2014 Annual Report

As Senior Warden for 2014 I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to serve with our outstanding Vestry and Fr. Lane Hensley.  The present and future viability of St. Margaret’s Church is in very capable hands.  Among many accomplishments this past year are the support of the Discernment process and results, as well as reallocation of some unrestricted funds that reduce future financial burdens, with significant short-term return on investments.  The extraordinary support by the Vestry and the congregation in the Stewardship Campaign adds to the exciting future of our Church.  Our missions are being realized with our grasp of the work ahead!

Edward C Rainey, Jr

Senior Warden

The Daughters of the King

The Daughters of the King is an order of prayer, service anf evangelism dedicated to the spiritual growth and development of the Episcopal Church and its Anglican affiliates.  Members include women of the Episcopal Church as well as the Anglican, Lutheran (ELCA) and Roman Catholic churches.  We have 18 members, and are happy to announce that we are spawning a new chapter at St. John’s Church in Indio.  Some of our activities in 2014 have included assisting with and hospitality for the labyrinth walks; a Quiet Day for our chapter, which included the Rev. Armand Kreft as speaker on “Intentionality;” a study of Continuing the Journey:  A Spiritual Formation Guide; making prayer shawls and quilts; leading Stations of the Cross on Good Friday; and praying at the altar trail on Sundays after the 8:00 and 10:00 services for those in need or who are interceding for others; and any other duties as assigned by the Rector.  For more information, please all Alice at (760)323-2399.

Labyrinth

St. Margaret’s Labyrinth was built in 2001 and is now in its 15th year of use.  The Guild’s program continues to expand and has been blessed by the participation of our adjunct clergy.  We have eight walks a year, from October through May.  In 2014 our speakers were the Right Rev. Shannon Mallory, the Rev. Betsy Stilwell, the Rev. Clark Trafton, Alice Sleight, the Rev. Benedict Reid, the Rev. Dr. Ron Hulbert, and the Rev. David Burgdorf.  Shivaun Hinman produced a special program for Valentine’s Day, which included Ruthanna Metzgar and Peter Harris.  The labyrinth walks are an outreach program which brings in people from the community as well as parishioners, and it keeps growing year by year.  The Daughters of the King provide refreshments and assistance.

The Forum at St. Margaret’s

The Forum at St. Margaret’s was founded in 2013 as a venue where valley residents and visitors may learn and be in dialogue about religion, faith and current issues of the day.

In 2014 the Forum brought three distinguished speakers to the valley to discuss “The Role of a Christian in a Multi-Faith World”.

On January 17, Glenn Webb, Emeritus Professor of East Asian Cultural and Religious Studies at Pepperdine University spoke on “The Art of Living in the World:  Awareness, Respect and Trust”.  Glenn, a Christian as well as a Buddhist Zen Master, is a member of St. Margaret’s.

On February 20, Brian McLaren, one of TIME magazine’s 25 leading Christian evangelicals to watch, discussed with our audience “Conflicted Religious Identity in a Multi-Faith World”.

On Friday, March 14, Najeeba Syeed-Miller, a Muslim woman, an Assistant Professor of Interreligious Studies at Claremont School of Theology and a prolific practitioner of conflict resolution in areas of religious and ethnic diversity, presented “interfaith Peacemaking:  Healing the World”.

Music at St. Margaret’s

The year 2014 was a very full and productive one in the music ministry of St. Margaret’s Church.

The Desert Friends of Music had another great year with outstanding concerts. In January, renowned organist Ken Cowan played the 15th anniversary recital on our great Quimby Organ.  Other organ concerts included Thomas Trotter, and Simon Johnson from England, and Duo Majoya from Canada.  A February feature was an incredible concert by the Boston Brass.  In addition, the St. Margaret’s Choir sang the beautiful service of Evensong for All Saints’ Day on Saturday, November 1, and Lessons and Carols for Christmas on December 14.  Desert Friends of Music has continued to grow in national exposure as a respected music concert series.  Special thanks is offered to the members of the Board of this great group and to all those who support and attend our concerts.

