4523 Six Forks Rd. Raleigh, NC 27609
Summer at Saint Timothy’s Church
Dear Members and Friends of Saint Timothy’s,
Our pattern has been to combine the June and July issues of our monthly newsletter and we are maintaining that pattern in 2016. The consolidation of these two issues in the summer months is not an indication that there is less to report, or this time in the year is “not as important” as the other ten months. For our parish life this year there is lots to report and there does not seem to be a “slow-down” for the summer. At least the list of activities we are putting in place for the early summer and fall are generating meetings, planning sessions, letters and notification so any semblance of summer slow-down has not appeared. Please read through this combined Tidings issue and see what is happening through July and August. I hope you too will see that there are many areas where, if you want to stay active, Saint Timothy’s can be a place to lend a hand.
Immediately after Saint Timothy’s School is out for the summer, we host our Weekend Vacation Bible School. From Friday, June 10th through Sunday, June 12th Sarah Culton is directing what will surely be an opportunity for children to learn more about Scripture, how God loves them and is always with them, what Jesus Christ has done for them, and this will be accomplished in the usual creative, fun, and interesting way. Sarah always needs volunteers and if you or your teen-aged son or daughter would like to volunteer to help create, produce or in any way lend a hand to this year’s Vacation Bible School, it is not too late to call Sarah at the Parish Office. Sarah has made volunteering and participating in the Vacation Bible School very easy by arranging registration through a registration form or by registering online through our parish website.
Since last fall our Church and School have been working with architects, planners and designers from the Raleigh studio of Ratio Architects. In the course of the fall and early winter they worked with our students, parents, teachers, staff members and members of our Vestry to gather their thoughts and wishes about what our Church and School ought to look like and what ought to be in the buildings on our property. For years we have been asked questions, and we have wondered ourselves, “When are we going to have parish hall that’s bigger and nicer looking?” “How can we make it easier for our parishioners to get from the Church to the Parish Hall?” “When are our bathrooms going to be newer, larger and actually meet the building codes?” “What are we going to do with the houses we have along Gates Street?” “Why is there never enough room to do the things we need to do and want to do?” “Can we have our School keep up with the latest in classrooms for learning and provide places for our students to play, perform, and generally meet their educational needs?” “Why is there no parking when more than one activity is happening on our property?” “If we are going to need to build new buildings like a parish hall, dining hall, gymnasium, classrooms, offices, parlor, drama rooms, choir rooms, then what are the best places for them and how do we build them while continuing to use the buildings we have?” The master plan for the property has an answer to all these questions so we now know where these things will need to be, how to get them built and generally how much they will cost.
Everyone should have received a letter announcing the master plan and in that letter been invited to two sessions during which you could ask questions and look over renderings of the whole property. These sessions were last June 1st and 2nd. The renderings are still available, with an explanation of the phases of the master plan if you go to www.sttimothys.org/masterplan. This is so exciting for numerous reasons. We have a Church and School that are going forward with our best days ahead of us. That, for me, is exciting and inspiring enough. Add to that the prospect that we are going forward working with the parents, teachers and staff of our School to plan, raise the funds necessary and benefit from our mutual cooperation and the excitement becomes even more heightened. We cannot make the master plan a reality without the School and the School cannot complete the master plan without the Church. We have never undertaken such large, far reaching, and all-inclusive plans like this in the history of our Church and School. We are now! The Vestry has assented to working through this master plan with the School so we know where we’re going for at least the next twenty years. I’m convinced that God has given us the gifts we need to go into the future with this plan and increase the witness of our Church and improve and broaden the work and witness of our School. The immediate future holds nothing but new possibilities and hope for what we can be and how we can grow.
