I wish you all a Happy New Year!!
I am thankful to God for the blessing of a new year. I am thankful to God for the life that I have, my family, my ministry at Christ Church, and you, the faithful parishioners and staff who make Christ Church come alive with your faith, dedication, commitment, and your generous spirit. I couldn’t be prouder of the extent to which each of you enriches our common life.
Each new year presents us with an opportunity to turn a page and begin afresh, if you will. But we can only do so with a deep sense of appreciation for the past and a hopeful look at the future. The future beckons with wonderful opportunities for an enriching and transformative ministry. I am so thankful for all the work that has been done and will be done to make this year special, spiritually uplifting, and meaningful.
In addition to the many ministries to which we have already committed ourselves, please find below some of the new initiatives that we would be working on throughout this new year:
Christ Church Podcast:
This will be an opportunity to hold live video and audio conversations with parishioners, community leaders, clergy, and many others on important issues such as faith and society, among many others. We are very excited to launch this series and invite your support in making this a true and lively addition to our common life.
During the Lenten weeks of personal reflection, Christ Church will offer weekly Jazz Vespers as part of our Lenten spiritual exercise. This service will offer worshippers a new worship experience shaped in part by the sound of musical instruments leading us in prayer and meditation.
Thanks to your generous contributions towards the purchase of handbells, we raised over $20,000.00 to purchase a full set of octave handbells. We are now working on placing the order for the bells and accessories, and look forward to hearing them ring out around campus once we receive them.
With the purchase of the aforementioned handbells, we'll begin the process of forming a handbell choir to enrich our worship experience. Please expect more information about this new ministry soon.
In a few years, Christ Church will be three hundred years old. This is such a huge milestone, and I am so excited about the wonderful blessings that we have to work toward celebrating this incredible anniversary. We have recruited about 20 parishioners to begin work on planning the occasion. If you know of anyone who you think might be an asset to this planning committee, please do not hesitate to share their name with me or the church office.
Youth Mission Trip:
An important part of our ministry to the youth is to offer them the ministry of sharing their gifts and talents with those who are less fortunate. This year, we plan to offer the youth the opportunity of going on a mission trip with the DreamBuilders. We are presently working on coordinating this, and it is my prayer that we are able to soon offer this ministry to our youth.
One of the summer offerings for Christ Church children and the community is our Vacation Bible School. This summer, we plan to offer a Choir Camp for children at Christ Church. This should be a wonderful opportunity for Christ Church to share this important ministry of music with children.
Strategic Plan Review:
In the fall of 2021, we dedicated ourselves to a process of evaluating our common life and making some changes. Our pledge was to revisit the changes we have made and to assess the impact. This process will offer each of us an opportunity to share our thoughts.
For Christ Church to continue on the path of being a viable, thriving, and healthy organization, we need to begin a culture of making short-term goals that reflect our community story and needs. The Rector will be working with the Wardens in devising a 2-3 year plan for Christ Church. The idea is to move away from a year-to-year kind of planning and assessment to a more structured plan or set of goals.
I deeply appreciate the level of financial support from you, our parishioners. It has been very special to know that we have parishioners like you who are not only generous but incredibly giving. Your level of giving - motivated, in large part, by your faith - has made all the difference in the life of our Christ Church community. One of the important things I hope we can accomplish this year, based on our medium-term plans, is to let parishioners know the actual cost of running Christ Church. One of our current challenges is to shore up our stewardship with the possibility of engaging a development partner who would help with strengthening our stewardship drive.
I must admit that there’s a lot of work to be done at Christ Church. It takes constant and dedicated effort to operate day-to-day, support our ministries, recruit volunteers, balance the budget, keep the property clean, beautiful, and well-maintained, as well as motivate and support clergy and staff to ensure that they are ready to help with your spiritual life.
Again, I cannot thank each of you enough for all the ways in which you bring life and light to this community with your generosity. Proverbs remind us that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Our desire is to not perish and so our prayer is that we may remember that Vision 2023 can only be achieved with your support, encouragement, and prayers.
We will be counting on all of you to achieve these and more.
I wish you all a glorious and Happy New Year.