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Ministry Reports 2023



In this special report in The Messenger, our many ministry leaders share the past year’s highlights, challenges, and their hopes for the future.

8 am Rite 1 Service

Vera Hoalim, Eucharistic Minister and Lector Coordinator


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

Seeing, hugging and interacting with the members of our 8:00 am congregation on a weekly basis is a blessing. Hearing organ music every week at the 8:00 reminds us of what we missed during the lockdown. The added solo anthem sung occasionally from our choir members is an additional joy. Alice Rucker continues to be a delight in that she plays works from the Hymnal and from other sources that are appropriate to the service and to the scripture readings. She is always willing to talk about the music after the service.


What challenges did your ministry face?

The members of our aged congregation frequently comment on how cold the church is during services in the winter months. This has improved, but the church is still often very cold. Some parishioners have difficulty walking up and down the stairs for communion. The chancel railings are a help, but we need to continually ensure everyone’s safety, while allowing for individual preferences when receiving communion.


We need to increase the number of qualified Eucharistic Ministers and Lay Readers at the 8:00 Service. We also need a review class of the “Lay Eucharistic Minister as Church of Our Saviour” to ensure that all the ministers participating in that service are following the processes codified therein.


Finally, we lost several members of our family; some to death, some for personal reasons. The challenge is missing them and praying for them. The challenge is also to recruit parishioners who are willing to serve once a month as a reader or Eucharistic Minister.


What are your hopes for the future?

That we continue those highlights listed above.


 

10 am Rite 2 Service

Joanna Cory, Verger


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

It was a joy this year to settle into a normal liturgical routine. The youth lectors have been more than able and willing to read at the 10 am services, as they have been scheduled. I was delighted to find so many lectors willing to read at the Advent Lessons and Carols service this year, and was even more delighted to hear such clear and moving readings.

 

The Eucharistic Ministers continue to faithfully serve not only as they are scheduled but also to pitch in and help during additional services as they are needed. The services at Christmas went smoothly, without a problem, and that is partly because of the experienced and dedicated service of our Eucharistic Ministers.


What challenges did your ministry face?

The diocese has notified us of additional training that is now required of our Eucharistic Ministers. This training requires taking two classes through Zoom and submitting a multipage application. While I see that the diocese would like to ensure that the lay ministers in the various parishes are thoroughly trained, the new requirements have raised many questions for our Eucharistic Ministry team. I hope that these will be resolved in the near future.

 

Another challenge that we continue to face is watching our youth move on after acolyting. I have approached several of the older youth about joining the EM and lector teams. Hopefully, this will not only add to our ministry but also encourage the youth to continue to serve their parish in new and expanded ways.


What are your hopes for the future?

I plan to continue to hold training sessions for our lectors and Eucharistic Ministers. I would also like to plan a one- or two-day retreat for our Eucharistic Ministers. This would give us an opportunity to more fully discuss our ministry and to come to know each better.


 

4 pm Holy Eucharist in Grace Chapel

Virginia Barger, Lector Coordinator


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

Everyone seemed to agree that the highlight was having live music consistently. We were so grateful that we were treated to the talents of Robin Nixon, Vera Hoalim, Dustin Seo, Asuncion Ojeda, Joseph Hu, and even Bob Crocker himself. There is no doubt that our service and experience have been enhanced by such wonderful music. The music plus the lovely lawn (and squirrels) surrounding Grace Chapel are just the perfect setting for worship.


Also, my personal favorite highlights were the times that Father Reese Riley combined the service with a healing time. He came with his anointing oil and special New Mexico dirt to bless those wanting special prayers for healing. I do believe I feel better after a “treatment” from him. Then, at the last Sunday of the year, Father Reese held a special service with handouts and discussion of what Christian resolutions we might plan for 2024. What a refreshing take to rethink our New Year’s Resolutions.


What challenges did your ministry face?

We are small in number but mighty in faith (or so we believe.) There are several loyal followers who come nearly every Sunday and then another group who come often. One worshiper comes after work and is so happy to be able to enjoy the service despite working Sunday mornings.


Jeff+ has been such an advocate for our service. He once came on a busy Advent Sunday when there was a conflicting church event. He wanted to be sure that anyone who had taken the time to come for the 4 pm service would indeed be able to enjoy that service.