Appreciation is offered to all the many donors who make our special days so great including a large number of people who contributed to the unbudgeted music of St. Margaret’s Day music for bagpipes, drums, brass quintet, choir and organ.

The annual Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols for Christmas was well received with a full church offering great appreciation to the singers and musicians for a beautiful service of music and readings.

Special appreciation is given for the fine musical assistance in the music ministry to Frederick Swann, Craig Gahnz-Kuhar, Tom Barker, Karen Hathaway, and Rita Saari, and other support from Emily Vogt, Raymond Gahnz-Kuhar, and the staff of St. Margaret’s Church.

Special thanks also to all the members of the Adult Choir and Chamber Singers.  Their dedication to our work together has allowed us to continue to grow immeasurably in musicianship, fellowship as a community, and working well as a “large” small group.

Many organists from all over the country continue to stop by St. Margaret’s while in town to see our wonderful Quimby Pipe Organ.  This instrument continues to gain national attention through our concert series by our increased presentation of well-known national and international performers.

Readers, Eucharistic Ministers and Thurifers

In 2014 there were 43 people who volunteered to read the First Lesson, Psalm, Second Reading or Prayers of the People for an approximate total of 341 volunteer opportunities.  NOTE:  This does not include special events.

In 2014 there were 63 people who volunteered to be Eucharistic Ministers (chalice) for an approximate total of 476 volunteer opportunities.  NOTE:  This does not include special events.

In 2014 there were 2 people who volunteered to be a Thurifer.  There were approximately 5 volunteer opportunities.

In 2014 there were 6 people who volunteered to serve as a Verger for an approximate total of 109 volunteer opportunities.  NOTE:  This does not include special events.

(Special events include weddings, baptisms or additional services as scheduled.)

In 2014 approximately 936 volunteers participated in SMEC’s worship services.

Counseling Center

Starting in 2014 the Counseling Center expanded its services to the parish under the direction of Kathleen Dale with the launch of meditation classes. Three series were provided from March to November which grew to two tracks of groups for beginning and intermediate meditation practice.  Meditation is an ancient and honored spiritual practice.  It is now scientifically understood to be a practice with integrative healing benefits enhancing our quality of life and promoting peace of mind. It is a healing path congruent with the philosophy of the Counseling Center in promoting the integration of mind, body and spirit. We are privileged to have the participation of Benedict Reid, former Benedictine abbot, in the meditation group practices.

The Counseling Center offers professional counseling services to parish members, families, friends, and community residents. Kathleen Dale is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for 27 years and an Episcopal priest for 36 years with five years of advanced training in brain-based therapy.  She can be reached at (760) 346-5337.

Compassion and Justice Ministry

The Compassion and Justice Ministry began last summer to put together a plan that would enable those who wanted to volunteer in the Coachella Valley, beyond St. Margaret’s and the Outreach Center to do so.  We put together a survey which was completed by over 90 people in the parish giving us an idea of the areas of interest.  We are pulling together resources in the valley to match those interests.  We look forward to sharing those through our bulletin board in the narthex, the Connections table and Ministry Minutes during the Sunday services.

Altar Guild

The Altar Guild is, indeed, a special ministry! Imagine coming to a church service at St Margaret’s and not having communion!   Did you ever think of what it takes to make that happen?

The purpose of the Altar Guild is to serve God behind the scenes in His house by preparing the Altar for all services and for all occasions (weddings, funerals, and baptisms), including polishing and maintaining the silver and brass, cleansing and ironing the linens and vestments, setting out the wine and bread, preparing the candles.

This is only the beginning of what is accomplished by the Altar Guild each week to ensure that the Clergy is supported and the Eucharist is prepared for every person who attends a service at St. Margaret’s.  During the Season, St. Margaret’s schedules at least four services each week.  Can you imagine the opportunities and responsibilities this ministry provides for those who love to serve the Lord in this important way? It is truly a blessing to be a member of the Altar Guild

Our Altar Guild family currently consists of 23 men and women.  We are a combination of young and seasoned.  We are married and single, widows and widowers, partners, young parents, teen-agers, retirees, and full-time employed.  Nineteen are year-round residents, and we are blessed with those who live here during the season.

