Monday, February 18, 2013

Annual Report 2012

Grace Episcopal Church, Cincinnati (College Hill) Ohio

Given at the Grace Church Annual Meeting, February 17, 2013


A spiritual home where all are welcome; a healing place in a broken world.

Table of Contents

Mission Council Reports.

Senior Warden’s 2012 Annual Report

Junior Warden’s 2012 Annual Report

Mission and Formation Team Reports.

Mission and Formation Teams 2012 Annual Report

Pastoral Care 2012 Annual Report

Worship Team Annual Report 2012.

Outreach Team Annual Report 2012.

Newcomer Ministry & Congregational Life Annual Report 2012.

Christian Formation Annual Report 2012.

Healing Ministry Team Annual Report 2012.

Communications Annual Report 2012.


Mission Council Reports

Senior Warden’s 2012 Annual Report
By Roger Perna, Senior Warden

The Grace Church family is very thankful for the ways in which God is constantly blessing us and allowing us to experience his love through our relationships with each other and in the ways in which he lets us be a force in the community. In our second full year as a Common Ministry congregation, we are learning how to depend on each other and get things done without looking around or waiting for someone else to do it. We have organized a Mission and Formation team with leaders for each program area: worship, formation, outreach, pastoral care, newcomers and hospitality, healing.

Susan Lehman, Bob Hufford, David Howard, and Kimberly Knight serve as our rotating supply priests for our Eucharistic Sunday services. Each one brings their own special style and interpretations on how Christ shows us how to serve him in our everyday lives. We also have an adult Bible study on Sunday mornings lead by former EfM mentor Ken Lyon. Our Sunday School is growing.

Hawley Todd provides a Celebration of Wholeness and Healing service on one Sunday each month with emphasis on praying together for our concerns and thanksgivings. Hawley also conducts a Wholeness and Healing service on the second Wednesday night of each month. This service includes drumming and Reike healing modalities. This Wednesday night service brings a diverse group of people into our building which contributes to the fabric that is Grace Church. Several of our new Sunday worshipers have come through the Wednesday night service.

We are fortunate to have Bill Jenne serve as our Music and Choir Director. Bill has been working with the worship team to vitalize and vary our service music, a task which you can well imagine is not an easy one. It is a challenge to keep a balance of new and old music and try to “keep everybody happy!” But, we are working on it.

We also share our worship space with the Life Renewal Discipleship Church which is lead by Pastor Rita Bryant. They hold their Sunday service on Sunday afternoons. We have had several joint services with them and cooperate with them in many ways. \

One of our joint efforts with Life Renewal Discipleship Church is a free Community Dinner on the second and fourth Wednesday nights each month. We serve a hot meal to an average of forty to fifty people from the community at each dinner. This is possible only because these two small Christian communities have joined forces to accomplish this goal. We have applied for a Episcopal Community Services Foundation grant to continue and expand this effort.

We are able to get out the word about what is happening at Grace Church on our award winning electronic newsletter, “egracenotes.” Designed by Ken Lyon, the news letter has been given the Gold Quill Award by the Diocese of Southern Ohio the past two years for both “best in show,: and “overall best design.” We have had many people tell us that they found out about something going on a Grace Church through the egracenotes.

We serve as Interfaith Hospitality Network hosts five times a year where we provide a meal, entertainment and overnight supervision for the homeless families in the program.

We have a parolee program with the State of Ohio where a group of parolees comes once a month to do community service helping around the church. We provide them with a hot meal and fellowship during the meal time. Many of the parolees have told us that we are the only group that actually treats them like human beings. Our sexton, Bob Jones, takes on the main responsibility for organizing this day, and it is a good ministry for him to lead.

Through the donations of members and friends, we were able to send eight children to Procter Summer Camp; three from our own congregation, and five from our community.

We have donated space to Children’s Hospital College Hill Campus that they use as a clothing closet to provide clothing for their long term patients.

