Monday, January 30, 2012

Zimri the Steward, the Kohathites, and Reflections on Caring

Brendan O'Sullivan-Hale's remarks from the 2012 Annual Meeting.

I have recently been making a habit of being chided by Diocesan staff. Which is not to say I haven’t deserved it.

First it was in conversations with Canon Kissinger, who has been guiding us through the transition and search process. She corrects me every time I say something about hiring a rector. We don’t “hire” a rector, we “call” one. I’m getting better at that.

Then, a few weeks ago, when the Bishop visited us, I issued the standard “The Lord be with you!” to quiet the room. Whereupon Bishop Cate informed me of her new rule that while it is acceptable to use this holy greeting to quiet a room, one must subsequently pray. For why else have we invoked our Lord, using the subjunctive mood, no less? The Bishop taught the lesson by forcing your Senior Warden into awkward extemporaneous prayer.

And then it was again with Bishop Cate, when she visited with the vestry just the other week. There, she corrected me after I referred to our successful stewardship campaign. She interrupted me, not unkindly, and said I really should be referring to our “pledge campaign”. Stewardship is much bigger than financial support, and we abuse the term if we simply use it as a euphemism for the examination of our bank accounts.

These three lessons have in common the set-apart nature of the church. Our activities – the need to engage staff, to raise revenue, to get people to just be quiet – mirror our day-to-day lives in the secular world. But our choice of words and actions in the context of the church reminds us that our purpose is different.

We “call” a rector because we are not simply hiring a pair of competent hands to transform bread and wine. We call because we are asking someone to enter into relationship with us.

We pray after we invite God to be with us because the appropriate attitude toward our creator and redeemer is humble prayer. If “The Lord be with you!” has an advantage in getting a room to be still, let the room at least be still for a moment longer to know the Lord is God.

And when we talk about stewardship, let’s treat everyone like grownups and say what we mean. If we need to talk about money, let’s talk about money. Stewardship is bigger than money, and I was going to talk today about all the ways people at All Saints have been inspiring stewards this year – but I need to tell you, our biblical support on this term is questionable. We all know the parables that refer to the stewards – there’s the one that has the stewards who multiply the money the houseowner leaves them in his absence, and there’s the one with the unfaithful steward who somehow wins Jesus’ praise. Titus talks a little about stewardship, but it’s only in reference to the responsibilities of bishops. Elsewhere, we’ve got Joseph’s steward tricking his brothers by stuffing their bags with precious goods and accusing them of theft. And in 1 Kings, a steward named Zimri gets the king drunk, murders him, and takes the throne for himself. He reigned for seven days, was besieged, and killed himself by burning his citadel down. Are you inspired yet?

Anyone who spends enough time talking with me about the church will at some point get me going on church words and my campaign against them as unwelcoming to an unchurched culture. Stewardship is one of those words. It’s not only unused outside the church, but it has a checkered pedigree. How about “caretaking” instead. It has a similar meaning and a better scriptural reputation to boot. Hear the words of Jeremiah:
Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: "You have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, says the LORD.
So I’m not going to talk about stewardship. I’m going to talk about caretaking. Nearly everyone in this room has been doing it.

Take the outreach committee, who this year has cared for our community by managing collections for the Damien Center, Horizon House, and other ministries, and in cooperation with the greeters has made sure that our gifts are brought to the altar to be blessed before going out to the community. They also stepped into the breach in an emergency situation for the Dayspring Center. Dayspring lost $100,000 in funding due to state budget cuts. The outreach committee chose to donate part of the proceeds of the yard sale to Dayspring to do our part to plug the gap, as well as engaging with a new partner in ministry, Miracle Place. A group will also be meeting later this week to evaluate possible new partnerships with IYG.

The greeting committee has taken care of newcomers and longtime parishioners alike by providing a friendly welcome at our doors on Sundays. The parish events committee has taken care of us by marshalling resources to help us celebrate together. I would be remiss if I didn’t note the many volunteers who bring refreshments for us at coffee hour each week.

