2019 Annual Report and Commission Reports
As 2019 draws to a close, we take this opportunity to share our “State of the Union” with our parish family and vote for our 2020 Vestry members.
Almighty God, you know the needs of your church in every place: look graciously upon the people of St James Parish, and grant us the guidance of your Holy Spirit as we move through this time of transition. Thank you for the faithful stewards you have provided, and will provide, for our leadership. Give us discernment, wisdom, patience and confidence in your timing. Help us to care for each other with mutual trust, respect, kindness and clarity of purpose. You are the Good Shepherd, and we ask you to shepherd us throughout this journey. In the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen
You can listen to the audio from the meeting HERE.
ST. JAMES PARISH FOUNDATION REPORT
The St. James Parish Foundation ("SJPF") was established in 2003 to support the preservation of our Parish while prudently managing the financial assets that have been so generously donated to St. James over the years. The SJPF Board is comprised of up to 12 members (10 Lay and 2 Vestry members) and meets on a quarterly basis. The investments of the SJPF currently are managed by Wells Fargo.
The 2019 highlights are as follows as of November 30, 2019:
Distributions: The Foundation distributed $113,284 to our Parish for buildings and grounds needs and an additional $35,000 for 2018 Hurricane Florence-related expenses. 2. Asset Values: The Foundation's investments total $3,242,415. 3. Investment Returns: The year-to-date return on the portfolio is 16.4%.
Prudent Financial Management: The average annual distribution rate, as a percentage of assets, has been 1.74% since inception. The average distribution rate for the trailing 5 years has been 1.97%.
The Directors, proposed Directors for 2020-23, and proposed Officers for 2020 are as follows:
Class of 2020: Lee Williams; Bruce Chappell; Connor Keller; Claire Parker;* Ned Murchison
Class of 2021: Patti Jenkins; John Sloan
Class of 2022: David Mann*
Class of 2023: To be determined
One-year term: To be determined
President: John Sloan ~ Vice President: Ned Murchison ~ Treasurer: David Mann
The SJPF Board continues to request your faithful support of its mission. Our congregation is blessed and privileged to have such a wonderful and historic church campus. With this blessing comes the significant responsibility of maintenance and upkeep. Gifts to the Foundation are an excellent way to help by providing a substantial funding source for repairs and long-term capital needs. Please consider a gift to the Foundation, either from your current assets or a bequest in your will. If you have any questions about the Foundation, then please do not hesitate to contact a SJPF Board member.
Respectfully submitted, John Sloan 2019 SJPF Board President
Terms are typically 3 years with a 6-year maximum.
*Means the person is eligible for re-election to a 2nd term at the end of their current 3-year term.
ST. JAMES ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE REPORT
This past year has been a year of significant transition for the staff of St. James Parish. In November of 2018 we hired Jerry Worley as Office Administrator and Shalil Giannone as Financial Administrator. Jerry has integrated well into our church staff, providing experience, leadership and general support with our stewardship campaigns and in the areas of staff recruiting. Shalil did an excellent job with the 2018 year-end closing and diocesan audit.
In April of this year, Erin Becker joined our staff as part-time Director of Communications. Erin has brought fresh energy to our parish communications and she has worked closely with Rev. Chris Hamby on the new and improved St. James website. Also in April, Susan Adams resigned as Wedding Coordinator at Mt. Lebanon Chapel. She was succeeded by Margaret Willetts who has managed several successful wedding events there this fall. Finally, Gorda Singletary has resigned from her long and faithful service as Parish Registrar, and Linda Brown graciously agreed to take on that important role.
In early May of this year, Don Barlow resigned to pursue other interests after five years of service overseeing our facilities and security. Bill McKenzie succeeded Don as part-time Facilities Administrator. Bill is a long-time member of the Parish and has extensive knowledge in facilities management. In late May, long-time staff member Douglas Maddox informed us of his intention to retire at the end of June after 28 years of faithful service as Sexton. Our other sexton, Wes Clewis, was subsequently promoted to Property and Maintenance Manager. Wes has been with us three years and is skilled in every-day repairs and upkeep of older facilities. Andre Hubbard and Derrick Brown have also recently joined the staff as additional part-time sextons.
