It’s been such a busy summer that St. Francis tried something new. Holding the Annual Picnic right after the Annual Meeting that was right after the 10 am service on August 30th. And it worked!! We had a wonderful turn-out for everything to the point it was almost a “standing room only” audience.
But with fast-moving volunteers everyone had a seat at the table(s). The Rev. Claudia Wyatt Smith called the meeting to order by saying “I know that it is warm and everyone would like to move along to the eating part… so, let us pray.”
“Almighty and ever-living God, ruler of all things in Heaven and on Earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Since everyone had an opportunity to read the annual report in advance, the meeting moved right along approving last year’s annual meeting minutes. Next was the review of the financials with Treasurer Kevin Hunt explaining the 2014 spreadsheets and the first six months of 2015. Overall the report was positive, even ending last year with a $47,000 surplus thanks to an unexpected bequest. Among other points, cash flow is a continuing concern, because as Rev. Claudia mentioned “a number of people wait to pay their pledges at the end of the year.” Kevin added that after last winter’s wicked-weather effect on the Discretionary Fund there is a concern that if we have a repeat, what we have “is not probably going to be sufficient.” The Discretionary Funds are to be used to address needs among congregation and community members. Typically that means payment for food, rent, utilities, medical bills for people in need. Gifts to the fund are deductible by donors as charitable contributions.
The Rector’s report was mostly in the annual report, but The Rev. Claudia added a few thoughts, “One of our summer parishioners departed last week for their winter home and as they left they said about St. Francis, ‘Things just feel good, they feel stable, they feel happy, they feel good!’ and I think that is correct… The good news is, we ARE stable and healthy. It doesn’t take looking very far to see a number of churches that are not healthy and are going through difficult times.” She added that we’ve been there, but we aren’t there now, “Thanks be to God.”
A final point was the recognition that many of the people who founded St. Francis, planting the building on this hill and who have been so active in it over the years, can no longer take part in the ways that they once did. The Rev. Claudia explained that over the next year she will be focusing on raising up new leadership. “If there is a takeaway from me at this meeting, I hope it is that you will think about how else you could be involved in the life of this parish.” She pointed to the annual reports of all the committees, “All of them would welcome new faces, new voices, new ideas and new leadership.”
Part of this Annual Meeting was a transition from one Sr. Warden to another. Ray Yardy gave his heart-felt thanks, “for all that you have done and all the support you provided.” Before that, though, he gave special thanks to Sarah Everdell for having chaired the St. Francis Fair for the past two years. Ray also pointed out we need a new Fair Chair and that, “Over it’s 26 years there is no record of a man being in charge of it. So, guys, it is about time that you fixed that,” he said as he challenged the gentlemen in the room to speak with him about getting more involved.
Two additional reports included a short show & tell from Sue Grindle and young Nora about St. Francis Outreach Activities which this includes involvement in Episcopal Relief & Development ‘s (ERD) special 75th Anniversary appeal.
ERD is internationally respected for its work in ‘developing nations’ strengthening local churches and empowering communities to fight poverty, hunger and disease with sustainable, locally-driven solutions.
Sue and Nora were a tough act to follow, but Tim Thomas, Chairman of the Planned Giving Committee did so quite ably.
He spent a few minutes introducing the new “Assuring the FUTURE” pamphlet. The idea is for parishioners to set up a planned gift either through their will, life insurance, trusts, annuities or direct donation of special property such as real estate, jewelry or closely held stock. He also encouraged anyone who has already made those kinds of arrangements to let either Rev. Claudia or treasurer, Kevin Hunt know.
The next order of business was the Elections. A motion from the floor called for the “acceptance of the Report of the Nominating Committee as it stands”. There being no nominations from the floor, the slate of nominations was accepted with no one opposing or abstaining.
The new vestry is now made up of:
Bob Publicover, Senior Warden
Brent Follweiler, Junior Warden
Barbara Cousins elected to the Vestry (3 year term)
Marcia Fenn elected to the Vestry (3 year term)
Chris Ramsay re-elected (3 year term)
Mary Crawford Term ends August 2016
Kathy DeSilvey Term ends August 2016
Brent Follweiller Term ends August 2016
Katie MacLeod Term ends August 2017
Bob Publicover Term ends August 2017
Ralph Topham Term ends August 2017
Delegates to the Diocesan Convention:
Nancy Doane, Sue Grindle,Gene Grindle, and Bob Publicover
Alternates to the Diocesan Convention:
Brinley Hall and Chris Ramsay
Before the meeting was brought to an end there was one final bit of news, the 2015 recipient of the Emily Award. The list of impressive nominees:
Full coverage in another story.