Annual Meeting 2023
St. James’ Episcopal Church
Minutes from the Annual Meeting
Sunday, April 30, 2023
Note: Parishioners attended in-person or through a dedicated zoom link. Copies of the 2022 Annual Meeting minutes were made available online in advance of the meeting.
The Rev. Chad T. Martin opened the Annual Meeting at 11:15 am with an Opening Prayer. He gave a special welcome to those attending via zoom, and thanked Mary Frances Forcier for facilitating the electronic voting.
Father Chad reminded those attending that they should have received an agenda with a financial pie chart on the reverse side, plus a written ballot with a QR code on the reverse side.
Andy Durot moved approval of the minutes of the 2022 Annual Meeting. The motion was seconded by Jeff Brannock and approved.
Father Chad introduced the Vestry nominees noting that Virginia Lewis was unable to be present. Those introduced were: George Garlick, Trudy Gross, Candy Hayes, Tom Holdsworth, Ray Longo, and Patricia Sauer.
Father Chad explained the voting procedures and read from the National Episcopal Church canons the requirements for voting, which are: All members of the Parish who for the previous year have received Holy Communion at least three times, have been faithful in corporate worship, unless for good cause prevented, and have been faithful in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God and are financial contributors to the Parish. Voting can be by written ballot or using the QR code. He then said a prayer prior to voting. He announced that voting can begin, and that the outgoing Vestry Class of 2023 (Chris Cuellar, Rebecca Page, Mary Lou Leipheimer, and Tamsyn Knight) would oversee ballot tabulation with Mary Frances Forcier providing the online count from those parishioners voting via zoom.
Father Chad then gave a prayer prior to voting.
Tom Horne, Junior Warden, then gave his report. Tom shared that the job of the Junior Warden is a journey of preserving, protecting, and making the building and campus grounds better for present and future generations. Over the past year the Church has made infrastructure improvements to create a welcoming environment for the physically challenged; burst pipes and a leaking roof have been addressed, varmints have been removed, a new classroom has been built for the Pre-School, a new meeting space was created as the Kitty Boyd Room with the Janney Parlor updated and aging and unsafe electrical panels have been replaced. In addition, the sheds have been purged and a railing has just been installed extending from the rear Narthex entrance to the parking lot.
Tom spoke of the Property Committee members as unsung heroes of St. James’ recognizing their unending dedication to address the many needs of the Church. He singled out Dan Thomas, Ray Longo, Steve Mayo, Scott Briles, Tony McGraw, Sherri Dennis, Howard Moody, Troy Harry, Alexandra Gressitt, and Don Scheuerman touching on each of their contributions as members of the Committee. He also thanked Terry Prevost, the prior Junior Warden for laying the groundwork for the work being done today and Jerry Krumwiede for sharing his knowledge on so many property issues.
Tom shared that Witmer Restoration LLC will begin masonry work on the historic Church structure in May. In addition, restorative work will begin on the stained-glass windows immediately following the completion of the stonework. The Accessibility work, the refurbishment of the Janney Parlor and the Kitty Boyd Room, and the masonry and collateral restoration work has and/or will be done with the financial support provided by the generosity of prior parishioners including Katherine “Kitty” Boyd, Frank and Ann Myers and Val Symington.
Tom closed his remarks by recognizing the Vestry members for their guidance as issues facing our historic Church have been addressed and expressed appreciation to the Senior Warden and to Father Chad for their leadership.
Father Chad thanked Tom for his dedication and leadership as Junior Warden.
Fred Williams, Senior Warden, then gave his report. He shared that Father Chad is the 25th Rector of St. James’, and the parish rejoiced in welcoming him, his wife, Cinnamon and their sons, Peri and Phoenix. He then thanked the Discernment Committee led by Stacy Cleveland, whose members included: Kim Carren, Mary Frances Forcier, Kathleen Greenough, Ed Hatrick, Worth Hawes, Michelle Jones, Rachelle Schroeder, and Jen Reichard.
He highlighted the focus areas prioritized during the search, and how we have rejoiced in seeing the ever-increasing numbers of children gathering for the Children’s sermon and Children’s Chapel each Sunday, watching the new classes of Jr. Acolytes process with the small now nearly historic wooden cross, and we now await the outcome of the search for an Associate Rector for Family Ministry and Pastoral Care.
Fred further shared that Father Chad’s strategy to reach new people, whether old or new, has resulted in Father Chad’s Membership 101 class inviting and welcoming new people into the life of the Church. These activities include opportunities through over two dozen active ministries at St. James’’. We have also strived to renew support and develop ministries working toward healing those broken through life circumstances. These include new initiatives such as Angel Tree and Courage Closet as well as relieving hunger through Grace to Go, Backpack Buddies and the Community Garden.
We have a focus on engagement for Adult Christian Formation including the Men’s and Women’s Ministries, Adult Forums including The Gospel according to TED and The Way of Love in Lent.
The organizational structure both within the Diocese and at St. James’ has been strengthened and expanded. The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is led by The Right Reverend Mark Stevenson, Bishop, and the Diocese welcomed The Right Reverend Gayle Harris as Assistant Bishop this month. We have St. James’ members serving in diocesan leadership roles beyond St. James’: Dottie Brannock is Vice President and George Garlick is Treasurer of the Piedmont Region and Jane Roth is a Diocesan Representative to Province III. Bob Pettit has been appointed to the Trustees of the Fund, which manages Diocesan investments.