In mid-May, Shalil Giannone, our Financial Administrator, informed us that her husband, Frank, had received a promotion with Duke Energy and that they would be relocating to Charlotte. Fortunately for us, Maria Hollopeter was in the process of moving back to Wilmington from the Concord area as part of a career move by her husband, Clifton. Maria has broad experience in public accounting and was a quick study as our new Financial Administrator in the short time she had to train with Shalil. Maria has been instrumental in our upgrade to the Realm church management system and was able to help the Day School with fall tuition payments and events registrations on-line. She and Shalil completed the 2018 diocese audit with flying colors.
Through it all, Suzanne Adams has anchored our church office operations. She has helped new staff get acclimated while keeping our great Volunteers and the office routine on track. Her knowledge of the congregation has been invaluable in the Realm transition. Despite these many changes, the Administrative Staff at St. James has settled in and is looking forward to the arrival of new parish leadership.
by Ed Whitesides, Vestry Commission on B&G
FAITH FORMATION COMMISSION REPORT
Adult Christian Formation This past year, we have sensed God’s presence in a wide variety of offerings for adults to grow in faith. The centerpiece has been Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m., when three classes have met: The Disciples’ Class, Faith Discussions and Bible Study on the gospel of the day. The groups vary in size but present opportunities for parishioners to deepen their faith through learning, building community with other parishioners along the way.
We have also offered a range of opportunities throughout the week, including several bible studies, St. Ann’s Guild, several EFM groups, and lectures in the Spring and in the Fall. During Lent, we have offered the opportunity for parishioners to meet in small groups in homes, to focus not only on learning but again, building community through fellowship and hospitality. As we seek to grow spiritually, the chance to learn along with other adults has been a gift.
Children’s Ministries 2019 has been an exciting year for Children’s ministries at St. James.
Christian Formation looks a little differently this year for the children. We have divided the children into three groups, Preschool, Elementary School, and Youth which allows each of the classrooms to feel full of energy and excitement as well as friends. It is a much better feeling to walk into a classroom with more than just one or two children. We have implemented a new curriculum that is intended to teach the love and look of our Heavenly Father at an age and developmentally appropriate level. Shannon follows the lessons with an email to the families of how, during their week, they can implement and discuss the topics covered in their Sunday School lessons.
Confirmation will have a different look for 2020 in a retreat and outreach format. We are extremely grateful for the numerous parishioners that devote time each week to reach out and educate our children about God and Jesus. We hope that anyone interested in the confirmation process to contact Shannon.
Our 9:00 a.m. service has been transformed into a teaching opportunity for the children and we truly feel God’s presence in the church and touching the hearts of the children. It is an amazing service that allows both children and youth to take an active role in their experiences worshiping.
Our Vacation Bible School had an attendance of 95 children with an incredible volunteer staff that made it all happen! The children had an opportunity to learn about God’s word through our “Mission to Mars and Beyond”. We had so many individuals and families that contributed beyond the classrooms, your contributions made this week of Christian Education fun and enjoyable for each of the attendees and we cannot thank you enough for your commitment to the children of our community. Our daily interactions were blessed by the following hands: Sara Anlyan, Leah Austin, Louisa Aylesworth, Cameron Balderson, Kathryn Barmore, Erin Becker, Kathryn Bright, Jamie Brown, Samuel Bush, Suiter Currin, Pierce Diller, Beverly Duff, Chris Hamby, Lilly Holland, Nina Inge, Missy Lawrence, Marissa Lockamy, Mary Lyons Rouse, Elizabeth Murchison, Andee Neucheler, Gail Spruill, Mary Beth Tallman, Rhonda Thomas, Sara Thomas, Erin Trask, and Hans Westermark.
The children will again be performing the Christmas Pageant during the 9:00 a.m. service this December 15th. All ages enjoyed hearing the Luke Christmas story told by our parish children. The processional of animals, shepherds, and angels along with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus is a meaningful way to begin Christmas week. We love for as many children as possible to participate!
During our advent wreath making experience, the children made additional Christmon ornaments for the sanctuary tree. I hope you take a moment to enjoy the treasures we have accumulated over the last 30 years and the additional love and focus on Christ this tree provides.
There are many other special events throughout the year that are organized by Children’s Ministries. If you haven’t participated before please consider the following events: Intergenerational Advent and Lenten Programs, Palm Sunday processional around the church, Easter service and Egg Hunt.
