The Annual Meeting
To begin at 11:45AM on Zoom
- Selection of a recording secretary
- Opening prayer
- Election of officers
- Junior Warden: Sean Gogerty
- Vestry, Communications: Marliese Knill
- Vestry, Outreach: Jody Hough
- Vestry, Stewardship: Shirley Baker
- Diocesan Convention: Martha Heiner and Doug Post
- Report from the Rector
- Report from the Senior Warden
- Report from Finance and the Approval of the Budget
- The Presentation of the Lifetime Stewardship Award
- Questions from the floor
The Annual Report
The Rector’s Report
The Report of the Senior Warden
The Building Report
The Communication Report
The Christian Education Report
The Membership Report
The Finance Report
The Grounds Report
The Fellowship Report
The Outreach Report
The Stewardship Report
This has been a year like no other for the world and St. Mark’s. Yet, at a time when we were told to stay home and bunker down, Father Rick had St. Mark’s gearing up. As the pandemic began, Father Rick had us all attending services and coffee hour online and the online programs kept coming. Michael McCormick did a wonderful job with the music. It was a fabulous treat to watch the service online and experience an amazing virtual music arrangement. Although our buildings were closed and even now gatherings are minimized, there is always something going on at St. Mark’s and a virtual way to join if in person attendance is not for you. Thanks to Father Rick, life at St. Mark’s feels normalized at a time when nothing is normal.
Although we were not all together at Church for most of the year to see it all happening, life continued around St. Mark’s. This year, thanks to negotiations by Jim Lunny, the inactive Solar Panels were removed from the Church roof. John Lyga organized a new roof for the Rectory along with repairs to the chimney and heating. Since we were not using the buildings for part of the year the cleaning service was re-directed to perform much needed deep cleaning to the floors and windows. Our Sexton, Martin Hale, kept our buildings and grounds looking great. Pete Kochek organized a fun Fall cleanup to keep St Mark’s looking great. Laura Mooney managed Christian education, and Marcie Hanhart and Sandy Gogerty had the difficult task of managing Membership and Fellowship during COVID-19. Lastly, behind the scenes, Matt Seitz and the Finance Committee did an incredible job navigating the loss of fundraisers and building use donations to keep the St. Mark’s budget whole. With the help of a forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loan and the commitment and generosity of our parishioners we made it through the year. As we exit 2020 our facilities are in good shape and our programs are moving forward within pandemic restrictions.
I want to especially thank all the outgoing Vestry members who have contributed so much to St. Mark’s over the last three years. Eileen Barna has chaired Communications and kept us and the community well informed on St. Mark’s activity. Gerry McDonnell has chaired Stewardship, a difficult job that he has managed with great warmth and sensitivity. Lea O’Shea chaired Outreach, maintaining and organizing our numerous programs to benefit the community. Gerry and Lea also chaired two highly successful and enjoyable fundraisers for St. Mark’s. Under their direction we exceeded the 2018 and 2019 fundraising goals and the parish had fun in the process. Thanks so much to all our outgoing Vestry for their efforts and support of St. Mark’s. St. Mark’s and the 2021 Vestry will be in very capable hands with Jeff West as Senior Warden.
Finally, I would like to thank Ann Millan for her tireless efforts on behalf of St. Mark’s. She is always a pleasure to work with and happy to help with anything that comes up.
I am hopeful that in 2021 we can all return to in person attendance and look forward to worshiping together. It has been my pleasure to serve as Warden for the past two years and I thank Father Rick and the Vestry for their work and support. Wishing the entire St. Mark’s family, the very best in 2021.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent the congregation on the vestry in 2020 under the stewardship commission. I would like to thank the other vestry members and especially Fr. Rick, Ann Millan, and Doug Post for their assistance during the year.
We had a successful stewardship season in October 2020 under the theme of ‘Togetherness’. I wanted to take a minute to thank all of you that pledged to St. Mark’s for 2021. The response has been very generous and particularly as it has been an uncertain year for many of us. But the good news is we are approximately in line with the total amount pledged in recent years at $276,000. We unfortunately had a significant number of parishioners that could not pledge for 2021 or that had to reduce their pledging amounts. The reasons are many including illness, reduced income, retirement, and the overall impact of COVID-19 etc. But we have seen an increase in the numbers pledging, up to 88 pledges from 81 in 2020, as well as many of you that have significantly increased pledge amounts for 2021. Our thanks for your generosity and commitment to our mission…..together.
