Senior Warden's Report
By Ray Warren
There is a lot going on right now.
First, please be aware that the diocese is very concerned about the new variant of the coronavirus that may be more transmittable (though not more deadly or less susceptible to the new vaccines). The Bishop and the diocesan re-opening committee have asked parishes to consider taking additional measures to ensure safety.
St. Paul's vestry met this past week and discussed the matter. We feel that our procedures to safeguard services, including significant social distancing, no touching, no singing, ventilation via the windows and mandatory masks are very effective.
A a further precaution, however, we are probably going to change seating patterns to resemble those we used at Christmas. Once this is implemented (which may not be for another week) please follow the ushers instructions as to which side of the pew to sit. (Attendees in every other occupied pew will be required to move to the far end of the pew to increase social distancing from about seven feet to well over ten feet.)
Please watch for emails from St. Paul's in case the diocese issues further directives or mandates the end of live services again.
I highly commend Treasurer Dave Eyer's year end report (above). Because of formatting limitations in Constant Contact we were not able to reproduce it for the body of this newsletter except as a reduced size picture. But please click on the link and read the whole thing.
I am very proud that, in this time of crisis, you, the members and friends of St. Paul's, allowed the parish to reach 93% of our budgeted contribution income. The budgeted figure would have been very ambitious in a normal year. To almost achieve our original goal in these challenging times speaks volumes of the love for St. Paul's that many have.
Unfortunately, even extraordinary faithfulness among parishioners and friends could not change the fact that income from the donation box (for tourists and visitors) the votive candle donations, "plate" contributions from visitors and event income (including concerts) was decimated.
We ended the year on a strong note mainly because utility costs were lower, the Vestry had the foresight to apply and receive a fully forgivable PPP loan (which became a grant) and because we are not currently paying a rector.
Some of our parishioners have already received their first vaccination shots. We can only pray that a renewed emphasis on distribution by government authorities will allow many more to do so in the coming months. Then, hopefully, we can resume activities at a more robust level.
Please note from the announcement above that if you wish to attend the annual meeting via Zoom, you need to pre-register. It is not wise to publish a Zoom meeting invitation to the nearly 500 people who receive the Epistle, so invitations (links) will be sent to those who pre-register. Also as indicated above, those who choose to attend in person will find the windows wide open for safety, so please dress according to the weather (hot or cold).
All electors of the parish are invited and encouraged to attend the annual meeting. One of the most important items of business will be the adoption of a by-law amendment to specifically provide for electronic meetings in times of crisis or emergency. The diocese is very keen on each parish adopting such an amendment. You can view our proposed amendment, which was adopted unanimously by the vestry, by clicking this link.
Please Help! If you know of any business or organization that would loan us a projector and screen to hook into a computer for the annual meeting, please advise. We'll need it just for that morning. The meeting will be much better if we can project the Zoom page onto a screen for in person attendees to see.
It looks like Covid-19 will take a bite out of our in person Lenten services again this year (as it did last year). Ashes to go is almost surely off the table. If the diocese allows, we do hope to have at least one Ash Wednesday service. (Keep in mind that Facebook Live is always a good way to participate in such services without joining in person)
We really do need to focus on the spiritual aspect of the coming season. If you have ideas for how we can organize electronic and at home devotions, please let me know. I am very much looking for ideas from parishioners. I know these good ides will arise organically if we put our minds to it.
I keep hoping that things will calm down and settle down soon. But at the moment there is a lot going on. Prayers for the parish and it's leaders (including our Bishop) are most appreciated at this time.