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Annual Meeting 2019
** Additions will be made as comments from various speakers are recieved**
10:00am – Call to order & Opening Prayer by the Rector
Let us pray
Almighty and ever living God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with us as we take council for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Servant Leadership Award
This is the fifth time I have had the honor of presiding over the annual meeting of Christ Church. We started a new tradition at my first annual meeting in 2015, recognizing parishioners whose work on behalf of Christ Church served as a shining example of servant leadership, helping make the world a better place on behalf of the God who created it. I have yet to give this award to someone who said, “Well of course you gave it to ME,” and I think that is entirely the point and what makes these people so deserving. Previous recipients are:
- Nelson McDaniel for his work around our 300th Anniversary celebrations in 2015,
- Terry Brubaker for her efforts beginning Growing in Grace, our Afterschool Program.
- Audrey & Hal Von Dolln for coordinating the delivery of flowers to the sick and shut-in, and
- Brian & Blair Randolph for their work with children and youth at Christ Church and in the Diocese of East Carolina.
This year, we add three names to the list. Since I don’t want to be seen as picking favorites, I’ll present these in alphabetically order:
When Kip Peregoy was elected to the vestry three years ago, I asked him if would consider being nominated for Junior Warden. In his typical “Kip fashion” he said, “Yeah, sure I can do that.” I am not totally sure he knew how much he was biting off, and to be clear, I’m not sure I knew how much I was asking him to bite off, but the only way to eat a hippopotamus is one bite at a time. He took the great work done by his predecessor, Jason Thuringer, and carried it to the next steps. Like most church work, what he started and carried on is not finished, but he moved the ball much further down the field. In his three years as Junior Warden, he has been a voice of reason, a voice of progress, and a great wealth of institutional knowledge. Kip asks tough questions in a way that seeks the best interest of this church that he loves so deeply. Each year I say how much the Senior Warden has helped me grow as a priest and as your rector, but the sum of Kip’s influence will always stay with me. Thank you for your work for Christ Church, and I will sleep well knowing that you’re not going to ride off into the sunset. For his outstanding work as Junior Warden for the past three years, I am pleased to present the Servant Leadership Award to Kip Peregoy.
Since May 2017, Butch & Letha Ricks have chaired our Stewardship efforts at Christ Church. They, too, took on a monumental task. Our previous stewardship efforts didn’t look much different than a fund drive for Public Radio East, and the Vestry knew we needed to do something different. Thanks to Betsy Jutras and Clay Matthews of the College for Bishops, we were able to be the pilot parish in a program called Project Resource. We have been the recipient of three years of free consulting work looking at the whole concept of giving at Christ Church. The Project Resource faculty used their work with Christ Church to launch the first-ever conference for parishes last June. That wouldn’t have been a reality without the hours and hours of work Letha & Butch have put in. Their contributions to Christ Church are immeasurable, but their contributions to the wider Episcopal Church should not be underplayed either. As career educators, Letha & Butch know how to handle most anything that comes their way, and they know that adaptation is the key to thriving. They have led the way in augmenting how we do stewardship and annual giving here by recognizing and utilizing the available knowledge around the differences in generational giving and the importance of year-round stewardship. Butch & Letha will be handing off their duties to John & Deb Steady in 2020. John and Deb have said how much easier their job will be because of the roadmap left by the Ricks. For the amazing work on Stewardship at Christ Church, I am pleased to present the Servant Leadership Award to Letha & Butch Ricks.
Introduction of Candidates for Vestry
- Carl Huddle
- Rick Miller
- Wayne Rowe
- David Spence
- Keith Thompson
- Geoff Wood
We are grateful to all of you for your willingness to serve this parish.
We will entertain a motion to accept annual reports of the various ministries as filed by title. The other option is that they each be read into the record. (Move, second, all in favor?)
It’s my pleasure to welcome Mr. John Haroldson who serves our Treasurer.
I am also glad to welcome Mr. Rob Overman as the Chair of the Endowment Board of Christ Church.
I’m pleased to welcome Mr. Kirby Smith to talk about the Christ Church Trust.
