To Our Parish Community:
Yesterday was amazing.
Our community showed so much energy and joy. Our children told the story of Pentecost and read the Gospel together in multiple languages. Parishioner Jennifer Fell Hayes wrote the script. Mollie Nichols prepared our choristers to lead our service music. Cindy Stravers baptized five children— we’ve had ten baptisms since Easter.
Our life together is filled with the Holy Spirit. We wanted to report on what’s happened this year thus far.
Yesterday– and this year– offers visible signs that we are thriving as a Christian community in a world that needs healing and a moral compass centered on unconditional love. At the royal wedding on Saturday morning Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached this message to 2 billion people. We are fortunate to have his leadership at this moment and to be a global Anglican Church proclaiming the Pentecost message that God’s love abides with everyone and empowers everyone.
Our focus for the year is elevate & explore: How can we take a next step with the ministries we’ve emphasized and how can we listen to God, each other, and the world for our calling in the years ahead?
Elevate began with a re-imagination of our children & family ministries. Wendy Reynoso led parent forums, focus groups, and a Parish-wide survey along with hosting a continuing discussion about pedagogy with professional educators in our Parish. We’ll share and discuss what we’ve heard. As was evident yesterday, our children’s programs have grown this spring even as we prepare to launch new efforts in the fall.
We also opened our first Parish-wide art show in our new Undercroft. Response has been terrific. Our “internal curator” Diana Smith and Tuesday Rupp, along with Jennifer Coleman and Tori Gilbert, coordinated art submissions from seventy parishioners and partners. We hope that you’ll visit this summer.
Explore started with informal rectory dinners that allow us to meet each other and to listen to remarkable speakers so we can think broadly about the years (decades) ahead. We’ll continue next fall with wider Parish conversations. Anne Marie Witchger has organized the dinners this spring.
In the midst of our daily ministries, we are finishing Third Founding construction that has re-imagined our campus for mission. Darlington Hall will be complete by August, delayed by about 2 months from what we expected because of New York City permitting. The Construction Committee, chaired by John Hitchcock and Jim De Woody, continues to monitor the project with Ruth Anne Giannetto.
We are concentrating on sustainability for our ministries. We have the highest number of annual pledges in our history this year. We have launched a long-term building assessment for basics like roof, windows, and elevators. In the weeks after Easter, parishioners generously committed nearly $100,000 to fund the building assessment and a new Nave sound system outside of the 2018 operating budget.
We see two main challenges in the years ahead: (1) Invite and renew our Parish community to share in the joy of the Gospel and (2) sustain our building and our endowment to pass on our ministries to our children and grandchildren.
Together we are salt+light: created in God’s image to be people of infinite worth and infinite promise. With God’s grace— and the abundant gifts of our community and partners— we can meet our challenges with imagination and joy, just as we have in times past.
We are always ready to listen and discuss any questions or concerns.
Evan A. Davis