Tom Horne continues to provide extraordinary leadership with the Property Committee in the successful completion of critical projects to meet our mission. Stacy Cleveland is our new Treasurer with Laura Underwood affirmed this week by the Vestry as Deputy Treasurer. Jane Roth continues as Registrar.
Fred paused for a moment to give special thanks and prayers for the life of John Forcier in his leadership role as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee and his invaluable support of numerous significant Vestry initiatives. Please continue to keep his family, Mary Frances, and James’ in your prayers,
Our work with the Paxton Trust to serve children in need has been strengthened with Mary Lou Leipheimer’s appointment to the Paxton Board of Trustees, and Carolyn Briles and Jane Roth joining Ruth Grubbs as members of the Paxton Board of Visitors. Under Father Chad’s leadership a new Committee has been formed, the Communications and Technology Committee with an aim to make better use of existing capabilities and resources, and recommend upgrades when necessary. Through their work we believe we will soon see website improvements and increased efficiencies and alignment across Church communications.
Fred closed his report by thanking continuing and outgoing Vestry members, Ministry Leaders, and staff; and all those in the pews and those live streaming who are hearing and acting on God’s words.
Stacy Cleveland, Treasurer, gave a brief report highlighting the 2023 Budget as depicted on the pie chart on the back of the agenda. The 2023 $1.2M budget reflects the entire budget for all ministries (including the Pre-School) and resources for our vision. It is balanced with the expectation we will leverage funds from the Transition and Renewal Fund. Stacy expressed appreciation to the Parish for their generosity, and to Mary Lou Leipheimer for her outstanding leadership with the stewardship campaign. She expressed optimism for the financial status of the parish. Over the past two years St. James’ has performed better than budget and we are optimistic that will be the case in 2023 and reduce our needs from the Transition and Renewal fund.
Father Chad thanked the Parish for their spirit of generosity and graciousness, and noted that within six weeks he will mark the one-year anniversary of his ministry at St. James’.
He then recognized staff members including: Adan Cortez, Gustavo del Callejo, Ready Snodgrass, Kay Gregg, and Dr. Steven Cooksey. He also spoke of the recent 50-year celebration of the St. James’’ Pre-School, and thanked Janet Stayrook, Pre-School Director, Laura Heyer, Assistant Director, and the wonderful staff of Pre-School teachers.
Father Chad thanked the Ministry Leaders and volunteers, whose dedication and faithfulness is unmatched. He shared that when he met with the Discernment Committee, he was told that St. James’ is a Parish of “do-ers”, and you have certainly lived up to that reputation.
Expressions of appreciation were given by Father Chad to the following Ministry Leaders:
Lay Readers and LEMs: Jeff Brannock
Acolytes: Dottie Brannock
Altar Guild: Margaret Akers
Ushers: Mary Dunlop
Healing Ministry: Henry Stribling and Chris Hatch
Children’s Chapel Volunteers: Maddi Camozzo, Tamsyn Knight for their organization
Christmas Pageant: Rachel Newell
Temple Tellers: Sheila Brooks, who diligently counts the money and ensures its safe deposit
Pastoral Associates: Trudy Gross
Card Ministry: Sandy Garlick
Grace to Go: Tim Schott and Jeff Jones, serving the food insecure in our community each week
Community Garden: John Jennings and Troy Harry, providing thousands of pounds of food to Loudoun Hunger Relief
Men’s Service Ministry: Mike Scott
Women’s Service Ministry: Cindy Helba and Kathleen Hughes
YOUP (Youth Group): Jon and Kristin Coate; Virginia and Eli Lewis
Contemplative Prayer Ministry: Jim Ferry
Foyer Groups: Linda MacLean and Carol Chapman
Audio Visual Committee: Ara Bagdasarian
Father Chad spoke of additional ministry opportunities this fall including a small group study from the Episcopal Church called “Centered”, and an additional small group focused on “Sacred Ground”.
In addition to the Ministry Leaders, he expressed appreciation to the Church officers: Fred Williams, Senior Warden; Tom Horne, Junior Warden; Stacy Cleveland, Treasurer and Jane Roth, Registrar. In addition, he thanked members of the Finance and Property Committees for their dedication.
Father Chad spoke of Average Sunday Attendance. 2021 – 110; 2022 – 147; 2023 to 4-22-23, it is 225, which is a 53% increase. The mid-week Wednesday service averages about 12 attendees. Online average is about 25, and he expressed gratitude to Ara Bagdasarian and the A/V team for their work in ensuring live streaming works as intended each week.
The membership report shows 715 in 2021 and 748 in 2022. To date in 2023 there are twenty new members who have joined the St. James’ family. To meet the needs of a growing parish, recruitment is underway for a full-time Associate Rector for Family Ministry and Pastoral Care, which hopefully will be filled by early summer.
He then recognized the outgoing Vestry Class or 2023: Chris Cuellar, Tamsyn Knight, Rebecca Page, and Mary Lou Leipheimer after which he presented each with a gift of appreciation.
He then thanked all those who had permitted their name to be placed in nomination for the Vestry Class of 2026, giving special thanks to those not elected. He let them know they will be called upon to serve in a variety of other ways.
Father Chad then announced the Vestry Class of 2026: George Garlick, Trudy Gross, Candy Hayes, and Ray Longo.
The meeting was adjourned with a closing prayer at 12:15 PM.