2013 Annual Report - Stewardship of our Resources

Building Committee

Counters

Envelope Secretary

Gardening Committee

GIFT Campaign

Parish Council

Rentals

Stewardship Committee

Website

 

Building Committee

This year we were  pleased to welcome Beth, Brian and Erogu to the committee.

As in 2012 the continued need for spending restraints limited the work of the committee  to urgent repair items.

West Windows: A more detailed inspection of the west windows (Elgin Street) by stained glass experts and a structural engineer established that the condition of the west windows was considerably better than first reported. Specific repairs to the wood structure were completed including the installation of proper ventilation vents to control air flow between the stained glass and the exterior protective glass.

Parish Hall Roof: The Parish Hall roof was re-shingled during the last weeks of December 2013.The shingles are of the same standard and warranty as the shingles installed over the nave roof two years ago.   There is some work still to be completed adjacent to the roof at the south transept.

Nave Windows: The need for ongoing repairs to the stained glass windows in the nave was identified in last year’s report. This year the window identified as the “Angel at the Tomb” located on the south side of the nave adjacent to the ramp has been completely restored.

Improvements to the Elgin Street Entrance: The services of architectural and lighting consultants have been retained to develop concept designs illustrating possible improvements to the main church entrance on Elgin Street.  Specific details will be presented  at Vestry in February 2014.

Parish Hall Floor: A flooring contractor was retained in early 2013 to re-finish the wood floor in the Parish Hall  However, the new finish does not appear to be adequate to accommodate the conditions imposed by the Salsa dance group.  Further studies are required to determine what can be successfully applied and which would still meet environmental conditions.

Other significant work completed during the year and charged to the capital expenses account were:

  • Replacement of the existing linoleum floor in the 2nd floor choir room
  • Re-furbishing the Rector’s office and washroom area.

Many thanks to our committee members for their active participation and assistance over the past year. Special thanks go to Gay Richardson and her Gardening Angels group for their faithful attention to the church’s gardens.  Thanks also to Jessie Lucas, our custodian, for diligently attending to many items on a daily basis.

 

Addendum re: Greening Sacred Spaces

In my preparation of the written report I neglected to make reference to another project ,not a repair project, but one equally important headed “the Greening of Sacred Spaces”.

This is a practical program supported by the Anglican Diocese in Ottawa with the goal of reducing a faith communities' environmental footprint. Topics addressed in the program include:

  • Building Envelope
  • Insulation and Sealants
  • Energy Consumption
  • Lighting
  • Recycling & Composting
  • Cleaning Products

Through the efforts of Gay Richardson, we applied and St John’s was accepted as a participant. A "green building" audit was conducted in November 2013 from which we received numerous recommendations for upgrade. Some of the recommendations fall under the scope of the building committee  and will be attended  to in 2014 and subsequent years. Parish Council has noted the merits of such a program and has promised to attend to items outside of the building committee’s mandate.

Again, thanks to Gay Richardson. Without her commitment we would not be participating in this important work.

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Counters

Many thanks for years of counting to John Nesbitt who retired at the end of 2012.  In the Fall we welcomed back Gloria Gifford, our prime "shop" counter after months in hospital.  Many thanks to Barbara Brown and Douglas Warnock who filled in when needed.  Alice Doell and I kept going throughout the summer:  listing the "envelope" and "identified" donors, the varied renters, Loblaws, parking and occasional concert revenues.

We count on Mondays at 9:00 am for 1 - 1.5 hours.  Anyone interested in seeing if the job would suit them (without getting caught for every week forever!) can contact Virginia Hill.  Job requirements:  legible writing, especially numerals, maybe a kindergarten-level math (we do use calculators) and eyesight good enough to distinguish nickels from quarters.

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Envelope Secretary

The role of the Envelope Secretary is to keep track of individual donations and issue charitable tax receipts each year. A database program specifically designed for church organizations makes this job much easier. Each week the donations are entered; the program adds everything up and is formatted to print quarterly statements and tax receipts.

