THE RECTOR’S REPORT TO VESTRY – 2017
“Don’t go to church, be the church”. This is a phrase that should stand out in our minds when we go to church, are in church and, when we leave the church. St. Mark’s have been the church for many years as 2017 marked our 180th year of ministry. In this report to Vestry I want to look back at 2017 and look forward into 2018 as we continue to be the church.
In 2017 let’s look at the some of ways we were the church in the areas of inreach, outreach, and stewardship: Inreach We set up a Care Chain to respond better to the needs of parishioners. We organized a Ministry Sunday that allowed parishioners and newcomers to learn the many ways in which we are the church here and in the community. We also set up a Communications Committee to investigate how we can better proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Outreach: We renovated St. Mark’s Food Cupboard, partnered with ALAS (Active Lives After School) Dufferin and raised awareness about the work of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. Our January Popup Shop, Advent Tree and Christmas Day Lunch were all a great success. Stewardship In 2017 we burned the line of credit which we had since 2009. Through our campaigns Building to Serve and Faith Forward we raised over 1.2 million dollars! The response to our special ask last spring resulted in the fact that we did not have to draw any capital from our investments, The Heritage Fund. As well, last year we ended our newspaper ad and floor mat contracts, went to a seasonal contract for snowplowing and renegotiated our contract with Bell Canada, all of which resulted in considerable savings. We invited Lisa Di Veto, the Diocese of Niagara’s consultant for Stewardship, who gave us many ideas that we will follow up on in 2018. We lowered the Diocesan Mission & Ministries (DM&M) assessment for this coming year which, would have been $6884.13 higher, by returning to three year rolling average. These are some of the initiatives that took place in 2017, which I believe was a good year to be the church.
2018 is upon us and we now look at two important initiatives as we continue to be the church: A Rule of Life and Liturgy and Worship. Rule of Life I read recently, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough” – Mae West. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to follow New Year’s resolutions which we hope will help us live right? If you hear the phrase “Rule of Life” you might imagine a list of resolutions or rules you are bound to follow... not a very exciting image. And it could lead to being stuck in your faith journey, or ending up feeling terrible because you can’t do it! In Acts 2:42 we read, They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers –that was a rule of life for the early church. Creating a “Rule of Life” isn’t about listing rules. The great commandment is to love God with all you are and to love your neighbour as yourself. A “rule of life” describes what you hope living that loving life will look like. Imagine a climbing vine on a trellis covered with flowers. The trellis is like the rule of life as it supports and guides the plant to grow in directions where it can thrive. The word “rule” has the root, “regula”, which isn’t about a system of laws, but is a way of making something “regular”, a healthy pattern to support us, to help us stay on the path we have chosen. Your “rule of life” is about support and strength describing how and where you want to grow as you discover the way your life and faith weave together. Forming a rule of life is not a goal in itself, it is a means to another end: to live our lives for God with purpose and intention and to be the church.
The Rule of Life is based upon that of St. Benedict: prayer, study, work, re-creation and hospitality. We will each personalize the rule finding a pattern of prayer and worship, creating time for study, being Christians in the community, having time for re-creation and offering all we meet, our undivided attention. In the next few months we will put together a guide that will help create a Rule of Life.
Liturgy and Worship The pattern of worship we have now has been in place since early 2002. In the past few years we have expanded the Celtic Communion Service and used the Church of England’s services in the summer. I have no intention of departing completely from the B.A.S. as our standard book of worship, but initiatives such as the prayers which some of the Lay Readers are using and the intergenerational services are examples of what we can do to add to our the liturgy of St. Mark’s. This work will begin in the next few weeks as I form a group to take on this important task as we continue to be the church in our worship.
Lent begins this coming Wednesday, February 14 when we as a church will journey to the cross with Jesus and his disciples to the good news of Easter. I pray that St. Mark’s continue to be the church and offer the hope of Easter in our ministry together. Amen
The Venerable Peter Scott 19th Rector of St. Mark’s
Last Updated: Monday, February 12, 2018
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