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From the RectorVestry

Reports from the Annual Meeting

By May 16, 2024No Comments

From the Rector

From the Treasurer

Annual Meeting Treasurers Presentation

Sunday, May 12, 2024 •  St. James’ Church
Nina Huffman, Treasurer

View the Treasurer’s presentation from the Annual Meeting

From the Wardens

Dear Friends,

It has been an honor to serve as your Wardens this past year alongside our new Rector, Zack Thompson. Zack set out with a purposeful commitment on day one of his rectorship to usher in a new chapter in our parish’s distinguished history with love, grace and an abundance of energy. We have been blessed to be joined by a talented and dedicated group of Vestry members and wonderful and hard working parish staff.

With the Rector, Wardens and Vestry working together within a framework of Mutual Ministry, we began the task last year of successfully bringing the parish out of a 15 month period of transition. As we announced to the parish in May, 2023, the leadership of the parish was committed to developing a three year plan to increase sources of income, reduce our expenditures and bring the finances of the parish to a model of sustainable operating efficiency. This plan was intended to evolve over time. We also committed to ensuring that the way we experience worship and our community life at St. James’ would still feel like the parish we all know and love. We would do this despite our having to implement some necessary cuts to make it a financially healthier place.

Our financial endeavors have been led brilliantly by our Treasurer, Nina Huffman and remain the Vestry’s number one challenge to continue to address. We are nevertheless encouraged by the significant progress we have made in the first year, and excited and optimistic about our future. Both Waddell Stillman and Nancy Murray, as appointed Vestry officers for Strategic Advancement and Stewardship respectively, have been vital collaborators to our work. The Investment Committee consists of skilled, engaged parishioners and the Vestry feels fortunate to have them as an important partner in overseeing the endowment. We sense a palpable enthusiasm of support and patience from the parish for our efforts for which we could not be more grateful.

We were thrilled to celebrate with the parish the institution of Zack as our 17th Rector last October, and to be joined that night by the remarkable new Bishop of New York, the Rt. Rev. Matthew Heyd. We were delighted to see Zack’s clergy team come into reality and fulfillment with the arrival of our two accomplished Associate Rectors, the Rev. Marisa Sifontes and the Rev. Matt Oprendek.

There were two notable retirements from St. James’ this past program year. Our Music Director and Organist Davis Wortman retired in January, when we held a celebration of appreciation for his exceptional service and the renaming of our organ in his honor on Epiphany. At the end of April, we celebrated the Rev. Jay Sidebotham on his retirement from St. James’ where he began his ministry as a Seminarian, and his contributions to numerous parishes, including our own, transforming lives as Priest, Rector and Founder of RenewalWorks.

This past winter and spring, we have been blessed by the musical talents of our Interim Music Director and principal organist, Vaughn Mauren. This summer, we await with much anticipation the arrival of the gifted Dr. Kenneth Miller as our Director of Music to lead our adult and children’s choirs and be our principal organist. We look forward to seeing Ken’s vision for music at St. James’ unfold.

As we observe our life together, there is a fresh energy and vibrancy throughout the parish. Our attendance on Sundays is increasing and we are encouraged by our welcoming newcomers each week. Our active Children and Family Ministries led by Vicki Hall, Youth Program and St. Jamesians under Calvin Bushman, and our lay-led Roundtable Group activities are all growing.

Volunteerism at our primary mission activity of our meal programs has expanded as we have made more opportunities available both in the kitchen and for the ongoing organization of the Samaritan’s Closet. To all the scores of volunteers who participate, whether routinely or once, you have our gratitude. There has been a critical need to serve over 6,000 lovingly prepared meals a year from our church kitchen to too many of our neighbors who struggle to meet the basic needs of life. This past week, thanks to the many faithful and devoted volunteers of Parish Life organized superbly by Grace Beacham, essential funds to help support the increased costs of our meal programs were realized from the Second Time Around sale.

These are but two areas of volunteerism that are essential to our life together. We are thankful for the service of our Altar Guild, Usher Corps, Candle teams at our 6:00 p.m. service, Morning and Evening Prayer officiants, Church School teachers, Canterbury choristers, Lay Servers, Acolytes, Lay Eucharistic Visitors, EfM mentors and small group leaders who tirelessly volunteer to make worship and education opportunities happen throughout each week to those in person, online and homebound.

As we look back on our 2023-2024 program year, we want to express our heartfelt appreciation for our Rector and the spiritual leadership, inspiration and pastoral gifts he shares with us daily, our clergy team hard at work on new opportunities ahead in the fall for us to participate in for spiritual formation, our diligent lay staff, many of whom have assumed additional work responsibilities this past year, and a plenitude of parishioners who volunteer in myriads of ways to make St. James’ what it is today. We are not financially where we want to be yet but we recognize bringing about change particularly within a faith based organization requires prayerfully thought out considerations and decisions.

In closing, we ask for your prayers for our life together as a parish, for our clergy and staff, and for your Vestry as we carry out our duties as leading representatives of the stewardship and care for this beloved community. We greatly value all who generously support this parish both financially and with volunteer service to make St. James’ an essential spiritual home for all of us. Your commitment makes a difference in all that we do together.

Missy Condo and Richard Brown

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