Every year as a part of the Charge Conference, the clergy are expected to report on the church year. Here is the 2018 report as delivered on November 11 session:
Many programs and activities went well this year. Highlights included promoting at least one special Sunday each month to give people a reason to invite others to attend worship at Cass. The following Sundays stand out
A morning to recognize Kirby Terakedis’ contributions to handling repairs and maintenance at the church. His entire extended family attended.
A Farewell for Marsha and Dave Robinson – the couple was relocating to Boston so he could continue his medical education. Members of the church presented them a number of gifts to help them with the transition.
A Welcome for Rev. Jon and his Family – again, church members gave Jon, Lindsey and the children a variety of gifts to welcome them to the church.
Blessing of the Pets – which brought nine dogs and the ashes of a cat to church. The canines behaved well and one of the pet owners was homeless.
The Church Picnic with the Quakers – August had us in the parking lot under a tent for worship and a cookout. There was even a dunk tank which raised funds for the Liberia mission team.
Homecoming Sunday – brought back three former pastors and several former parishioners. The ministers offered reflections from their time at Cass. The Praise Class led the congregation in the Lord’s Prayer. Two of the children offered a liturgical dance and Cass Catering supplied a nice meal afterwards in the gym.
Trunk or Treat – was held inside due to the weather but that didn’t diminish the event. Amanda Funk supplied games and ten other adults distributed candy to both members of the Praise Class and children dressed in costumes.
All Saints Sunday – Rev. Jon used candles to lead the congregation in remembering members and friends who had died in the last year.
The Sunday School children will be presenting a play on the Sunday before Christmas.
Every month, we designated a Sunday to celebrate birthdays with cake and ice cream after the worship service.
We intentionally started some Community Events in 2018, too, in an effort to bring new people into the church building:
A Gun Violence Panel – utilized several area experts and drew a crowd of 100 participants, many of them seniors thanks to Stephanie Donaldson.
A DSO Quartet – performed at Cass in the evening. It also had an audience of over 100.
Men’s Day – sponsored by the Hannon Foundation featured a number of topics of interest to men.
The Detroit Pistons hosted a special Thanksgiving weekend meal at Cass Church for people experiencing homelessness.
The Church will participate in Noel Night and Alvin Waddles’ Advent by Candlelight again this year.
The larger church came to Cass in 2018, as well. Members of Earthkeepers, an UMCOR program, spent four days with us learning about sustainability and what can be done in and through local churches elsewhere.
The E-News started once again and we are regularly using Facebook and Facebook ads. The church page has over 500 friends even though our membership remains about 100.
We anticipate paying apportionments in full for the twenty-fourth year in a row. In addition to Sunday morning offerings, our income has kept pace with expenses thanks to fund raisers like the Mother’s Day brunch and rental income from the Quakers, Baptists, Student Advocates and Cass Community Social Services. The Publishing House has helped, too. Book sales now exceed 15,700.
The challenging news from 2018 is that attendance has been down due to illness and the congregation lost two active, long-time members to death – Esther Bishop-Files and David Leenhouts. Both deaths were unexpected.
The church has some ambitious plans for 2019 which include:
Establishing a Samaritan Counseling office in our building
Sending a team of 10 adults to Liberia in February
Launching a new worship service
Offering Vacation Bible School and
Starting a Cass Radio Station/Podcast