The Journey in Faith program, put together by our education committee along with many members of this parish, clergy and lay, as well as other members of the community, has been a huge success. It was originally envisioned as a program for the many newcomers to this parish over the past year, but turned out to have much broader appeal, with many longtime parishioners staying as well. It reminds us that our faith requires repeated feeding, both in the sacraments and in engaging our minds. It’s also an example of how this parish comes together around a project, with more than a dozen people involved.

Mason and the choir have done outstanding work enriching our worship through music. I couldn’t be here for Christmas, but I have heard nothing but good things about the Bach Cantata on Christmas eve. And in his report from the music ministry, Mason informs us that the choir will be starting a recording project this year.

The Sunday School teachers have cared for our children through engaging them in Godly play, as well as teaching them about the importance of caring for others. This year for their Christmas outreach project, the Sunday School went shopping at Kroger to buy personal hygiene items for the clients of the Damien Center.

A little more scripture – I want to tell you about the Kohathites. Remember the Kohathites? You’d be forgiven for missing them because in the dozen or so times they show up in the Bible, we’re mainly told where they’re living or who they’re begetting. But in Numbers we learn that in the distribution of offerings that are brought to Moses as he finishes building the tabernacle, that “Moses took the wagons and the oxen and gave them to the Levites. Two wagons and four oxen he gave to the Gershonites…and four wagons and eight oxen he gave to the Mararites…but to the Kohathites he gave none, because they were charged with the care of the holy things that had to be carried on the shoulders.”

We are indebted to the Kohathites of All Saints, the altar guild and the acolytes, who care for our holy things. Our altar guild mostly works in the background, but our worship on Sundays and Wednesdays couldn’t happen without their care. Our nineteen (19!) acolytes contribute to the reverent atmosphere of worship through their faithful service.

I have two groups of parish leaders to offer special thanks to. First, the vestry. I may be the one who stands up and talks all the time, but let there be no mistake: Helene Russell, Ann O’Bryan, Robb Biddinger, Rose Lane, Brad King, Mark Gastineau, Shelley Stewart, and Jim Tomlinson do all the work. I want to offer particular thanks to Robb Biddinger, who in his last two years as junior warden has done an outstanding job caring for our beautiful old building and all her aches and pains.

Second, the Search Committee. By necessity due to the confidentiality of their work, this group has to work quietly. But since forming in April, the search committee has been working very hard. I know the process seems slow at times, but there are particular steps that it is required they go through. Additionally, remember that the six people on the search committee are given particular trust on the part of this parish. The charge to Linda Ferreira, Don Bryant, Kevin Morgan, Katie Day, Brad King, Helene Russell, and John Phillips is to bring a single name to the vestry. They are exercising due care in association with that responsibility. Their thoughtfulness comes through in the parish profile they published to tell our story to prospective candidates.

On a personal note, I want to thank everyone in this room for your patience. In this interim period, we have all been working hard. Many of us are tired. But the high level of engagement of members of this parish should give any new rector confidence that lay leadership in this place is strong.

I want to take you back to Jeremiah for a moment – “I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, says the LORD”. We’re in the Old Testament here, but the imagery recalls the person of Jesus, our good shepherd. Here on earth, we, the church, are Christ’s body. Jesus is our shepherd, but we too are called to be shepherds through caring for each other and the community around us.

Let’s connect this scripture to our vision statement:

I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more. We believe that something special happens to us through our worship of God. In his comments in the parish profile reflecting on our ministry of providing funerals for AIDS victims rejected by other churches, Dave Kubley reflects that “our beautiful liturgy can be such a comfort to grieving people.” And they shall fear no more.

Nor [shall they] be dismayed. We believe in building upon our extraordinary history as a beacon for social concerns. We care for the people in our community in many ways, large and small. We look for the needs in the community around us to turn dismay to hope.

Neither shall any be missing, says the Lord. We believe in welcoming all people, without exception. All Saints has a gift of gathering up the missing into Christ’s love through our unconditional welcome into our doors.