A few weeks ago our new Standing Stewardship Committee met for the first time. This Standing Stewardship Committee was the created by the Vestry at the last Annual Vestry Retreat in early February. The purpose of the Committee is to oversee all aspects of stewardship in parish and report to the Vestry. With that broad and inclusive charge, the Committee will make sure the Every Member Canvass is produced, but beyond that make sure that parishioners are canvassed who come into the parish, whether it’s during an Every Member Canvass or not. The Committee realizes and is created to help all of us learn that there is much more to stewardship than the stewardship of our money. They want us to learn, believe and practice that we need to be good stewards of our time, including the times that we worship; good stewards of our gifts, and using them for the good of the parish; and good stewards of all the resources and organizations we have here in the parish. In an effort to learn the gifts and talents of the truly gifted persons we have here in our parish the Standing Stewardship Committee has begun taking an inventory of the gifts and talents we have in our parish and the persons who are willing to put those gifts and talents to work in our parish. They are taking this inventory by means of a survey. Please look for this survey when it comes to your mailbox or e-mail or online. The members of our Standing Stewardship Committee are: Sarah Culton, Shawna Doolittle, Meredith Elsea, Shane and Ndidi Manuel, Ramone and Margaret Soler and Anne Wamser. Please respond to the survey when it becomes available and pray that you can discern how God wants to use your gifts to forward the life and work of Saint Timothy’s. The immediate need of the Committee, as the members have announced in our Sunday bulletins, is for parishioners who have experience in graphic design, fundraising, marketing, photography and event planning. We are all asked to call the Parish Office (919) 787-7590 if we have talents we’re willing to share in those areas. The Committee members are off to a good start and they need us to help them beginning now.
Stewardship of our resources, as I mentioned earlier, ought to be in the forefront of our minds throughout the summer. Each year we have this decline in the number of parishioners attending Church each Sunday. As such, we all know that there is a cash flow problem that presents itself each June, July and August. It’s understandable that we go on vacations, take weekend trips, and generally do not go to Church as much in the summer. This lack of church attendance leads very quickly to a cash flow problem here at Saint Timothy’s because if persons do not come to Church, then they do not turn in their pledge envelopes, and then we do not have a healthy amount coming into the Church’s operating account making it difficult to pay invoices and the day-to-day operation of the parish suffers. We can avoid this cash-flow problem by meeting or exceeding our pledge payments through June, July and August. Being a good steward is something to which we are continually called, not just September through May!
The makeup of the staff we have at the parish is changing and is changing in a very good way. Rather than have one person as our parish administrator, I have divided the position of one full time person into two part time staff members. Shannan Brooks, the parish administrator from over ten years ago, has joined the staff as our bookkeeper. Many of you will remember Shannan. She will be with us to handle all of the financial aspects of the parish and comes to us with a great deal of experience and expertise in accounting. She is a great addition to the staff. I have great confidence that all of us will come to know her pleasant and warm demeanor, her extra care and diligence in handling our payroll and associated taxes, paying invoices, assigning our pledge payments appropriately, compiling and tracking the parish budget and any other areas necessary for accurate up-to-date record keeping. This means that still another part-time person will be hired to compile and complete the monthly newsletter, the Sunday bulletins, answer the phone, send mailings as needed and generally complete all parish correspondence. That person has yet to be hired. Please pray that God will send us the person we need handle this area of parish administration.
The Assisting priest and Chaplain for our parochial School has yet to be called. Father Jonathan Erdman who preached for us in April, and with whom we went through a short discernment process, has discerned another calling and will not be joining us at Saint Timothy’s. God blessed us with an opportunity to meet him and his lovely family, and for that opportunity we are thankful. We wish him well in the place and new ministry to which he is called. This means that we are still in the search for the priest who will fill this position. Please pray that God will send us the priest we need and the priest He intends to have.
Many of our young people of high school and college-age have been blessed by their participation in Saint Michael’s Conference over these past twenty years. Thirteen, and possibly fourteen more, of our young people will attend Saint Michael’s Conference this August. This week-long educational conference in West Hartford, Connecticut strengthens and deepens the knowledge and love of Christ and His Church in these young people and for that we are so thankful. We have been blessed with the support of that conference by our parishioners and that is another reason for great thankfulness. Because of that support the spiritual lives of our young people receive the love and care they need to remain faithful and devoted to Jesus. I thank everyone at Saint Timothy’s who is sending their son or daughter to the Conference and everyone who has contributed any amount to get our young people to the Conference.
These are exciting times at Saint Timothy’s Church and Saint Timothy’s School. There’s no such thing as summer doldrums in our parish. It is a great time to be part of our parish family. Please continue to pray for our ministry here and may God bless all of you the way He blessed me here at Saint Timothy’s.
Yours faithfully, in Christ Jesus,
The Reverend Jay C. James