Annual Report of the Rector
This past year we lost Virginia “Sue” Martin, Peggy Crane, Katherine Head, Maizie Fry & Nancy Booker.
However, we also added to our number. There were 5 baptisms. 7 were confirmed during Bishop Smith’s final visitation in August. The ASA was 40 for the year; this is down a tad from 42 in 2017. 46 home communions were celebrated with our shut-in or home bound members.
2018 was a year of restoration. After a long time of raising money, we were able to complete the restoration of our 1929 Kilgen organ. Hedy did wonders with a very sick and outdated organ. She even managed to make a key board sound ok—not as good as an organ, certainly, but we carried on. Your patience during the restoration process is greatly appreciated. And the organ is now sounding better than ever under her capable hands. Thank you to all who made this project possible with their donations small and large. You all made the restored organ a reality!
We also carried out some major maintenance and repairs to the church buildings. A new, water-tight roof was placed on the Guild Hall. New windows were installed in the Guild Hall, replacing the old ones that were in danger of rotting out. Frank North has spent time changing out the old lights in the Guild Hall and offices with energy-efficient LED bulbs. We still need one case of lights to be sponsored to have all of the lights done. A case is $258 and can be split among families or friends. Just before Christmas, a handrail was added by the lower steps to the bell tower entrance. New drainage was added as well to protect the foundation of our building and the tower steps. You may have noticed they are slanting inwards.
As we head into 2019, we hope to continue some much needed repairs. The report from the Buildings and Grounds Committee, chaired by Bob Gilstrap, will expand on this. Their report is the result of your feedback and input. We ask your support in making these important improvements and repairs a reality. The Vestry is seeking commitments totaling $34,816 to complete these projects. We will also be seeking a grant from the Diocese as well as support from our Trustees. Working on our physical building will only work if we all pull together and get behind the project. It will take all of us, united by our love of Trinity and her parish family, to accomplish our goal.
As a small church, it is easy for us to focus on what we don’t have. We get hung up on, “we don’t have the people!” or “we don’t have the money!” Nor are we alone in this. Most churches are facing the same challenges that face Trinity~St. Paul’s. We are increasingly having to do more with less: fewer members in church, fewer available volunteers, and fewer sources of income. And each congregation has a decision to make. Will we let the negatives cause fear and anxiety? Will we allow the fear to turn us to paralyze us like stone? Or will we put our trust in God? We will allow God to lead us through anxiety to new life?
Our mission statement, found on your bulletin cover, declares that we are
“a welcoming, inclusive community of believers who offers hospitality, acceptance, and opportunities for spiritual growth to all who seek to draw closer to God.”
And in many ways, we are. We have a great track record of including all who come through our doors and welcoming them with the love of God. The only trouble is, we wait for them to come to us. We wait for them to cross the threshold of our doors. In this day and age, the Church (not just Trinity~St. Paul) no longer has that luxury.
Jesus uses the words of the prophet Isaiah to outline His ministry. Call it Jesus’ mission statement. At the outset of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry He openly declares His God-given purpose. Jesus will use His time showing God’s love to lepers, to women, to tax collectors, and to foreigners. All who are outcast, shunned, and marginalized hear and feel the freeing word of God’s faithfulness and love. As followers of Jesus, this is now our mission. You and I, the Trinity community, are called to be beacons of God’s love, light, grace, hope, and peace to Hannibal.
Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, has a favorite saying. ++Michael is fond of saying that you and I are not here just to use up Oxygen. He further reminds us that as long as we are breathing, God has a calling. The Prayer Book tells us that all of us are Christ’s ministers. All of us are called by God and gifted for the work God would have us do. You see that on our bulletin cover as well. The bulletin reminds us that all of us are ministers- not just the ordained.
In the Epistle reading, Paul uses the analogy of the human body. Each part of the body, eye, hand, foot, has a unique and specific purpose. These different and varied organs must work together, doing their part for the ideal functioning of the whole. If one part, say the kidneys, fails to do its job properly, the whole body starts to suffer and shut down. The toxins the kidneys are supposed to filter build up and slowly poison the whole body. As a result, the body starts to die as organs begin to shut down.
On a more personal, note: this year I am especially going to appreciate and need the whole Trinity~St. Paul community. You are, by now, aware that our Bishop is retiring, and the process has begun in the search for out next Bishop. I am the President of the Standing Committee. SC is kind of like the Vestry of the Diocese. We act as a council of advice for Bishop Smith and consent to ordinations and elections of Bishops for other dioceses. The SC has elected me to serve for two-years as opposed to one to ensure continuity as we transition between Bishops.
At the same time, I am nearing the point in my doctoral studies where I am starting to focus more and more on researching and writing. I have one more year of classes to complete. But I am starting to think concretely about the end goal. All of this is to say, that I cannot, and should not, do it alone. I need your help and your support. Your prayers are especially important. But I will also need the community here to step in. I know that I have set some bad and unhealthy patterns in trying to do too much myself. I am not Wonder Woman, although sometimes I try to be. I repeat, I am NOT Wonder Woman.
Our community here functions better when we are pooling our gifts and skills together. There are simple things such as getting the coffee going on Sunday. Then there are more challenging asks like continuing to recruit people who are willing to share their faith stories on a Sunday. Just as the human body functions best when each organ is properly function to the body’s overall health, so you and I- as Trinity~St. Paul’s- are better when we are working together. . .each of us using our gifts and talents, and skills for the good of the whole.