In these ways we are caretakers of the legacy handed down to us by decades of parishioners before us, caretakers of the needs the community presents to us today, caretakers of each other, and caretakers of faith in Christ’s love passed down through generations. In these ways we are the body of Christ at the corner of 16th and Central. I am grateful to each of you for your role in that. Rector or no rector, this is what we do.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stewardship Committee Update

This year, the stewardship committee, composed of Rose Lane, Steve Little, and Brendan O'Sullivan-Hale, focused on our centennial celebration, by asking people who have been members of the parish for more than 25 years and less than 5 years to share their stories about what All Saints means to them.

Our pledge campaign raised approximately just over $166,000 from 81 people. We are grateful to an anonymous donor who matched every first-time pledger's pledge by an additional $200, increasing our total by $2,000.

The Bishop has challenged us to think more broadly about stewardship throughout the year, rather than simply focusing on the pledge campaign in the Fall. Finding ways to do this is one of our goals for 2012.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Treasurer's Report

Because of a seven-month hiatus in rector support expenses after Fr. Steve retired, 2010 income exceeded expenses by $32,474.49.  Previous careful management had resulted in a 2010 beginning Operating Fund balance of $26,494.69, so that All Saints entered 2011 with an operating fund surplus of $58,969.18.  However, income for 2011 was projected to lag expenses by $20,869, and the Vestry was forced to approve a deficit budget for the year.  This deficit budget was thought to be reasonable in the short term because of the operating fund surplus.  By the end of the year, careful  monitoring of expenses had reduced the actual deficit to $8,428.80, and the Operating Fund still contained $50,540.38.

Income from member pledges during 2011 was $151,650, ninety percent of the amount pledged and two percent below the national average pledge fulfillment of 92%.  Non-pledged gifts provided an additional $18,440 income.  For the first time in at least two decades, All Saints did not request financial support from the Diocese.  Your Vestry and Treasurer are strongly committed to maintaining financial independence in the future, and this very desirable condition will depend on our prayerfully considered monetary gifts.

In 2011, All Saints received 86 pledges totaling $168,352.  For 2012, there are five fewer
pledges, and the pledged total is down to $166,297.  It is interesting that the six highest pledges (7%
of those pledging) account for 30% of total pledged income.

The balance sheet shows total assets of $519,311.02.  The majority of this, $350,984.28, resides in the Endowment Fund, and strict guidelines followed by the Endowment Fund Committee govern use of this money.  The Cornerstone Capital Raising Fund contains $70,941.  Note that the $91,332.62 in the Cornerstone brokerage asset account does not match this balance.   Cornerstone projects have been funded from the CS Capital Fund Rasing Fund rather than from the brokerage asset account, which explains the difference.  The brokerage account exists to receive gifts of stock, and the proceeds from sale of the stock have been left in the brokerage asset account to garner interest not available in our checking or savings accounts.  Unfortunately, this strategy has been ineffective in the current financial environment.  Note that the Major Building Repair Fund is different  from  the  Cornerstone Fund and exists for the purpose of paying for costly, unanticipated failures of our physical plant.  Many of our members contribute to this fund above and beyond their regular pledge gifts.  Finally, there is a Routine Building Repairs expense line item in the operating account for small regularly-occurring repairs.

The budget for 2012 is in balance but is tight.  In a major cost-cutting measure, the position of Administrative Assistant had to be eliminated.   Until our income improves,  the office will be staffed by volunteers.

Our finances continue to be tight.  Many of us in the congregation are beginning to set for ourselves
the goal of giving a percentage of our annual income to All Saints.  Mission oriented giving will allow the
Vestry to aim our budget toward accomplishment of our vision rather than merely paying our basic bills

Report from the Search Committee


  • Designed and wrote portfolio for candidates
  • Designed and wrote parish profile after gathering information and goals from the congregation, from parish records, and from community records, from the vestry and from the diocese. We are delighted to “go live” in December, meaning we are now accepting applications from candidates until February 1, 2012. We invite anyone to make recommendations by filling out a nomination form that you can secure at the meeting, in thesanctuary, or on our website on the last page of the parish profile.
  • The search committee wants to give special thanks to Kevin Morgan, our tireless editor, and to Tim Jensen and Susan Thompson for the incredible gift of their photography, and to Paul Greatbatch for preparing the profile for our website.