St. James Day School SJDS finished the 2018-2019 school year in May with 93 students and began the 2019-2020 school year in September with 95 students. Highlights of the year include Donuts with Dads, a circus performance by the children, field trips to Old McFaye’s Farm, Mother’s Day Tea, End-of-the-Year picnic and Graduation, Coffee on the Lawn, Back-to-School Night, a Thanksgiving Program and Feast, and Breakfast with Santa. “Extras” for the children during the week include music with John Sullivan, yoga with Marsha Bonner, and dance through La Petite Dance Studio. The Day School strives to meet its mission to educate and care for the community’s pre-school children and their families in an environment of learning, playing, enjoying and discovering. We are so grateful to the families who share their children with us, our terrific teachers who help the children grow into the beautiful people God created them to be, and our parishioners who volunteer their time with SJDS. The following is the list of our classes, two of each, and teachers for the school year 2019-2020:
Toddlers: 23 children: Anne Norris, Andee Neuscheler, Joni Buckner and Jordan Hooper
Two’s: 23 children: J.K. Thomas, Patti Whitley, Jan Bridgers, Courtney Easley, and Stephanie Burney
Three’s: 28 children: Missy Lawrence, Shannon Leas, Susan Braxton, and Joyce Cason
Four’s: 21 children: Emmy Bullard and Mitzi Daughtry
The Lecture Committee, which has been in existence for nearly fifteen years, has been inspired to create an exciting long-term plan. Our ten members have met several times to discuss implementing a two-year cycle of speakers, many of whom are of national or international prominence, and each speaker will be invited because he or she would illuminate one of the basic themes we have developed, all of course relating in some way to faith. The committee has found inspiration and excitement in considering speakers from many fields, who we believe will encourage faith, spark conversation, and draw people in to St. James or to newfound or refound faith. An added benefit is that the series will continue to serve as a gift to the larger local community.
In the last year, we have enjoyed two lectures, one by Grainger McKoy on his wood sculptures, and the second by Beverley Foulks McGuire on mindfulness. Within the coming year we will begin our new two-year cycle.
COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION REPORT
The communications commission at St James has had a very busy and exciting year. With the leadership and hard work of Chris Hamby and Erin Becker, St James has implemented two new key projects that will help our church community stay connected and build relationships. The first is our new website. If you have not seen it, please go and check it out. The format of the new website is much more user friendly and contains so much important information about what is going on at St James. The second project is called Realm. Realm is a cloud-based church management solution that combines administration, accounting and community all in one tool. It will allow better communication among staff and the various committees throughout the church. It will also allow easier online giving. Our goal has been to bring St James Parish into the modern technological work and provide a web based community where clergy, staff and parishioners can communicate, reflect on and learn about all of the amazing things going on in our parish.
EVANGELISM COMMISSION REPORT
Mt. Lebanon Chapel will be officially on the Azalea Festival Garden Tour next year. Visitors will receive a brochure and will be invited to return for a service. Committee members will be on hand to supervise. Bathrooms will not be open .
Mt. Lebanon Mimosa Mingle on Memorial weekend is a hit with a similar event at St. James the next Sunday. Drs. Stuart and Marie Hardy host a mingle during the summer for the committee and newcomers.
In October, there was a three session Newcomers Orientation class which covered history and architecture of St. James. Speakers from the congregation informed all of their ministries. The final session included supper.
December 14th, we will participate in the Christmas Stroll between the Bellamy Mansion and the Burgwin-Wright House. We will offer hot chocolate and cookies and a tour of the church. John Sullivan will lead caroling at the door.
We are in the process of revamping the Greeter Program. We can always use more greeters and would welcome anyone who would like to join our committee.
HOSPITALITY AND PARISH LIFE COMMISSION REPORT
These two commissions strive to build a deeper sense of Christian community for all ages and interest groups in the parish. The role of the Parish Life Commission and Hospitality is to foster a welcoming and friendly spirit within our parish through ongoing activities, groups, and special events. These activities include opportunities to socialize and promote a feeling of shared values among parishioners. Spearheading such a large commission requires many hearts and hands to meet the variety of needs of a parish of this size. Our Parish Sexton, Bill McKenzie, is instrumental in this area, as are Wes Clewis, all staff, clergy, and parishioners.
In February we hosted a beautiful reception to celebrate the ministry of our Rector, Ron Abrams. Ron retired on March 3rd after 19 years with our St. James family. In July we hosted a beautiful reception to celebrate the ordination of our newest minister, Cheryl Brainard. Countless parishioners galvanized to support both special receptions.
