Old First Reformed UCC Annual Report 2015

Old First Reformed UCC Annual Report 2015

As people of an historic and ever-renewing congregation of the United Church of Christ, we seek to know and to share the transforming power of God: Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit,

  • through following the teachings of Jesus Christ, the source of our salvation and the head of the Church;
  • through regularly gathering together for vital, Biblically-based worship of our God;
  • through shared life and learning as a community of faith;
  • through personal spiritual practice;
  • through faithful stewardship of our resources: financial, property, and human;
  • through Spirit-led, collaborative decision-making;
  • through love and service to those in need, physically and spiritually;
  • through love and respect for one another;
  • through the full discernment and expression of our God-given individual abilities;
  • through embracing, honoring, encouraging, and learning from the diversity among us;
  • through active engagement with our city and all its people; and
  • through accepting God’s challenge to look beyond our assumptions, to face boldly our questions and doubts, and to reach outside of our every-day comforts.

With God’s help, we strive in faith to be a wellspring of hope for diverse people in our neighborhood, the city, the region and throughout the world.

Mission & Vision Statement, adopted by the congregation of Old First Reformed United Church of Christ, April 4, 2008

    AGENDA – OLD FIRST REFORMED UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, Sunday, January 31, 2016

    Potluck Luncheon

    Hymn Sing

    Call to Order/Opening prayer

    Quorum

    Motion to offer voice to anyone present who is not a member.

    Approval of Minutes of 2015 Annual Meeting

    Questions on Reports from SLGs or Directors or Staff

    Approval of the Renewal Committee’s Approach towards the Capital Campaign’s building / property work

    Challenge: Anyone who would like to make / increase a Capital Campaign pledge / gift…

    Approval of an Affirmation of the Sacred Conversation on Race

    Approval of the Resolution to Reduce Our Church’s Carbon Footprint

    Approval of Financial Year 2016 budget

    Challenge: Anyone who hasn’t made a 2016 Stewardship Pledge yet…

    The Slate for Election

    Affirmation of Appointments of Church Leaders

    Closing Prayer and Singing “The Church’s One Foundation”

    Minutes from Annual Meeting 2015, January 25, 2015

    Old First Reformed United Church of Christ

    Annual Congregational Meeting

    January 25, 2015 – Minutes

    A Potluck Luncheon and Hymn Sing preceded the Annual Meeting.

    The Meeting opened with a Prayer by Pastor Michael Caine and was called to order by Elder Jonathan Atwood.

    There were 85 members in attendance constituting a quorum.

    Motion to approve minutes for January 26, 2014 Annual Congregational Meeting

    Motion Made by Beth Walker, seconded by Greta Stewart, Motion Carried.

    Motion to waive reading of the Minutes

    Motion made by Colin , Seconded by Adam Sherr, Motion Carried

    Motion to offer voice to anyone present who is not a member.

    Motion made by Yajeh Ndimbie, seconded by Colin , Motion Carried

    Review of Financial Year Report for 2014

    Motion made to approve Report by Margaret Rhody, Seconded by Nancy Donohue

    Motion Carried

    Reports on 2014 Ministry presented by SLGs and Elders

    Motion made to approve reports by Adam Sherr, seconded by Greta Stewart

    Motion Carried

    Financial Year 2015 Budget presented for approval

    Motion to approve budget made by Julius DeAngelus, seconded by Greta Stewart

    Motion Carried

    Sawubona, Sikona, and Ubuntu, Michael introduced an interactive conversation to encourage getting to know each other using these greetings; everyone present participated.

    Slate for Election and appointments of church leaders was presented

    Motion to accept made by Greta Stewart, seconded by Julius DeAngelus,

    Motion carried

    Opening Capital Campaign Budget

    Motion made to accept budget by Beth Walker, seconded by Colin

    Motion Carried.

    The meeting adjourned after a Closing Prayer and Singing of “The Church’s One Foundation”

    Minutes respectfully submitted by Kathy Sykes.

    Pastors Report

    As pastor, my responsibilities include shepherding the various parts of the church, even the ones over which I don’t really have much direct control! I offer up a few observations (often in the light of thanksgiving):

    ~ The Sacred Conversation on Race Ministry Team has been a commendable organic outgrowth of the work Margaret Ernst did in leading the Adult Forum in 2014. I am excited that their leadership continues to keep issues of race and justice an overt part of our church life and quest for faithfulness. Thanks to Barbara, Bob P., Delilah, Gerry, Jackie, Lisa, Margaret, Michael J., Mimi, and Tony.

    ~ The new staffing with the two Johns (B. and O.)– as Outreach Minister and Program Assistant respectively — has been an incredible help to the other staff. It’s a much better solution that the unevenness of the 1- year turn-around staffing of the Young Adult Service Community or the Volunteer in service intern before that. Thanks to John-squared and the Steve W. and the Outreach SLG that rethought (with some help from Jonathan V.) job descriptions.

    ~ Teresa hit the ground running, and has helped us greatly by working with the Admin Team to increase efficiency and cost-savings.

    ~ Holly has also hit the ground running, though as I write this, I believe she’s only in her third week. We saw a providential opportunity and jumped. May it be a blessing for all…

    ~ Our POWER Local Organizing Committee has raised some difficult but good questions about the organizing we have been doing with POWER — basically, whether or not the efforts of Power have been moving towards a consistent building of political capacity and well trained leaders who are powerful in their communities. Thanks to Hannah and Mimi (who have been co-chairs), Barbara, Beth W., Clark, Julie, Michael J., Mike W., Steve W. and Yajeh N.

    ~ The Renewal Committee has done some incredible work — in between the resources the Capital Campaign will make available and the cost of all the work that needs to be done on this property — suggesting a reasonable approach for moving forward. They are helping us wrestle with important, possibly difficult to face, mission questions. Thanks to Geneva, Julie, Nancy, Griffin, Mark F. and Keith.

    ~ Our financial support experience is proving what was promised: that capital campaign giving, rather than decreasing regular stewardship giving, actually supports it. If this is the case, perhaps we should approach those who arrived after the capital campaign to invite them to pledge? Thanks to both CC leadership and the leaders who work on our finances.

    ~ When one stops to think about it, it’s incredible that we raised hundreds of thousands of extra dollars this year. Thanks to Mike and the CC Committee as well as everyone else involved in shepherding these added resources.