We have recently organized a Christmas decoration give-away where people who need decorations can come and receive some nice things to make their homes more “Christmasy.”

We make monthly food and money contributions to the food pantry at Christ’s Community in College Hill.

Here is a brief list of other things that go on in our building during the week:

We have yoga classes and tai-chi classes

A Narcotics Anonymous group meets weekly

The Queen City Rainbow Band, a GLBT friendly organization, rehearses weekly and gives several concerts at Grace church during the year.

The Ugandan School (a group of Ugandan children and parents) meets once a month

Hawley Todd leads a weekly EfM group that draws members from the Greater Cincinnati area.

If there were any issues or concerns at Grace Church they would revolve around the fact that we have a beautiful, old, building that needs lots of attention, which, of course, costs money. We consider ourselves blessed because we have been able to deal with some of the day to day problems such as leaking roofs, need for plastering and painting in sanctuary, and many other things that come with maintaining our space. We have been able to pay for these projects mainly through reserve funds and donations of members and friends.

We are concerned about some of the larger issues with our building; the wood trim, including the frame work around our windows is in need of attention and is a project well beyond the scope of our budget. We will continue to trust in the Lord to keep the building standing while we use it as a center to do his work.

We are especially blessed to have numerous new families and individuals becoming associated with the “Grace Family” in recent months. These new faces not only bring new ideas to us on how to go about our business of serving the Lord, but, also supply new energy to us tired old timers.

Respectfully Submitted, Roger Perna, Senior Warden

Junior Warden’s 2012 Annual Report
By Wanda Miller, Junior Warden

Buildings and Grounds Committee

Members: Wanda Miller, Bob Jones, Ken Lyon, David Mukasa, Roger Perna, Don Wake, J White

Use of our building has increased, both in rentals and in providing good-will space. This use is overseen by J White. These groups are:

· EFM classes mentored and led by Hawley Todd

· Life Renewal Church (Sunday afternoon worship)

· Community Dinners twice per month (free)

· Yoga and Tai Chi classes

· Narcotics Anonymous

· The Queen City Rainbow Band

· Children’s Hospital College Hill Campus clothing closet space

· State of Ohio Parolee Program for completing community service

· Ugandan School (for parents and children)

Roof repairs and subsequent plaster repairs:

The roof continues to be a source of concern after a number of repairs to the roof itself as well as to the plaster damaged as a result of the leaks. The sanctuary has been scraped of peeling paint, plastered and painted. One of our priorities for 2013 is to make a decision about further ongoing repairs or replacing the slate areas with another material.

Work completed from our 2012 Wish List:

· Gravel added to parking area

· Baseboard molding added to upstairs hallway

· Commercial stove added to Great Hall kitchen

· Great Hall and kitchen floors stripped and waxed

· Ceiling painted in Great Hall

· Outside flags repaired and replaced

· Bathroom doors fitted with self-close hardware

· First floor ladies’ room scraped and painted

· Parking lot “mountain” razed (needs to be completed)

2013 Wish List being compiled at this reading!

Wanda Miller, Junior Warden

Mission and Formation Team Reports

Mission and Formation Teams 2012 Annual Report
By Carol Lyon and Hawley Todd, co-conveners

The Mission and Formation Teams are responsible for implementing the programs of the church that are designed to implement our goals.

Our two goals this year were:

1. To increase participation and inclusion of those seeking God within the ministries of Grace church and

2. Develop and practice ways of bringing deeper spirituality and healing into the lives of parishioners and our neighbors.

We had the following teams and their leader(s)

· Christian Formation-Virginia Chapel

· Healing-Hawley Todd

· Newcomer Ministry and Congregational Life-J. White

· Outreach-Mary McLain

· Pastoral Care-Laurie LeClaire and David Mukasa

· Worship-Judy Handy and Bill Jenne

In addition, church wide communications were reported by Ken Lyon.