The Envelope Secretary acts as a support to the Stewardship Committee by providing information on overall donations and analyzing giving trends.
Pease contact me if you would like to receive weekly offering envelopes or to enroll in the monthly PAR (Pre Authorized Remittance) Program to assist you in supporting St John’s Church on a regular basis.

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Gardening Committee

The Gardening Committee reports through the Building Committee and so decisions regarding any changes to the grounds of the church are first discussed and agreed to there.  In 2013, we replaced the two large junipers by the front church door with smaller   shrubs (burning bush).  Thanks to Jesse for cutting down the junipers and Bruce Marshall for digging out the roots.  The two foundation stones along Somerset Street were moved to the grass near Elgin St to provide extra seating.  A new cigarette butt stop was added by the bench.  Reed Smith (leader), Bill Broughton and Bob Green laid a brick path from the sidewalk to the entrance to The Well’s arbor.  We moved some perennials and experimented with some different annuals this year and assumed more responsibility for the arbor.

Alice Doell, Reed Smith and Gay Richardson are the regular gardeners and Jan and Glenn Calder and Alain Lanoix helped on occasion.  Jesse did an excellent job keeping the lawn mowed.  Thanks to all, with special thanks to Alice for her dedication over many years.

If you have some time, either regularly (weeding, deadheading, etc.) or on occasion (planting annuals or special clean ups), we would be delighted to have your help with this ministry.  People frequently stop to say how much they enjoy the garden.

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GIFT Campaign

St John’s launched its GIFT (Growing in Faith Together) campaign in October 2012. The goal was to raise $400,000 to support a variety of important initiatives here in our parish and in the wider Diocese. All money raised will be divided equally between the parish and the Diocese.

Parishioners responded generously with their time and their pledges.  Our 30 Ambassadors visited over 165 people as part of the campaign, initiating new relationships and strengthening existing ones.  The financial response to the campaign was also gratifying. To date, we have raised $331,400, or 83% of our goal.

The active phase of the GIFT campaign concluded at the end of February 2013. However, this is a five-year campaign, and the GIFT Continuation Committee will continue working to reach our target, so that we can implement all of the parish initiatives described in our GIFT Case for Support, as well as the many worthy Diocesan projects. Those who made one-time pledges will be encouraged to renew their support, and newcomers will be informed of the campaign and invited to participate.

Parish GIFT funds have already been put to a number of good uses, which are described in the Wardens’ Report, and many other important projects will be facilitated in the coming years. Details about the many Diocesan projects funded by GIFT can be found on the GIFT website, www.growinginfaithtogether.ca.

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Parish Council

Parish Council met ten times over the past year in addition to a retreat at the beginning of its year. During the retreat priorities for attention were considered, all of which were drawn from Moving Forward, the parish’s visioning initiative of 2011/2012.

Each of the meetings had three main areas of focus: addressing priorities, reviewing the comments from Sunday’s Conversation Corner and monitoring finances. Other topics were added as they came up.

The priorities Council reviewed and determined action for included (not listed in any order of importance) pastoral care, worship, welcoming and membership, financial stability, volunteer management, social justice and Christian education. In some cases action was deferred until the rector has had more time in the parish; in others it was noted action had already occurred and in still others plans were made for future consideration. The full list of priorities and the results of discussion is posted on the website under parish life documents. So too are the minutes of Council meetings, which are also posted each month on the hallway bulletin board.

In addition to careful review of the monthly financial statement, Council reviewed the comments and questions posed during each Sunday’s Conversation Corner. The many questions we received each Sunday were answered on the spot, referred to someone else or followed up by a later phone call or email.

Parish Council appreciated the arrival of the Reverend Beth Bretzlaff whose energy and creativity often led to rich and lively conversations among members.