    ~ We had a long spell during 2015 when our attendance was lower and our number of visitors was off. Initially, I thought it might be a product of the attention we needed to pay to money in the run-up to the capital campaign. I also wondered if it was indirect fallout from the unsettledness with our music ministry. I cannot really explain what happened. But our numbers of weekly worshipers and visitors seem to be climbing back to the levels they had been before this dip.

    I want to address this last point to offer both an answer to the question about being stuck as well as some explanation of goals.

    It’s up to the Holy Spirit whether or not a church grows, prospers, serves and remains faithful. I mean, you need the Spirit in order to accomplish any of the mission objectives that the church exists for. But isn’t the Spirit freely given and always offered?

    Sometimes, I think our problem is that we get ourselves in the way of the Spirit. Often, because we have enough sense of where the Spirit is taking us… and that it’s some place we’d rather not g

    Anyway, I think — for a number of reasons, we need to double up our efforts at intentional, overt growth. In our day, when church is hardly the first option people think of the for their voluntary commitments and free time, we need to keep ourselves “out there” where we cannot be missed and keep making the case for how and why church can make a difference.

    Old First, to accomplish what we feel called to do… we need a bigger community support base. During my first 3 years, we were pretty intentional about “expanding the franchise,” and our efforts were rewarded.

    But then we got caught up in other important tasks, primarily the Capital Campaign. Of course, some of the physical improvements and mission changes they effect may lead to growth in the size of our community. But I want to suggest that we need to keep at our overt efforts at making ourselves more visible, meaningful, accessible and welcoming.

    Another reason that we need to grow the size of our community is the pattern of people’s participation. Almost all of us are increasingly here less than every Sunday. There are all kinds of implications in that for how we do ministry. We are going to have to figure that out. (Just today, I read two articles about institutions undergoing drastic changes — the Inquirer / Daily News / Phlly.com and Andover Newton Theological Seminary in order to assure their long-term viability. Why do we assume we will be exempt from such “forced-evolution”?)

    But it also means that we need more human resources for what we mean to accomplish on Sundays and the rest of the week. In other words, we need a larger base community to have a constant congregation-size in worship. The same is true for all our other voluntary work.

    And we need the material support of more humans in order to maintain our physical plant and the ministry and mission we have currently.  And more that we wish to do.

    My ministry goals for this year:

    1. To figure out how to put before us again the need to grow, including getting all of our constituent bodies to make it part of their mission and portfolio.
    2. To develop new ways for people to build relationships and get to know each other. Coming to church where you hardly know anyone often doesn’t last very long.
    3. Support all our people heading towards ordination / pastoring. I believe I counted 8 people on that path.
    4. To support and develop more ways for more of our people to roll up their sleeves and become involved in doing the ministry of our church. The Outreach SLG has modeled this for us in how they have people from our community who are responsible each time for the Saturday Cupboard and Shelter Dinners. Old First, I think because our people live so far away, tends to become to staff-dependent.
    5. To do what I can to get the CC work underway and begin relating / communicating more with our CC donors.

    Our questions have no obvious answers. We have our challenges. But, I offer, amidst any of our sobering realities, we also have more resources — human and material — than most of the sister congregations doing ministry in the city around us. Let us not overlook our riches, or doubt God’s provision. Instead let’s put to good use what God has entrusted to us, that the world might know more of the Gospel and love of God we know in Jesus.

    As I say each year, it’s an honor and a privilege to be in ministry with you all,

    Respectfully submitted,

    Michael

    Elders Report

    In 2015 the Elders worked closely with the Capital Campaign committee and the Renewal committee to kickoff of the three-year funding phase of the campaign, and begin planning for project execution following the delivery of the architect’s report on the state of Old First’s buildings and grounds.

    As we move into 2016 with 40% of Capital Campaign funds in-hand and with the architect’s report completed, the Elders have begun to ponder engaging the Old First community in an effort to ensure Old First’s continued presence and impact in Philadelphia for the next 300 years!

    The Elder’s goals for 2016 are:

    1. Support the Outreach SLG as they develop a vision for how to best support the broader Philadelphia community with their ministry
    2. Work with the Capital Campaign and Renewal committees to engage the Old First community in considering “the art of the possible” with regard to the future of our buildings and grounds
    3. Work with the Admin SLG to successfully execute selected Capital Campaign projects on time and on budget
    4. Work with the Admin SLG to retire the Refinancing in Faith and Endowment loans

    Elders are looking forward to helping all the SLGs and ministry teams be successful in 2016 in any way we can!

    Respectfully submitted by Larry Waddell

    NOMINATIONS FOR LEADERSHIP POSITIONS

    January 31, 2016

    The By-Laws for Old First describe lay leadership positions to which individuals are either elected by the congregation or appointed by the Board of Elders.

    ELECTIONS:

    Individuals in the elected positions of Elder, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, and Chairpersons of the Standing Leadership Groups for Worship and Spiritual Life, Outreach Ministries, Christian Education, Community Life, and Administration will serve two-year terms and may serve up to three consecutive terms. Representatives to P.O.W.E.R. and delegates to meetings of the Pennsylvania Southeastern Conference (PSEC) and the Philadelphia Association are elected annually for a one-year term.

    The By-Laws allow for between five and nine Elders and at present there are six.

    Jonathan Atwood – Elected 1/2014 for 2 year term

    Yiwola Awoyale – Elected 1/2015 for 2 year

    Beth Davis – Elected 1/2014 for 2 year term (2nd term)

    Greta Stewart – Elected 1/2015 for 2 year

    Kathy Sykes – Elected 1/2014 for 2 year term

    Larry Waddell – Elected 1/2015 for 2 year term

    After discernment by the individuals involved, an ad hoc Discernment Task Force appointed by the Board of Elders, and the Elders, the following individuals are nominated for election to a two-year term as Elder:

    Jonathan Atwood (2nd Term)

    Kathy Sykes (2nd Term)

    Janice Smith

    The Standing Leadership Group (SLG) Chairs have been:

    Administration:                            Jonathan Vogan (elected 1/2015 to a 2 year term)

    Christian Education:                   Julius DeAngelus (elected 1/2015 to a 2 year term)

    Community Life:                          Megan Grimm-Atwood (elected 1/2015 to a 2 year term)

    Outreach Ministries:                  Stephen Wilhite (elected 1/2015 to a 2 year term)

    Worship:                                         Griffin Vernor Drutchas (elected 1/2015 to a 2 year term)

    The Officers have been:

    Treasurer:                                       Annemarie Kleinhans — elected 2015 for a 2 year term

    Assistant Treasurer:                   Grant Frame — elected 2015 for 1 year term

    Financial Secretary:                    Laura Spencer — elected 2015 for a 2 year term

    Assistant Financial Secretary:Kris Forrest – elected 2015 for 1 year term

    After discernment by the individuals involved, an ad hoc Discernment Task Force appointed by the Board of Elders, and the Elders, the following individual is nominated as representatives to P.O.W.E.R for 2016: Mimi Johnson

    After discernment by the individuals involved, an ad hoc Discernment Task Force appointed by the Board of Elders, and the Elders, the following individuals are nominated as delegates to the Conference and Association for 2016:

    Philadelphia Assoc. PA Southeast Conference

    Ian McCurry                    Gerry Woodroffe  April Smith                                     Jacqueline Williams

    ITEM FOR ACTION: Acceptance of the slate of nominated individuals for election to Elders, SLG Chairs, Delegates, Representatives.