One of the most exciting accomplishments this year has been the launch of The World’s Greatest Coffee Hour! The 9:00 service has been shortened a bit to allow for community time in the Great Hall with delicious coffee and breakfast treats. The breakfast teams have been hard at work to integrate goodies into the renewed coffee hour, and attendance and fellowship continue to grow weekly. Thanks to all who are making this such a success!
Lemonade and cookies at Mt. Lebanon Chapel are always a hit. All ages sign up for this ministry to cool us off after hot summer services at the chapel.
Foyer Groups have been led by Brenda Wolff, a foyer member since 1993. Though Brenda “retired” this year, Nina Inge and Sheila Osann have graciously become our leaders next year. There are numerous groups with over 100 participants that meet for dinner four times between October and May. At the end of the gathering year, all members meet in the Great Hall for a large potluck dinner.
This fall, we combined Homecoming Sunday and Rally Day to host a picnic on the front lawn to kick off the church year. We had a memorable afternoon, with Trolly Stop hot dogs, an ice cream cart, live music, a bouncy house, and other fun games. Thanks to Cookie Cantwell and Florence Ellen Cowden for their leadership with this special gathering.
In addition, several other dinners and receptions were hosted for our Parish family throughout the year.
I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all parishioners who assisted with our many initiatives this year.
These ministries thrive because of you!
2019 ANNUAL STEWARDSHIP REPORT FOR ST. JAMES PARISH
by Bill Bivins, Vestry Liaison
For 2019, the Stewardship Committee planned and carried out the annual campaign which began on Sunday, September 29 and formally concluded on Sunday, November 24 which we designated “Thanksgiving Sunday” in recognition of the many pledges we received from our faithful parishioners. Members of the Stewardship Committee include Dawn Carter, Florence Ellen Cowden, Jane Martin, Watson Barnes, and Bill Bivins. Assisting the committee were Cookie Cantwell and Chris Hamby. The committee chose the stewardship campaign theme, “Forward in Faith: A Time of Transition, A Time for Recommitment”. This theme was chosen to emphasize the importance of stewardship in providing commitments of time, talent, and financial resources so that the parish can continue its mission and ministry during this time of transition. But the theme also emphasizes stewardship as an important part of our personal faith journey.
Our goal this year was to secure pledges from every parishioner or family, no matter the amount, so that we could have 100% participation in this important effort in support of the parish. At Sunday services during the month of October, stewardship homilies were delivered by our clergy and by guest clergy Jim Hanisian, and by Reid Murchison who presented three very thoughtful and inspiring sermons. We were also blessed to have stewardship messages in The Grapevine on the Sundays from September 29 to November 17 from parishioners Brenda Wolff, Coleman Burgess, Betsy McDonald, John Murchison, Jane Rippy, Sheila Osann, and Florence Ellen Cowden. Their stories and their inspirational words were very meaningful and much appreciated. Follow-up activities will include sending thank-you notes to those who have sent in their pledges, and further reminders to those parishioners who have not yet sent in their pledges.
If you have not yet sent in your pledge, it is not too late—we need everyone’s participation. The Stewardship Committee would like to thank the clergy, staff, and parishioners who helped us with this campaign, with special thanks to the parishioners who have so generously contributed this year to the mission and ministry of this great parish.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH COMMISSION REPORT
The Spiritual Growth Commission was formed as a result of the Renewal Works program that took place at St. James a few years ago. This Vestry commission’s role is to further spiritual practices and opportunities, both for individuals and for our church community as a whole. The Spiritual Growth Committee, with approximately 15 members, was ably led by Tom Dodson in 2019.
The past year was a very active one for the committee, given the current transitional status of the parish. We continued to attempt to promote and embed spiritual growth in all the actions and interactions at St. James. For individuals, the group offered the following:
- Preparation of scripture notes to accompany each reading in the weekly order for service.
- Mailing of the Forward Movement scriptural calendars, authored and illustrated by Rev. Jay Sidebotham, during Lent and Advent.
- Seeking and securing volunteer contributors to write the Spirituality column of the Grapevine.
- Supporting the offering of Morning Prayer in the chapel downtown during Lent and Advent.
