The Annual Meeting: January 16, 2022
To begin following the 10AM Eucharist
- Selection of a recording secretary
- Opening prayer
- Election of officers
- Junior Warden: Martha Heiner
- Vestry, Buildings: Steve Kujan
- Vestry, Membership: Lily Chan
- Vestry, Christian Education: Kristen Zellman
- Diocesan Convention: Doug Post & Jim Lunny
- Report from the Rector
- Report from the Senior Warden
- Report from Finance and the Approval of the Budget The Budget and Balance Sheet
- 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 Finance Report
The Grounds Report
The Fellowship Report
The Outreach Report
The Stewardship Report
If I had been really on top of things, and I started on my Annual Report back in October… I would have had to crumple it up and throw it in the garbage! Things looked so promising as more and more was getting back to “normal.” We were just about there… and then… Omicron.
My favorite moment of 2021 was, hands down, the food truck event. It was SO good to see people who we hadn’t seen in a while. It was fun thinking that we had really made a “turn” and it was exciting to see a few more people in church each Sunday after that. And then…
If I learned anything from the past few months it’s that we don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few months, and so, we’re going to need to be flexible for the foreseeable future. I like to “plan.” I’m a “planner.” But, I’m going to need to think about that differently. We can plan—I can plan—but within that plan is always going to need a “Plan B.”
I had a conversation with the Bishop in mid-December and he said something that has been ringing in my ears ever since: “We’re going to have to learn to live with this.” We can’t just shut down every time there’s another wave, we’re going to have to live with this. This doesn’t mean being reckless, and it doesn’t mean creating situations which endanger the most vulnerable among us. It just means being flexible and making the best possible decision in the moment—and keep the focus on moving ministry and faith forward.
Some people have—and for good reason—stayed away from Sunday morning gatherings. They’ve made the decision that it’s too risky to gather in a big room given their particular family situation. And, I support them in that decision. I don’t want ANYONE to feel like if they don’t come to church that they are going to somehow disappoint me.
However, as we move forward, as COVID becomes endemic, and as it shifts to a more “nuisance” and probably “seasonal” event, I’m concerned about what this means for people who have not attended church for two years. I’m concerned about their children. I’m concerned about some of our elders who are experiencing crushing levels of loneliness and isolation. I’m concerned that people may have gotten out of the habit of going to church, and who knows if that habit will pick up again.
I don’t have any big answers, but I think tackling these concerns is going to be a mixture of making sure that St Mark’s is a safe place to come to, AND making sure that we’re meeting people where they are at—whether that means an in-person home blessing, the delivery of a freshly baked cinnamon bun, or a compelling online worship service.
I’m so grateful to my good friend Jeff West for being a warden for the past two years. I also feel bad for him. We had a great vestry retreat in January of 2020… and then the whole place fell apart in March! Except for two months, his time as warden was completely overshadowed by the pandemic. (I guess we’ll just have to reprise a wardenship for him!)
I’m also incredibly grateful to Laura Mooney, Marcie Hanhart, and Pete Kochek for their time on the vestry. While each of their vestry stints were heavily impacted by COVID, they each helped move their respective commission areas forward, and I’m so glad for that.
I get to say this every year—and every year I mean it—I’m profoundly humbled to be the rector of St Mark’s. Thank you for all of your support as we serve to make the Good News known here in Basking Ridge.
It’s been my honor to serve as a Warden these last two pandemic-stricken years. And while the pandemic had moments where it separated the St Mark’s community physically,we remained unwaveringly united spiritually. Both St Marks clergy and laity have been wonderfully resourceful and creative to meet these spiritual needs.
It reinforces the importance of people in an organization. Rick and staff (Anne, Michael and Chip) as well as the Vestry were always ready to pivot to ensure St Mark’s delivered safe and innovative services and programming.
I’d like to recognize the following Vestry members who have completed their 3 year term this year.
Peter Kochek (Grounds): Pete did a fantastic job managing grounds, keeping St Mark’s both spiffy and safe. Laura Mooney (Christian Ed) worked tirelessly through the onset of the pandemic to facilitate learning in new and innovative ways. And Marcie Hanhart(Membership), St Mark’s (and Father Ricks) biggest cheerleader.