St. Mark’s is a generous community, and this is not only shown in pledging. Many of you are also silent donators to various efforts such as the Rector’s discretionary fund, Chittick Fund, improvement projects to the building and the Flower Guild. There are many more including contributions to our rummage sales (which we hope to resume in 2021), hams and turkeys, donating to the food bank, and shoebox donations to the Samaritan’s Purse, to mention a few. Finally, one of the most precious gifts we have is your time, and our thanks to all of you that give time to St. Mark’s to support during the year.
It remains for me to thank my successor, Shirley Baker, for taking on this role and to wish her all the best in the future in supporting stewardship and events.
May I take this opportunity to wish all of you a peaceful 2021.
Gerald (Gerry) McDonnell
Major Projects completed in 2020 –
We were able to complete a number of major repair projects to the buildings in 2020, most notable was addressing the non-functioning solar panels on the church roof and much needed repairs to the rectory roof.
The rectory roof was replaced during the spring and new gutter and leaders were installed. Several sections of the roof required replacement which was completed during the reroofing. Loose siding on the west side of the rectory was patched but will need additional work to prevent future water leaking. The one working chimney on the Lewis St. side, untouched since the building was relocated in the 60’s, was updated with a chimney insert as no liner was ever installed. Upgrades to the rectory boiler heating system was completed involving rerouting and alignment of return piping and valve replacement. A number of smaller projects were also completed on the rectory and others will continue to be addressed going forward.
The major project completed to the church was removing the solar panels. The panels were non-functional due to several being damaged and not easily repaired. All work was done at no cost to St. Marks including patching the numerous bolt holes; much thanks to Jim Lunny for negotiating this project. This south side of the church roof will need to be eventually replaced. A number of smaller projects to the church were completed including repair of several metal doors that were corroding, repair of the closure to the main door of both the church and chapel, repair of several hinges to external doors, and repair of rotted exterior window sills.
Major Projects anticipated in 2021 –
We are carefully tracking the major HVAC systems as several older units will eventually need replacement however we do not anticipate any replacement in 2021. There are several building repairs that need to be addressed in 2021. Top of the list is to more permanently repair the rectory siding over the flat roof section mentioned earlier and repair the sill on lower level of youth rooms, music room, Bryans room. The composite material in some sections is deteriorating especially behind the cement walkway. We will also need to address electrical connection needs in the main Church to elevate the numerous extension cords being used currently for on-line services which is not allowed by fire code. At the same time, we will carry out an electrical audit of the rectory which is way overdue. There are also a growing number of smaller projects that are in need of “handyperson” intervention.
Many thanks to all who have volunteered their time and talent to carry out the smaller repair projects this year. A special shout out to Norm Graff for his door repairs and Roger Conover for labeling circuit breakers and getting the chapel windows illuminated. We are also grateful for our Sexton Martin Hale for his continuous oversight of week to week building needs.
The Finance Committee is pleased to report that St. Mark’s financial outlook remains strong, despite an unprecedented year of challenge and uncertainty, thanks to the generous support of the parish.
• Total Operating Income was $389K, $13K (or +4%) above budget. Results include the recognition of PPP funds (+$35.9K) (see below for additional details on PPP). Pledge income actuals exceeded budget by +$11K, Donations exceeded budget by +$10K and Holiday Offerings exceeded budget by +$0.8K. These surpluses were offset partially by unfavorable income variances in plate income (-$5K), Building Use Donations (-$17K) and Rummage Sales (-$22K). The majority of unfavorable income results were due to the effects of COVID-19.
• Total Operating Expenses was $370K, $6K (or 1%) below budget (i.e., favorable), driven in part by reduced worship expenses, utilities, and grounds maintenance expenses.
• Total Operating Net Income was +$19K, $19K above budget, driven by favorable pledge income and donations, PPP funding, and favorable overall operating expenses.
• In April 2020, St. Marks received a loan of $35,900 via the US Cares Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PPP enabled small businesses (including non-profits and faith-based organizations like St. Marks) to access federal funding via forgivable grants and loans and loan deferrals to alleviate the adverse financial impact and uncertainties caused by COVID-19. The Finance Committee is pleased to report that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved St. Mark’s PPP loan forgiveness application. Since St. Mark’s forgiveness application was for full forgiveness (greater than or equal to our PPP loan amount) and St Mark’s did not receive an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance (another US Federal Government COVID relief program, for which St. Marks did not qualify), no interest or principal payments will ever be required as the SBA has paid-off St. Mark’s loan in full.
The Grounds Commission along with all our Volunteers have done it again!
