Annual Meeting — Interim Rector

The Report of the Interim Rector
The Annual Meeting of Christ Episcopal Church on November 10, 2013
Posted November 14, 2013

I want to start this meeting with a huge thank you to the five retiring vestry members. These five members of this congregation have shepherded this parish through the joy of dedicating a new building and the sadness of saying thank you to a long time beloved rector and his wife. And then to end their time on this vestry they have had thirteen months of transition. If this were the military they would be entitled to hazardous pay.

Clinton Beeland headed up the building of the Gabard center, the redoing of the Camellia garden and everything else that has a technical end. Stefani Carroll has headed up the Sunday school program, led successful bible schools and enabled us to have so many children centered events. Sparky Greneker innocently volunteered last summer to play for our six o’clock service and he faithfully kept doing it until the end of October. Lucy Tomberlin has been our vestry secretary and helped to establish a Christ Church endowment. Steve Roberts was the first person that I met at Christ Church because as Senior Warden he was responsible for contacting and bringing in prospective interims. I have relied on him from the first call until today and he always comes through. Over and over again these vestry members have stepped up to lead.

In January the vestry began the year with a discussion of vestry norms. They set clear expectations of what they could expect from each other.

The search committee was announced: Phyllis Holland, Chair; Jeani Synyard, vestry liaison; Allan Dear, Nikki Yarbrough, Michael Black, Mike Tanner and Helen Tucker.

Carolyn Eager presented the treasurer’s report that the church closed out the year 2012 close to budget, only $3468 in the red. And that was only January.

Since then, the vestry held a Saturday retreat, established a vestry member of the day rotation, held meetings with the congregation, studied and voted on a new service schedule, helped the search committee in the dissemination of the parish profile, studied the profile and formulated responses to the profile. They led two workdays to keep up with property issues. Jeff Hanson led a committee that studied the property and then rehabbed the Tomberlin Center with student apartments. The Senior and Junior Warden fielded questions and complaints from many members of the congregation and still managed to keep a steady vision of taking this parish into the future. There was a ministry fair which resulted in many new people signing up for opportunities to be part of the Christ Church leadership team. There were special breakfasts for the men of the congregation and cook outs by the Men in Blue. Adult Sunday school began in the fall for the first time in some years.

I am particularly excited that we now have six lay leaders who are trained to take the sacrament to our shut-ins. They are Ann Kasun, Maggie Roberts, Phyllis Hiers, Phyllis Holland, Nancy Lutsko, and Allan Dear. This is a first for Christ Church. This year we have had a large number of shut-ins and it has been wonderful for each of them to receive the sacrament on Sundays.

The Altar Guild has done yeoman service under the leadership of Judy DeMott. They are the group that goes about their work with little recognition of how important their role is in worship.

The Choirs of the former 9:30 service and the 11:30 service have suffered through the change in church schedules but have begun to redefine their role in a new kind of service.

The sewing group has done hundreds of squares and sent them overseas to be made into blankets for refugees.

Our connection with the Dominican Republic remains very strong and the Rev. Tar Drazdowski will speak about that in her report.

It has been a challenging year but with prayer and real love of this parish the vestry has gone forward. They worked on a vision statement: To weave together diverse people, empowering all to share the love of Christ in the world. Weaving together diverse people is always harder than leading a church where everyone thinks alike.

This year has seen some staff changes. With our change of service times it became impossible for Sue Ellen Rumstay to continue playing here and at the First Church. She was the organist for many, many years and the church thanks her for her service and wished her well at a reception in her honor. Stella Clark decided to retire after 20 plus years of being a Deacon in this diocese. Stella has worked in this community to feed and care for those in need. She has the heart of a deacon and in her life has responded to God’s call. At the end of this month Deacon Patricia Marks will retire after ten years of ordained ministry. Patricia has been a faithful deacon working with many groups in Valdosta and calling on this parish to remind us of the needs of our neighbors.

The stewardship committee headed up by Elizabeth Wisenbaker has worked for months to educate the congregation about the importance of stewardship for the life of the parish and for an individual’s walk with the Lord. They put together a wonderful dinner at the auditorium and invited Canon Frank Logue to be the speaker. The campaign resulted in:

31 New Pledges, 6 New Pledges converted from annual giving
67 “Stepped Up” their pledge compared to last year’s
22% Increase in total number of pledges
28% Increase in total dollars pledged
CAMPAIGN TOTAL 127 Pledges @ $423,287

This is the first time that Christ Church has had a budget over the $400,000 mark.

Coming onto our staff, Angela Duncan has brought a bright, cheerful and talented personality to this congregation. She has new ideas and many connections to musical talent at the university. We welcome her to Valdosta and to Christ Church.

At the end of this calendar year, Tar Drazdowski will be taking some well deserved sabbatical time off to go to the Dominican Republic to intensive language school. As Tar continues to discern God’s call for her future; we keep her and her family in our prayers.

Our office runs efficiently because of two wonderful ladies: Kim Dudley and Amy Creasy. There could not be two more dedicated workers, always willing to stay late, come early and pitch in whenever needed. Please, when you see these two, remember to thank them for all that they do.

This time next year, God willing, this congregation will have a new rector and will be entering yet another phase in the history of this wonderful parish.

The Rev. Joye Cantrell
Interim Rector