As we enter 2022 our biggest challenge will remain membership, while St Mark’s has added members throughout the pandemic, we need to continue to grow membership. Each of us can play a role here. If anything, the pandemic has given us more flexible ways to participate in worship, adult education, and now Sunday school with the evening service. We all need to make sure we get this message out to friends and prospective parishioners, and when we do see newcomers encourage them to come to coffee hour and ensure they feel welcome. It’s what St Marks is all about so this should be easy.
Thanks again for the opportunity to serve at Warden. As we move into the new year Sean Gogerty will be the Senior Warden, and I know between Sean and the Vestry of St Marks is in great hands.
Stewardship 2022 Season: Give Him Your Best
We are reminded by God that He wants the best for us always, and so expects the best from us in return. We want to give from our heart, as He knows our hearts so well.
I want to thank all of you who pledged for 2022!! I also want to thank Father Rick and the other vestry members for their assistance, and a special thanks to Doug Post for keeping us updated on all pledges and notices received!!
This year’s stewardship theme of Give Him Your Best had some different facets to it. We explored the Joy of Giving Together. Envelopes containing money were available to adults to be used for giving with the request of feedback on what was done with the money and how it made the giver feel. The stories were shared weekly. The congregation seemed to really enjoy this, and acknowledged sharing in the giving warmed all our hearts. We need to remember this moving forward – always share joy and giving. Why keep it to ourselves when it can light up another’s day?!
We also had envelopes with tasks children could perform and report back on how doing the task made them feel. We were only able to share one story, but I received other feedback after our time of sharing. In a nutshell, it made the children feel good about themselves. What a great way to boost a child’s self-worth?! I’m hoping to continue these exercises this year, since so well received.
As we come to the end of this stewardship campaign, we find ourselves not as “pledged” as we’d like to be. Please continue to ponder your hearts to determine if you are willing and able to add your pledge. There are many good works we want to do in 2022, but don’t quite have the funding in the budget to be able to see them thru.
I’d like to continue with the same theme this year, as there are always other ways to Give Him Your Best. I look forward to discovering these ways together. Thank you for your support as I continue to remain Stewardship Chair even though I’m remote. St Mark’s is our church home, no matter where we live☺
It’s not too late for those of you who are willing to pledge☺
All major HVAC systems are working well in the church, halls, and rectory. We continue to assess the condition of some of our aging roofs. Two sections of our roof were no match for Hurricane Ida resulting in leaking around a kitchen vent and the link between the Fellowship Hall and the Chapel. Typically asphalt shingles have a 30 yr lifetime so at least one of these sections will need replacement this year while the other will likely be able to be repaired. Several other roof sections will need replacing over the next 5 years; check out the roof map posted on the B&G bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall for the likely date of replacement for each section. Given the age and size of our various buildings we have a growing list of items in need of repair. We were able to complete several smaller repair projects this year, most notable was repairing the crumbling Hardie board along the foundation in the rear of the Heritage Wing. Several other repairs were completed by St. Mark’s volunteers. A special SHOUT-OUT goes to our “Door-man” Norm Graff for solving many of our door issues around our campus. You can help by checking out the full listing of available projects to see what you can take on. All projects available and completed are posted on the B&G bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall and also on-line on the St. Marks website. For more info reach out to John Lyga email@example.com or contact the office. Look out for two special reports coming out in the first quarter; the first covering the Building and Grounds Volunteer opportunities and the second covering the work being done in the old classrooms to create short-term living quarters for those in need.
2021 FINANCIAL RESULTS
2021 Operating Income was $376,334 against an annual budget of $363,674. Pledges exceeded budget by $6,371. We also exceeded budget on donations and plate income. Building use donations and rummage sale income were lower than budget,primarily due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 (decreased general activity). Operating Expenses were $7,648 above the annual budget, primarily driven by higher Grounds Maintenance expenses from snow removal, additional Worship expenses from the Easter tent rental, Telecommunications expenses from a wifi upgrade (to enable increased live digital streaming of worship services) and elevator phone installation, and from IT expenses from an unexpected hardware and software issue in a church office computer. Most other expenses were close to their budgeted amounts. Net Operating Income was $7,136, driven by favorable income cited above.
Total Operating Income Budget is $372,128. We have projectedpledges of $278,000. The rest of income will come from donations, holiday offerings, building rental and fundraising events (which include two rummage sales and a yet-to-be-determined fundraising event to help us accomplish our annual financial goals). Our budgeted pledge income is consistent with actual pledge income received in recent years (note our 5-year annual pledge income average is approximately $283,000).