We have inherited a legacy of hard work that we intend to live up to. The plan is to keep St. Marks as inviting on the outside as it is on the inside. Many parishioners, our Sexton, and kids alike have done a great job this past year to keep the Church looking healthy and vibrant. It is because of all of the volunteers, whether it’s getting ready for the Holidays, fall leaf cleanup, planting flowers or shoveling snow that the Church continues to look so pretty. Thank you for all of your efforts!
There is no doubt we have all had our difficulties this past year, but if we can continue to consistently keep the grounds looking healthy and vibrant we will also, no doubt, continue to welcome new members from our community into St. Marks.
Reflecting on the year of 2020 as the Fellowship Chairperson makes me consider the “What ifs”? For example, what if we could have held the Advent Brunch in April 2020 had the Covid isolation not begun in early March. The St. Mark’s parishioners could have held the Advent Brunch according to the detailed notes of prior chairpersons. We could have eaten the “butt end” of the ham, of course. And, the kids could have enjoyed chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, two items perhaps not served for the past few years, but still on the food list from prior chair notes. Also, lots of breads, muffins and desserts went missing this year while we all were sitting at home and isolating. Don’t fret, though, the food was donated to Keansburg food outreach. (And, I learned that ham butt really is the leg portion of the pig and not it’s derrière)
What if, Father Rick could have held the September opening service at Pleasant Valley Park and parishioners brought all their wonderful food delights to share? While missing our shared food items, Parishioners did, however, don masks and bring their lawn chairs or sit at the picnic benches at Dunham Park and enjoyed lots of coffee brought by Karen Morley and Sean Gogerty. (who both were thoughtful, but independently minded) And, we would have also missed the Lygas in full cycling gear who road across town to the service or seeing Dawn Knill eating her specialty sandwich. 😊
What if, we could all pray as a group for more fellowship in the year to come, once the vaccinations are in place and the isolation becomes a thing of the past. Let’s say goodbye to 2020, be thankful for all the blessings we have had this past year at St. Mark’s whether through gathering via Zoom for coffee hours, attending virtual painting parties with parishioner/artist Andrea Giordano, or attending small church services. What if, we also look forward and imagine our bright future together in 2021.
Reaching out into the community has always been an important part of the St. Mark’s community. Through the pandemic, we still worked hard to provide help wherever we could!
May “Community Hope” Day – Emie Williams led a Memorial Day collection for our local VA. These packages were delivered to the transitioning-from-homelessness veterans at Community Hope at the VA. The traditional Labor Day collection did not occur, but Emie plans to jump right back in this year!
Community Soup Kitchen at the Church of the Redeemer in Morristown – We were not able to participate in distribution this year, but did make an annual donation from the church.
Center Community Renewal, St. Mark’s, Keansburg – Since hurricane Sandy in 2012, St. Mark’s parishioners have been traveling to Keansburg, NJ to deliver and service lunch to a community in need. Despite limitations brought on by the pandemic, we were able to prepare 1,898 meals this year in Keansburg, and have now served 18,452 meals since we started helping back in Dec 2012.
Many thanks to everyone that has donated time, money, baking and prayers to benefit our mission. A very very special thanks goes to Jeanne Wyatt, Emie and Katie Williams for traveling to Keansburg and prepping takeouts throughout the COVID pandemic, and for our dedicated meatloaf makers – Shirley Baker, Carol DeCoste, Jody Hough, The Morley’s, Nancy Opremcak, Lea O’Shea, Jenny Phillips, Anne Post and Elizabeth Seitz.
The Food Bank Network of Somerset County – Our two major collections at Easter and Thanksgiving was successful one again thanks to the generosity of St. Marks. Shelves and freezers of the food bank were stocked with turkeys, hams and roasting chickens. In September, our volunteers distributed food in Somerville to those in need who can’t make it to the food bank during the week. Rather than the typical “shopping” experience, distribution by our masked volunteers took place outside and bags were pre-packed.
Fundraising – Our traditional rummage sales were cancelled to be safe for our volunteers and our community. It was certainly missed! We plan to hold a rummage sale of some sort towards the end of the year in hopes that people are vaccinated and feel comfortable doing so.
Giving Gardens at the Ross Farms – A very small group of volunteers worked hard to keep the garden going. Special thanks to Jan Williams, Jody Hough, Karen Morley, John Lyga and Addie Sant Foster for their dedication! John Lyga sweetened the summer even more by providing his homegrown honey!! Working in partnership with the Ross Farm and two other local Episcopal churches the garden yielded 2,459 lbs. – just a bit over last year. In addition to benefiting the Food Bank of Somerset County, and the food pantry at the Church of Good Shepard in Bernardsville, we deliver to the transitioning-from-homelessness veterans at Community Hope at the VA.
