Unnamable God, my essence, my origin, my life-blood, my home.”
Psalm 19:14 from Stephen Mitchell, A Book of Psalms:
Selections Adapted from the Hebrew (1993)
This Sunday our translation of the psalm is from Stephen Mitchell. This new translation of words we know so well (“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” BCP, p. 607) helps rethink our relationship with God during Lent. If we work towards true honesty and awe, we will begin to understand better the nature of our loving God, the source of our very being.
Our Annual Meeting last Sunday was a wonderful event with a spirited election process. We thanked our Senior Warden George Morrison for a job beautifully done as well as Glenn Borghoff, Angie Piwinski and Barbara Ziegler who completed their three-year terms on the Vestry. I am delighted to announce that Deborah DeBride is our new Senior Warden, and Tara Seeley our new Junior Warden. The Vestry Class of 2021 is Denise Hackl, Barbara Karsten, Aaron McKinney and Lati Smith. Congratulations to all!
Our newest offering came out of our Renewal Works discussion. On Sunday mornings from 9:20 – 10:05 a.m. in the library Jen Longley, Carrie Parkey and Tara Seeley are co-leading a Bible Study between services that will include discussion of the Sunday lectionary. Please join them for this great opportunity to learn more about the Bible and our relationship to God. And don’t forget the Penny Social this coming Sunday!
If you missed the Annual Meeting but would still like a copy of our Annual Report for 2017, please let us know and we will get you a copy (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com).
Below is part of my Annual Report as Priest-in-Charge:
“My husband Bob and I have now been with you for one year and nine months. We feel very blessed to be in this quirky, artistic and thriving community of Yonkers with all of you--a wonderful and vivacious Body of Christ in Getty Square. There is so much going on, so many blessed and holy things, it is hard to remember them all!
2017 has been a year of spiritual renewal and growth. We are grateful to the Episcopal Diocese of New York for offering us the Renewal Works program as a way to find out who we are spiritually and to think about where God is leading us. Thanks to everyone who filled out a Spiritual Life Survey, and to the whole Renewal Works Team that spent many hours in the fall reviewing the results of the survey, praying and brainstorming possible new directions. Thanks especially to Tara Seeley and Carrie Parkey who co-facilitated this effort and led us gently and lovingly through this process. It was fascinating! The greatest surprise to me was discovering just how many people in this congregation take seriously their prayer life and relationship with God. We are in good hands.
I am very pleased to say that we have kept our pledges steady for 2018. Our 2018 pledges are now $56,568, only $748 less than last year at this time, with 46 pledge units representing 55 people (last year there were 49 pledge units representing 57 people). The list is not exactly the same as last year, so thanks to those of you who have decided to join this list as pledgers in 2018. Interestingly, our average pledge is $1230; last year at this time it was $1,170. To all who have pledged, thank you for your faithfulness and increased financial generosity. We have included the names of everyone who has pledged for 2018 in this Annual Report. If your name is not here, please let us know so that we can record your loving generosity. We are also well aware that many people gave more than they pledged for 2017 and some of you who do not pledge, offer very regular and generous offerings. God bless you all!
While your monetary donations are important because they tell us that you care to invest part of your wealth in this community of faith with its purpose and mission, what I have become even more aware of is all of the hours and hours of dedicated service that so many of you offer to Saint John’s, as well as your personal offerings of food, clothing and donations for our various programs. Everyone may not realize just how generous you are. Please know that God sees all that you are doing. And I just want to thank you for your generosity of heart. You are wonderful people.
This has been a great year for our Wardens and Vestry. I am so grateful for your combined love and care for this church and her mission, and for your dedicated service. I am also grateful to our new Associate Vestry members who faithfully attended our meetings, contributed their thoughts and ideas but had no official vote. Associate Vestry Members, in addition to our larger Vestry Class of 2020, have made our meetings richer and more animated.
This year brings new kinds of challenges, including the Sharing Community moving to a different location after having been located in Newell Hall for over twenty years. Prayers for The Sharing Community as they make this new transition, and prayers for us that the Holy Spirit may guide us with wisdom and discernment in this next phase of our life in Getty Square.
I have proposed to the Vestry that we call our various committees “commissions”, since all the work and ministry that we do here has everything to do with Christ’s call for us as his hands and feet in Getty Square. The five Commissions I propose at this time are:
Commission for Welcoming and Hospitality
Commission for Buildings and Grounds
Commission for Fundraising
Commission for the Celebration of our 325th Anniversary
Commission for Pastoral Care and Outreach
Please let me know if you are interested in joining one of these commissions. Now that I am beginning to understand your skills and talents, I will be talking to many of you about joining us in these joyful tasks.
Finally, we had two visitors last Sunday from the Diocese. Cynthia Bullard-Perez wrote to me on Monday, “It was so wonderful to worship at St. John's today! The service was exactly what I needed, your message spoke to my heart and soul. Thank you. Additionally, the people were more beautiful than their church building, which is very difficult to beat.”
In Christ and with love,
The Rev. Canon Victoria Sirota