    APPOINTMENTS:

    The Directors have been:

    Community Engagement:       Suzanne Cole (elected 1/2015 to a 1 year term)

    Endowment:                                 Dan Bigelow (elected 1/2015 to a 1 year term)

    Stewardship:                                 Elizabeth Gilstrom (elected 1/2015 to a 1 year term)

    After discernment by the individuals involved, an ad hoc Discernment Task Force appointed by the Board of Elders, and the Elders, the following individuals are to be appointed to a one-year term:

    Community Engagement:       Suzanne Cole (elected 1/2016 to a 1 year term)

    Endowment:                                 Dan Bigelow (elected 1/2016 to a 1 year term)

    Stewardship:                                 Elizabeth Gilstrom (elected 1/2016 to a 1 year term)

    After discernment by the individuals involved, an ad hoc Discernment Task Force appointed by the Board of Elders, and the Elders, the following individuals are to be appointed to a one-year term:

    Assistant Treasurer:                     Grant Frame

    Assistant Financial Secretary: Kris Forrest

    Financial Statements Financial Position 2014

    2015 Operating Budget Summary

    Financial Secretary Report

    Q1: What is your name? Laura Spencer

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name? Financial Secretary

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    Migrating to Realm.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering? None

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    Improve, streamline procedures; and produce instructional documentation for same.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report? None

    Assistant Financial Secretary Report

    Q1: What is your name? Kris Forrest

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name Assistant Financial Secretary

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    Fully utilizing Realm for capturing giving for Old First, rather than keeping track manually.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    We need to better understand the financial reporting capabilities of Realm, both to gain insight into the giving, as well as to provide better information to the givers. Also how can we use Realm to streamline our internal processes.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    I defer to the Financial Secretary for 2016 goals.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report None

    Finance and Investments 2015

    New Endowment Funds

    In 2015 we received two memorial bequests: one gift of $5,000 in memory of Eleanor Hopkins and one gift of $200 in memory of Stirling Schwiebert.

    We also continued to receive income from the William C. Kirk Trust Fund, held by Mellon Bank, which is contributed directly to our operating budget.  The total income from the Kirk Trust in 2015 was $1,430.  We also received $590 in dividend income from 200 shares of Johnson & Johnson stock owned directly by the church.  Like the Kirk Trust, this income is contributed directly to the operating budget.  These memorial gifts and other income are extremely valuable in supporting the essential programs of the church year after year, and they are much appreciated.

    Invested Endowment Funds

    The stock and bond markets were essentially unchanged in 2015, with the S&P 500 rising 1.2% (including dividends) for the year.  An aggregate U.S bond index published by Barclays declined 1.8% for the year.  A hypothetical index investing 60% in the stock market and 40% in the bond market would have resulted in an approximately zero return in 2015.  The endowment had a small loss of 1.25% in 2015.  The total value of our endowment (excluding the Kirk Trust and the 200 shares of JNJ stock) at the end of 2015 was $1,255,225.  This is down 4.2% from $1,310,394 at the end of 2014.   This includes withdrawals from the endowment of $44,000 in 2015 for program support. This income from the endowment is contributed directly to our operating budget and helps to fund all of the programs of our church.

    Our investment policy guidelines dictate that we take out of our endowment no more than 3 to 5% of the average value of the endowment over the prior five years measured each year on Dec 31.  This policy helps to ensure that our endowment will continue to help fund the programs of the church for many years to come.  Our average value from the end of 2011 through the end of 2015 is   $1,173,040.  The proposed budget includes withdrawals from our endowment of $44,000 or 3.75% which is slightly below the midpoint of the range recommended in the endowment guidelines.

    Liabilities

    The Congregation embarked on a “Refinancing in Faith” program during the first half of 2010 in order to repay a prior loan from Citizen’s Bank.   At the time, the Citizen’s Bank loan had a balance of $74,230 (the original bank loan was $80,000) and required the Congregation to pay approximately $5,500 in interest each year.   These Refinancing in Faith loans were for three years and matured in 2013.   A total of $31,750 was repaid to members of the Congregation in May of 2013.  The difference was very generously converted into gifts to the church by members.  In order to repay these loans on time, the Congregation borrowed the funds from the endowment.  This loan from the endowment was fully repaid in 2015—including interest—as part of the capital campaign.

    The Congregation also borrowed an additional $15,870 from the endowment in 2011 to help pay for a replacement of the cooling tower.  The repair and loan were approved at a special congregational meeting held in June 2011.  This loan was also repaid with interest in 2015 as part of the capital campaign.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Daniel C. Bigelow, Endowment Manager

    Report of the Stewardship Director

    Stewardship Report

    Q1: What is your name?

    Elizabeth Gillstrom

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Stewardship

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    Accomplishment: Folks pledged online via Realm

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    Looking for ways to make it possible for visitors w/o cash or check to give. Considering a few possibilities.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    -For ’16 actual giving to match pledges.

    -To increase the number of pledges.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report Thank you Old First for giving!