Red Cross Blood Drives
This was an extraordinary year for blood drives. Since April 9th, St. Mark’s has hosted 12 drives that collected a total of 385 pints. This helped save the lives of about 1,155 patients! Special thanks to Jim Lunny, Ann Millan and Martin Hale for all of the work to make that happen.
We used our Outreach budget to donate to Keansburg, Morristown Community Kitchen, Food Bank Network of Somerset County and Curbing Hunger.
I want to thanks all of our wonderful volunteers that made our year of outreach at St. Marks a success. It’s been a pleasure learning and growing at St. Marks and I wish Jody Hough many blessings as she takes the reigns.
The Finance Committee is pleased to report that St. Mark’s financial outlook remains strong, despite an unprecedented year of challenge and uncertainty, thanks to the generous support of the parish.
•Total Operating Income was $389K, $13K (or +4%) abovebudget. Results include the recognition of PPP funds (+$35.9K) (see below for additional details on PPP). Pledge income actuals exceeded budget by +$11K, Donations exceeded budget by +$10K and Holiday Offerings exceeded budget by +$0.8K. These surpluses were offset partially by unfavorable income variances in plate income (-$5K), Building Use Donations (-$17K) and Rummage Sales (-$22K). The majority of unfavorable income results were due to the effects of COVID-19.
•Total Operating Expenses was $370K, $6K (or 1%) below budget (i.e., favorable), driven in part by reduced worship expenses, utilities, and grounds maintenance expenses.
•Total Operating Net Income was +$19K, $19K abovebudget, driven by favorable pledge income and donations, PPP funding, and favorable overall operating expenses.
•In April 2020, St. Marks received a loan of $35,900 via the US Cares Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PPP enabled small businesses (including non-profits and faith-based organizations like St. Marks) to access federal funding via forgivable grants and loans and loan deferralsto alleviate the adverse financial impact and uncertainties caused by COVID-19. The Finance Committee is pleased to report that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved St. Mark’s PPP loan forgiveness application. Since St. Mark’s forgiveness application was for full forgiveness (greater than or equal to our PPP loan amount) and St Mark’s did not receive an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance (another US Federal Government COVID relief program, for which St. Marks did not qualify), no interest or principal payments will ever be required as the SBA has paid-off St. Mark’s loan in full.
Well 2020 was quite a different year than we all planned, none the less we made the best of it. Before the lockdown, we got off to a great start with yoga sessions with our congregation yogi, Christine Marston. We had some fun things planned for the spring which of course were not held. Under the direction of John Lyga, the church school had weekly videos and activities on the website throughout the year, with an occasional video from Mr. Lyga including one of him in an apiary suit!
In the youth program, we flew up our Rite 13 students to the J to A program. Chip Rubendall has kept our J2A students busy with meetings over Zoom in preparation for confirmation this spring. We celebrated high school and college graduations with an exciting St Marks drive by event, including balloons and lots of honking. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Sunday school families made thankful turkey crafts and delivered them to fellow parishioners as a way of sharing some St Marks love in a socially distant fashion.
Since the pandemic had made it more difficult for some of our fellow parishioners to get out and socialize, we crafted and delivered the thankful turkeys to fellow parishioners.We had several wonderful events going on during the season of Advent, including an advent wreath contest where the J to A students voted weekly to pick the winners. Videos of the creators lighting their wreaths were then used in the weekly Sunday services during Advent. The creche service was a beautiful weeklong event event to celebrate the holiday season this year. Operation Christmas Child also underwent an automation this year, where we asked parishioners to purchase boxes online to help children in need.
In 2021, we are hopeful we will get to see our sunday school children and youth in person and are looking forward to a great year.
What a year for challenging us on keeping the vibrance and involvement of our church family! However, through the blessing of each one of us, I see that were successful in many ways in bonding and growing as a church family- still able to be involved and support each other and those around us in need. A few special examples include the set-up to “drive by” to drop off food donations at the front of the church – busy all day; The long car parades for our children who graduated this year; the creative involvement of our children creating advent wreaths; the video-setup allowing any parish member or family to read the lessons (with the perhaps surprising benefit of gaining an increased sense of bonding when seeing our readers in their homes); the joy from such creative music by our Choirmaster, Michael and others. The list is endless, but I’ll add the amazing generosity of our parish family to share our material blessings and love– as evidenced by the countless envelopes of gift cards at Christmas. I look forward to our amazing St. Mark’s family becoming even more creative this year.