Theophany ©2003 Tim Jutsum -acrylic on canvas
Theophany ©2003 Tim Jutsum -acrylic on canvas
Members of our Stewardship team have been sharing heartfelt thoughts regarding Christ Church, and this seems a great place to highlight them. We have Joe Schaller, Pru Kirkpatrick, Steve Remy, John and Kathy D'Amanda, and Sonja Shelton.
Because I believe in the grace of God, and all that it implies in my present life, and a life hereafter, it is my only reasonable response to be grateful for God’s grace. Gratitude is an action word. It’s not a slogan, not something that merely receives an occasional nod and a few words of thank you Lord for what you have given me. Gratitude is a call to action. And like many things spiritual, meaning God centered, it’s a call to taking inconvenient actions. Actions which rub against my nature for a life free of responsibilities. It’s a call to leave my own personal garden of Eden.
It is my experience that the strength of our church body, is that it nourishes my soul. And it is only through this nourishment that I can transform my reluctance, my hesitation, and my proclivity to whine into a service rendered with a grateful and cheerful heart. It is the power of love in our Eucharist that is gifted to me, not in isolation, but as given to all.
I believe that all God-centered spiritual activity plays out in our physical reality. Faith is found in community and as a community we have chosen to meet and worship here for more than 100 years. We believe it is God’s call on our lives. We believe that we have a legacy which God would have us to continue to refine and improve and to carry out with gratitude for his grace.
Christ Church has also is given me a connection to a community of believers so that I may stand with a light in my hand in a world of great darkness. The Holy Spirit has lit the candle, but so have you. Christ Church has given me a profound spiritually-based liturgy. It has given me the loving and powerful word of the good news of the gospel: exclaimed from our pulpit by a minister dedicated to the betterment of all, including our community both near and far. It is given me a soaring and majestic music which tells me that we can aspire to be what God has called us to do.
By making a commitment to our annual stewardship program I am linking up my hands, with you in Christ. I give secure in the knowledge that I have answered the call of God in my life. I stand here this morning because I have received, from God and through you, the courage to take the halting and inconvenient and maybe in some cases dangerous steps that that call of God’s will as expressed in this body requires of me. I give to the best of my ability. I give my talent, my time, my treasure. I give to give. I do not give to get. I am redeemed whether I give or not. That is a great joy! Giving is an expression of my gratitude for that great joy and for your steadfast and holy fellowship. Giving is an action word!
We are standing on the shoulders of giants. I am reminded of this when I enter our building at the Lawn Street entrance and walk past the portraits of the clergy, past and present, or when I read the "In memory of..." plaques in the sanctuary. These persons, working with generations of devoted parishioners, managed to ensure that Christ Church survived and thrived the many vicissitudes of the past 160 years. Now we find ourselves uniquely positioned to be Christ's light in our world. We have been given enough. In the of my favorite Offertory Sentence, "All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee."
-- Sonja Shelton
How about some lovely farm animals as a gift this Christmas? Or maybe a nice micro loan? I have to admit that I've never put farm animals on my list of things to get. I'm actually not a fan of farm animals. I have, however, wished for a micro loan, back in the day when we were a younger family. The opportunity to be creative is something that is so close sometimes, yet just out of reach for some of us. This is particularly true if you live in a place where food security is more hope than reality. A lot of people live in that place. It's not always just about location. Helping people make their hopes of opportunity come true this Christmas may be the very thing God is asking you to do. If you are inclined to want to make this a farm animal Christmas for someone who has this at the top of their wish list, check this out- http://www.episcopalrelief.org
The Christ Church Care Team is a volunteer ministry to help parishioners on a temporary basis as they recover from surgery, suffer the death of a loved one, are home bound or in the hospital, or need support due to another kind of loss or difficult transition. The Care Team assists parishioners in need with the following: shopping, meals, pet care, house help, phone calls to check in, and home and hospital visits. Please notify the Rector if you or someone you know could use Care Team support. [Care Team Leaders: Shirley Ricker, Norma Kurmis, Lydia Worboys, Peg Britt, Elizabeth Dugdale, Kyle Liddell and Jim Blake]
The grant-writing team (Deb VanderBilt, Tom Foster, Meg Mackey, Peg Britt, and Hugh Kierig) has finished this year’s round of applications. In general, grants are available in the historic preservation category; in other words, we have to specify a building project and the grant will go toward repairs. Here’s an update on where we are with our grants.
In January, we applied for a grant from Sacred Sites (a part of the New York Conservancy Trust) for $50,000 for our buckling wall on Lawn Street. We received $25,000, which the grant administrator told us is typically the upper limit of what they award. We must match that grant 50-50 (no problem, since the wall repairs will cost at least $130K).
In May, we applied for two grants for the wall as well: to the Rochester Community Foundation Grant for $25,000 and to the Partners for Sacred Places for an unspecified amount (the first step is a “letter of intent”). We should hear from RCF in October, and we already heard we did not make the first cut from Partners for Sacred Places.
In July, we applied to New York State for a Historic Preservation Grant. Because our church is in a zip code that is characterized by high poverty, if we get this grant it will be a 75/25 match (we pay 25%). We applied for the grant for clerestory window repair, since the criterion for the grant is urgency. Water infiltration caused part of the ceiling under these leaky windows to fall down, so we believe we have a good case that window repairs are urgent. The application was for about $120,000, and we will hear in January about whether or not we receive it.