    2015 Financial Statements:

    Financial Position 2015

    2015 Operating Budget Summary

    Budget 2016 2014 Budget 2015 Budget 2016 Proposed
    Member Giving
    3010 · Pledges 218,838 218,356 218,000
    3210 – Envelopes 18,500 11,100 17,000
    Total 3000 – Member Giving 237,338 229,456 235,000
    Special Offerings
    3110 · Initial Envelopes 125 125 125
    3120 · Easter 2,200 2,200 2,200
    3140 · Christmas 3,300 3,300 3,000
    3150 · Nativity 1,500 1,500 1,500
    Total 3100 · Special Offerings 7,125 7,125 6,825
    Undefined/Unpledged
    3220 · Loose Offerings 3,260 3,252 6,500
    3225 – Pew Envelopes 3,240 3,248
    3240 · Angels 6,000 6,000 6,000
    Total 3200 · Undefined/Unpledged 12,500 12,500 12,500
    Subtotal of Voluntary Giving 257,313 249,081 254,325
    Interest
    Total 3500 · Interest 42,500 46,020 46,020
    Use of Buildings
    3605 – Market Value Donations 5,500 5,500 5,500
    3610 · Programs 1,400 1,400 1,400
    3615 – YASC Space Usage 4,125 2,375 0
    3620 – Homeless Shelter 24,500 24,500 22,000
    3630 – Service Camps 25,000 25,000 25,000
    3650 – Weddings 1,100 1,100 3,000
    3600 – Use of Building Other 0 0 0
    Total 3600 · Use of Buildings 61,625 59,875 56,900
    3700 – Income from Grants 4,000 4,000 3,500
    Total Income 401,188 358,976 360,745
    Ministerial
    Total 4000 · Ministerial 103,522 105,754 106,095
    Music
    Total 4100 · Music 36,552 37,484 37,234
    Support Services
    Total 4200 · Support Services 83,265 79,134 81,950
    Office Expenses
    Total 5000 · Office Expenses 25,000 15,800 13,000
    Property Expenses
    6010 · Electric 15,000 14,500 15,000
    6020 · Gas 10,000 10,000 10,000
    6030 · Water 5,000 5,000 5,000
    6050 · Insurance 23,798 15,610 13,402
    6060 · Elevator Maintenance 1,000 1,920 1,000
    6070 · Fire Alarm Maintenance 750 1,300 750
    6071 · Fire Extinguisher Maintenance 300 300 500
    6075 · Venting Maintenance 650 350 550
    6080 · General Repairs 12,000 13,000 14,000
    6081 · Landscaping/Grounds 1,250 750 250
    6084 · Snow Removal 500 500 500
    6090 · Heat/AC Repairs 6,500 6,500 6,500
    6100 · Kitchen Supplies 250 400 250
    6110 · Maintenance Supplies 4,000 6,000 6,000
    6115 – Pest Control 1,050 1,050 1,050
    6220 · Loan Payback 0 0
    Total 6000 · Property Expenses 82,048 77,180 74,752
    Special Programs
    7010 · Finance/Stewardship 500 350 500
    7030 · History 500 500 500
    7040 ·Special Events 0 500
    Total 7000 · Special Programs 1,000 850 1,500
    Christian Education
    7110 · Adult Education 250 250 250
    7120 · Church School 600 750 1,100
    7130 · Nursery 4,000 4,000 4,000
    7140 · Retreat 500 0 0
    7150 · Youth Program 300 500 500
    7170 · Lenten Programs 0 300 300
    7190 · Other Christ. Ed Expense 200 200 200
    Total 7100 · Christian Education 5,850 6,000 6,350
    Membership & Growth
    7021 · Creche Expenses 1,700 1,800 2,700
    7023 · Webpage Expenses 900 2,750 2,750
    7210 · Hospitality for All 3,200 3,150 3,700
    7215 – Fair Trade Coffee 300 500 300
    7220 – Print Ads / Publicity 1,100 1,500 500
    7230 – God Is Still Speaking Supplies 100 0 100
    7270 – Event Outreach 500 0 500
    7290 – Other Membership Expense 900 1,000 600
    Total 7200 – Membership & Growth 8,700 10,700 11,150
    7500 · Worship Supplies/Decorations 2,000 2,000 1,500
    Mission Partnerships
    8010 · OCWM 25,731 24,908 25,433
    8060 – POWER 1,287 1,245 1,272
    8082 – Bread for the World 250 0 250
    8100 · YASC Program 25,751 0 0
    Total 8000 · Mission Partnerships 53,019 26,153 26,954
    Total Expense 400,956 361,055 360,485
    Net Income -2,079 260

    Roles & Responsibilities of Elders, Standing Leadership Groups and other appointed positions according to Old First’s bylaws (nothing new here: just a good reminder for us as we listen to reports of what our leaders have done in 2015):

    The Board of Elders shall be invested with fiduciary and spiritual responsibility for the on-going governance of the church between meetings of the membership. The Board of Elders shall be composed of five (5) to nine (9) members in addition to the Financial Secretary and the Treasurer, and the pastor, who shall be ex-officio to the Board of Elders without voting rights.   The Board shall keep a complete and accurate record of its proceedings.  All acts and deliberations of the Board are subject to the will of and revision by the governing body.  One-half of its members shall constitute a quorum.

    Worship and Spiritual Life

    Responsibilities of this Leadership Group will be, with the Pastor and music director to:

    1. Plan regular worship and special worship services;
    2. Provide vision, leadership and support to ministry teams participating in and supporting regular worship;
    3. Provide vision, guidance and support to ministry teams providing Christian education on Sunday mornings;
    4. Encourage and support personal spiritual practices of members;
    5. Encourage and support spiritual practices of membership groups.

    Outreach Ministries

    Responsibilities of this Leadership Group will be, with the assistance of ministerial staff and other staff to:

    1. Discern the mission of the outreach work of the church;
    2. Implement the mission of the outreach work of the church;
    3. Oversee the programs of Wellspring;
    4. Encourage connection of members of the congregation with the Wellspring programs
    5. Nurture and support additional ministries consistent with the mission of Wellspring.
    6. Network with other groups providing similar and complimentary ministries.

    Congregational Life

    Responsibilities of this Leadership Group will be, with the Pastor and any additional ministerial staff to:

    1. Oversee the congregation’s ministry of service and caring for its members including, but not limited to: hospitality, visitation, retreats, other community programs and celebrations, and honoring of member accomplishments;
    2. Provide training for new members in the meaning and significance of the church and of church membership
    3. Nurture and support ministry teams providing opportunities for relationship building among members and associates of the church in ways consistent with the Vision and Mission of the congregation.

    Administration

    Responsibilities of this Leadership Group will be, with the Pastor and any other staff, to:

    1. Assist the Elders in the development, monitoring and management of the church budget;
    2. Oversee the church property, including buildings, grounds, and furnishings;
    3. Work with ministry teams regarding the current and future use of facilities for the ministry and mission of the congregation;
    4. Set personnel policies consistent with the mission and vision of the congregation;
    5. Maintain and update necessary insurance and safety programs and policies;
    6. Set guidelines for use of the church property;
    7. Nurture and support ministry teams providing maintenance, repair and improvement of the church property.

