Dear Christ Church,
Thank you to all who made our Stained Glass open house a big success! We had about 70 visitors, including a group of 40 on a group tour led by Pike Studios, and they were unbelievably enthusiastic--asked a million questions, took a million pictures--in fact, the tour guide couldn't get them out of there and on to their next venue!
The volunteers made this open house possible. They were welcoming and generous hosts. I've attached 2 pictures--one which Vicki McCutchon entered into the Sacred Sites Photo Contest after the weekend, and one which shows the beautiful way Carlos set up the front of the church.
Huge kudos and thanks to all who helped.
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
Highlights of Vestry Meeting July 18, 2017
1. The vestry shared reflections on the vestry retreat of June. Ruth and the wardens are going to take these many comments and prioritize items from the action item brainstorming session.
2. The vestry discussed the weekly schedule for use of the sanctuary. Communication is of the utmost importance; as new volunteers come on board committees, they need to be oriented to the policy of shared space. ESM would prefer 2 weeks’ notice for interruption of their time. For events besides property repairs, notification means sending an email to David Higgs, with copies to Alice Meyer (Organ Department secretary), and to his teaching assistant and copying in Ruth and the CC office.
3. The Property report was given by Kyle. He discussed Lawn St. wall repair, sealing of clerestory windows, and nave plaster repair. The timing of these events is in flux. There are many question for Swiatek, the company we have used in the past. Deb will write Brett Swiatek, copying Kyle, and in future Kyle will communicate with Swiatec, and keep John Fields, head of Property Commission, in the loop.
The recommendation of the Property and Finance committees is that Lawn St. wall work be done in summer 2018. Based on Swiatek’s time estimate and grant outcomes, the vestry expressed a preference for both window and nave work to be done in 2020. If they can’t be combined, then the recommendation is windows in 2019 and nave in 2020.
4. Ruth, Deb, and Joe will be attending the week long College for Congregational Development. Thanks to them and to their families for sharing in this endeavor.
5. Vestry on Call involved a question about the Capital Campaign, and where it is at. Joe will write a notice for the bulletin in August. A meeting with Michelle Gibson, CFO ESM, is planned for August 14. The Capital Campaign Committee will develop a message to the parish in the bulletin providing an update in September. Joe said Hugh Kierig is moving out of town. His help has been invaluable. Gale Lynch will also be sorely missed. She plans to continue to help from Manhattan. Lucie Parfitt and John Urban are joining the committee.
6. Rector’s Report: Ruth was approached as to whether Christ Church would be interested in participating as a sponsor of the Witness Palestine Film Festival, to be held Sept. 15-Oct. 21. She described it as a pro-peace film series: common thread, common humanity. She requested a vote on the following question: “Are you ok to support a film series which raises human rights abuses through the lens of Palestine?” After some discussion, a show of hands produced this result: 6 in favor; 4 abstaining. Next meeting the vestry will work on developing a sponsorship policy.
Ruth reported on the Capital Campaign: "Perhaps the most eventful news of the month is that we will not be working with the Klote firm on a capital campaign. Your wardens, campaign team, and I agree: while it's been a hard learning curve, it is not time to run a professional campaign on the scale we'd planned. I was advised that a campaign as ours (drawing heavily on the support of our neighborhood community) is best undertaken when we know more who our potential leaders are and what kinds of gifts they can lead with. While this feels like a big setback, it is not unusual for consultants and clients to mutually agree that there are reasons they should not go forward together with a campaign. As I wrote to the parish: the campaign team and I will "go back to the drawing board."
Ruth also announced that Marianne Sickels who has worked for Christ Church for more than 30 years plans to retire on June 29, 2017. We are working on an up-to-date job description and will embark on a search for a new parish secretary. We will miss Marianne terribly, and we will work together to celebrate her time with us and give her a send-off in June.