We would like more people to enjoy our special service, so for anyone who has yet to attend at 4 PM, we welcome you. During Lent, Marilyn Omernick+ will be leading a book discussion group after our service. Come at 4 pm, enjoy the service, then a simple supper afterward, and stay for her discussion.


What are your hopes for the future?

We hope that our live music will continue and that more people will come to hear it with us.  It has been fun to have a variety of celebrants (Jeff+, Annie+, Tim+, Reese+, Father Ni, Marilyn+, Jane+, and Katherine Feng+.)  Often the sermon leads into time for discussion, and that is always enlightening.


 


A Child’s Garden School

Lucero San Lucas, ACGS Director


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

Some of our highlights at A Child’s Garden School were the teacher-child relationships that have developed throughout the year. Teachers have a strong understanding of each student and have been able to help each student grow in specific areas of their development. For example, one student who was very timid at the beginning of the school year has grown to have confidence in themself through the guidance and support of their teacher. Another highlight is the successful participation of families in our community events, from our family movie night to Monster Mash, Christmas Caroling, and our Christmas Pageant. These events have been an important part of our year as families have had the opportunity to get to know each other and form new friendships.


What challenges did your ministry face?

A Child’s Garden School’s lower enrollment than typical was definitely a challenge for us. Considering our ministry is solely funded on our tuition, fewer students meant less funds to run our program.


What are your hopes for the future?

My hopes for the future are to continue to offer a high-quality preschool program to our community and to increase our enrollment, find and hire individuals who share the same passion and commitment about early childhood education as our current staff, and have another successful school year!


 

Acolytes

Hannah Riley, Acolyte Co-Wrangler


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

Our COS Acolyte Squad continues to be a joyful, lively, and unexpectedly holy group of dedicated kids and teens. We are 22 strong this year and still growing. The highlight of this year has been watching kids “graduate” from carrying the Gospel Book to being a torchbearer. Also, many of our torchbearers now double as second crucifer. The acolytes celebrate wins together, look forward to learning new things (often fighting over who gets to “do the lavabo bowl”), and are thrilled when new members join our squad.


What challenges did your ministry face?

Our biggest challenge right now is our vestments. We need to creatively look at ways to update, maintain, and even purchase robes that will service our growing squad. Historically, acolytes at COS were older, so we have an abundance of tall robes but only a few for more petite acolytes.


What are your hopes for the future?

My hope is to grow our squad, both outwardly and inwardly. We will continue to hone our skills and look for wonderful ways to serve during worship. I am excited to have Charity Xia as Co-Wrangler in 2024 and look forward to her taking on more leadership of our terrific squad. Also, we would like to explore fundraising activities to help address our acolyte equipment needs.


 

Adult Formation

Kit Shenk, Adult Formation Facilitator


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

The Forum Committee continued to organize its programs around the “four legged stool” of Faith Formation, Fellowship, Education, and COS ministries. We began the year celebrating Epiphany with Epiphany cake and sharing stories about our lives. We continue to be blessed with Ed Andersen’s presentations on famous Christian authors, one of which was the life and writing of Madeleine L’Engle. Ed also orchestrated three presentations of The Chosen, the powerful television series on Jesus, his chosen disciples, and his ministry throughout Judea. Cynthia Juvinall invited a speaker from the Foster Care program who brought alive the journey of a person in foster care. Stephen Miles, a visiting priest from England, spoke about J. R. R. Tolkien. Sarah Elizabeth McCandless, a COS member, gave us a lively presentation on her life as a JPL Navigation Engineer. We have been blessed with Fr. Reese Riley’s monthly forums on spiritual topics and frequent forums led by Deacon Bill Doulos. Betty Duker shared with us the beautiful book on our stained-glass windows sponsored by Georgie Erskine and photographed by Karl Owens. While there were many more forum topics, this list gives a taste.


We have had two small group offerings in 2023. The Journey in Joy Women’s Bible Study, led by Rosemary Choate and Kit Shenk, continues to meet on Friday mornings. We have studied the Gospel of John, followed by our current study, Acts of the Apostles. We were pleased that a new small group has begun, “Cultivating Inner Life Through Prayer,” led by Nancy Smith on Sundays at 9 am.


What challenges did your ministry face?

We would like to encourage greater participation in the Sunday morning forums. Also, we would like to see one or two more small groups, either on Sundays or weekdays.


What are your hopes for the future?