- Establishing a Quiet Reflection prayer time on Saturdays in the Spring and summer at Lebanon Chapel.
- A weekend Quiet Retreat, organized by Linda Murchison, was held at Trinity Center in March, and again in November.
For the church body as a whole, the committee was involved in the following:
- The St. James Parish Transition Prayer, written by committee member Susan Ingle, was adopted by the committee and Vestry, and has been an important part of our worship at St. James in 2019. Many thanks to Susan for her outstanding contribution.
- The Renewal Works conference “Leading for Discipleship” was held in September and led by Rev. Jay Sidebotham. It attracted approximately 75 Episcopalians from all over the US, who visited Wilmington and enjoyed our wonderful church campus and downtown area. Thanks to Jay for bringing St. James this gift and allowing parishioners and committee members to help with coordination and logistics.
St. James is blessed with many gifts…and thus endless opportunities to increase spiritual awareness through engagement in scripture and enjoyment of worship with fellow parishioners. While we appreciate that each individual’s spiritual journey is unique, our committee invites you to participate…join us as we grow in our love of God and our faith here at St. James.
W. Watson Barnes
Vestry Liaison for Spiritual Growth
WORSHIP COMMISSION REPORT
On behalf of the vestry, I want to thank the following who make our worship experience such a pleasure: The clergy, the lay Eucharistic ministers, the choir, the Altar Guild, the acolytes, and the ushers. These folks are the foundation for our worship experience and we owe them much gratitude.
Starting with the clergy: Jay Sidebotham, Chris Hamby, Cheryl Brainard, and Kitty Davis are tireless servant leaders for this community. Sunday sermons are now published for all of us to hear online and are wonderful foundations for us to begin our week. The experiment with the 9 AM service to make it somewhat less formal and more inviting is a great thing. As we go through this transition there will be many experiments and I invite everyone to appreciate the efforts being made and enjoy the ride. We may find that somethings work and somethings maybe not. No matter what, I commend those that are seeking and trying new ways to feed our parish spiritually.
It also takes more than the clergy to make a service work. A huge thanks to the Lay Eucharistic ministers that not only serve the Parish during our services, they also go out into the community. It is also a privilege to have the altar Guild do their tireless work making sure all is right for each and every service. John Sullivan and his team continue to work hard to make music an integral part of our worship experience. Our services would not be complete without our acolytes, the acolyte advisers, and the ushers. I ask that when you see any of the folks mentioned above that you think them for their service to our community.
As we enter into a new phase with our transition and the pending arrival of an interim rector, please know that good faith efforts are being made to provide meaningful worship experiences for all who enter the doors of this community. Please also know that changes will be made to see what fits and what does not. We have a huge opportunity with our worship experience. Wilmington is a growing area and we have what is perhaps one of the best and most peaceful and comforting spaces for worship in our community. We also have some of the best people that warm the inside of this magnificent sanctuary.
If you or if you know of anyone that would like to participate in any of these ministries mentioned above please contact me or the church office. We are always in need of ushers, acolytes and Lay Eucharistic ministers.
ST JAMES YOUTH MINISTRIES 2019- “A Year of Incredible Change”
It has been a remarkable year for the youth community of St. James. Our vision is to create a safe, inclusive, loving and joyful Christian environment where young people and their adult advisors can grow in their faith and share that journey with others. There has been a special sense of teamwork as Cookie Cantwell and Shannon Lockamy have worked together beautifully to keep youth group and Christian Formation closely linked. We have had a resurgence of the 6th – 12th Christian Formation hour for this age group on Sunday mornings, led by Cookie Cantwell, that has been a delightful success. We have enjoyed having more of a youth presence at the 9:00 serving as chalice bears and readers.