And finally, she talked about past and upcoming events. The Youth Formation Group had a meaningful retreat at the Abbey of the Genesee. In March, Ruth will offer an Adult Formation class for adults seeking confirmation, reaffirmation of vows, reception into the Episcopal Church, or simply forum for prayer, study, and faith sharing.
Sanctuary at Christ Church has evolved into a parish and community network for sharing information about outreach efforts and interfaith work in Rochester. Christ Church co – sponsored “An Inauguration of Hope” at the First Unitarian Church on Winton in January, and we are now supporting the youth hosted “Voices in Exile” at Christ Church on March 18th, an interfaith fundraiser for refugee resettlement in Rochester. We are also co-sponsoring the No one Left Behind Organization’s fundraising event – an Afghan New Year Celebration Dinner March 21 at Asbury Methodist Church. This is an organization that brings Iraqi and Afghan military personnel who fought alongside Americans in the Iraq war to America and helps them start a life here, away from violence and threats to their lives. Finally, there will be a Lenten book study (“Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America” by Michael Eric Dyson) along with an opportunity to do the Stations of the Cross.
Guest: Todd Rubiano, CFO of Diocesan (apportionment & deficit conversation)
We invited Todd to talk about the process of determining apportionment. Diocesan information he discussed with us included the following: Apportionment is set on the basis of the Operating Expenses and does not include a church’s endowment or savings account. Many of our parishes operate at a deficit - the key is "how big" and for "how long"? A prudent rate to draw on savings/endowment is in the range of 4-6%. Churches usually run out of people before they run out of money.
· CC needs to charge the Jazz Festival a fee for use of the church with piano moving and services of the sexton included. The Jazz Festival is now a for-profit organization.
· The piano is tuned every night and this is unusual wear and tear on the instrument. Something between $50-$100 per day would be a reasonable fee for us to consider. This fee should be directed into a CC instrument fund to help secure maintenance.
· Professional movers must be employed to move the piano if it is to be moved into the Chancel. CC should arrange for the piano movers and the bill should be figured into the church rental fee. They have on occasion not used professional movers in the past and our piano has been damaged.
· Deb will ask JF committee to discuss this with the JF organizers when they meet.
Care Team update:
Kevin, Josie, Carolyn and Jim will work on a description of what the Care Team offers. After that description, people who offered help to Care Team on “Call Me” cards will be contacted. And possibly the whole congregation will be offered the opportunity to volunteer with specific services again.
Guest: Paddy Collins-Bohrer
The Vestry welcomed Paddy as he updated us on where he is in his journey toward ordination. He has applied to be ordained to the diaconate. The Vestry enthusiastically supports this step.
Finance Committee Report
Committee will meet every second Sunday, following the 8:00 service, beginning March 12. Please submit any requests for Committee review by the preceding Friday.
January Financials (from Norm Geil, dated 2/8/17)
2017 Annual Meeting Appeal Update: 11 “YES” cards received to-date, totaling $6,340 (annual) increase
Property Committee Report
The Property Committee continues to meet to review potential preventive maintenance projects for the parish as well as address immediate repairs. The Committee met on February 9th to discuss and develop a capital projects list. This list development continues. The Committee is addressing the leak in the Sacristy with the help of CSTM Roofing. Additionally, the flashing on the roof by the apartments. CSTM will be fixing that as well. An employee of Sacred Sites will be on site on March 8th to conduct a walk-through for our grant application. Jennifer Ahrens from Bero Architecture will attend this meeting to assist on questions regarding the Lawn Street façade. Finally, the Property Committee has been meeting with Go Green LED International to look at examples for the Chancel lighting improvements.
Thanks to the loan of books from Christ Church archivist Mary Schultz, The Song will be highlighting some excerpts about Christ Church history in this and future issues. We are fortunate to have two history books that were written about the church, Christ Church: A Story-Chronological, by Jane Marsh Parker, covering the years 1854-1905, andChrist Church Rochester: The First Hundred Years 1855-1955, by James Demcey Hendryx.