We look forward to additional small group offerings and are pleased that the Reverend Marilyn Omernick will be offering a book study during Lent on An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor.


 

Altar Guild

Patti Beith, Altar Guild Directress


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

The Altar Guild supports the Rector in his duties serving the Sacraments to the parish. In 2023 the Altar Guild supported 178 Regular Church Services, 10 Special Church Services, 13 Funerals, 6 Weddings, and 12 Baptisms.

The Altar Guild spends approximately $1,000 per month to support the work we do in purchasing the wine, wafers, flowers, candles, and other items for COS services during the month. The Altar Guild purchased a processional cross for Grace Chapel. We continue to purchase flowers weekly as well as use flowers from the Sacred Garden to place on the altar and decorate the church for special festive occasions. We support the Sacred Garden with money and time. The seamstresses of the congregation and Altar Guild have started a Linen Ministry (Journey of Linens) making fair linen from donated white napkins and tablecloths to be given to Mission churches. The seamstresses have also made stoles and chasubles for the Li Tim-Oi celebration and frontal fair linens for the altar in Grace Chapel. A gong and decorative lion to be used during the Chinese New Year celebration and throughout the coming year were purchased by the Altar Guild.


What challenges did your ministry face?

The Altar Guild is an aging workforce. We continue recruit new members in the Guild but have had difficulty attracting new younger members.


What are your hopes for the future?

The Altar Guild is working on ideas to recruit new members. We have considered inviting young women from the youth group to join as junior Altar Guild members. We continue to write articles for the Messenger to highlight the activities of the Altar Guild with the hope that women in the congregation will join us in our work.


 


Children & Youth Ministry

Hannah Riley, Associate for Congregational Life


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

I had huge shoes to fill when Chaplain Annie Thornberg transitioned to full-time preschool chaplain. I am

grateful for Annie’s hard work and dedication to children and youth programming. Because of this, I inherited a ministry that was already set up for success.

 

Children’s Chapel: This service occurs during the 10 am Holy Eucharist on Sundays and averages close to 20 kids every week! Some highlights include a “History of COS” tour of the campus on Our Saviour Sunday, announcing the coming of the baby Jesus by putting fliers on parishioner cars, our All Saints’ Sunday procession, and playing Chaplain Annie’s famous church telephone game (we sit in a circle and whisper a church term – the results are hilarious).

 

SPARK: SPARK (Speech and Reading Kids) is our version of Sunday school, occurring after the 10 am service. We had a year of modules, each module exploring a different theme, from oral reading to gardening. Just a few of the many highlights include creating our own garden in the Sacred Garden, our Halloween Scavenger Hunt, the Family Camp Out, learning a traditional Chinese ribbon dance, the Shrove Tuesday talent show, and our amazing Christmas Pageant.


Youth: While we only have a small handful of high school students, these students have been creatively engaging their talents at COS. Our live stream is exclusively run by high schoolers. We have a high school usher and high school audio team members. The older COS youth volunteer at church events (from setup/clean-up to cotton candy making), assist with wrangling the younger kids at SPARK and during worship at Children’s Chapel, and read lessons at the 10 am service. Highlights include David Han, Jr., representing our deanery at the diocesan convention and the high schoolers’ enthusiasm for helping manage the compost pile in the Sacred Garden.


What challenges did your ministry face?

The biggest challenge is the age range of kids. We have kindergarteners and high schoolers all in the same group at times. For the first time in years, we are ready (and have enough kids!) to figure out a way to split our young people into age-appropriate groups, staff those groups, and keep up the momentum of the wonderful ministry.


What are your hopes for the future?

My hope is to continue to build a vibrant youth ministry that works for today’s middle school and high school students. I plan to resume Chaplain Annie’s Commission on Youth Ministry to reimagine what youth ministry looks like for our older students. I am also excited to foster more events that engage our community’s families, from the families of our neighboring churches to our neighborhood families to our preschool families. I look forward to helping create a fun and safe community for our kids that helps them grow spiritually and creates lasting friendships and positive church memories.


 

Chinese Ministry

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Ni, Associate for Chinese Ministry


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

2023 was a year of recovery for the Chinese ministry. During this year we resumed several ministry programs which we had suspended during the previous years, such as English conversational classes, lay pastoral care, and particularly the baptism and confirmation classes. This year, we had 15 children and adult baptisms and confirmations. We also had a number of large gatherings to celebrate July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year Eve.


