While Advent marks the beginning of the church year, it marks the end of our calendar year, making this note my chance to wrap up the year as best I can and say a few thanks yous’ as well. Unfortunately, it has continued to be a year dealing with covid, but as usual the parishioners of St. Andrews maintained as many of our ongoing ministries as possible, throwing in a couple of pandemic created ones as well.
Communication continued to flourish despite not being able to be together for worship for half the year. By summer we had “returned “to in-person worship with strict caveats. I am happy to report that, to the best of our knowledge, no one became ill because they participated in worship. Let’s keep that up as we move into 2022. Our par- ish nurse, Mary Boyce has thoughtfully kept us safe. We will miss her as she leaves St. Andrew’s to join her husband, Jeffrey Boyce in his new ministry for the Bishop. Please take a moment to thank her for her diligence and hard work.
Your vestry, staff and Father Martin continued to reach out through online communication. The weekly Parish Update has served us so well that when Father Martin announced his retirement, we were able to keep moving forward together and stay connected.
Music, a staple of our worship, continued in various new formats. While Naomi provided beautiful organ music for the streaming, she also offered a monthly zoom hymn sing. While not what we were used to, it filled a gap in my life, and in others as well. Soloists gave us lovely music too and Naomi also used tech and our website to keep us connected through video messages. Once again, this Christmas she has created a special message from our members. Take a look on the website.
Streaming our services is now considered “the norm” and your tech team set up the equipment so that each week’s 10 am service is livestreamed on Facebook. Your vestry is looking at appropriate ways to upgrade what we are currently offering. Stay tuned this year.
The retirement of Father Martin was a surprise. After 14 years, he felt it was time to move into new ministries himself. We wished him well and will continue to miss Father Martin and Eve. Our diocese has excellent tools and support and so we hired supply clergy and were so grateful to hear the words from Rev. Dr. Judith, Rev Dr. Jeff, Father Terry and Father Ed (every Wednesday), as they shared their thoughts and wisdom these last three months. We are now in transition.
Engagement with our community has continued non-stop. The Outreach Committee has been making sure our pledges have been used in our community and the greater area. Scholarships were awarded and our students continued to develop their skills. The food bank was suspended for a while but is now back serving those in our community with food insecurity. Your Altar Guild, Flower Committee, Greeters and Lectors all continued to support our weekly services.
And stewardship, both the ongoing collection of pledges and the pledge drive for 2022 have been critical. The Rev. Canon to the Ordinary Arienne Davison warned of a possible drop off in pledges as we go through our transition—fortunately that did not occur at St. Andrew’s. Father Martin put the work in motion before he retired, but your Stewardship Committee and the Finance Committee have both been hard at work to make sure St. Andrews continues to be a strong, vital, engaged parish. If you have not turned in your pledge card yet, it will be welcomed.
So much for your quick overview of 2021. Your vestry continues to meet on your behalf and held their last meeting for 2021 on December 21. Here are some of the highlights:
- Leadership items: Staff have held weekly staff meetings for the past few months, allowing staff to work through day-to-day operational issues, including prepara- tion for Advent, arranging for the heating system to be inspected, reviewing safety protocols for St. Andrew’s, including potentially changing locks for the first time in years and updating online security. We appreciate all the hard work Dave Tinsley provides as our webmaster.
- The vestry approved the start of a puzzle exchange so stay tuned for more information
- Review and approval of financial statements for November and discussion of the 2022 budget. At the end of November, while pledge income was down we are still just in the black. It was decided not to go for final approval at the December vestry meeting (as is usual), but wait until Father Tom arrived. The budget will be finalized before the Annual meeting on Sunday January 30th and presented to you then.
- The kitchen renovation continues, with Wren and Willow creating the next set of documents that will help us decide our next steps at the annual meeting.
- With the oversight of Diane Stefanko and the efforts of Bill Brice, our grounds have been spruced up, trimmed, cleared out and generally brought into shape. Thank you.
- The vestry discussed several issues that had arisen including fund raising for non -church activities, and possible changes to the tech set up and criteria for poten- tial new vestry members. You will be voting on nominations at the annual meet- ing.And now we prepare to welcome our new interim priest, Father Tom Ortung and his wife, Jami. Join us to welcome them in celebration in the Ada Webb room after each service on Sunday, January 2nd .Welcome 2022. In looking back, we have much to be proud of and much to look forward to.