The Vestry met for its monthly meeting on February 25, postponed a week because Ash Wednesday fell on the usual third Wednesday meeting date.
Following the standard agenda items of opening prayer, approval of the prior meetings minutes and monthly Treasurer’s report, the Vestry approved the annual Parochial Report for submission to the Diocese of Virginia. This is a standard annual statistical report the national church requires each parish to submit and comprises basic membership and financial information, and services held. Saint George’s now has 491 communicants in good standing (defined as “All baptized members of the reporting congregation ‘who have received Holy Communion at least three times during the preceding year’ and are faithful ‘in corporate worship, unless for good cause prevented,’ and ‘in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God.’”) In addition we reported 163 others who are active in some way but whose baptism is not recorded in the Parish Register or in another Episcopal congregation.
David Grahn briefed the Vestry on the progress of the Capital Campaign. Since the combined planning and fundraising committees will have completed their work soon, at its March meeting the Vestry will establish and approve a charge to a new committee to implement the next phases of the renovation project. Decisions about the exact scope of the project, based on results of the capital campaign and preliminary designs, are expected to occur in the April-May timeframe. The formal date for First Fruit offerings has been deferred until the campaign is completed, though early contributions are welcome.
For over a year St. George’s has participated as a provisional member in VOICE, an ecumenical organization that uses community organizing techniques to address social issues such as affordable housing. One result of that participation has been an enhanced dialogue with our own San Jose. The Vestry approved Saint George’s participation as a full member with the membership contribution of one percent of our pledged income as included provisionally in our approved 2015 budget.
The Diocese requires a letter of endorsement signed by two-thirds of a candidate’s Vestry at various stages as an individual prepares to become a priest. Vestry members signed such letters Wednesday night for our senior warden Crystal Hardin on her initial application for postulancy and our Seminarian Grace Pratt for ordination as a Deacon in June. Crystal completed her parish discernment committee process late last year led by Elliot Branch. She now enters an extensive process of continued discernment and vetting at the Diocesan level before she can enter seminary as a postulant.
In a meeting uncharacteristically dominated by issues related to our membership in the larger church, the Vestry also approved payment of a supplemental contribution of $500 requested by the Diocese to continue a prison chaplaincy threatened by cuts in the Diocesan budget. While the Vestry is mindful of the constraints on our own budget it approved this and the VOICE membership as costs of the outreach we are called to do.