What challenges did your ministry face?

Although the basic needs of new immigrants remain the same, with the impact of the Covid pandemic, the tension in the relationship between the U.S. and China, and members moving out of San Gabriel Valley, the challenges to encourage old members return to Sunday service and get new members increased in 2023.  


What are your hopes for the future?

I hope we will be able to resume our lunch program after the worship service and start a new ministry among the seniors. I also hope that the connection between our English-speaking and Chinese-speaking members will be continuously strengthened.


 

Greeters

Charlotte Van Fleet, Greeter Coordinator


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

We have a Greeter two south doors of the church for every service for every service. Our current team of greeters welcomes the opportunity to "greet," and assists visitors as desired.


What challenges did your ministry face?

Ideally, there are two Greeters at each door, which makes it more enjoyable. For larger services, and as we continue to grow, we'll need two greeters at each entrance to our historic sanctuary. 


What are your hopes for the future?

As we continue to grow, our Greeters will continue to be a welcoming and connecting group.


 

Handbells

Alice Rucker, Handbells Director & Organist


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

The ministry of handbell directing is challenging and exciting, working with a wonderful group of interested, dependable, and responsible players who enjoy playing handbells for church. Seeing the players growing in their abilities is always a highlight. Our members are Debbie Anderson, Sara Dooley, Robin Nixon, Phyllis Scorcia, Kim Sirean, and Patti Teele. A huge highlight was to welcome our new director of music, Bob Crocker. He is a delight to be working with, and he understands bells and all the paraphernalia that goes with handbell choirs.


What challenges did your ministry face?

We lost Hermine Djenbatian, who passed away, and Jenine Baines decided on a new career adventure that drew her away from bells.  Bell choir directors are constantly faced with assigning who plays what bells, and when players shift, so do the assignments. So that is always a challenge.


What are your hopes for the future?

In 2024 we hope to replace our old, extremely weak-legged individual trapezoid-shaped tables and pads with the purchase of three or four lightweight folding tables. We have a space in our choir for anyone who wants to learn to play bells. No previous experience needed. It would be wonderful to have a children’s group.


 

Healing Service

The Rev. Tim Hartley, Associate for Recovery Ministries and Pastoral Care


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

The Wednesday Healing Service has been operating in its hybrid form for all of 2023 with much success. Every Wednesday a committed group of parishioners meet at 11:30 am with some doing so in-person and others via Zoom. This year the format was changed slightly with the reflection being led by the clergy person who preached on the previous Sunday. Additionally, after the brief reflection, time is allotted for a group discussion.


What challenges did your ministry face?

The Wednesday Healing service is a wonderful midweek offering for our community. Making sure people who might benefit from the service know about it is something we think about regularly.


What are your hopes for the future?

Whether it becomes a regular weekly practice or is a place you stop by for some needed prayers from time to time, the Healing Service will be there. We hope it will continue to grow and look forward to introducing a fellowship time after the service at some point in the future.


 

Jubilee Homes

The Rev. Tim Hartley, Associate for Recovery Ministries and Pastoral Care


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

2023 was a very big year for Jubilee Homes. After years of dedicated service to those less fortunate, including 20 years at the helm of Jubilee Homes at COS, Reverend Bill Doulos retired in June. The Bill Doulos Legacy Fund was established to provide maintenance, restoration, and expansion of the physical properties that make up Jubilee Homes. The first annual fundraiser dinner was held in May. The event raised much-needed funds to support the homes, and it was also a time to honor Bill Doulos before his retirement.

What challenges did your ministry face?

Bill Doulos has left some very big shoes to fill at Jubilee Homes, but the Reverend Tim Hartley stepped into the leadership role optimistic about the ministry’s future. The second annual Bill Doulos Legacy fundraiser dinner will be held on June 1, 2024, to again raise much-needed funds to support the infrastructure of Jubilee Homes.


What are your hopes for the future?

Bill Doulos provided safe, secure, and sober housing for thousands of people recovering from addiction over the past 20 years, and Jubilee Homes looks forward to continuing that service for the next 20 years.      