The team reports follow.

Pastoral Care 2012 Annual Report
By Laurie LeClaire, co-leader, with David Mukasa

I am the new co-leader of this Team, along with David Mukasa. We are in the process of getting reorganized.

We have collected a list of names of those certified Lay Eucharistic Visitors willing to go into the homes of the shut ins who have requested the Eucharist be taken to them after Sunday services. When we get a list of those requesting home visits or phone calls, we will begin offering this service. I intend to call the LEV's on the list and ask if they would be willing to go on a rotation basis. We will pair newer people with the more experienced ones.

David Mukasa continues to make home visits to Miss Elizabeth Kelly, our eldest current church member, when she is not able to attend.

Those of us involved in the Wednesday Healing Services and the Reiki drumming will continue to send healing distance Reiki to those on the prayer list.

We will work with the office volunteers to get clarity about the expectations of those on our prayer list, so we know who expects calls, letters or home visits.

Any suggestions for our Pastoral Care ministry are welcome. 

Worship Team Annual Report 2012
By Judy Handy, co-leader with Bill Jenne

In keeping with our Team’s mission to ensure that an environment conducive to the hearing of God's words is achieved - for a growing and diverse parish family - here are some of our 2012 activities:

Worked closely with all our worship leaders to develop both the regular weekly and the special services. This was done with a mind toward finding new and diverse ways of enhancing the worship experience for all, e.g.

· our Palm Sunday service with the Passion Gospel read in parts;

· the Maundy Thursday service with footwashing;

· the Day of Pentecost with the reading of prayers in multiple languages;

· Youth Recognition Sunday with our young people serving in many capacities;

· Advent services with a new candle liturgy;

· additional relevant/seasonal prayers included, for Stewardship, All Saints’ and Veteran’s Day, and special global intercessions.

Provided Lenten and Advent devotional booklets to aid our spiritual growth. Included within the liturgy, a reaffirmation of our values, as well as a reading of the commandments, on two separate Sundays.

Continued to make regular adjustments to the bulletin, as necessary, to meet the needs, preferences and concerns of our congregation. Made changes to the bulletin process as well, when Announcements were moved to the weekly GraceNotes and when one of our team members transitioned from the bulletin-prep and Worship teams (after dedicating 3 years to these tasks!).

Coordinated the moves to and from the air-conditioned Great Hall for our summer services, which included our first-time use of the screen and projector for hymns.

Received new folks into the service volunteer rotation.

Facilitated a joint effort with Life Renewal Discipleship Church, to hold the Shrove Tuesday Community Pancake Supper.

Thank you to all who contributed to the success of last year’s activities.

Current members of the Worship Team are J. White, John Thayer, Roger Perna, and Bill Jenne (co-chair). We thank Albertha Howard and Tammy Robertson for their past membership.

We very much appreciate the dedication and ready support of all of our celebrants, as well.

Music 2012
By Bill Jenne, MM, and John Thayer

2012 was an interesting and productive year for music at Grace:

· we introduced new liturgies and hymns

· we incorporated liturgical dancing

· we continued the use of drumming

· we presented new soloists

· we used the bells to introduce an atmospheric sound during the Healing Service:

The use of handbells in worship services at Grace Church has expanded considerably in 2012, primarily through their use in Sunday Healing Services. At the suggestion of Bill Jenne, and with the encouragement of Hawley Todd, John Thayer began to use bell trees (chains of handbells linked together by their handles, held up vertically and played with mallets) comprised of the highest pitched bells. Fragments of familiar melodies were used, but random ringing predominated. This innovative use of handbells has been well-received and will continue.

As a result of this, the number of worship services using handbells expanded from 16 in 2011 to 26 in 2012. These bells were used for solo arrangements or in the bell trees mentioned above, and also as a voluntary accompaniment to hymns. They have also been used in conjunction with other percussion instruments (drums, triangle, clave, etc). I hope to expand this effort in coming years.

