Special Update from Bishop Wright
EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER
Annual Meeting, October 27, 2019
Rev. Bill Combs opened the meeting at 10:50AM and led the parish in prayer.
GRATITUDE TO OUTGOING VESTRY MEMBERS
Rev. Bill thanked each outgoing vestry member individually, including John Braly who served the last two years as Senior Warden, Connie Karpinsky, whose spirit and energy were invaluable to our communications, outreach and fundraisers, and Sharon Bryan who gracefully agreed to fill in for Jean Reed (the heart and soul of our Vestry) until December.
GRATITUDE FOR STAFF
Rev. Bill expressed his thanks for the staff, including Elaine Hall, Joe Jordan, Heather Kennerson, Jenny Moore, and Sam McDaniel. Elaine Hall has been our secretary for five years now, Jim Jordan has been our treasurer until the second quarter when Heather Kennerson took over. Rev. Bill also thanked our organists, including John Cawthon whose life-long study of music has added a real depth to our music, Jenny Moore, who has 20+ years experience as an organist, and Sam McDaniel who is a new and growing talent as a organist.
INTRODUCTION OF VESTRY CANDIDATES AND ELECTION
Rev. Bill introduced our three candidates, Naomi Montgomery, Everett Price, and Mimi Vickers and asked them to stand. (Everett Price was absent) Rev. Bill asked for any nominees from the floor. There were none. Jim Borland moved that we approve the three Vestry candidates, seconded by John Fox, and approved by all.
TREASURER’S REPORT – HEATHER KENNERSON
Heather began by thanking Joe Jordan for his organization and help in her transition as our new treasurer. She began discussion of her report by saying that overall, we have a really strong financial basis and that we have realized about a $23,000 gain on our investments this year. She explained that there are two types of donations, “designated” (such as toward outreach and rector’s fund) and “non-designated” (operating). The gifts to the Rector’s account have increased $1,904 in the first nine months this year, and other designated gifts and fundraisers have increased approximately $3,500. Heather also discussed her preliminary budget for 2020, based on our activities and expenses in 2019.
FINANCIAL GIVING AT REDEEMER
*Overview of the three aspects – John Braly
John has been doing a lot of reading about non-profits and has learned that we give because we want to make things better by our service and our gifts. Historically, churches have received well over 50% of charitable giving until 2010. Reasons for the downturn are that organized religion is declining and data shows that people are also offered many more opportunities to donate. Churches have historically done a great job in their yearly programs, but they need to seek more donations for mid-term and long-term needs. Stewardship should focus not so much on annual pledges, but on a program that provides all – Operating costs (annual pledges), Growth (capital/extraordinary giving), and Legacy (ultimate giving).
*Pledge Giving – Stan Mileski
Stan referenced the stewardship letter that he and Rev. Bill sent out to the parish, saying that he was very pleased by the response, a considerable increase in pledged giving in 2019 versus 2018, from $169,000 to $196,000. He also noted that since we will break even with our budget this year, we are especially grateful. Stan also thanked the parish for their participation and for giving to our outreach campaigns - Heartfelt Harmonies and Upscale Resale. He said that we are now at a time of great need, since several families have moved away this year, and he encourages us to continue to fund the church. Beyond that, it would be good to have a reserve at year’s end. He reminded us that the monies from pledges serve solely for the cost of running the church. He closed by thanking all for their generosity.
*Endowment Giving – Keith Cooley
Keith said that this summer Vestry passed a resolution to set up an Endowment Fund for Redeemer; it is intended to provide an opportunity for long-term giving to the church. This fund is set apart and invested in diversified accounts, with the intent of preserving principal while generating cash. It is designed to generate an income stream in perpetuity, which can be used for capital needs, outreach ministries, and seed monies for initiatives. This fund can also accept gifts for other specific purposes, and these gifts can be made at any time; but most of them are testamentary gifts, a simple provision that can be set up in one’s will by anyone who wants to ensure that the church will continue into the future. We now have an endowment committee, whose members are fiduciaries, and includes Keith, Jim Borland, Katie Price, Les Reed, Karen Klomp, and Heather Kennerson. (John Braly will join this committee in January when his term in Vestry is over.) We will be hearing more about the Endowment Fund in the coming months.