 

Li Tim Oi Center

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Ni, Associate for Chinese Ministry and Director of the Li Tim-Oi Center


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

We finished a series of eight short videos on Social Justice, Racial Reconciliation, and Building Beloved Community. We have started making the English versions of these videos. We completed a lay leadership training course on Christianity in China. Fr. Thomas anchored a series of videos on the four Gospels and led a group of 18 people on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We also prepared the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Rev. Li Tim-Oi’s ordination, including a fundraising dinner on January 6, a panel discussion on February 10, and celebration service on February 11.


What challenges did your ministry face?

We always lack qualified Chinese-speaking lecturers to teach the lay leadership training courses. Another challenge is finding a time suitable for people in different time zones.


What are your hopes for the future?

Our biggest hope is that we will have a successful celebration of the 80th anniversary of the ordination of the Rev. Dr. Li Tim-Oi. A second hope is that we can finish the English version of the series of videos on Social Justice, Racial Reconciliation, and Building Beloved Community soon. A third hope is to find a good lecturer to teach a new course in lay leadership training. Last, we hope we can start the partnership between the dioceses of Los Angeles and Taiwan soon in area of theological education.


 

Music Ministry & Choirs

Bob Crocker, Director of Music


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

  • Choir Opening of Year Dinner and Our Saviour Sunday

  • Solid growth in numbers and achievement by our choir

  • Wonderful collaboration with our organist Alice Rucker

  • Handbell choir growth in achievement and commitment

  • Meaningful participation of varied instrumental musicians at 8:00, 10:00, and 4:00 services

  • All Saints Sunday

  • Music committee constituted

  • Laos Chamber Orchestra and the large audiences for it

  • New ways to work together for our Chinese and English Choirs: Our Saviour Sunday, All Saints Day, Christmas Eve, Li Tim-Oi celebration

  • Advent Lessons and Carols, raising more than $1000 for music ministry

  • Generous ad hoc giving toward section leader compensation, sheet music, and handbell tables.

  • Adventures in integrating vocal music at 8:00 service

  • Three splendid Christmas Eve services, including deep participation by young singers

  • Extraordinary cooperation from our clergy, congregational life, worship, vestry, finance, and maintenance professionals and volunteers

  • The intrepid Our Saviour Choir: Michele Baker, Mackenzie Brown, Laurel Bullock, Janey Cutting, Juli Kennedy, John Musselman, Santo Ragno, Phyllis Scorica, Kim Sirean, Cheryl Townsend, Sherry Xiao, and Charlie Youngblood, and wonderful guests Mike Bray, Bill Gallimore, Kathy Macauley, Robin Nixon, and Maya Origel


What challenges did your ministry face?

  • Building fundraising capacity from the ground up

  • Creating music program policies and routines from the ground up

  • Organ repair costs have been higher than budget


What are your hopes for the future?

  • Music committee will create a music fundraising appeal, a Spring Musicale fundraising event, and further annual fundraising initiatives

  • Music committee will be able to grow stable financial support for four professional section leaders

  • Music committee will create workable written policies and practices

  • Choir will continue to grow, particularly in the number of volunteer men, through musical excellence and by being a great place to know people, to learn, to laugh, and to serve

 

Our Saviour Center

Jose Vega, Operations Manager


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

Our Saviour Center remains true to its mission of helping the community’s most vulnerable through the Food Pantry, Emergency Shelter, and Dorris Dann Kids Campus Programs.

In 2023:

  • The Food Pantry served 32,800 households, including 74,042 individuals. Nearly 760 tons of food were distributed by 549 volunteers who contributed over 6,196 hours of their time.

  • The Emergency Shelter Program served families in crisis, including 52 adults and 101 children, providing them with 1,071 shelter nights. While it is a very small program, we remain honored to continue to be able to serve so many families in this capacity.

  • The Dorris Dann Kids Campus provided afterschool and summer expanded learning programs for 498 children from low-income households.

  • 24 high school students participated in the newly developed Dorris Dann Leadership Academy's Education Apprenticeship Program. The Leadership Academy offers high school students with hands-on opportunities to work with children in a school environment. The program’s mission is to provide a safe and supportive setting that encourages students to explore their academic and career interests, while developing leadership skills, participating in community service projects, and obtaining mentorship by community leaders.

  • Soccer for Success was offered at 14 El Monte schools, with nearly 1,100 students from first grade through eighth grade as participants. Weekend games consisted of 44 teams and averaged over 500 children participating, emphasizing increased physical activity, mentorship, healthy nutrition, and increased parent and family engagement.

What challenges did your ministry face?