Total Operating Expense Budget is $371,857, which primarily comprises personnel costs of $217,447, administrative expenses of $17,610, buildings and grounds of $103,698 (which includes $34,207 in mortgage costs) and our contribution to the Diocese of NJ of $24,312 (which is substantially below the expected pledge based on the gross income of the church).
Net Operating Income is targeted to be slightly above breakeven at $271. A detailed 2021 income statement and balance sheet can be obtained upon request along with the 2022 budget.
St. Mark’s will have several important iniatives in the near future that will require special funding consideration outside of regular operations. These items include a special, one-time opportunity to pay down substantially or entirely our mortgage (second half of 2022), capital projects to repair or improve our buildings and grounds (e.g., roof), and important music program invesments (e.g., organ upgrade / replacement). The Finance Committee and Vestry look forward to communicating more information about these initiatives as we progress through the year.
Finally, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the Finance Committee (Father Rick, Sean Gogerty, Martha Heiner, Ann Millan, Doug Post, David Taylor, and Jeff West) for their time, efforts, and guidance throughout the year. A special thanks goes to Ann Millan, who enters and reconciles all financial transactions and prepares financial statements each month; and to Doug Post, our Recording Treasurer, for recording and depositing all contributions on a weekly basis and providing valuable pledge income forecasting insights each month.
Thank you! Matt Seitz
The Grounds Committee would like to say THANK YOU to the Parish for their help throughout the year. We know everyone pitches in where and when they can. From picking up a scrap of garbage to spending half of a day raking leaves for the fall cleanup; this is truly a group effort and every little bit counts! Thank you!
We are looking forward to the spring, when the flowers are planted and the Dogwoods are blooming, to once again see beauty of St. Marks.
A special shout out to Martin Hale, our Sexton, for his tireless efforts keeping things neat, tidy and running smoothly. From trimming trees to changing light bulbs, Martin keeps things on track that nobody sees or notices otherwise. Thank you Martin!
As we conclude the year of 2021, fellowship has taken a leap from last year. The September picnic at Dunham Park was enjoyed even though not a formal cook out, the sandwiches and fellowship were enjoyed by many. This December 5th we held the Advent Brunch with ziti with a side of meatballs. Many homemade foods were enjoyed and thank you to parishioners who supplied casseroles, salads, sides, and desserts. A special thank you to Beth Kujan for the beautiful table centerpieces. We are also enjoying our in-person coffee hour after the ten o’clock service. Please join us even if needing a mask because there is so much space available.
I hope that we all can continue to pray for those still staying home for church and continue to enjoy safe fellowship events in the New Year. I am gratefulfor all the blessings we have had this past year at St. Mark’s and look forwardto 2022.
Our missions this year consisted of Keansburg, Fall Rummage Sale, God’s Giving Garden the Holiday Ham and Turkey collection, and the Saturdays in September. All were affected by the COVID 19 Pandemic. The Rummage Sale did fairly well, but was also affected by Hurricane Ida and all the flooding as a result. In 2022 we will be having the usual Spring and Fall Sales! We added two new projects; knitting squares for prayer shawls/blankets and making ropes from plastic grocery bags which are made into mattresses for the homeless. Both these additional projects have been a great success with the many hands that are volunteering. There were 53 ham and turkeys delivered to the food bank. The Garden was able to surpass last years donations.
We pray for a better 2022 year! I want to thank all the many hands that help make this year as successful as possible.
Over the past year St. Mark’s has continued to communicate with parishioners and those in the community online, and our presence online has continued to grow. We continued to utilize social media and email to stay connected with one another. Additionally, Father Rick and Owen Glass have worked together to ensure services could continue to be live streamed smoothly for those who either preferred to stay home or are no longer in the area. We have been told that there are individuals in other states who log on every Sunday to watch the live streamed service. In addition, we planned a food truck event to bring our church community back together which was advertised online and at church. In 2022, I plan to work with Father Rick on creating a sub-committee of youth in the church who are interested in learning how to work the live stream. Then we hope to create a schedule to involve different youth in monitoring the technology during the live stream each Sunday. I also will collaborate with other Vestry members as needed should they need any flyers made or events promoted on social media.