  • Our financial limits as a parish have been a challenge. Before the profile could “go live”, the diocese believed we needed to have a balanced budget and a way to help a candidate with a move. The committee, finance, vestry,and two of the canons worked hard on the 2012 budget so that All Saints will be appealing to good candidates. This was hard work and sometimes frustrating but the outcome has been valuable.
  • The search committee wants to give a special thanks to stewardship for their effective campaign and to all of you who have supported the parish in this time of transition.

  • Interview in February
  • Select a rector 
  • Provide a parish welcome for the rector and family
  • Help the rector get settled in the community and in the parish.
Nominations and applications will be accepted until February 1, 2012.  The committee will not receive any names until the diocese completes its initial vetting.  The diocese will then forward the applications of all the candidates remaining in the pool. We will never know the names of candidates who were eliminated. We will let the congregation know when we have received applications.  We will keep you posted on the process but from the time we receive applications  until the vestry confirms our selection, we will not be able to answer questions about the candidates.  

Report from the Endowment Committee

The Episcopal Church of All Saints has an Endowment Fund that has reached $375,000.  These donations are from estate planning gifts and bequeathments to the church. Any bequeathments from a will that is not otherwise designated for a particular fund, (e.g., organ fund, building fund) is then placed in the All Saints Endowment Fund. The Vestry approved the The Episcopal Church of All Saints Endowment  Fund Agreement on Dec. 12, 2010. This document establishes guidelines for the management of the Endowment Fund. The Diocese of Indianapolis manages and administers the  fund (which also includes other  churches in the diocese.)  Financial reports on our portion come from the Diocese to the church treasurer.

The All Saints Endowment Committee will oversee the Endowment Fund.
There are three parishioners on the committee. The agreement mandates that about half of the dividends and interest accrued for the previous year be dispersed during the current year for religious, charitable, and educational activities of the Church.    The principle will remain intact until it reaches $500,000.

The Endowment Committee met  November 22, 2011 and made the decision to distribute $6,000  from 2010 Endowment Fund earnings .   After serious consideration, we granted $4,556.98 to the Centennial Committee to publish and print  "A Perpetual Witness" and distribute copies to the Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, local media, neighborhood churches, and All Saints parishioners. We also granted $1,443.02 to the Search Committee for costs incurred for printing educational materials and  brochures in the search process for a rector. No other committees submitted grant requests.

At the beginning of 2012, we will determine the amount of the earnings from  2011 investments that will be available for distribution.

- submitted by Freida Thompson

Report from the Master of Acolytes

The nineteen members of the acolyte teams continue to provide reverent service at the altar.  The remarkable loyalty of these persons to this ministry is pleasing to me and, I am sure, to the entire congregation of All Saints.  The four teams of acolytes work as units and rotate responsibilities on Sundays.  When a Principal Feast falls on a weekday, ad hoc teams work together and assist the Priest-in-Charge in providing beautiful liturgies for Christmas, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, the Triduum, Ascension Day, All Saints’ Day, and Solemn Evensong, among others.
A highlight of 2011 was the Rededication and Re-consecration of our building in October.  This liturgy, based on the original Dedication in 1911, was beautiful and memorable.
I am constantly indebted to the persons who assist at the Wednesday evening Masses.

I hope that other members of the parish will consider joining us.  During this interim, introspective time, everyone's help is vital to the parish.  And serving God at the altar will give you a spiritual satisfaction that is at once beautiful and intense.

Please contact me if you feel the call.