Many people contributed to an engaged and committed Parish Council. One member (Colleen Burns) stepped down early in the year because of a move and some will be leaving this role as their terms are up. To the following we offer warmest thanks and appreciation: Barbara Dransch, Vicki Milnes, Jane Maxwell, Iain Wallace, Talia Johnson, Joan Dolphin, Patti Baratta and Monica Patten.

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Rentals

Rentals for Fiscal 2013 for non-music-related groups was $58,443 (slightly up from last year) and we forecast similar income for Fiscal 2014.  Space available during the week for church-sponsored groups and rental groups is almost at capacity in the evening.   We have had many enquiries from dance groups to use our Parish Hall but have had to turn most away in order to make sure that there is availability for parish groups and so as not to conflict with choirs that rehearse in the Nave. We welcomed a couple of new regular groups this year - Smoothstyle Dance Studio has a session every other Wednesday evening and one Saturday evening per month, and the Siling Labuyo Arnis Martial Arts group meets in the lower hall every Thursday evening.

We continue to have a good working relationship with our Friday Night Salsa group drawing large crowds for their nonalcoholic dance generating over $10,000.00 rental income per year.

Our rentals come from a wide range of groups from self help (AA and NA) to condo corporations for board meetings and annual meetings.

Special thanks are due to Douglas Warnock, Jesse Lucas, Magellan Luanda and Bryan Bondy for all their hard work in making rental clients feel welcome at St John's Church.

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Stewardship Committee

The main theme for 2013 leading up to the fall stewardship program was stewardship education.  It took the form of several activities over the whole year.  Periodic financial updates were included in the Sunday bulletin and the weekly E-letter.  There were four sermons on stewardship.  Two were given by our interim priest, Rob Heard, in the winter/spring; and two were given by our new rector, Beth Bretzlaff, in the fall.  We had three testimonials given during announcements at the end of the 10:15 service during the fall program.  The first was given by Bryan Bondy on why he became a new member, the second by Gay Richardson on the gifts that she has received by being active in various ministries, and the last by Bill Broughton on financing our many active outreaches.

A Ministries Fair was held in October for parishioners to become more knowledgeable about the many opportunities that exist to serve.  And every Sunday during the fall program the bulletin had an inserted narrative on stewardship that was based on one of the readings. The narrative was also attached to the weekly e-letter.

The stewardship package and pledging activity was conducted by mail following the second fall sermon on stewardship.  The returns in and of themselves were encouraging.  Compared to the previous year’s returns, total pledges are up from 120 to132; the number with an increase is up from 23 to 39; the number with a decrease is up from 5 to 6; the number with no change is down from 77 to 69; and, the number of new pledges is the same at 14.

Despite these very positive results in participation terms, the increase in revenue from these results is balanced by the donation loss during 2013 due to moves and deaths.  Hence, the forecast level in regular givings for 2014 is essentially the same as in 2013.  It is a historical fact that our annual parishioner turnover is 10 to 15 per cent.  That is a major reason that stewardship education and annual programming are essential if St John’s is to continue its part in building God’s Kingdom here in centretown Ottawa.

We give thanks for the many contributions of Jane Maxwell and John Gallienne who have stepped down after many years on your Stewardship Committee.  And we welcome our new member Ian Myles.  Your other members are Beth Bretzlaff, Barbara Dransch and Bill Broughton.  Anyone interested in joining would be most welcome.

Website

St John's maintains a web presence at www.stjohnsottawa.ca.  People access the website for several reasons; some are looking for specific information, others just want to find out who we are and what we do.  Each week the Sunday bulletin and the announcements (“This Week at St John's”) are posted to the website, and are accessible from quick links on the home page.

A page entitled “Parish Life Documents” contains information like Parish Council minutes, the current Christian Education brochure, and other similar documents.  Descriptions of the various parish ministries are available through the annual vestry reports which are posted under “Ministries”.  Another quick link on the home page opens the online facilities schedule which displays a chart of the various rooms at the church and indicates what activities are scheduled to occur there and when. Every effort is made to keep the website up-to-date and user-friendly.  Suggestions for improvement and new content are always welcome.

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