The continued ripple effects of the pandemic, including inflation and the rise in energy, food, supplies, childcare, and housing costs, continued to impact Our Saviour Center's budget. This challenge particularly has an impact on the small Emergency Shelter Program: as affordable housing becomes increasingly obsolete, already struggling families end up in greater desperation in their search for shelter. While the program's focus is on families with children, the program continues to receive more requests than can be fulfilled, from seniors, veterans, disabled persons, and individuals without children.


What are your hopes for the future?

Our Saviour Center looks to the years ahead for continued organizational sustainability, stability, and an increase in revenue streams that will continue to provide much-needed assistance to families in need. We are grateful for the steadfast, ongoing support of COS parishioners and staff who believe in OSC's mission of sharing love, hope and resources with our neighbors in need, especially our Rector and Vestry, who offer continuous and unconditional support to ensure that OSC continues to thrive. Together we can build a brighter future for the most vulnerable in El Monte and surrounding communities that we serve.


 

Property Committee

John Vandercook, Senior Warden and Property Chair


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

The highlight for the Property Ministry was the completion of many of the 12 Capital Campaign Projects.


What challenges did your ministry face?

There are many financial challenges in caring for our beautiful six-acre campus at COS.

Maintaining our property is always a process of budgeting the funds that are available and taking care of emergencies and the more serious projects that need immediate attention.


What are your hopes for the future?

As our financial resources hopefully increase, we will be able to focus on preventative maintenance and therefore be more successful in our property projects.


 

Recovery Eucharist

The Rev. Tim Hartley, Associate for Recovery Ministries and Pastoral Care


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

After a long hiatus, the Recovery Eucharist was reimagined and reintroduced by the Reverend Tim Hartley this past fall. The Recovery Eucharist is a service held on the second Tuesday of each month in Grace Chapel. The Recovery Eucharist is structured around the liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer and 12-step recovery meetings. Because the Recovery Eucharist is a hybrid service, a few people who have attended regularly do so from out of state.


What challenges did your ministry face?

The Recovery Eucharist is only being offered once a month for now, but that could increase if the interest and attendance maintains its current levels. Our challenge is to make sure people who would attend (both COS members and those outside the church) know it is available.


What are your hopes for the future?

The Recovery Eucharist is held just before a large 12-step meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous that has been meeting at COS for years. The hope is that the proximity of the Recovery Eucharist in Grace Chapel will be a draw for those attending the AA meeting that follows it.


 



The Sacred Garden

Carrie Voris, Sacred Gardener


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

  • Dennis Duling  and his son-in-law Josh completed our beautiful new storage shed to house large items, especially tables and chairs, as continue to work toward making the SG an outdoor event space for COS.

  • The SPARK kids spent a bunch more time in the Garden as they helped release ladybugs on Earth Day, turn compost piles, plant seeds, and even made their own garden bed from scratch!

  • All of the flowers for the flowering of the cross on Easter Sunday came from the Sacred Garden.

  • Many Sunday altar arrangements throughout the spring and summer were composed solely of plant materials our SG flower beds.

  • In May we hosted a Mother's Day bouquet- making event for the SPARK kids to pick and design their own bouquets for their moms.

  • We have moved some raised beds from other parts of the campus where they were not being used and have started to set them up for growing vegetables, and maybe a joint garden project with ACGS.

  • A lot of the beds have several-years-old perennial plantings that are completely self-sustaining and need minimal maintenance from our SG crew.

  • We have a faithful crew who help out at least one Saturday, (if not more often!) each month in weeding, feeding, planting, and maintenance in the Garden.


What challenges did your ministry face?

The challenge is always finding time, volunteers, and money to grow the space into what we hope could be a revenue-generating space for COS.


What are your hopes for the future?

Next on our list for the Garden is a deconstructed granite pathway that would make the garden more accessible for all, a privacy fence around the compost area in the southwest corner to hide the (thriving!) compost pile operations, new weatherproof tables and chairs which we can rent to guests who are using the garden as an event space, and of course … more flowers!


 

SAGES

Bev Harris, SAGES Facilitator


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

The highlight for Sages in 2023 was our early spring fashion show. We were able to present Joanna K. wearing a black hat that I purchased in New York 50 years ago while living there. Also, everyone sharing their stories on vintage items from family past and just being grateful.


What challenges did your ministry face?

Finding and encouraging donations to support the ministry.