Respectfully submitted,
Mark Gastineau

Outreach Committee 2011 Report

Significant accomplishments:
- Remaining mindful of the purpose of the committee and the Millennium goals
- Great support and enthusiasm from clergy and vestry for activities
- Promoting outreach opportunities to parishioners
- Participation with several community based organizations
- Raising money by organizing a yard sale
- Two monetary contributions to charitable organizations of $ 600.00 each
- Increasing overall existing outreach fund due to yard sale fundraising event
- Collecting items in bins for distribution to various entities, including food, school supplies, socks and underwear, blankets, eyeglasses, pill bottles

Challenges in 2011:
- Selecting entities as recipients of donations due to vast needs within the community
- Committing to work with other churches and organizations without over- committing
- Finding the time to bond together as a Committee

Goals for 2012:
- Continue to promote outreach activities already organized
- Look to start-up something new if a gap in services is evident

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Education Committee Report

2011 Accomplishments
• 12-forum Journey in Faith series
• All Saints historical forums in preparation for centennial
• IYG forum, in conjunction with the Outreach committee
• Miracle Place forum, in conjunction with the Outreach committee

2011 Challenges
• Meeting the diverse needs of new & long-time parishioners in a small parish
• Scheduling forums at a time that both is convenient for as many as possible and doesn’t disrupt social engagement of the members

Goals for 2012
• Solicit feedback on the Journey in Faith series & topics of interest among parishioners
• Develop a series of forums on civil discourse
• Develop a short series of forums on the Holy Spirit
• Create short video “FAQ” series for the website that identifies and explains aspects of liturgy and tradition at All Saints

Hello from the Events Committee

This has been an big year for us, we celebrated our Centennial and re blessing of the building with an old fashioned "tea" with Bishop Cate as our special guest.
In Feb of 2011 we had our Mardi Gras Celebration ( and will have one in 2012 on FEB 19)  This seems to be a popular time for us to get together and enjoy some creole/cajun cooking.  Not to mention some awesome mimosas!

Easter time last year found us having the Agape dinner corresponding with our Maunday Thursday Service (2012 date APRIL 5)

This year we have celebrated the baptism of Lucy and Kevin Edmundson with their families and welcomed them into their new church family.

We plan to have a parish picnic in September, date tba, but around the end of the month.
The committee will be planning a reception soon of some sort for our new rector, and a good bye for our priest-in-charge Tanya.

We lost two of our members to a move to Fla; Rick and Wally, you are missed!

Jane is also vacationing in Fla for a few months but will be returning in time to help with the Agape.
Submitted by:
Ginger Biddinger

Report from the Sacristan

The Altar Guild provides a vital, anonymous service to the Parish.  When the Presider arrives for Mass, it is the Altar Guild's responsibility to have the altar prepared, the books correctly marked, the chalices cleaned and polished, and linens and cruets and bread and wine prepared.  The Altar Guild also reverently cleans the sacred vessels and linens after each Mass.

There are currently five teams on the guild, who work Sundays in rotation.  I am also indebted to the people who volunteer, without a schedule, for our Wednesday evening Masses.  Weekday principal feasts are staffed by volunteers from the Sunday teams.  During the past year, another baker has come forward to help with the baking of our Communion bread, so there are now two people on that job.

I assumed the responsibility for the Altar Guild about a year ago.  It has never been my intention to keep this job, and I am happy to report to the parish that Duane Palmer has agreed to take on the challenge of heading up the Altar Guild.  I know I speak for him when I say, if you would like to join the Altar Guild, we would love to have you as a member.  If you would like to bake bread for our Sunday Mass, we would be happy to give you the recipe.  (It is difficult to describe the feeling of seeing something that you kneaded with your own hands and believing it has become the Body of Christ.)  And if you would like to periodically take linens home to wash, iron and return,  we will have nothing but good things to say about you!

Respectfully submitted,
Mark Gastineau

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Music Ministry Update

As we come up to the annual meeting on Sunday, January 29, we're publishing the annual updates from our parish committees -- up today...the music ministry. Thanks to Mason Copeland for providing the update.

Music Ministry Annual Update

This has been an exciting year for the music program at All Saints. The choir has grown since our choir retreat held at St. Paul’s in August. We have heard a total of 26 voices in and out of the balcony this season. 

The Bach Cantata, which the choir performed on Christmas Eve, was a success and the choir enjoyed every note as well as the hard work and dedication that went into the preparation. This choir is by far the most dedicated bunch of folks a music director could ask for. At the brilliant Evensong celebrating All Saints centennial, Bruce Neswick accompanied the choir and expressed that he was impressed with the choirs’ sound and attitude.

