Reviewing last year

Rector’s Annual Report 2014 I think we all know how many Episcopalians it takes to change a lightbulb. None whatsoever – “Change the lightbulb? My grandmother gave the church that lightbulb.” Except at Holy Apostles where (in case you don’t know) it takes one person; and that’s Dan Dugan, who using an extremely long pole somehow manages to change the spot lights in the church. Once again, as I submit my annual report, and as I look over all the other reports as they come in, I am amazed at what we manage to accomplish together. I mentioned Dan above, but I could go on and name each and every one of you who work and give and pray and worship and keep this place full of life and energy and love. This is a church that works to make a difference by faithfully living out our baptismal covenant, and in doing so we touch the lives of so many people and provide a compelling witness to the Gospel. In 2014, with a great deal of work, we put a beautiful new roof on the church. People in the neighborhood have noticed and appreciate the effort that took – they tell me so! It tells them that this place is full of life. In 2014, over the Christmas holidays, we had a moving celebration with East Parkside Residents’ Association, and one of the largest attendances ever for that event. Our friends in the East Parkside neighborhood look forward to continuing and deepening our relationship; and they appreciate, as we do, that our fellowship is a powerful witness in today’s world to the ways in which racial boundaries can be transcended. In 2014 we took our children caroling through the neighborhood. It was incredible to watch our youngest members discover the joys of Christmas caroling – “Better than Halloween,” they all agreed. But even more gratifying was the way our neighbors welcomed us and enjoyed our offering of song. In 2014 we had one of the busiest July’s ever through the Connect-by-Night program. It is indeed a challenge for us to provide this vital ministry. But also during the month the neighborhood Girl Scout troop participated, as did members of the Philadelphia Bible Reformed Church, as did folks who live nearby and just wanted to help out. We also provided a Thanksgiving dinner for the Connect-by-Night participants, and agreed to serve as an emergency winter shelter on “code blue” nights. In 2014 Pam and I, along with our son Nathan, visited our companion congregation in Guatemala City, la Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo, and for a week shared their lives. We took meals in their homes, went on road trips, participated in their ministries, and brought your greetings and prayers to them. And again I want to emphasize how much our sisters and brothers in Guatemala value our companionship. In 2014 we got a new website and have begun making more and more use of it. The same is true for our Facebook page. Much of this work involves technology I but dimly understand. We are blessed to have people who do understand it and who share their skills with our Technology Committee. Please do like us on Facebook. And apparently you can follow us on Twitter, too – though check with Jason Loveland about that. In 2014 the Vestry met every month. The Altar Guild prepared for worship every week. Sunday school teachers prepared lessons and came to teach our children. The layreaders, chalice-bearers, intercessors, ushers, and acolytes supported our worship. The choir sang every Sunday and somebody provided a coffee hour. In 2014 a group of people committed to bringing Herman Giersche to church once a month. In 2014 we collected coats and school supplies and food for those in need. We laughed together, we cried together, we shared life with one another. And for all that we did, I am deeply thankful and blessed to be a part of such a community. So how many Episcopalians does it take to run a church? Each and every one of us!