*Capital Campaign and Vision for 2020 – John Braly
John said that we have spoken about today and our plans for the long term future of the church, now he would like to talk about the interim, our vision for the future, and the type of facilities we might like to have. The Building and Grounds committee, starting with Bill Sinke in 2018, and continued by John Fox, has acquired a number of analyses, and consultations, including Historic Architects. Vestry now has a near-term plan for the Sanctuary and John can show you around after the meeting if interested. The plan addresses restoration needs for the foundation, steeple, and stained glass windows. We would like to start shortly after the the first of the year. Secondly, we would like a Sunday School Building that has ACA accessibility, and we have spoken with architects about a building that would replace the current Sunday School Building with a new, three story structure. Thirdly, we are considering options for an Activity Center Building. Regarding all of these initiatives, we have hired a non-profit consultant who will help us determine the feasibility of progressing forward and if so, how it can be most effectively done. The Finance Committee is also looking into alternatives, and we have help from Canon Lang Lowery from Atlanta. The Sanctuary work should take around 6-8 weeks. We expect to start in November on the Feasibility Study. Once we know the results, we will be coming back to the Parish with discussion about a Capital Campaign. John asked if there were any questions from the floor. 1) Carl Stollenmeyer asked about our costs. John answered that we will be in a position to discuss the sanctuary by year’s end. Atlanta has cautioned us not to use our reserve funds. The Campaign Committee will include our findings regarding both the Sanctuary and the Sunday School Building. Rev. Bill added that we are talking about replacing the existing Children’s Center in the vision. It will not be until after the Feasibility Study has been conducted that we will have an exact plan. 2) Danelle Borland asked why the Activity Center work is planned after the Sunday School Building. John answered that we think it is important to improve the Handicap Accessibility of the church, which is included in the plans for that building. 3) Jim Borland asked about plans for the Saturday Service and John said that a key tenet is that once we are able to support our members who require ACA accessibility, the Saturday Service will continue in Greensboro. 4) Another question was asked about where we will worship during the construction work. John explained that the sanctuary work will involve removing floor boards in the church and replacing the HVAC systems with a more efficient system that uses hard duct work. We will need to worship elsewhere for 4-6 weeks. Rev. Bill said that The United Methodist Church has agreed to allow us to use their North campus while the work is in progress. It is a beautiful space, though we will likely need to change our worship time to accommodate their schedule. Hopefully, the work will be completed by Easter. Les Reed offered thanks to Rev. Bill, John Braly, and John Fox for their work and said that he feels comfortable with the plan that was presented today.
Rev. Bill thanked Stan, Keith, and John for their presentations. The theological underpinnings of our giving has to do with Holy Incarnation and also with Pentecost in which God becomes incarnate. 2000 years later we are incarnating with the Spirit of Christ who is alive in this place. Our giving is supporting that life and that movement in the here and now, day in and day out. The physical incarnation includes our Capital Campaign, which provides for maintenance plus growth. It is natural for a church to have a Capital Campaign every five to ten years, as this is how we grow into our vision. Rev. Bill is very excited about this upcoming year: now we have a more tangible vision. First of all, we are not taking out more loans than we have in pledges and this is why the Feasibility Study is so important. He then talked about a meeting with some folks yesterday and how they imagined that we might have a basketball court, a community garden, or even an art center in the metal building. This is the kind of enthusiasm and creative planning that he hopes that we will see. Lastly, he remembered Ron King at St. Thomas, who said to Rev. Bill, “You landed good!” The parish applauded as he continued and said that he thanks God daily, and can’t wait to see what our future has in store.
Little Church, Big Heart, lakeoconeelivingmag.com
– Written by Suzie Hudson and Mimi Vickers – Photographed by Jesse Walker At the end of North Main Street, through the quaint downtown district of Greensboro, sits a little red church – unassuming, yet stunning. Small but mighty, its parishioners would say. The stalwart sanctuary has occupied this city corner since the days of Reconstruction. It was the first, and has remained the only, Episcopal congregation in Greene County. This year, on June 14, the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer marked its 150th anniversary. Read More
A GIFT OF GRACE
Reynolds resident Barbara Braly and Harbor Club resident Linda Chesbro have recently completed a true labor of love. They spent three years needlepointing altar kneelers for the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in downtown Greensboro.