What are your hopes for the future?

I have hopes that more of us invite friends and family so we can expand and enjoy our wonderful events.


 

Stewardship and Annual Giving

Rose Gonzalez, Chief Operating Officer


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

2023 was my second year overseeing COS’s annual giving campaign. We are extremely fortunate to have a dedicated Annual Giving Committee, all of whom are the original members going into their third campaign. Thank you! 2023 also saw ten new pledges from families who are wonderful and exciting additions to COS. The Committee and I will continue to build on the positive momentum of a successful campaign, while incorporating new ideas and methodologies into the next campaign.


What challenges did your ministry face?

Like all sectors in California, the rise in the costs of living, goods, materials, and labor continues to challenge our staff and our budget. While our beautiful, beloved campus is a place of spiritual sanctuary and hope, our six acres are also not removed from the ever-increasing costs of utilities and maintenance, or of the upkeep of our aging facilities. This ongoing challenge is eased greatly by the pledging members of COS, who truly are the pillars of the ministries that are at the heart of this parish.


What are your hopes for the future?

A year-round stewardship plan that includes all ministries is definitely a goal of mine, as well as further building the Annual Giving Committee. Suggestions from the COS family on ways to improve annual giving are always welcome (roseg@cosepiscopal.org), as are new ideas that are at the heart of COS culture. As we continue to strengthen ties with our God and our church, another goal of mine is to encourage participation in our giving campaigns: for new families, families with less disposable income, or families who simply haven’t yet had the history of pledging. Annual gifts (even in very modest amounts) really can have just as much impact as larger gifts. Every gift truly does matter! It would be wonderful if each and every member of the COS community participated in the Annual Giving campaign because we all play a very important role in securing COS’s financial foundation and future.


 

Usher Ministry

Russ Case, Usher Coordinator


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

  • Adding three new ushers to the 10:00 am Team and getting them trained and ready for service

  • Always helping to ensure that each service runs smoothly while carefully staying in the "background"

  • Full usher participation for the numerous holiday services (Holy Week, Advent & Christmas) 


What challenges did your ministry face?

Even though we are able to add three new ushers to the 10:00 am Team, overall we are still understaffed, especially for the 8:00 am team. Additional ushers are desperately needed!


What are your hopes for the future?

To grow our usher ranks by adding two additional ushers to the 8:00 am Team, and four additional ushers to the 10:00 am Team.


 

Weddings

Nancy Duling, Wedding Coordinator


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

  • We doubled the number of weddings in 2023. There were four in 2022; there were eight in 2023.

  • We changed the verbiage of our wedding documents to be more inclusive. For example, instead of  “bride and groom,” we state “wedding couple.”


What challenges did your ministry face?

  • Too much abuse of our property by wedding guests.

  • We found the need to create more robust contracts and develop more detailed rules and regulations for using our premises.

  • We held weddings on four consecutive Saturdays. That proved to be an unwise decision in scheduling weddings.


What are your hopes for the future?

  • That our newly developed contracts and guidelines will prevent more damage to COS.

  • That wedding couples continue to find their way to COS.


 

Welcome Ministry

Nancy Smith, Welcome Ambassador


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

The Welcome Ministry comprises twelve parishioners who mentor newcomers, organize events, or assist with communication. Since we began keeping track, Church of Our Saviour Welcome Ministers have greeted 27 newcomers to our church. Some were just one-time visitors, but many have stayed and become regular attendees. Eight people attended the Newcomer coffee held in October. We have also ordered new name tags for longtime parishioners and newcomers.


What challenges did your ministry face?

One challenge we face is finding opportunities for newcomers and old-timers to get to know each other on more than a superficial basis. Also, it's an ongoing challenge to identify those who are visiting for the first time.


What are your hopes for the future?

It really takes a village to be sure first-time visitors are identified, greeted, and, over time, helped to feel part of the family. A goal for the future is to provide more opportunitie for old-timers and newcomers to get to know each other, and also to more actively enlist the entire congregation in welcoming and embracing visitors.


 

Youth Readers

Marcia Kreditor, Youth Lector Coordinator and Reading Coach


What were the highlights of the year for your ministry?

Highlights were getting to know readers and watch them improve as they had repeat assignments.


What challenges did your ministry face?

I really did not have any challenges.


What are your hopes for the future?

My hope for the future is identifying new readers.

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