Rector’s Report for Annual Meeting
January 15, 2017
When I was a Girl Scout (many years ago now) our troop loved to sing rounds. One of them was “Make New Friends, But Keep The Old.” That was running through my mind when I looked at the numbers for 2016 in preparation for this report and for the annual parochial report to the national church. Because we have indeed made some new “friends” whom you have welcomed warmly and kept most of the “old” ones. In that regard, though, I’m sure you’re all aware that we had several deaths this past year. Two very long-standing members, Dick and Pat Diemer, died in 2016, Dick in January and Pat in December. Another long-standing member, George Bush, died in July and a newer member, Barry Teicher, died in November. We celebrated their lives and, although we will miss them, we can take comfort from our confidence that they are at rest in the arms of the Lord.
There are also some further numbers of interest from the annual report. The first is that we had three Confirmations and one Baptism this year. Another piece of good news is that our average Sunday attendance rose to 66.
As I’ve noted before, numbers are one, but only one, way to measure the vitality of a church community. Almost everyone who comes through our red doors remarks on the good and welcoming spirit that is so much a part of St. Luke’s. That spirit certainly is part of our Sunday gatherings, the primary reason we exist as a church community. But it spills over into many other activities. We continue with the movie series, watching and then discussing movies that challenge us to expand our spiritual understandings. The Lectionary and Thursday morning classes continue to meet, the latter studying the Reformation period during this academic year. The book club continues as well, reading both for education and entertainment. This past year we had an inquirer’s class in preparation for the reception of confirmation. In addition, this past year, as a result of the RenewalWorks process, we re-instituted both gourmet and Foyer dining groups.
But those “in-house” activities are only part of how we live out our call as Christians. In addition, we continue to serve at Scandia, with one-time events, such as the always well received Scandia tea and the yearly birthday party, but also with things that are on-going like Joy and me conducting services and the many volunteer hours offered by so many of you. The Outreach Committee’s report is elsewhere in your annual meeting information but suffice it to say that that committee is committed to expanding our service and energy beyond our doors into the wider community and beyond. The blessing that is the Canterbury Room has also allowed us to extend our welcome – it provides space for parishioner events, for concerts, for classes and for the use of civic organizations. Remember when our space stopped at those first doors? What a gift that room has been!
Since this is the Rector’s report, I should tell you that my ministry, in addition to being here with all of you, has also reached into the wider community. First of all, I just finished a year as the dean of the Green Bay Deanery and as a member of the executive committee of the diocese. I also served as examining chaplain for people in the ordination process. Closer to home, I continue to write an occasional column for the Advocate and teach a class for The Clearing. This year, also, I conducted a retreat for the women of Shepherd of the Bay and gave a talk at Atonement. In addition, I started offering what I call “God talks” to folks in their birth month, modeled on what the Bishop offers to the priests. I have found those conversations wonderfully enriching and plan to continue offering them.
And, finally, while we’re talking about good things and about blessings, I note that last year I informed you that Sue Raye would be our full-time organist. And this year, dare I say something about a “happy note” – we have the new organ! It was a gift of several donors and it’s worthy of our real organist. It greatly enhances our worship and we’re grateful.
Given all of the above, how can I say anything but that It’s a joy to be here among you.
Senior Warden’s Report
It has been an eventful year at S. Luke’s! We have an exceptionally fine new organ, a newly reconstructed front wall, and new opportunities for fellowship. In detail:
- Four generous anonymous donors enabled us to purchase a new Allen electronic organ, which was installed in June. The organ is fully compatible with our sound system and contributes wonderfully to our worship. Chicago-area organist Naomi Rowley, also of Door County, played a wonderful dedicatory recital Aug. 7.
- Junior Warden Doug Schwartz discovered early in the summer that the south wall of the church had deteriorated badly. Consultations with construction professionals led to a decision to rebuild the wall, a project that took place in the fall — without interrupting our worship in the nave.
- A successful capital campaign in October raised almost $26,000, which in combination with money from our Legacy Fund covered the cost of construction.
- Speaking of fundraising, the annual stewardship campaign in November was successful, raising more than $83,000 in pledges from 45 households. The vestry approved a balanced 2017 budget at its December meeting.
- Acting on 2015 RenewalWorks survey results, the vestry approved offering both foyer groups and gourmet dinners as opportunities for fellowship among parishioners. Both programs are off to a good start.
- The vestry is reviewing all parish policies over a period of months, updating and revising them as necessary. This process is ongoing. Currently a task force is reviewing policies for the Memorial Garden and will bring recommendations to the vestry.
- A newly formed kitchen committee is keeping track of supplies and maintaining the kitchen.
- And in the special thanksgivings category! — the bishop again granted his annual permission for Mother Barb to continue as rector past retirement age.
Elsewhere in the Annual Report you’ll find more detail about some of these initiatives.
Thank you all for permitting me to serve among you as warden. Being a part-time resident in Sister Bay means that I serve long distance for much of the year, an unusual way to be warden! But I’m grateful for cooperative weather, which has permitted me to travel north at least once a month, worship with you all, and attend vestry meetings. I’m also grateful for today’s technologies which make communication so much easier. Still, I will continue to depend on all of you to let me know if I’m neglecting something important.
St. Luke’s is a remarkable parish, with wonderful people and exceptional clergy leadership. It’s a privilege and a blessing to be part of this community.
Junior Warden Report on 2016
The two main projects addressed in 2016 were the planned for replacement of the parking lot and the unplanned major rehabilitation of the front wall of the main church building.
The work on the parking lot was done in May. Bissen Asphalt of Sturgeon Bay was the contractor on this project. Their work was very good. Karen Schwartz, David Skidmore and I edge dressed the lot with crushed rock to finish it off. Additional edge dressing will be necessary in 2017. David Skidmore also re-installed the paving bricks disturbed during the install of the new parking lot.
Last spring, I discovered gaps in the front wall of the building that caused me great concern. The Vestry concurred and we hired an engineer to asses this situation and came back with a report that did require us to take immediate remedial action. Forestville Builders was again brought in to be the contractor on this major unplanned project. They basically tore down and then replaced the entire exterior front wall. This work was done in the late fall and finished just ahead of the first wintry weather.
Due to my generally less diligent approach to kitchen readiness, we organized a Canterbury Room Kitchen committee to focus on this important aspect of our parish. Norma Bramsen, Carol Ann Osinski, Kathy Blankenburg, and Marsha Eischen are the members. They monitor the overall cleanliness of the kitchen and the Canterbury Room and keep an eye on all supplies for the coffee hours. I certainly appreciate their help.
I performed some general tree trimming on the grounds last spring. This along with the new parking lot and the beautiful garden really gave our building and grounds a wonderful eye appeal from the street.
I believe 2017 will be less busy.
Doug Schwartz, Junior Warden