2020 AGM was a wonderful display of the friendliness of our St. Nicholas Family. Although the parish is facing significant short falls that endanger the upkeep and use of our building the dreams and conversation shared an optimism and a willingness to dream and explore alternate ways of being church to keep the community going strong even with the shared concerns about the vitality of the building. The annual meeting encouraged a mandate for our present council to explore and look outside the box for creative ways to use the resources of people, land and our building to support the long term vitality of our parish family, even if that requires amalgamating with another parish community. The decisions and actions of next year or two will be pivotal to the longevity of St. Nicholas – Scary and exciting horizons- we as a council will have to push and support one another as we support the vitality of the parish. I am confident that there is and well be a contingent of the congregation who will be uncomfortable with exploring change, however unless there are creative solutions to maintain what we have we will likely have no choice but to change and adapt if we wish to survive and thrive.
In the short term we have to look at doing some creative fundraising to cover the bills we have right now so that we have the time required to help the parish make the large dynamic changes needed to give us long lasting vitality. The short-term needs require a fundraising team. So far the only people who have stated a desire to serve is Rev. Lynda and Brian Rogers. I think however we just have to start. I would appreciate the council’s guidance on how to proceed – perhaps an open invitation to a Zoom fundraising brainstorming session?
I spent a couple of days finishing, adapting and rewriting a dinner theater script that I started to work on over a year ago and which Sara Stout-Grandy made some suggestions to about a year ago. That script is sitting with Kevin now and once he has reviewed it we plan to have a conversation about what he believes we can offer as a theatre fundraiser this year. It is my hope that we can do an outdoor production like a Shakespeare by the sea production – using speakers, the radio transmitter, a small cast, and perhaps even pre-recorded audio. If July shows were successful then perhaps we would be able to offer more shows in August. Daniel believes we could offer a meal that would be served to cars/outdoor guests and although different, we could offer the great product our theatre guests have come to expect from St. Nicholas while staying COVID safe. I believe Kevin and Sara both feel hesitant.
When the Coffee shop idea was discouraged at our last meeting I set out to look for another income generating options for the church. One that I think could work is an Ice Cream stand. I look forward to hearing the council’s thoughts about this option that Rev. Lynda had dreamed about as long as I have known her!
I am exploring the licensing cost of holding an online raffle. I have the next raffle items ready but am just working on the logistics.
I feel the parish has done a good job of grieving Fr. Art. He still is regularly mentioned and stories are still being shared. He is a part of this family in Spirit and it is lovely to see people still sharing how he is remembered and cherished.
I am faithful to my monthly Spiritual Direction, I am finding time study and for reflection, and am being nurtured through the diocesan Revive program as well as our adaptation of it on Sunday mornings following service as well as through our Tuesday evening Lenten study. I am happy that some of the nursing homes have opened to visitors, so I have been able to reconnect with some of our church members in care. Some facilities are still in lock down, so I continue to make virtual connections. Here is to another exciting year of ministry together, of finding new ways to be relevant, responsive and compassionate to the world through service to our God
Tammy+ Rector St. Nicholas Westwood Hills