The Altar Guild operates within a weekly team structure.  Each team is chaired by a year-round member and assistant to share the responsibilities and to train the next generation of Altar Guild leaders.  All members are provided a manual and ongoing training and support.

Because we have the weekly team structure and new members, we work toward unifying the group so everyone will know each other and feel a part of the whole Altar Guild, rather than just their weekly team. To that end, we display photographs with names of each Altar Guild member in the Sacristy, and we wear name tags to identify Altar Guild members to the congregation.  Each member is a blessing to us.

We work closely with the Rector, with whom we meet at a Brown Bag Lunch/Meeting on the first Wednesday of each month.

We continue to recruit new members from those who have participated in other Altar Guilds, as well as those who are new to this ministry and young families who want to serve on Altar Guild and Acolytes.

We are building the future of our Altar Guild from the roots up.  Please call

(760) 773-1980 or (760) 636-3679 for more information.

Guild

St. Margaret’s Guild meets for a no-host lunch each month (with the exception of July and August).  The purpose is simply to become better acquainted with members of our church in a small, social situation.  All women of St. Margaret’s are welcome.

Usher Ministry

The Usher Ministry is very important to the life of the church. Ushers are on the front lines……the first people that visitors meet. They are a smiling, friendly, helpful and well-informed group who hand out bulletins, collect offering, dismiss worshipers for communion and of course, assist people finding a seat. Last year Curt and Susan Gettis agreed to lead the Usher Program.  They trained a new group of people that had not ushered previously. Seasonal residents, full-time residents and several women parishioners were new to the usher ranks. The Usher Program for both Sunday services became a part of the church’s main computer scheduling program which made it possible for the seasonal residents to participate as well as those whose outside commitments are numerous.

We always need ushers.  If you can usher even one Sunday a month, we would love to have you.  With just one Sunday of ushering, you will understand how critical your role is to the smooth proceedings of the church service.  If you’re attending church anyway, sign up for this invaluable program.  NO MEETINGS!  One hour of your time on the Sunday when YOU choose to usher.

Discernment

In January, 2014, our Rector, Lane Hensley, appointed a team of nine to create and lead a parish wide discernment process to celebrate our 50 years as a parish.  Discernment is a spiritual practice in which the participants, through prayer, silence, deep listening, and conversation, ask the Holy Spirit to guide them as they explore who God wants them to be and what God wants them to do.
The focus of our public gatherings was this statement of Frederick Buechner:” The place God calls us is the place where our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
We discerned our “deep gladness” as the spiritual gifts we have been given individually and as a parish.  The gifts discerned were: hospitality, music, compassion, and growth in knowledge and understanding of Scripture and spirituality.
The hungers discerned were: hunger for God, to belong, to serve, to grow in knowledge and understanding of Scripture and spirituality and the hunger for justice, starting with our Valley.

The St. Margaret’s Book Study grew out of the original parish Discernment.  The desire to continue growing as followers of Jesus Christ, to meet people in small groups and to share insights on the meanings of life, came together in the Fall of 2014 when our study groups were launched.  Sister Joan Chichester’s book, The Gift of Years, was chosen to be read.  Six groups met in homes on different days of the week, with a facilitator, to share experiences and reflections.
The next opportunity to read and join a group will be   Feb 22, 2015, when we read Richard Rohr’s, Falling Upward, Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.

Read With Me

The READ WITH ME program is currently tutoring in 5 elementary schools out in Mecca/Thermal.  There are seven churches involved in this Outreach program.  We have sixteen bus loads each week to assist the teachers at these elementary schools.  St. Margaret’s joins forces with Palm Desert Presbyterian and goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays to Oasis Elementary.  At this time 13 volunteers are from St. Margaret’s – we’d love to have more.  This program started 10 years ago with only one church involved.  I personally have been involved for four years and find this to be the most rewarding experience. The children are all so appreciative and  look forward to each and every volunteer.