Last August, the national organization Handbell Musicians of America held its annual national seminar (conference) in Cincinnati. John attended and participated, gaining experience and insights in the process. In October the traveling “Bellman” stopped by Grace Church and spent a day refurbishing our handbells, some of which had been ringing for twenty years or more. They look and sound much better!

Persons interested in suggesting additional uses or learning how to ring are invited to contact the church office or John Thayer.

Grace Church Worship Service Attendance, 2001-2012
By John Thayer

The figures below reflect the changes that have occurred at Grace Church in the 21st Century. The year 2006 was the transition year, and a traumatic one it was, too! The sharp decline in the number of Sunday services after 2005 arise from the discontinuation of the 8:00 AM service on that day.

Figures for the last three years reflect the status change of Grace Church from parish to mission. Note that the proportion of attendees at the Weekday services has increased from 14.7% in 2008 to 36.5% in 2012.

Much of this comes from the Wednesday Healing services. There were 12 of these in 2012, with a total attendance of 582.

Numbers alone do not reflect the changes happening at Grace Church in recent years. Once past the trauma of 2006, members became more active, more dynamic, and worship activities have become more diversified. May God permit this to continue and grow!

Worship Service Attendance, 2001-2012

Notes on the table below.

The Sunday, Weekday and Total columns show the number of attendees, as reported in the Parish Register, divided by the number of services.

AA: Average attendance per service.

%Sunday: Sunday Service Attendance as percent of the Total Attendance.

OTL – Overall Totals

Year    Sunday     AA  Weekday AA   Total         AA     %Sunday

2001 3383/107 31.6 949/50   19.0 4332/157 27.6  78.1%

2002 2973/91   32.7 1173/39 30.1 4146/130 31.9  71.7

2003 2496/88   28.4 937/35   26.8 3433/123 25.8   72.7

2004 2416/83   29.1 353/23   15.3 2769/106 26.1   87.3

2005 2226/87   25.6 595/28   21.3 2821/115 24.5   78.9

2006 1756/62   28.3 330/14    23.6 2086/76 27.4    84.2

2007 2142/52   41.2 492/16    30.8 2634/68 38.7     81.3

2008 2045/51   40.1 347/12     38.9 2392/63 38.0    85.5

2009 2051/52   39.4 503/17     29.6 2554/69 37.0    80.3

2010 1636/49    33.4 745/32     23.2 2381/81 29.4    68.7

2011 1615/52    31.1 794/19     41.8 2409/71 33.9    67.0

2012 1601/53     30.2 920/20    46.0 2531/73 34.5     63.5

OTL 26,340/827 31.9 8138/315 26.7 34478/1132 30.5 76.4

Outreach Team Annual Report 2012
By Grace Staples with Team Leader Mary McLain

The Outreach Team supports the goals of Grace Church and its Mission and Formation Team by focusing on Christ in selecting and implementing local and global projects to alleviate the tangible and spiritual needs of our neighbors. Twenty-one Grace church volunteers provided hands-on service to accomplish these goals this past year and we had donations from many more.

We personally provided home-cooked meals, shelter, activities and fellowship to homeless families on five nights this year as part of the Interfaith Hospitality Network. (Other College Hill churches provided the same services the other nights of the week for a total of five full weeks' shelter.) In total, we served 45 adults and children of the approximately 400+ IHN served in 2012. This project is not only crucial to combating the rising tide of family homelessness in Cincinnati, but has proven to be an attractive element to newcomers and friends to our church who have volunteered in greater numbers. All of the volunteers who come in contact with these families come away with a respect for them in the way they treat each other in adversity and with a great thankfulness for the blessings we often take for granted. We contributed 186 volunteer hours to this project, alone.

2012 was the summer when 20 families with repeated stays in homelessness finally found the hope that they need through IHN’s new Permanent Supportive Housing Program. Rental assistance and on-going case management is provided to ensure that families can stay in one place long enough to stabilize their families. Best of all? The cycle of homelessness is broken before it can carry on to the next generation.

