We give thanks to God for a very productive Annual Meeting on January 21st. As we begin our Church’s New Year we give thanks for all that God has blessed us with in 2023. Congratulations to the new Wardens: Senior Warden, J. Gil Williams and Junior Warden, Margaret Nartey. And our new Vestry members – Larry Spears, Ellen Heath and John Gummere – who join those previously elected to do the business of the church. Lourdez Hernandez was re-elected to serve on the Vestry, and Diocesan Convention delegates elected were: Willie Coleman, Georgia Koenig and Margaret Nartey (alternates are Bernard McMullan, Judith Miller and Dennie Higgins.) Trenton Convocation delegates elected were: Howard Ebersole, John Gummere, Lourdez Hernandez, Nancy Hood-Boczar, Ellen Wanser, and Brenda Whiteman.
Along with these elections I reviewed highlights of all the various Cathedral commissions and committees. Improvements to the buildings and grounds were significant in 2023. We played a significant role in preparing for and participating in the consecration of the thirteenth Bishop of New Jersey, Sally Johnson French. We prepared our parish Emergency Action Plan, thanks to Bobbie Powell, Mary Johnson, Fay Manicke, Nancy Hood-Boczar, Ellen Wanser, Willie Coleman, Bernard McMullan and consultant, Dan Anderson. Voted on and approved by the Vestry, it will be shared with our congregation at Mass on February 4, 2024.
We are also grateful to have improved significantly our livestreaming and audio system in 2024 This was made possible in large part by using some funds from a bequest from Dr. Fred Rogers. Whilst all of these efforts were most rewarding, I’m grateful that we continued to work faithfully on our efforts of Outreach with the Food Pantry, Soup Kitchen, Academy Pre School, Urban Promise, Grief Support and Trinity Strings. Work on Creation Care and community pet vaccination clinics also played a major part of our 2024 ministries.
Gradually, we are restoring some of the changes we made when COVID-19 first struck our communities. We will return to using our hymnals during our Sunday Liturgy; Joshua Gilbert suggests, “The transition away from hymnals in religious worship can impact the integration of scripture, adaptability, musical literacy, familiarity, cultural diversity, and the physical symbolism associated with congregational singing. Addressing these aspects may require intentional planning and creative solutions to ensure a rich and meaningful worship experience for congregants.”
In 2024 we will continue to build on past efforts to be faithful followers of our Lord and Savior. I pray you will join us as we seek to be faithful disciples of Jesus and great partners in helping to shape the Beloved Community.
Join us for our 2024 Lenten Program, with presenter Canon Dr. Phil Lewis on February 21st and 28th; and March 6th, 13th and 20th from 7:00 – 8:30pm via Zoom. This year’s Lenten Series is based on the book, “How We Learn to Be Brave” by Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde.
Your Friend and Dean,
The Very Rev. René R. John