We also applied in May for a Congregational Development Grant from the Diocese. This grant can be used for our deficit, so it is very different from the historic preservation grants. If we get it, we are eligible to be on a 5-year cycle of grant renewal, but it will be less each year as we work toward sustainability. To apply for the grant, the team worked on a plan of action to “develop” our congregation: communicating better about what we do to the community and other ways of growing our congregation. We applied for $35,000 and we will hear in September or October from the diocese if we get the grant. They can say no, give the full amount we asked for, or give a lesser amount based on the total they have to allocate within the diocese.
It’s because of this final grant that Ruth, Deb, and Joe were required to attend the College for Congregational Development, to learn tools that will help us grow Christ Church both “inside,” in what we do to develop spiritual lives and fellowship in our church, and outside, in what we do to live out our mission and attract others to work with us on that mission.
It’s also in connection with the Diocesan grant that you took the survey about what attracted you to Christ Church and why you stay. Here are the results of that survey (except the comments, which even though anonymous we are treating as confidential:
Member Survey: 63 responses
Question 1: What caused you to visit Christ Church for a church service (other than Compline) the first time? (Click all that apply)
I was looking for a faith community 50.00% 26
Heard about it from someone I know 46.15% 24
Found it through the website 13.46% 7
Was in the neighborhood and was curious 13.46% 7
Attended Compline, then came to a service 7.69% 4
Read about it in the newspaper 1.92% 1
Found it via Facebook 1.92% 1
Attended Jazz Festival then came to a service 0.00% 0
Question 2: What was it about Christ Church that caused you to attend regularly or become a member? (Click all that apply.)
The music 70.4% 43
The preaching 63.9% 39
The Christ Church community 59.0% 36
The way the service is conducted (the liturgy) 57.3% 35
The physical space (Sanctuary) 47.5% 29
The outreach initiatives of Christ Church 34.4% 21
Question 3: If you had to pick a PRIMARY reason why you attend Christ Church regularly or are a member, what would you pick?
The music 26.6% 16
The Christ Church community 26.6% 16
The liturgy 20% 12
The preaching 18.3% 11
*Question 3 responses by those at CC 8 or fewer years:
The preaching 31% 9
The Christ Church community 24.1% 7
The music 20.6% 6
The liturgy 17.2% 5
Vestry Minutes November 21, 2017
a. Nominating Committee. We have not received any “yesses” to our requests to parishioners. Deb has written a job description that can be used when telling people who are not familiar with what the Vestry does about the position.
b. Amsden Fund: Bishop Singh has recommended a seminarian for us to support with Amsden funds. She will be sending her spiritual autobiography.
c. Diocesan Convention report: Deb’s report has been published in the SONG. Hannah Sommers presented a stirring talk on “What does faith mean to you?” Deb is our current parish rep to convention, and encourages others to self-nominate as delegates next year.
2. REPORT FROM LIAISONS
a. Peg Britt reported to Vestry on Outreach
RAIHN - Beatrice Deshommes
• Thanks to CC members who showed support for RAIHN’s biggestfundraiser event “CAR CITY”.
• RAIHN is always looking in need of volunteers
• Bea is arranging for CC and Two Saints to meet to create networking opportunities, hoping for once or twice per year
JAZZ FESTIVAL, SCHOOL #9 - Vicki McCutchon
• Vicki strategized with Ruth to discuss how to get better participation with requests for items for Meal and More Christmas bags, as well as for the ongoing food collections for both M&M and the Pittsford Food Cupboard.
• 2017 was a successful year with 10 weddings. There are 8 weddings set so far for 2018, and at this time there are 6 paid for and 1 tentative wedding date.
• CC is not as involved with school #9 as in years past. #9 is happy to report that lots of churches are helping the school out at this time. We do contribute fall school bags along with CC Pittsford, and Vicki touches base with CC Pittsford a few times a year to see if #9 is in need of any items or reading tutors.
ANGEL TREES - Eleanor Peet
• CC will be doing the Angel Trees again this year for 2 weeks in Dec.
b. Report from Communications: The communications committee has been meeting and working on improvements for FB and other communication venues.
3. PROPERTY UPDATES
• Val reported on the lighting meeting with Illuminfx. The meeting was attended by Alan Jones, John Fields, Stephen Kennedy, Kyle, and Val. Illuminfx will send ideas so we can talk more. Val will send them an e-mail stressing urgent need for a ball park figure. Finding ways to light beauty which we cannot see was discussed, as were types of bulbs, replacement timing, burning out problems, and how to obtain a lift to reach them were discussed tonight. Kyle will look into lift options.
• Also discussed was the walk through which John Fields had with persons involved with community development, on the day before the vestry meeting. Kyle will seek a report on what happened.
4. CAPITAL CAMPAIGN UPDATE: Work “behind the scenes” continues, currently with materials being drafted for various audiences. Joe made a motion for the vestry approve a $20,000 budget request to cover consultant/ copy/printing/collateral materials. Carolyn seconded. The motion passed, unanimously.
Ruth is drafting a campaign prayer.
5. VESTRY ON CALL: There have been comments on the length of the Sunday service. A longer service pushes back coffee hour, which then affects Meal and More. Efficient and friendly sharing of space is the goal.
Also, improvements to the bulletin were discussed. Carolyn and Kristy Liddell will champion this cause.
6. RECTOR’S TIME: Ruth spoke of a number of newcomers. Their varied interests spotlight the wide variety of spiritual expressions which make Christ Church so vibrant.
Lucie offered the closing prayer. Congratulations to Jim Kurmis, who had just become a Great Uncle. He is bringing cookies to the December meeting. Now, that’s an action item.
Respectfully submitted, Dec. 4. 2017 by David C. Jutsum.