    Christian Education

    The chairperson of the Christian Education Leadership Group may also serve as Church School Superintendent.  Responsibilities of the Leadership Group will be, with the Pastor to:

    1. Recruit church school teachers;

    2. Nurture, support and maintain communication with the church school teachers;

    3. Recruit leaders of the adult Sunday class taskforce;

    4. Evaluate and select appropriate curriculum for the children’s church school program;

    5. Plan learning opportunities beyond church school.

    The Director of Stewardship, who will lead a Stewardship Team selected in conjunction with the Elders and Discernment Team to plan an Annual Stewardship Drive and promote stewardship opportunities throughout the church year.

    The Endowment Manager and the Assistant Endowment Manager, to be responsible for oversight of the congregation’s endowment and investments in a manner consistent with the congregation’s investment policy.

    The Archivist, who preserves and organizes the material in and collects material for the archives, maintains the archives database, and makes the archives available to church members, to church staff, and, as possible, to the public.

    The Director of Community Engagement, who leads the congregation’s efforts to take Christ’s message of love, acceptance, charity and justice to the community beyond the four walls of the church. The Director of Community Engagement is responsible for efforts to introduce Old First and its people to the broader community and to expand participation in Old First’s programs.

    Discernment Task Group to work with the Pastor and the Board of Elders in helping members to discern their call to service in the life and mission of the church and in recommending members to nominate to elected positions and appointed positions.  Appointment to the Task Group shall be for a one-year renewable term without limit to the number of terms served.

    Administration SLG

    Q1: What is your name?

    Jonathan Vogan

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Administration SLG

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    The Admin SLG spent a lot of 2015 working with Pastor Caine and the other SLGs to work through a near-complete turnover in our staff. Mindy Beecher, our prior Administrator left in July to move back to Michigan. Having been a part of Old First for years, her departure involved a lot of lost experience. Fortunately, we were able to bring Teresa Warnick on prior to Mindy’s departure to help with the handover. Teresa has quickly come up to speed and is making her presence known in many helpful ways. [Hint: Look at the telecom budget for 2016.] In addition, the Admin SLG worked with Outreach and Pastor Caine to make possible the move away from the volunteer model for Outreach to a more permanent staffing situation.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    While we have a dedicated group, our SLG would benefit from some new blood. If anyone is interested in joining, you are always welcome to speak to any SLG member or come to our first Monday of the month meeting at 7pm.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    • Maintaining the financial condition of the church is an on-going priority for the Admin SLG.
    • The Admin SLG is very excited about the Energy Committee and its charge to reduce the church’s carbon footprint (and utility bill).
    • Lastly, 2016 will see the beginning of more extensive expenditures by the Capital Campaign.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report None.

    Office Administrator Report

    Q1: What is your name?

    Teresa Warnick

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Administration

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    Learning about Old First and the administrator’s job. Shepherding the boiler replacement and bathroom repairs.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    Assist congregation leaders to engage Old First Congregation members and connect them with volunteer opportunities within the congregation and the community. Encouraging and supporting them in their volunteering.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    Maintain the office as a welcome place to call or stop by. Keep it clean and well organized. Learn more about Old First so that I can best serve congregation leaders and members. Organize administrative operations to efficiently provide needed information to leaders and members through the use of technology, effective systems and structures. Continue to cut administrative costs by researching expenses and finding better vendors or alternatives.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report I hope to find ways to better serve all community members.

    Archivist Report

    Q1: What is your name?

    Nancy Donohue

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Archivist

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    Significantly different this year was compiling photos and architectural/engineering plans from the Restoration in the late 1960’s for KSK Architects and being part of the committee working with KSK.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    Old First’s archives database is not going to be made available online anytime in the near future.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    1. This is critical. The Elders, Archivist, and Administrative Team need to develop and enact a retention policy with regard to all church documents. This includes checks, correspondence, minutes, bills, financial records, etc.
    2. Catalog remaining collections: trustees and architectural drawings.
    3. Given the limited space in the vault, determine how to store architectural drawings.
    4. Given the limited space in the vault, determine the best physical configuration for storing the archived materials and purchase the appropriate size archival boxes, etc.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report

    Maintenance of the archives is not and should not be high on the list of priorities, but that does not negate the fact that the archives are a part of Old First’s patrimony. The archives testify as to who we are, where we have been, and why we are who we are.

    Old First gave most of its oldest and most fragile documents and records (42 linear feet) to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1996 so that these valuable documents would be better protected/preserved and be available for wider research. Anyone interested in consulting Old First’s oldest records is welcome at HSP at 13th & Locust. HSP is open Tuesday 12:30-5:30; Wednesday 12:30-8:30; Thursday 12:30-5:30; Friday 10-5:30. There is an $8 fee. To determine what you want to see before you go, refer to the Finding Aid for the Old First Collection, collection #3010. Online, go to: http://www2.hsp.org/collections/manuscripts/o/ofrc3010.htm

    Energy Conservation Resolution

    WHEREAS, the Old First Reformed UCC congregation recognizes that our scriptures teach us that we have a responsibility to live in ways that respect and preserve our environment, and

    WHEREAS, the Old First Reformed UCC congregation recognizes that we have a fiduciary duty to operate and maintain our facilities in a fiscally responsible manner,

    WHEREAS, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has passed a resolution calling for the whole church to witness that our responsibility to the environment requires us to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels as our source of energy by the year 2040,

    NOW THEREFORE,

    BE IT RESOLVED, that Old First Reformed UCC is committed to incorporating energy conservation into the operation and maintenance of the church buildings;

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Old First Reformed UCC will promote and encourage energy conservation and awareness, the importance of reducing our dependence on non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels by taking steps to reduce our carbon foot print in the Old First Reformed UCC community and beyond; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Old First Reformed UCC will emphasize through our religious observance and in other ways our Judeo-Christian faith teachings and traditions to preserve and sustain the environment and promote actions that demonstrate this commitment.

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Old First Reformed UCC ,in the year 2016, will empower an Energy Committee, under the guidance of the Administrative Standing Leadership Group,  to provide our congregation with suggested ways of reducing our use of non-renewable energy as a way of witnessing to our congregation’s commitment to reducing our dependence on non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels.

