Dear Friends,

Trinity will be holding a couple of very important meetings after the 10:00 am service during the next two Sundays.

The first – this coming Sunday, January 21 – is the annual presentation about church finances. Margaret Baehren, the parish’s Treasurer, will lead the presentation along with other members of the Finance Committee. Together, we’ll review the financial report for 2023 – our income and expenses, and whether we ended the year in the “red” or in the “black” – and then go over the vestry-approved 2024 Budget.

Numbers aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the finances of a parish aren’t just about numbers. They’re about ministry and mission and our priorities when it comes to the work we’ve been called to do – that is, God’s work. Trinity has certainly been blessed by the generosity of our forebears, who left substantial legacies that support our excellent programs in music and the arts, allow us to experiment with new ministry initiatives, and preserve our buildings. But Trinity also receives significant support from today’s members. The stewardship of our financial resources is ultimately the responsibility of the Wardens & Vestry, but it isn’t only their responsibility. So, plan to get a cup of coffee at the end of the service and take a seat in the front of the church. You’ll gain important insight into the dollars and cents (not to mention the sense) it takes to do ministry in and from Trinity.

The second important meeting – on Sunday, January 28 – is the Annual Meeting of Trinity Episcopal Church of Toledo, Ohio (the official name of our church.) Having covered the finances of the parish the week before, we’ll turn our attention to celebrating the year just completed and elect three people to serve terms on the Vestry. The Annual Meeting of an Episcopal parish is a business meeting to be sure, but it’s also a time to look back with gratitude for all the ways the Holy Spirit has moved in and through us as well as to look ahead to the coming year. Given that Trinity is in the midst of a rector transition, your leadership will review the steps the parish will be taking to identify and call a priest as your next rector.

Some find it difficult to think of a church as a “business.” For many of us, our parish is our spiritual home, where we are renewed each week by Word and Sacrament. And we ask, why should I come to meetings that are mostly about parish administration. The answer is that administration is holy work, too.

In his First Letter to the Corinthians Paul cites “administrators” as one of God’s gifts to the Christian community (1 Corinthians 12:28). The word translated administrating in 1 Corinthians is κυβέρνησις, which means “to steer a ship.” That seems like just the right image for a progressive, inclusive, creative community of faith located in downtown Toledo – one of the busiest ports on the Great Lakes! So, please steer your ship to church the next two Sundays and, then, to the meetings that will follow worship.


Stephen Applegate

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