2019 Annual Parish Meeting
Here are the minutes of the 2019 Annual Parish Meeting held on January 27th.
(Minutes are provisional until officially approved at the 2020 Annual Meeting.)
ST. JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
34TH STREET AT RAINIER AVENUE
MOUNT RAINIER, MARYLAND 20712
Minutes of the ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
Sunday, January 27, 2019
The 2019 Annual Meeting of St. John’s Parish, Mount Rainier, was called to order with prayer at 11:44 am by the Priest-in-Charge, Rev. Canon Daniel Darko, The meeting immediately followed a single worship service at 10 AM. Fr. Darko appointed Brian Roman to serve as clerk of the meeting.
Copies of the agenda and the 2018 Annual Meeting minutes were distributed. The clerk confirmed that a quorum was present.
An opportunity was provided to review the minutes of the 2018 meeting. No corrections or questions were offered and the minutes were APPROVED on a voice vote.
NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS
Elections were in order for a Senior Warden, three Vestry members for full terms, two Delegates and an Alternate to Convention, and a Vestry Youth Representative. The Clerk announced that a nomination petition had only been submitted for the Senior Warden position; therefore, nominations would need to be made from the floor.
However, the person nominated for Senior Warden, Egerton Forster-Jones, had been serving as Junior Warden for three terms and a point of order was raised that the bylaws permit a person to serve “on the Vestry” for no more than six consecutive years. Could he then seek election as Senior Warden? The current Senior Warden, Coldrick Creese, was accordingly nominated to be re-elected as he had held that position for two terms (four years total), but it was noted that he too had been a Vestry member prior to his election as Senior Warden and hence had been “on the Vestry” for seven years. As no other nominees were put forward, a MOTION was made to “suspend the by-laws” to permit these two individuals to be nominated for Senior Warden on the grounds that it was the purpose of the term limit provision to apply only to the position currently held. This motion was APPROVED by a voice vote, but not unanimously.
Nominations were accepted from the floor for the other offices to be filled. Ballots were distributed and members cast their votes. The meeting proceeded while the ballots were counted.
REPORTS FROM COMMITTEES AND GROUPS
The Choir and the Mothers’ Union filed written reports, which were distributed with the agenda.
Amelia Williams spoke on behalf of the Social & Cultural Committee: “Without collective collaboration, we cannot do anything. All parishioners need to take an interest in what is going on. The S&C Committee will pay for disinfecting the kitchen – about $2000. Most items belong to the church as a whole, not just the Committee. Let us take ownership of our church; we must preserve what has been given us. Parents, please note that children should not be eating in the lounge or conference room. We all need to meet our responsibilities.”
Malphina Wright spoke in agreement but noted that adults also need to discipline themselves.
Florian Knights reported on Christian Education: “Sunday School numbers have increased, and children are anxious to participate. Thanks to Amelia Williams and Howard Knights for their participation. There will be more performances from the kids.”
Neil Knights reported on Stewardship & Evangelism: “We are responsible for the pledge drive. This year some members also testified (at services) as to why they pledge. But we only have 29 pledges so far for 2019; this is very disappointing. Thanks to those who have pledged. Those who have not, please do so ASAP!”
The Treasurer, Arthur Kojo Dixon, distributed the 2018 Financial Report.
Mr. Dixon seconded what Neil Knights had to say. He urged the congregation to sign up with Fredericka to use direct deposit; a pledge form should also be signed by members who want to use direct deposit. Naomi Scott suggested that even if someone does not use direct deposit, one could still make their pledge payments through online banking.
Chuku Dinka-Spencer inquired about changes in salary amounts for 2018. Mr. Dixon replied that the budgeted amount was reduced upon the resignation of the Minister of Music and supply organists’ payments were a separate item.
It was noted that in the past, money for organizations was kept in the parish savings account, but now some organizations have their own accounts for their expenses (and income); on occasion these organizations will use these funds to purchase items for the church. It was suggested to add a line in the budget for accounts payable.
Another suggestion was to publish a table showing how much it costs to run the church for one month.
Mr. Dixon mentioned that that the financial information for the week is posted on the bulletin board – it costs about $4000 a week to run the church.
Howard Knights observed that we would not have these problems if we get people to fill the church!
Waltina Spencer asked that if we are not able to pay our Diocesan pledge, why are we still budgeting a pledge? If congregations are having difficulty, can they go to the Diocese for help, and if the Diocese knows we are struggling, do they still expect us to pay? Fr. Darko replied that yes, there are struggling parishes. But if we can’t pay our expenses, they can cancel the assessment. A 5-member committee of the Vestry is assessing our needs; the Bishop is aware and that we have about $300,000 in needs.
JUNIOR WARDEN’S REMARKS
Cheryl Thomas submitted a written report.
SENIOR WARDEN’S REMARKS
Senior Warden David Creese observed that we have been able to accomplish much and thanked all our members for keeping the church going. We must leave this building in excellent condition.
David Cole observed that the challenges happening to St. John’s are not just here: churches are struggling to make ends meet. If we pledge, make sure to make good with the pledge.
Leslie Wilson suggested that we bring back the “birthday club” every six months and invite guests to celebrate with our members.
REMARKS OF THE PRIEST-IN-CHARGE
Fr. Daniel Darko made a couple of comments: “In this church, there are some who are making this a fantastic congregation. Cornelius Johnson has come aboard as our organist but took a pay cut because he loves St. John’s. The paid staff is not paid the Diocesan recommended amounts, so our staff is sacrificing, and we should not take them for granted.”
Following the nominations, only the position of Senior Warden was contested. The following persons were duly elected:
For Senior Warden: Coldrick David Creese
For Vestry: Kendall Bramble, Theodosia Edwards, Donald Davies
For Delegate to Diocesan Convention: Carol Hazlewood, Brian Roman
For Alternate Delegate to Convention: Fredericka Hamilton
For Youth Representative: Nyashia Knights
A motion to adjourn was made and seconded, and the meeting was adjourned.
Brian A. Roman
Clerk of the Meeting