    For more information about the General Synod Resolution on fossil fuels, click here:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5dsjoqi5xk8pkfk/UCC%20Resolution%20TRANSITION-FROM-FOSSIL-FUELS-TO-RENEWABLE-ENERGY.pdf?dl=0

    For more information about the General Synod Resolution on climate change, click here:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/sv6cwpexnpnw9jl/gs26%20resolution%20on%20climate%20change.pdf?dl=0

    For more information about energy conservation, click here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kbn333e7lzau7ax/13_Steps_To_Save_Energy.pdf?dl=0

    Christian Education Report

    Q1: What is your name?

    Julius DeAngelus

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Christian Education

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    Was very happy with the results of the Christmas Play!

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    So far so good. Better results for the Lenten Project.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    Complete our Lenten Project with better results than last year.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report

    I was very nervous about CE but feel like I am getting a better feel for it and definitely have a great team of teachers with me.

    Adult Forum Report

    Q:1  What is your name?

    Lisa Merlo

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Adult Forum

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    How important it is to provide programs that continue to inform the congregation on a number of topics by not only including the talents of our parishioners but also guest speakers from outside the congregation.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    Up until the start of the 2015 Sunday School year, Adult Forum had been a direct report of the Christian Education group. However, in September 2015, it became more of a stand alone ministry with CE as a backup, if needed. There is more work to be done in getting the word out, perhaps utilizing the bulletin boards inside and out of the church or guest speakers’ sources or even other interesting creative ways to advertise programs coming up, etc in addition to the E-Pistle, church website and Facebook page in order to bring in greater attendance.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    To revisit the goals and/or subject matter put forth for review and discussion during the first few weeks this group met in Sept of 2015. Also, to add to that roster, topics that include discussion/bible studies, social issues, community, family, and other artistic subject matter, including film and documentaries that serve as a not only a form of entertainment but also another source to provide knowledge.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report

    It’s a new year – let’s make Adult Forum a gathering place people are excited to attend!

    Community Engagement

    Q1: What is your name?

    Suzanne Cole

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Community Engagement

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    The most significant insight of our Community Engagement ministry in 2015 is the continued realization that church participation is much more complex than a generation or two ago. Our congregation continues to expand its reach into the community: over 150 people visited a Sunday worship service for the first time in 2015, over 780 people follow our Facebook page, hundreds participate as volunteers in our outreach and other programs. Even so, our weekly Sunday worship attendance is level (averaging about 80 people per Sunday, the same as in 2014) and only a dozen or so visitors made the leap to become full members. Participation means much more than Sunday attendance, of course, and many more individuals consider “Old First” to be there spiritual home than sit in the pews Sunday after Sunday. Still, we as a congregation must grapple with how we can connect with one another on a deeply spiritual level when we’re much less likely to see the same faces on a regular basis.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    (See #3)

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    Old First’s Web site needs an overhaul to remain relevant. Currently there are limited funds to support such a project. I would like to drum up support within the congregation to make this happen.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report

    Engaging our community beyond our walls starts with an engaged congregation. I’m grateful to everyone in our congregation who makes the effort to reach out of their comfort zone to welcome newcomers.

    Community Life SLG

    Q1: What is your name?

    Megan Grimm

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Community life

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    • Recognizing a need for a new branch/ group within community life. While the group has no name yet, it would serve our members by doing member outreach. Ideas include sending cards to the home bound, assisting Michael with visits/ visiting our members who are unable to make it, and sending (or setting up the sign up) a meal to new parents. I’ve located member who are already doing this and we are hoping to meet soon to come up with some goals/ objectives and it has been added to the budget.
    • Team 3 has been set up as a rotating place for interest groups to serve together instead of a traditional team.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    I don’t know that I’d say stuck- but definitely ” chugging along”- general hospitality. It’s going and most people are happy, but as anything with volunteers, there’s always someone who’s not and there’s never a perfect way to do it.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    1. Formalize new members outreach program (described in question 3, not yet named).
    2. Create in advance the schedule for special hospitality teams serving as team 3 in the rotation.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report?

    None

    Outreach SLG

    Q1: What is your name?

    Steve Wilhite

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Outreach Standing Leadership Group

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    Visioning process

    The Outreach SLG focused this year on a visioning process for our Wellspring outreach programs. Given that a portion of the funds raised through the capital campaign are dedicated to “strengthening our service,” this visioning process was undertaken as a preliminary step in determining how we can position the church’s outreach programs to be sustainable and impactful for the longer term.

    The initial part of this process involved holding a number of listening sessions in the spring with members of the congregation in which those attending were invited to share their views on the type of outreach the congregation should sponsor and support. From the five listening sessions with 36 participants, we surfaced the following themes:

