prepared by Pat Cascio, Secretary for the Rector and Wardens
St. John’s Norwood made history on August 9, 2020, holding its Annual Parish Meeting via videoconference for the first time in its 140 years. Rector Sari Ateek hosted the meeting from the nave on the Zoom platform immediately following the Sunday service.
The first order of business was to elect Vestry members and delegates to the Diocesan Convention. The slate of candidates was elected by a show of hands on Zoom, under strict conformance to our bylaws and with the blessing of our Chancellor, Craig Ulman.
- Senior Warden, one year term: John Stewart
- Junior Warden, one year term: Lisa Raisner
- Vestry, three-year terms: Andrea Guy-McFarland, Monique Robinson, Walter Smith, and Sheila Temourian
- Vestry, one-year term: Paul Beatty
- Delegate and Alternate: Rob Hartmann and Maura Lynch
Sari went on to recognize the outgoing Vestry members, Vestry officers, Delegates, ministry leaders, and staff. including Sextons Jesus and Dora Antayhua, who will be leaving us in September after 36 years of service.
He introduced the new staff: Dawn Molloy, Director of Children, Youth, & Family Ministry, and Youth Group Leaders Cotton Walsh and Katie Zehner, and also the new ministry leaders for the coming year.
Senior Warden John Stewart reviewed church finances. So far this year, income has exceeded expenses due to cost savings during the COVID shutdown combined with continued rent payments from the Oneness Family School and faithful follow-through by our pledgers, to whom John expressed the church’s appreciation. He recognized the special contributions of outgoing Junior Warden Becky Neal, the Vestry officers, and the church staff. and noted that the Vestry has renewed Sari’s contract to serve as our Rector for another five years. (Applause was muted on Zoom.)
Sari returned to the screen to introduce a video necrology and offer a prayer for our departed members. He pointed to accomplishments in the past year: the Eco Action Team’s Lenten Pledge program, competing our substantial commitment to a refugee family from Kenya, helping an asylum family from Israel/Palestine, the work of the Community Connectors at the start of the pandemic, refining the Norwood Guild program, planning for a possible future capital campaign, our first choral evensong offering, and the start of the search for an Associate Rector. Most recently, we have successfully transitioned to online services, and Lee Walsh has provided weekly Christian formation messages for our children.
In-person activities may not resume in 2020, so plans are being made for an online Christmas celebration. We look forward to a special online Fall Forum series on justice, a parish-wide survey of talents and interests, and new initiatives on food insecurity and policy advocacy.
Before offering a closing prayer, Sari pronounced St. John’s one of the healthiest churches he knows.
This historic Annual Parish Meeting was completed in less than one hour. Thanks to all who participated!