I’ve said a lot about our Junior Warden, Kip Peregoy, but let me say a little more. Though written nowhere in the Constitution & Canons of the Episcopal Church, it is the long-standing tradition that the Junior Warden oversees the buildings and grounds and the physical assets of the Church property. I can’t imagine it is easy to ever be the Junior Warden of a parish, and even less easy when it’s a nearly 200-year-old building. Kip nears the end of this role, finishing as he started with the same care and dedication for a space we all care deeply for and a vision to make it the best it can be. I am happy to welcome him to the microphone at this time.
I am lucky enough each year to work with a senior warden who pushes me to be an even better rector. From her seat in the choir loft, Jean Reichenbach keeps literal and figurative eyes and ears on how the Vestry can best support all of the ministries of Christ Church. She brings a depth of experience not only at Christ Church but also her engagement in other Episcopal Churches throughout her life. I am grateful she served as Senior Warden this year, and am already looking forward to next year.
I am honored to stand before you today as you Sr. Warden for the past year.
The Senior Warden’s report included in the Annual Report booklet outlines what activities your vestry has been up to this past year, and I refer that to you to read on your own time.
Rather than repeat what I have written, I want to share with you some thoughts about vestries and what they are called to do.
The ECF defines the vestry as a legal representative and agent of a parish. Its responsibility is to oversee the financial health of a parish, manage the maintenance of the property, and ensure that the staff has a safe environment in which to work with the tools needed to do their jobs. Because we operate in a faith-based community, being on a vestry is more of a calling, even though it is an elected position, so a vestry could also be named as being part of the spiritual leaders of a congregation.
The core three questions of any congregation are: Who are we? For what purpose do we exist? What are we called to do?
Besides making sure there is enough money to keep the lights on and the AC/Heating running, the vestry is charged to exam these questions and discern whether the church is living into its Vision and Mission.
So what is our Vision: it is to be a church which loves the way God loves
What is our Mission: to welcome and inspire all people to faith, hope and spiritual growth through worship, Christian fellowship, and service to one another and to the community.
Each congregation has its own personality and its own strengths. It is the role of the leadership of the church to discern these characteristics and consequently help the congregation live into them and move forward.
Your vestry has taken both of these statements to heart, and as such has made decisions which not only look to today, but also to the future of Christ Church.
I have found that this vestry is a remarkable body of talented folk, each with their own gifts but none with a personal agenda with which they want to single-mindedly pursue. Consequently, we have been of like mind in tackling some tough tasks which have come before us.
And in the end, this vestry has made decisions which all felt were in the best interests of Christ Church and in keeping with the Vision and Mission statements. The result of this discernment has culminated in embarking along with our Annual Stewardship program, a campaign to reinvigorate ourselves and this worship space beginning next year. We look forward to realizing the fruits of our labors as the next few years unfold.
At this time, I would like to recognize the four vestry members who are rotating off.
They are, in reverse alphabetical order: David Ward, Kip Peregoy, Betsy Jutras and Sam Curry. Each of these have been huge contributors to the healthy life of this church: Kip as Jr. Warden probably spends as much time at the church as the staff keeping the building in working order, as has Sam Curry, who has also been instrumental in keeping our grounds in good shape; Betsy has faithfully taken minutes of the vestry meetings, and her organizational skills keep us on point; and David Ward, with his legal expertise and vast knowledge of Christ Church brings a valuable perspective to many of the tasks which the vestry handled this year. I will miss working with you all, and I look forward to working with the next four new members.
It is with excitement and great anticipation that I look forward to next year. As it has been said before, “there’s never a dull moment at Christ Church”, and may that ever be so.
Much of what I have to say is in the Rector’s Report on page 2 and of the Annual Report book. I thanked a large number of people in writing, but I want to thank some of them verbally as well. I am very grateful for the leadership of our Vestry, especially those who complete their term this year: Sam Curry, Betsy Jutras (clerk), Kip Peregoy, and David Ward. A great group of people whose love and commitment to Christ Church is without measure.
