October 30, 2020

Your Vestry held two meetings in October: a special meeting on October 9 to explore the feasibility of using a consultant to assist with discerning a future path for Charlie’s Place, and its regular monthly meeting on October 20.

At the special meeting, our Rector requested our consideration for obtaining the services of the Lupton Center, based in Atlanta, to help the parish re-think how Charlie’s Place could be most impactful in addressing homelessness as we pursue a mission that incorporates our historic focus on the poor. The Lupton Center’s leaders, who Richard has met through his own studies, are known as authorities on transforming the approaches of churches toward their missions of charity. The Vestry discussion emphasized that there is no pre-ordained outcome other than adhering to our mission and acknowledging the importance of Charlie’s Place to our sense of St. Margaret’s and its impact on our greater community. The Vestry determined at this special meeting to authorize the funding of the Lupton Center consultancy, and later voted in our monthly meeting to divide evenly the $13,000 cost of the Lupton Center consultancy between St. Margaret’s and Charlie’s Place. Our Rector emphasized that his deliberations have included Charlie’s Place staff, and that any process going forward would include them along with key stakeholders from the Charlie’s Place Advisory Committee and the Parish.

The Vestry’s regular October meeting included an initial presentation on the formalization of an Endowment Committee, designed to act as a guiding group for allocation of bequests and to preserve funds separate from reserve funds that would be spent for ongoing repairs and operations that are above and beyond the operating budget. The subcommittee was chaired by David Boling and included Ana-Mita Betancourt, Cathy Connelly, Chris Kimmel, and the Senior Warden. The next steps involve Vestry review of an organizing document based upon a template furnished by the Episcopal Church Foundation and customized to fit St. Margaret’s culture and process. The Vestry plans to vote on this document at its November meeting.

The Vestry also heard an overview from Stewardship Chair Paige Cottingham-Streater regarding this year’s annual giving campaign, and a personal presentation from Stewardship Committee member Ana-Mita Betancourt on the spiritual import of giving. The Vestry voted to approve a recommendation from the Outreach Committee to allocate $500 to Casa Abierta, a Costa Rican support organization for queer refugees from other Central American countries. This repeats similar donations from 2018 and 2019.

Discussions also focused on planning for the Rector Installation and Bishop’s Visit on St. Margaret’s Day, Sunday, November 15. Some portions of the Installation activities will be pre-recorded inside the church, observing masking/social-distancing/maximum numbers guidance from the Diocese. The Wardens will work with Miranda Cooter to coordinate filming activities, and provide updates to the Parish on opportunities to contribute to the festivities; Annika Mitic was asked to coordinate a post-coffee hour activity for parishioners to celebrate the Rector’s installation.

We look forward to our season of discernment and toward our in-gathering of pledges and Rector Installation with Bishop Mariann on November 15. As always we ask for the ongoing prayers of the parish for wisdom, patience, and love as we function as your representatives in the governance of our beloved St. Margaret’s.

Michael Armstrong
Senior Warden

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