There have been beginning plans to improve some of the organ’s tonal design in the Swell division and possibly adding a festival trumpet to the Great division. Tom Honderich and I met with Brandon Woods from Goulding and Wood this past fall to discuss the project. This will be a long-term project. Hopefully, more on this soon…

Elizabeth Dernier has completely organized the choral library. We almost have every piece of music cataloged and all of the chants filed for easy access. Now as we purchase new music it can easily be added to our stunning collection. 

The choir will soon be working on a recording project. We will sing some of our favorite pieces from each liturgical season and feast days. 

What a positive year it has been! I look forward to our recording project and rehearsals to come.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Knitting Committee Update

Sunday, January 29 is the All Saints annual meeting, and we hope you can all be there. As we prepare for the meeting this week, we'll be posting the reports of the various committees of All Saints. First up -- the knitting committee.

Annual Meeting Report: Knitting Ministry

The All Saints Knitting Ministry continues to be a viable ministry of the parish with a solid participation of 12 parishioners.  Additionally, there are other knitters who support our ministry but who do not attend meetings – “meetings” being a very loose term!  We gather in the parish hall at 5:30 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.  Skill is not a pre-requisite and we welcome anyone who would like to participate on whatever level they are able.

On November 1, 2010, the knitters committed to knitting 50 pair of mittens in support of the parish centennial celebration.  The goal was to complete “100 Hands Over All Saints” by November 1, 2011, and we surpassed that number by 9 pair!  We added to the mittens several scarves and hats that were made by members of the group who were not comfortable knitting mittens.  These knitted items were blessed on Sunday, November 6 and taken to the Julian Center where it is hoped they are keeping warm some hands that have been through difficult times.  Several prayer shawls were also completed and blessed throughout the year.

In 2012, the Knitting Ministry will continue to provide prayer shawls for use by those providing pastoral care.  We are also knitting scarves for the Red Scarf Project.  This project is a part of the Foster Care to Success program, a national organization that provides support to college students who have grown up in the foster care system.  Care packages are provided to the students at Valentine’s Day and each package contains a red scarf.  Completed scarves are collected September through mid-December and we anticipate coming up with a way to display our progress throughout the year.  You can read more about this ministry at  If you need more information or are interested in being part of the knitting ministry, you are welcome to contact Rose Lane. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Do You Feel Called to Parish Leadership?

The annual meeting is our time to elect leaders of the parish. This year, we will have two vacancies on the vestry (3-year term). We will also be seeking a clerk of the vestry to keep records of meetings (1-year term). We're also looking for two delegates and two alternates for the diocesan convention, which will be held in Bloomington in October. If you would like to stand for election for one of these roles, or if you would like to nominate someone, please e-mail

Saturday, January 7, 2012

All Saints Cleaning Crew Defeats Dust

Thanks to everyone who came for the post-Christmas cleanup, and helped set up for the Bishop's reception. The dust was no match for your brooms!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome 2012 this Week at All Saints

All Saints welcomes 2012 by initiating a week long awareness of the manifestation of the Incarnate Lord with a variety of opportunities for entering a new year.

  • Wednesday night at 6:00 P.M. a simple Eucharist shared with folks looking for a mid-week reminder of spiritual support and renewal. 
  • Friday night of this week, the traditional, deeply meaningful Epiphany service at 6:30 marking the excitement of the coming of Christ to the gentiles. A shared light supper follows.
  • And then Sunday, a celebration of the Baptism of Jesus by John announcing to the world that he was baptizing this, the beloved. And we will share the Baptism of Kevin and Lucy Edmundson, welcoming them into the community of Christ lovers. This will occur at the 10:00 service with our Bishop Cate Waynick presiding, preaching and leading us in the forum at the coffee hour.

Wednesday at 6:00, Friday at 6:30 and Sunday at 10:00 - all moments to strengthen our faith and deepen our relationships with each other. I look forward to being with all of you!

Peace, Tanya