In our project with Ohio State Parolees, we provided these men with a means to fulfill necessary community service hours in order to gain release from parole and pursuit of better jobs. We also provide a hot homemade lunch and Christian fellowship eleven months of the year. Anywhere from 6 to 11 parolees reported each month and were supervised in tasks and served by 5 or 6 Grace volunteers each time. The parolees have performed groundskeeping, landscaping, carried heavy loads, painted rooms, cleaned and made repairs to the building. Some volunteer to say the blessing at the meal and several linger for conversation. With only a half time janitor, we are truly grateful for the services they provide.

Roger Perna and J. White collaborated with Life Renewal Discipleship Church to provide once a month and then twice a month Community Dinners to the hungry or lonely. Approximately 50-70 people were served each month through donations of money, food and volunteer cooks. The effort has been supported by Don Wake and Bob Jones through their on-site labor in set-up, take-down and cleanup.

We have supported the food pantry of Christ Community in College Hill throughout the year with canned goods and cash. In addition, our congregation contributed to purchase over 100 packages of stuffing for over 200 Thanksgiving dinner boxes. Two of our middle school children and one adult helped to pack every one of those boxes. In December, Mary McLain came up with the idea of soliciting gently used artificial trees and decorations to be given away to some of these same families. Assisted by Belinda Perna, the Gloria Holder room was filled with beautiful decorations (see photos on the website) and many grateful families also enjoyed Christmas music, hot chocolate and cider, Christmas cookies and popcorn as they sat and chatted for a few minutes.

Finally, Grace Church members supported the NetsforLife campaign to honor our good friend and retiring Bishop Kenneth Price and his wife, Mariann. This 2012 global project of our outreach helps prevent malaria in Africa and has demonstrated that it saves many lives.

Thank you to all the many Grace Church volunteers and friends who have been so dedicated to the above projects this past year and helped make them a blessing to our neighbors near and far.

Newcomer Ministry & Congregational Life Annual Report 2012
By Johnnye’ White, Team Leader

Over the past year, Grace has welcomed 55 visitors on Sundays and many others who attended various weekday services.

The Snack ‘n Chat after Sunday services has been very successful in introducing visitors to members as well as in strengthening relationships among members and friends.

On several occasions, visitors have received flowers and bread. All have gotten letters or cards welcoming them to Grace, and most have subscribed to eGraceNotes. Several have become regular attendees.

Christian Formation Annual Report 2012
Virginia Chapel, Team Leader
Sunday School

By Virginia Chapel

This past year we have helped our children learn and grow.

· They have learned words to prayers I.e. The Lords Prayer.

· We have read, studied and had some interesting discussions about the readings we have each Sunday.

· We have discussions on items we pray for and explained what it means to each of the children .

· We treated the children to an Easter egg hunt .

· We celebrated two of our young people graduating high school and going on to college, as well cheering the good work of the younger children.

We are currently searching for proper lesson plans for the various age groups.

Our class size numbers are up a great deal, so we are looking for more volunteers and asking for the room adjacent to separate the toddlers and older children.

In 2013, we will have Family Sunday replacing Youth Sunday. The children and family members will all take part in helping out during our service.

Education for Ministry

By Hawley Todd, TSSF

One of the best kept secrets of Grace Episcopal Church is EfM (Education for Ministry). EfM has had a long history at Grace. Currently we have a Monday evening class with participants from many different parishes.

In the spring of 2010, two members of the Education for Ministry class received diplomas from the University of the South, School of Theology. Each of these students had completed this four-year program of Theological Education by Extension.

EfM was designed to take a seminary education to all the parishes of the Episcopal Church so that all lay persons would have the opportunity to have the highest quality of Christian education and training possible. Having mentored EfM classes since 1996, I cannot overstate how important this program is for anyone who wants to be a follower of Jesus Christ!