I am honored each day to work with this staff. Ellie, Cliff, Jane, Cortney, Meg, Debbie, Patti, Betsy, and Dequan show up every day and give their all for this place. Their dedication is impeccable, and I hope you are as impressed with them as I am. It is also one of my great joys to work with the Rev. Deacon Lisa Kirby each week. It is very good when your deacon used to be a verger. That, and we are never at a loss for holy laughter… I want to give a special shout-out to Terry Pitner who keeps our church clean and tidy. Unless you are here in the early morning hours, you likely don’t see her work, but you see the results of her work. So if you ever do see her, please say thank you.
One thing that makes Christ Church such a dynamic place is that we keep moving and changing. We would not have been here for 300 years if we were trying to do it like they did in the 1700s. Those who came before us likely gave plenty of thought to the future of Christ Church at various points in history. We, too, are at a point in own history where we look to the future. Dreams have been planted and spoken to regarding the Sacred Sound and Space Campaign, where we will refresh and re-liven this space to better tell of the Glory of God and to care for a building left to us by our forebearers.
With the future in mind, I want to share with you two initiatives that will kick-off shortly after Easter in 2020. The first is the creation of a legacy society at Christ Church. For those not familiar with that term, a Legacy Society is a fancy name for a program that encourages and celebrates those who remember a charitable organization, in this case, Christ Church, in their wills. It is also known as planned giving. The Book of Common Prayer directs clergy to instruct “all persons to make wills, while they are in health, arranging for the disposal of their temporal goods, not neglecting, if they are able, to leave bequests for religious and charitable uses” (BCP p. 445). There are already more than a few people I have talked with who have told me of their intentions to remember Christ Church in one way or another when their time on this earth is finished. We have a small working group who will gather at the start of 2020 with an eye towards launching in early May 2020. If you have expertise in that area and would like to be a part of it, please let me know.
The mission of Christ Episcopal Church is to welcome and inspire all people to faith, hope, and spiritual growth through worship, Christian fellowship, and service to one another and to the community beyond. That statement, adopted by the vestry a few years ago, is printed in our bulletins each week and on the front page of our website. The other future-looking project we will undertake in 2020 is to examine how we live into that Mission Statement, what we need to emphasize, what we need to enhance, and if needed, what we need to contract. The working group that examines such questions will be made up of a diverse cross-section of Christ Church. They will be folks ready and willing to ask questions that may have tough answers, and also hear answers that we shouldn’t let inflate our egos. They will be challenged by me and the Vestry to ponder “Where do we want to be in 5 years?” That is a terrible job interview question, but an amazing starting point for a parish approaching it’s 310th year. The group tackling that question will make a report to this Annual Meeting next year.
Let me remind you of the two things I say every year when we gather like this:
- Cortney and I, and Lisa, would rather hear 10 times about a pastoral issue than not hear at all. The Pastoral Emergency phone, which can be used for non-emergencies, too, is printed in the bulletin each week. Put the number where you keep important numbers. Don’t hesitate to let us know, and please never assume that someone else has told us. I would add: Please bring your concerns to us, and not to everyone else BUT us.
- We hope you will let us know if you are in the hospital or something else is going on in your life. We have people who make pastoral visits to the hospital almost every day of the week. Listing that you are an Episcopalian when you are admitted to the hospital will help us find you. If you go in through the ER, you don’t always get to have that designation, so please let us know. We are eager to respond, but we are not clairvoyant.
- If you have your cell phone or address book with you, I’d encourage you to take it out right now, and add the Pastoral Care phone number to your contacts. The number is 252.671.0392.
- If there is something on your mind, a concern, an idea, a wondering, then schedule a time to talk with me or Cortney or whoever may be most appropriate to talk with. Cortney and I use a free scheduling service where you can find the time slot that fits your schedule and ours. We post this link every week in the Mid-Week Messenger. It is on the front page of our website, and there is a link on the iPad kiosk in the Reception Area. This is a crazy and ever-moving beast of a church. Don’t wait until things calm down or when I “might have a few minutes.” If there is something on your mind or heart that you want to talk about, call me. Text me. Email me. Conversation deepens relationships.
- The same is true of my staff. I can’t speak for their lunch or caffination needs, but never assume they are too busy either. If you drop by the church to see one of us, and we are not in or available, worry not. We will make time for those conversations to happen. That is why we are here.
(There were no questions or comments from the floor)
Closing Prayer –
O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed So to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.