Beloved People of St. Martin’s,
Today is our first anniversary together! One year ago today, we formally began our lives walking together in discipleship after you and the incredible vestry here called me to be your priest-in-charge. With the incredible assistance of the vestry and our senior wardens, as well as the support and partnership of parish administrator Janet Theiss, clergy assistant Wendy Sain, music director Denise Marsh, and communications director Jill Gould, I have been supported and aided every day in this ministry. The time we have spent together as St. Martians (I adored this nickname as soon as someone said it to me) has just flown by!
And yet, in these twelve months so much has happened. We’ve been blessed to have the Rev. Sally Weaver affiliate with us as our priest associate after her retirement from St. Francis, Eureka, allowing us to have two priests on staff through her generous gifts of her time and her talents. We’ve laughed together, and we’ve mourned together. We’ve had new members join and bid farewell to old friends. We have had three baptisms and four funerals celebrating the lives of beloved children of God, as well as one for a family that was without a church home. During Bishop’s Smith’s final episcopal visitation before his coming retirement, we confirmed five young people and received six adults from other denominations. One year, two priests, three baptisms, four funerals, five confirmands, six received. One, two, three, four, five, six.
We celebrated out 54th anniversary by sending out our first Instagram post. We’ve come a long way in those now nearly 55 years, when a few hearty souls gathered in a nearby school for their first Eucharist, and when they later stood in what had been a field on the edge of west county and laid the proverbial foundations for what would later become our beautiful building and grounds. I have spent this first year among you observing our incredible care for each other in myriad ways: noticing when members miss church, our diligent and caring prayer chains and eucharistic visitor teams, our healing prayer teams who pray with people in the chapel area almost every single Sunday, volunteers like Mike Kelly bringing people to church, to the doctor, or bringing people meals. I am also proud of St. Martin’s leadership in the diocese, with St. Martians including myself and Loretta Go serving on Standing Committee, Pastor Sally serving on the Bishop’s Search Committee, Tom Allen serving on Diocesan Council, Jeanne King leading the diocesan United Thank Offering, and Kay Fletcher, Jeanne King, and Ruby Downs helping lead the diocesan Episcopal Church Women.
We’ve also made huge strides in achieving financial health, whittling down our deficit with a successful giving campaign in which you joined with me in practicing Courageous Generosity, thanks to the diligent work of Steve and Maggi Brunkhorst and all the trail bosses and helpers, and we have already set in motion leadership for the next giving campaign this fall. It is my dream that we will not only finally defeat the deficit this year, but will be able to establish a budget with funding built in for new ministries such as IWC and support for our existing ones with new vigor, positioning us to proclaim Christ’s love into our community and region for the next 155 years. Thanks to the dedication and persistence of Lincoln Drake, that will include a new roof sometime this fall thanks to a generous insurance settlement we received this month. Our foundation is solid, in more ways than one, and soon our roof will be, too.
It is my privilege and honor to be your priest. I and my family have been so grateful for your welcome and embrace of us. I know that this next year is going to be even more filled with love, with joy, and discipleship as we continue to look to the future together, growing even stronger in Christ’s love and service. Together.