EfM classes incorporate all the best aspects of Christian fellowship and worship with small group discussions and intensive study of Holy Scripture and the Christian Tradition. Each meeting begins with prayer and worship so that all that we do is set in the context of growing in our love and relationship with God. Every class also incorporates time for fellowship and the sharing of snacks. The heart of the EFM process is to integrate our knowledge of God into our daily lives.

If you would like to learn more about EFM, please contact Hawley Todd. We would love to have you join our next class which starts in September of 2013!

Bible Study

By Ken Lyon

We started a 9 am Sunday Lectionary Bible Study this year. Attendance has varied between two and eight.

Every Sunday, we review the lessons to be read at the 10 am service, learning about the context in which they were written and why, and then looking for their relationship to our own lives today.

Sometimes, we have some great aha’s!

Healing Ministry Team Annual Report 2012
By Hawley Todd TSSF

Grace Church has had healing as one of its expressed goals for 2012. The church and its leadership have worked diligently to promote healing. One of the most exciting aspects is the concept of seeing the Grace Community as an oasis for healing in a broken world. Healing takes many forms and is not limited to what has been traditionally labeled as “healing ministries.” For instance, the yoga class, Tai Chi, and the various 12 step programs are all “healing ministries!”

Grace Church has continued the monthly ecumenical Wednesday night Healing Service. It includes the traditional laying-on-of-hands and anointing with holy oil combined with African drumming and various modalities of healing such as Reike and Healing Touch. Attendance at the services is strong and it has a vibrant and devoted following. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience the love and healing presence of God and all are encouraged to attend! The Interchange published an article this year about how Grace’s vision of teaming with Episcopal Healing Ministries and Rhythm for Healing has created a wonderful synergy which has been copied by churches in other denominations. In many ways, the Wednesday evening service could be a paradigm for Grace as we move forward in 2013. Partnering with other organizations is in itself a sign of bringing wholeness and unity to a fractured world.

Monthly Sunday morning Celebrations of Wholeness and Healing are now part of the worship life of Grace. These services are held on the Sunday morning following the second Wednesday of each month. One exciting aspect to these services is that participants from both the Wednesday night healing team and the regular Sunday morning healing team have been joining together to lead the prayers at these services.

Our healing team has continued to offer the laying-on-of-hands at our various services. J White’s devoted service has been a blessing to us all! We often have anointing with holy oil as well. God’s presence has been abundantly manifest, and we thank and praise God for the many stories we have received from parishioners about God’s grace and healing. One of the most common requests for prayer has been for prayers of thanksgiving!

Communications Annual Report 2012
by Ken Lyon

This year, we decided to replace the announcements page of the Sunday bulletin with a revived Grace Notes newsletter, using content from each week’s eGraceNotes enewsletter. Grace Notes is included in the Sunday service order, and is also sent to our shut-ins.

As in past years, Grace Church used several internet-based communications technologies to tell the world about Grace Church during 2012: a web site (, an enewsletter (eGraceNotes) and a Facebook page (

Visits to the Grace Church website are down somewhat from a year ago, from about 250 visitors per week to about 160. Returning visits, are, however, up from about 15 a week to about 25. We continue to hear from visitors that they have found Grace Church via the internet.

eGraceNotes keeps members and friends uptodate on what’s happening at Grace. This year, we decided to publish weekly, so during 2012, we emailed 50 issues of eGraceNotes to subscribers, up from 21 the year before. Subscribers have risen from 165 to 200 during the year.

For the second year in a row,eGraceNotes was awarded the Gold Quill Award by the Diocese of Southern Ohio for both “best in show,: and “overall best design.”

We still consider Grace’s Facebook page to be a bit of an experiment. We try to put something on the page at least weekly, so that people are reminded of us. During 2012, people “liking” our page went from 70 to 165.

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