2015 was a year of movement and change for Trinity, and together, we’ve accomplished great things in the ministry of Jesus Christ in our community. By the Rev. Brad Mullis
Dear friends, we held our annual meeting on November 22. Here are some of my remarks:
… I work with a gifted staff and we should all be grateful for their ministry among us. Sam Holt is in his ninth year or so as our organist and choirmaster. We are grateful for his musicianship and the way he enhances our worship.
Parish administrator Sarah Wilkinson just completed her first year with us. She has adjusted well and has the place humming. Thanks to those of you who helped out during her recuperation from surgery and those who regularly help with folding bulletins and newsletters.
Sherry George has a great thing going in the Trinity pre-school. The school is operating at capacity, and even has a waiting list. She and the terrific teachers do a wonderful job with the young children in their care.
And I have special news to report today. I am pleased to announce the call of Chris Fulks to the position of minister to youth. Chris is a member of Church of the Holy Comforter in Charlotte and has recently moved to Davidson. He will have a learning curve in getting to know youth and parents and this place, so please help by introducing yourselves to him and asking, “how can I help?” Chris, you don’t know how glad we are to welcome you.
One 2015 goal for the vestry was to deepen connections within our congregation. To that end we have been having monthly parish suppers. These have been well-received, with typical attendance around 50. We’ve found a good groove, with food catered by Kirk’s and the labor kept to a minimum. There is still work involved in these, and we thank those who do it. And, we’ve begun a different style of seniors lunch, gathering here in this lovely place for a meal and a brief program. Around 25 seniors have been attending these.
One other element which connects our congregation has prompted more questions to me recently than any other: “What are we going to do about Topics after James leaves the Vestry?” This question is a tribute to what James has done with our communications. You’ll all be pleased to hear that James is willing to continue his fine work. It may not be a monthly Topics – there’s a third Hogan child on the way, you know – but we will produce outstanding pieces and continue this communication with one another and from us to the community.
We made our mark on this community in 2015. After another great Oyster Roast in January, we teamed with our friends from Grace Baptist to package over 10,000 meals through an organization called Stop Hunger Now. For about 90 minutes this place was rocking. We measured, weighed, folded, pressed, and packaged meals to be sent overseas. What a privilege. It may not be in 2016, but we’ll do it again, and hopefully we can pack more meals. The Yard Sale raised nearly $2000. And three weeks ago we delivered well over one ton of food to Iredell Christian Ministries to feed the hungry and food insecure around and among us. In addition our housecallers group responded to needs of folks in the church.
The Community Garden grew by three more beds this year and is fully subscribed. It now features a wash station and flower bed built by Cameron Rankin. The Outreach garden sent over 500 hundred pounds of food to ICM this year. Through this garden we reach out to others and honor the God who created and sustains the earth. And right beside it Sarah Kate Rankin designed and built a prayer labyrinth. It’s a really cool thing we’ve got going across the street. It says spirit, it says community, it says we care about God’s creation.
And in the spirit of God’s creation, we now have a full-fledged flower guild, with folks scheduled and everything. This is a great gift to the congregation and to our altar guild, who were handling much of this themselves. Tammy Neely is doing a terrific job with this. Thank you, Tammy. And let me say we have welcomed four new altar guild members, and celebrated a couple of retirements. I say to any of you, men or women, who are looking for a way to do something beautiful for God, who love setting a beautiful table, who are responsible, please consider this ministry. Each team could use a person or two.
The Trinity Artist Series has offered us much beauty this year. The last concert had the highest attendance yet, and new folks are finding out about these first rate performances. Please put these on your calendar for next year, when we will also bring visual artist Robert Steele to Trinity.
Another vestry goal was deepening our spiritual lives. Of course this is hard to measure, but it’s why we are here. To this end, we gathered in Lenten Groups for supper and spiritual discussion around movies. We tried what some Charlotte churches had done, and said Morning Prayer about town during Lent. Family Fun nights continue to be popular for young families. Four youth and two leaders took their pilgrimage to New York. Twenty-five children bugged out for Jesus in Vacation Bible School. And I have offered devotions based on the daily office readings on our facebook page as an aid to prayer. The Animate Series we’ve done this fall in adult education has been exciting. Please, we have something to offer you and your family at the 9:30 hour. We really do.
In many ways the big 2015 story for any Episcopalian was the election of Michael Curry as Presiding Bishop. We were privileged to have him as bishop for fifteen years, and now there is genuine excitement throughout the church to have him as our leader. Twenty-five of us gathered right here to watch the installation service live-streamed, and my wife and kids and Kim Dockery were there in person. Exciting, inspiring, joyful, deeply moving.
But our diocese is in a transition time now. Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple is our Bishop pro tempore and will be assisted by the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, retired Bishop of Virginia. The timeline will go something like this: a nominating committee will be named in the weeks after Christmas. They will announce a slate of nominees a year from January. As of right now, the election is scheduled for March 4, 2017, with the consecration at Duke Chapel that June. It sounds far off, but that’s not overlong for this kind of process. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but we are a healthy and vibrant diocese, and God will send us the right Bishop.
We’ve been blessed to welcome several new faces into this fellowship. We are honored to share with you in ministry as we serve our Lord together. And several faithful members of Trinity died this year. Mildred Johnson, Sonny Shelton, Julian Sisk, Lynne Sweeney, Betty Brady, and Susie Kearns died. May they rest in peace, and may we as we go forward in love and service, remember those who have served here before us. And as we recall those who died, I want to thank those who oversaw the redo of our memorial garden. It’s lovely, and a columbarium is in the works.
As we look toward 2016, we face the same challenges that all churches face in these times, but we face them in the sure and certain confidence that we do not face them alone. More than ever we are called to be translators of the good news into new settings and to new generations. We are called to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love in new ways. God’s love for us and for all creation upholds us as we partner with God for the redemption of this world.
Loving the Lord our God and our neighbor as ourselves often means serving in strange ways, usually unglamorous ways. It’s easy to think my little job won’t be missed; they don’t need it any way. WRONG! You make a difference. Your presence here counts. Your prayers count. Your Sunday attendance counts. Thank you for serving in and from this place. I look forward to serving our Lord with you in 2016. May the grace of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with you all today and always. Amen.