, I offer you heartfelt thanks and appreciation.  You ask great questions, and you are very willing to roll up your sleeves, quite literally, as shown by your role coordinating today’s pot-luck.

And last, I’d like to thank our Rector.  Kate, your gift for leading us, for grounding us in our faith as we tackle the decisions before us, for enriching our lives with meaningful worship, for being there when we just need someone to talk to, is truly inspiring.  Your transition to Rector has been seamless and unnoticeable in many ways, yet I sense a qualitative difference.  You’ve deepened further your relationship with the parish, you’ve spread your wings wider and you’ve embraced the role and its challenges even tighter than before.  You are here to stay, for which we are enormously thankful!

So I feel I can report to you that the Church of Our Redeemer is in a very good position.  We have some work ahead of us that is more about how we improve than about how we fix.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to play my part and enormously thankful to all of you for everything you do to contribute to this congregation and community.

No comments:

Post a Comment