I would like to begin collecting gently used or new books – appropriate for Kindergarten through sixth grade.  It is our goal to send each student home with at least one book to enjoy over the summer.  Please contact me at (760)341-4139 or kcopen@dc.rr.com for further information.

Pew Ministry

The Pew Ministry volunteers are Gladys Martin, Jane Artinian, Edie Thoreson, Marge Freeman, Barbara Mulligan and Bob Kimball.  Thanks to some recruiting efforts this past year our numbers increased from two people to the current six.

The Pew Volunteers are responsible each week for replacing donation envelopes, pledge cards, pencils and rearrange hymnals and prayer books.  We also collect many items left behind from the services (eye glasses, keys, water bottles, etc.)

If interested in helping out now and then please give Debby a call in the office.

Hospitality/Newcomer/Membership Ministry

We have a wonderful dedicated team of 20 members whose mission is to greet and provide a warm welcome to all who enter the doors of St. Margaret’s. The greeters and hospitality hosts are assigned to every door that leads to the sanctuary for Sunday worship. In addition we invite visitors/newcomers to join us at fellowship in Karns Hall and assist with any question they may have and give them a Welcome booklet. Likewise we look for visitors during fellowship in Karns Hall and introduce them to members of the congregation to help them feel welcome.

We hosted three Newcomers Brunch for 42 persons who have indicated an interest in getting involved with St. Margaret’s. We provided information regarding the process of becoming a member and information about the programs and activities that are available.

The team members follow up with welcome cards and phone calls to assist newcomers in feeling welcome and assist with helping them find their interests. Practicing hospitality allows the image of God to become the likeness of God within ourselves in order to welcome and love others as God has welcomed and loved us.

Stewardship

The 2015 Stewardship Committee membership consisted of Judy  Burton, Curt Gettis, Meredith Hardy, Karel Lambell, Dean Kauffman, with Vince Heuring, Chair. The committee settled on a 5-Sunday pledge campaign beginning October 26 and ending November 23. The committee was asked to set a goal of an overall 15% increase in pledge income in order to fund the salary and ministries of an associate rector and to cover increases in other expenses. In line with this goal, we settled on a campaign theme of, “Growing St. Margaret’s.”

The campaign was composed of written, oral, and graphical components for communication with the congregation.

The Written Campaign: we designed an inexpensive 3-fold pledge card that would easily fit into the pew card holders. The pledge card was mailed to the St. Margaret’s mailing list in a #10 envelope along with a letter of solicitation and a #9 first-class stamped return envelope. Three letters were drafted to appeal to three different categories of congregants. After vetting of the package by the Rector and the office personnel mailing commenced on Nov. 12, so that they would arrive just prior to the last two Sundays of the campaign.

The Oral Campaign: On three of the Sundays the Rector spoke about the importance of stewardship. Each Sunday except for St. Margaret’s day a speaker from the congregation spoke on the changes St. Margaret’s had made in their lives. On the first and last Sundays of the campaign the Chair addressed the congregation at all three services, spelling out the rationale for the needed 15% increase. It was pointed out to the congregation that some members would not be able to pledge this increased amount, and so those who could were urged to contribute more than 15% to offset this.

Graphical Support: A large poster on the theme of Growing St. Margaret’s depicted a watering can pouring down gifts (pledges) into a blue pool with Christian Formation, Worship, Outreach, and Pastoral Care. At the end of the campaign the poster was augmented with a blue “aquifer,” calibrated in pledge contributions, that was updated each week with the increased pledge amount and number of pledges. A reduced version of this graphic was included in the weekly email newsletter and also put on the church web site.

Post-campaign: on Jan. 18 the chair again addressed the Saturday and Sunday congregations with much the same message, but aimed toward the seasonal members and those who had not yet pledged. As of January 27 the pledges received were running at over 15% above the 2014 campaign. There are still over 80 members who have not pledged, and will receive a followup.

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