Here’s a recap of what these amazing young folks have been up to in 2019:
- Epiphany Worship at Lebanon Chapel created & Implemented by Youth
- Ski Trip 2019 at Winterplace (49 participants)
- Glory Ridge 2019, Outreach & Mission, to Madison County, NC (54 participants)
- Silent Auction: Raising Money for ALL of our OUTREACH for Glory Ridge, Migrant Farmworkers’ Children’s Easter Baskets, Christmas Gifts for “Between the Cracks” Families and other Outreach & Mission Projects
- “A Bike for Every Child” Repair Workshop (teaching Youth to “fix” bikes)
- “A Bike for Every Child” Give Away hosted in Perry Hall, St James
- “Guardian Angel Prayer Experience” Adults pray for Youth (52 Participants)
- Easter Outreach: Purchased, Filled & Donated 106 Easter Baskets for the children of Migrant Farm Workers, Newton Grove, NC
- Christmas Outreach: The Youth Program “adopts” 5 families who will “fall between the cracks” and we also “adopt” the mothers and babies who are living at “The Kelly House”
- Blessings Week: Created 280 “Blessings Bags” for the St James Parishioners & Children
- Port City Bible Study 7:00 am every Wednesday Morning (14 - 25 participants)
- Happening #73 & Happening #74: Weekend Retreats held at Trinity Center (an experience of a deeper understanding of what we believe & how to live “it” in our daily lives (75 - 80 participants each Happening)
- Virginia Creeper Trail: A bike trip on the Virginia Creeper Trail for community building and for a “fireside conversation” about God’s Presence in our Lives. (35 participants)
- Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
- Sunday night Youth Group Gatherings
- Faith Formation on Sunday Mornings in the Youth Room 6th – 12th graders
- Support of our Youth in “Outside Endeavors”: Plays, Musicals, Sport Events, Award Ceremonies, Funerals of Family or Friends, etc.)
- Suicide Prevention Program” with National Speakers and Local Support Counselors (120 participants)
- “Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk”
- St James Sponsor for “Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk”: Donate & Give Away over 600 hot dogs at “The Walk” (LOTS of St James “Helpers” and “Walkers!”)
- Wilmington Episcopal Youth Ministries: Created a shared youth ministries with the other Episcopal Youth Ministries Groups to enhance and promote a wider circle of companions on “The Way.”
- “Service Learning Opportunities” New Hanover High School: Four students have spent one semester working at St James for 2 ½ hours each week to learn through serving. Cooke Cantwell was their mentor.
- Youth Chalice Bearers, Youth Readers & Youth reading “Prayers of the People”: Involving our young people as full participants in the life of our weekly worship experiences. Cookie Cantwell invites young people to share these ministries opportunities
- Vacation Bible School Volunteers: Youth work as “Assistants” and as “Helpers.”
- Kanuga Christian Formation Speaker & Coordinator: Cookie Cantwell
- “Wilmington Racial Reconciliation Pilgrimage” Diocese of North Carolina: Cookie Cantwell hosted this five day national event with 65 participants and Jay Sidebotham served as the Celebrant for our Final Holy Eucharist Worship Experience
Cookie’s remarks, I feel that there is a “refreshed” atmosphere among our St James Staff. We are encouraged to work together and to be creative. We are trying a variety of “other ways” to create an environment where all feel that they are welcome, where people feel “that they belong and that they are needed, wanted, valued and loved! Our staff is encouraged to look to the future and to rely fully on God! Our “work” environment is healthier and so much more fun!
God bless these special young people who are such a gift to their families, St. James and our entire community.
Florence Ellen Cowden
20s / 30s COMMISSION REPORT
Chris Hamby has done a wonderful job with the 20s and 30s group this year. This group is a growing, important ministry at St. James. It is exciting to note that over 50% of the 2019 newcomers group consisted of young people and young families. This active ministry faithfully attends Christian Formation class together on Sunday mornings. Chris schedules monthly dinners at downtown restaurants for gatherings once a month. The group chooses restaurants close to St. James so they can drop their children off in the St. James nursery staffed with babysitters, while the parents enjoy fellowship. Parents drop off their children at St. James at 5:00 pm, go somewhere to share a meal, and return to St. James by 7:00 pm.
If they are not meeting at a restaurant, they take turns hosting “Hospitality at Home” where children and adults have dinner at a parishioner’s home. These scheduled gatherings provide an opportunity for fellowship and bonding as a church family. Friendships are strengthened and the community is built. It is special for the children to become familiar with each other as well. One of the highlights this year was an oyster roast. This group actively participates in quarterly ministry at Good Shepherd Center.
Chris continues to work on the New Parent Initiative. Whenever a new baby comes into the world, Chris visits the family and welcomes the new child. The St. Ann’s guild provides beautiful baby blankets as a gift from St. James. Meals are organized for the family through the 20s and 30s group. It is wonderful to see this community connect inside and outside of church. There are also one on one meetings with Chris to help discern spiritual needs and growth.
Florence Ellen Cowden