      • Commitment to homeless ministry: The overarching theme present during all of the listening sessions is that Old First is indeed committed to focusing our outreach ministry efforts on urban poverty, specifically the reduction and elimination of homelessness in our city. Folk expressed the view that the work of the shelter and Saturday morning breakfast cupboard is extremely important and very rewarding, because we’re addressing a serious need in the city. Transformation does happen: Albeit infrequent, there have been people who have come through our shelter and cupboard and who are now independent, employed and living in permanent housing. Old First played a small, but meaningful part in their transition. We do NOT just provide services, we build relationships: Folks also reminded us that one of the things we’re best at is building relationships and making connections with people. These relationships help us address and breakdown myths and misconceptions about homelessness and the people who experience it.
      • Outreach is why I joined: Many cited our outreach programs as the main reason they came to Old First and decided to join the church. I myself came for two main reasons: The outreach ministry and the pipe organ. I love the pipe organ.
      • Local needs: Folks like that our ministry efforts are primarily focused locally, on the need of people in our communities.
      • Direct service and advocacy: In addition to the direct service and hospitality that we currently provide, the increase in advocacy for the urban poor through our membership in POWER is an opportunity for us to respond to larger systemic issues    and to hold governments responsible for addressing the most basic of needs of our marginalized brothers and sisters. It was stressed that we can do both: we can pursue advocacy while, at the same time, doing the direct service work. We don’t have to do either or; we can do both.
      • Staffing- During the listening sessions with the congregation, we frequently heard expressed concerns about the instability in the staffing of the full-time volunteer position that has supported our outreach programs. Working with the Administration SLG over the summer, we changed the staffing model from a full-time volunteer to a part-time paid staff member, creating an Outreach Minister position. We were fortunate to attract a large pool of applicants for the position, and we were even more fortunate that our first choice for the position, John Bergen, accepted the position. Because John already had housing       arranged elsewhere in the city, we were able to use the availability of the apartment in the Fox Building as the basis for creating a second part-time staff position, Program Assistant, and another strong applicant for the original staff position, John Owens, accepted that position. Together, John B. and John O. have brought to the support of our outreach programs a depth           of experience and a degree of commitment to serving others that have elevated the quality of experience that guests and volunteers alike have in participating in our outreach programs.
      • Involvement of Old First Members Another concern we heard last spring in the listening sessions was that we need to do a better job of creating well organized, meaningful volunteer opportunities for connecting Old First members to the church’s outreach programs. To address this concern and to help fill gaps in staffing produced by the move from a full-time volunteer to part-time staff positions, we have restructured opportunities for Old First members to have ongoing involvement with the outreach programs:
        • Saturday Breakfast and Clothing Cupboard – We now have two categories of service for Old First members – the Morning Supervisor position and General Volunteer positions. We currently have six Old First members plus the Outreach Minister serving as Morning Supervisors. In addition, we have approximately 10 Old First members serving as General Volunteers on a recurring basis.
        • Homeless Shelter – In addition to the continuing opportunity to be part of this ministry through preparing and serving a meal to the shelter guests, we have created the position of Shelter Meal Host. Old First members serving in this role welcome volunteer groups who are preparing and serving the meal and ensure that they are fully oriented to the kitchen and the schedule for the evening and then remain to help coordinate the meal service and to interact with the guests.
      • POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild) As noted above, we heard in the listening sessions that Old First’s involvement in advocacy through POWER is seen by some Old First members as an important additional component of our outreach efforts. While we fully expect that Old First will continue to be part of POWER, some members of the Old First POWER Local Organizing Committee did meet with the Executive Board of POWER in December to express frustration with the organization’s failure to remain focused on organizing around education issues, its poor communication with member congregations, and the lack of mechanisms for holding the Board accountable. Members of the Board responded that a consultant has been hired to help in addressing some of these issues and expressed a desire to have Old First remain involved in the organization’s work.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    POWER — We are continuing to pursue how Old First can work most productively with POWER. If you would like to explore how you might get involved with advocacy efforts through POWER, please contact Mimi Copp-Johnson, Old First’s liaison to POWER.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    Goals include:

      • Completing the visioning process — As the next step in this visioning process, we are meeting with other service providers in the city to explore opportunities for increasing the impact of our homeless ministry, possibly through collaboration with other service providers. Once this process is completed, we plan to explore with our shelter and breakfast guests how our programming might better meet their needs. Then, based on the information gathered, we will determine whether we can move forward on our own to refine and reshape our outreach programs or whether we need to hire a consultant to assist us with this process.
      • Forming a separate 501c3 Wellspring entity — We have identified a law firm that will assist us on a pro bono basis with the drafting and filing of an application to form a separate 501c3 Wellspring entity, with Old First as the controlling member of the entity. Having a 501c3 Wellspring entity will position us to explore funding opportunities that are not available to faith-based organizations.
      • Continuing to build participation of Old First members in Outreach programs — Saturday Breakfast and Clothing Cupboard — If you are interested in becoming a Saturday morning General Volunteer, please sign up through the Signup Genius tool (Saturday Morning Volunteers).
      • Homeless Shelter — If you have previously been involved in providing a meal to shelter guests and feel knowledgeable about the process, please consider signing up for the position of Shelter Meal Host through Signup Genius or contact John Bergen for more information.
      • Urban Service Camps — Outreach Minister John Bergen is working to reshape the urban service camp experience so as to ensure that participants have experiences that deepen their commitment to service. An important part of the experience is intentional preparation for the service work and guided, meaningful reflection on the service activities performed. Once John has reframed the processes for preparation and reflection, he and the Outreach SLG will be seeking additional Old First members to be involved in those processes with the urban service camp participants.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report

    The current members of the group include Clark Dingman, Michael Johnson, Mike Wass, Yajeh Ndimbie, Andrew Hartmann, John Bergen, John Owens, and Steve Wilhite (Chairperson), but we welcome additional Old First members who would like to be involved in the oversight and planning of all of Old First’s outreach efforts. Please contact Steve to discuss participation in the group.

    Outreach Minister Report

    Q1: What is your name?

    John Bergen

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Outreach

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    Understanding relationships between many of our outside volunteers and Old First

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    We need to develop more leadership within the church, deepen our relationships with our guests, and expand our Service Camp infrastructure.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    1. Move forward in exploring new Outreach opportunities by having conversations with Project HOME and other connections we have been offered through St. John’s. Then, design a way to get input from our guests about what programs they need. Use this feedback to create proposals for different Service ministries we could provide.
    2. Expand Service Camp infrastructure by a) training three church members in leading reflections and leading service groups, and b) standardizing reflection materials for before, during, and after.
    3. Develop leadership in our church by providing a free Mental Health First Aid Training, standardizing more of the service experience, and providing better ways for Coordinators and Hosts to offer feedback on their experiences.
    4. Improve fundraising system (still working out details for this).

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report

    These past five months have been a wonderful chance to get to know Old First and our volunteers, I look forward to continuing to learn and improve our ministries.

    Program Assistant Report

    Q1: What is your name?

    John Peter Owens

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Program Support Assistant

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    Working on projects that engaged the Old First community, Old City District, the less fortunate, and the wider Church (specifically, Pope Weekend the church shelter program with Bethesda Project).

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    I believe the Outreach Team is at standstill in terms of space. The CE building is too clustered together; many of the rooms are not up-to-date compared to other retreat programs around the US. In order to move forward, we must think of the future and how this retreat program will benefit Old First, the Philly community, and again the wider Church.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    – A secure plan for the Urban Service Program – A better facility for our church shelter program – An updated kitchen facility, new floor, and NO drop-down ceiling – Updated doors with electric keypads – Better shelving in the clothing cupboard (and) – Maybe three to four patio tables with chairs

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report

    I hope that with the capital campaign in session now, a moderate Old First will blossom without losing its rich history of perseverance and mercy. If this church is make it another 50 or 100 years, it must lean into a new culture of leaders, and not rely on parishioners who push their own agenda. Old First needs a population of 13-25, this group is non-existent due to a lack of consistent families coming to church, former High School kids not coming back, and Old First not active in college ministries. These populations are important as to have a diverse church, but Old First sees diversity in the terms of large politico topics…queer folks, the handicap, and age.

    Worship SLG Report

    Q1: What is your name?

