This past Sunday we gathered for our annual meeting as a congregation. If you want to know more about what an annual meeting is, read last week’s post!

This year’s meeting was well attended, positively received, and full of great news.

The Presentation:

We presented our reports in writing, voice, and visuals. We set up a slideshow to guide us through our process and see some of what goes into our ministry.

Feel free to check it out for yourself!

If you would like to download a copy of the Annual Report, you can find it hereR.

Some of what we shared:

We are in a strong financial position as a congregation, finishing 2016 in the black. This is a first in several years.

We are a generous congregation, giving greatly to our two main outreach ministries: the Homeless Coalition and Salvation Army.

We are a learning congregation, which has grown in the last year in its commitment to the forming of our children and adults through regular study. New opportunities for youth and young adults are in the works.

And the vestry’s focus in 2017 will be on Structure. As I said in the meeting, it is not as sexy a theme as Hope, and while nobody would fault us for recycling that theme again, we are committed to building up the congregation and all of its ministries.

So in 2017, the vestry and clergy of St. Stephen’s will be focused on building up (both literally and metaphorically) the congregation, with a light, elastic structure which can grow with us without weighing us down.

And I invite you into a process of gifts discernment this Lent. We will be meeting each Sunday evening for dinner and formation, in what we call “Soup and Study”. You don’t have to be a spiritual expert or amateur. It’s for everybody. And is for you where you are at. Each of the pieces will be available for those unable to make it in person.

Lastly, we bid adieu to our outgoing vestry members: Elenor Belenzuala, Orbie Bryan, and Jim Campbell. And said hello to our new vestry members: Don Bryan, Jane Conner, and Brian Koczan.

Thank Yous:

A lot of hard work went into making 2016 a really good year for us. Despite our ups and downs and confusions and worries, we are finding our way. Special thanks go out to Linda Airhart, Peggy Allen, Anne Buchanan, Dennis Dieken, Bill Streeter, and Deby Veach whose leadership in guiding the congregation in 2016 was often easier said than done. Additional thank yous to each of the ministry leaders, their volunteers, and financial backers allow St. Stephen’s to be the most generous congregation I have known.

Lastly, I’d like to thank those truly good people whose ministries are constant, unforgiving, and in the quiet corners of the congregation, where all of us depend on you to make the whole place go on Sunday and every day. You know who you are. Thank you.

And for your interest and affection for St. Stephen’s, its ministry, and people, I give a great thank you to you.

Grace and Peace,


20th Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church