Annual Report of the Senior Pastor
Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. I Corinthians 15:58
In I Corinthians 15:58, which is our theme verse as well as our street address (1558 South County Trail), Paul summarizes the meaning of the resurrection. Because Christ lives our labor is not in vain. Nothing is lost. As we run to keep up with new possibilities, it is good to remind ourselves that what we do matters, not just for now, but forever. We can be faithful and steadfast and do our best to excel, knowing that it makes a difference. Nothing will be lost.
Our church staff is both gifted and dedicated. Sexton Bill Dehlman takes care of our building with dependable effort and a cheerful demeanor. Office Manager Cheryl Martin is often the first person people meet on the phone or in person. She is always friendly and inviting. She keeps flawless financial records. Everything is always in order. And she keeps track of absolutely everything that passes by her desk. Jennifer Higgins provides us with wonderful music every Sunday and brings creative insights to our worship planning. Her preludes and postludes are a delight and the offertory is always (always!) a perfect coda to the sermon. Pastor Carol Reale is a trusted partner in ministry. She does everything well. She is always there. And she has a pastor’s heart for the congregation.
Our leaders are awesome. They are passionate about the work and witness of the church.
Lay Leaders Beth Yerger and John Vitko model the commitment and excellence that we have come to expect from all of our leaders. Beth has brought deep faith and creativity to her work. John is always there. No task is too big or too small.
Our Church Council looks forward each month to Rob Wilson’s exegesis of the Gospel According to Bruce (Springsteen) as well as to his skillful guidance. Matt Cronin has led the Trustees with a firm commitment to finding the most effective and efficient solutions to our building issues. Gerri August has provided thoughtful and caring guidance for our Staff Parish Relations Committee. Laura Wilkinson has led our Finance Team with faithfulness that is always clear about why we do what we do. Leslie Pires continues to provide strong and dedicated leadership for our Missions Ministry. Deb Nagle has guided our Education Ministry in continued growth. Worship Ministry chair Jill Vitko has provided enthusiastic and creative support for our worship planning team. Amanda Rock guided the Connections Ministry in the important work of producing a new church pictorial directory. Leslie and Steve Huikko provide strong and enthusiastic leadership to our Visitation Ministry. Niki Stanley has led our Fellowship Ministry with cheerful efficiency, always getting done what needed to be done with grace and caring. And Tim Swartz took on the huge challenge of leading our Stewardship Ministry in making great strides toward a balanced budget. He gave clear direction and support to the many volunteers who took part in our Consecration Sunday program.
As you read the reports from our leaders, pause after each one and say a prayer of thanksgiving. These are wonderfully dedicated and talented people. They tell a story of amazing accomplishments. In the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Luke observed, “Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.” What we are doing today is what the early church called “signs and wonders.”
Rev. Dr. William C. Trench
East Greenwich United Methodist Church