    Griffin Vernor Drutchas

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Worship SLG

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    This year we weathered a personnel change and created an artist-in-residence position to fulfill the Music Director duties for the next year. We also ensured that updating the sanctuary sound system was a first-round priority for capital campaign-funded projects.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    We are still figuring out the best way to grow participation in the worship service through lector/liturgist/usher/musician volunteering.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    • Formalize, standardize, and streamline the sign-up and volunteering processes for lector/liturgist/usher.
    • Oversee the planning and implementation of the updated sound system.
    • Continue to gradually introduce new modes of worship into our regular liturgy.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report? None

    Music Director

    Q1: What is your name?

    Holly Phares

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Music

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    NA

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    I don’t feel there is an area, from my perspective, in which we are “stuck”. We are, however, trying out a new system for participating in the choir. I am hopeful that this new system will not only enhance the quality of the ensemble and music overall, but increase membership as well. I am so grateful, thus far, for the willingness of so many long time members of old first choir to try out this totally new system. Their openness and love for singing is infectious! The area I have heard needs some care is with our children, so I am planning to get to know our youth and their potential for coming together to sing, as well as those who are proficient on an instrument, to share their instrumental gifts as well.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    As stated above, I am hoping to increase the participation of singers and instrumentalists who are willing to share their gifts of music with us. From what I’ve been told, some of which I’ve already witnessed, there is an incredible potpourri of talent in this community and I am excited at the possibilities in which these gifts can be shared. I welcome a variety of styles from “Classical” Early Music through present-day Gospel, including Appalachian, Sacred Harp, Taize’, Bluegrass, and Jazz, to name a few!  I foresee not only the full choir singing anthems, but smaller ensembles, both instrumental & vocal & a combination of both, whenever appropriate repertoire can be cultivated.  I look forward to nurturing the array of musical talents throughout the year through gathering for solid, fun and productive rehearsals for participation in the worship services. Also, as stated above, I am also hopeful to begin to get to know the youth in our congregation and find ways in which we can include them in our music-making. This can be either singing with an adult choir anthem, a small children’s choir singing their own song(s), the sharing of their individual musical gifts (those who might enjoy playing or singing a solo or duet/trio with other children), to singing in an Easter or Christmas pageant or cantata with the adult choir. Lastly, I want to insure that we hear the wonderful organ at least once, if not twice per month, and I’m looking forward to our new friend and wonderful organist, Kyle Sheppard, sharing his gifts with us throughout the year. I am hopeful that he will not just play special offering pieces, hymns, and accompany the choir every so often, but maybe he and I can do piano and organ duets or piano duets for four hands.

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report

    I am so elated to be brought on as your new Artist in Residence at Old First. I look forward to exploring the possibilities in which we can enhance the already rich worship services every week and throughout the year.

    Head Usher Report

    Q1: What is your name?

    Yiwola Awoyale

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Ushering, Serving as an Elder, Hospitality Group 6

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    Making worshipers feel welcomed and comfortable throughout the hour of worship in the sanctuary Sunday mornings.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    There are fewer ushers than the tasks that have to be carried out before, during and after each Sunday morning. Ushers hardly have the time for both the Adult Forum and the social hour. The ushering team certainly needs extra hands.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    (1)    Recruit and train more church members for ushering

    (2)    Improve on the art of welcoming into the sanctuary for Sunday and other special worship services

    Q6: What other comments do you have for the Annual Report

    The church needs to conduct periodic and aggressive membership drives. Church attendance can be improved upon.

    Sacred Conversation on Race

    Q1: What is your name?

    Sacred Conversation on Race (SCOR) Ministry Team: Barbara Gurley,  Michael Johnson,  Delilah Marrow, Lisa Merlo, Tony Merlo, Bob Polk , Margaret Rohdy, Jackie Williams, Gerry Woodroffe

    Q2: What is your Ministry Area or Standing Leadership Group Name?

    Sacred Conversation on Race. Our ministry is a response to the UCC call to open a meaningful, substantive and safe dialogue on the dynamics of white privilege as we move toward becoming a multiracial and multicultural church.

    Q3: What was the most significant accomplishment or insight gained in your ministry area in 2015?

    SCOR organized and invited all members of Old First to participate in Lenten House meetings to engage in discussion on how racism and white privilege have impacted their faith.  About fifty members attended two sessions on Getting Past Our Fears and Sharing Our Stories. The conversations were sometimes difficult, but rewarding as we got to know each other in the context of the racial issues that are ever more present in our individual lives and in our society.

    Q4: Where is your group or ministry area stuck?  What is your group or ministry area pondering?

    The study, reflection, and encounters that have taken place so far have inspired this growing group of members to include more members of Old First in conversation, and to consider reaching beyond this congregation to work with others within the Philadelphia Association.

    Q5: Please list the goals of your group or ministry for 2016 with complete descriptions.

    1. Present the Congregational Affirmation of the Sacred Conversation on Race for a vote at the Annual Meeting.
    2. Complete the SCOR Congregational Self-Assessment to use as a planning tool for the next steps in our conversation.
    3. Plan and carry out programs and activities for learning and growing in our understanding of racism and white privilege in our lives and in the experiences we have in the world.
    4. Recruit more members to the SCOR Ministry Team.

    CONGREGATIONAL AFFIRMATION OF THE SACRED CONVERSATIONS ON RACE

    When he took office this year, the Rev. John D. Dorhauer, President and General Minister of the UCC, called the church to open a meaningful, substantive, and safe dialogue on the dynamics of white privilege, as we move toward becoming a multiracial and multicultural church.

    As we proceed with this work, already in progress, we request an affirmation that this is work that Old First, as a congregation, is committed to supporting and engaging in as individuals and as a community of faith.

    As a Congregation, we make the following commitment:

    1. Participate in the Congregational Self-Assessment on Race.
    2. Look for opportunities to learn and grow in our understanding of the impact of racism and white privilege in our life histories and in the experiences we have in the world
    3. Participate in learning opportunities offered by the Ministry Team within the congregation or in the wider church, seeking that all members commit to participating in at least one learning opportunity and a one-on-one conversation in the year 2016.
    4. As individuals, to engage in this work as a part of our spiritual development.

    As a Ministry Team, we make the following commitment:

    1. Keep the congregation informed of the work we are doing and the participation of membership, generally, in that work.
    2. Provide opportunities to engage in learning both within the congregation and in the wider church
    3. Welcome new members to the ministry team
    4. Be a resource, a support group, and a discussion partner for conversations about race in family, work place and community settings.
    5. Report to the Congregation on the impact of the work we are doing and proposals for further efforts that we, as a congregation, may take to assist in the dismantling of racism in our social institutions.