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Parish Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 17th

Part I of The Rector’s Report

The Annual Parish Meeting will take place between the 9:00 AM and 11:15 AM services on Sunday, June 17th. St Stephen’s has enjoyed another successful year—despite the continuing recession. We have welcomed quite a number of new members, although, sadly, we have also said a final earthly farewell to a number of old friends—including a couple who had been with us from our earliest years.

Church activities, however, were enthusiastically supported and our work in the wider community has continued to expand, serving a growing number of civic organizations and health care institutions.

The key organizer of the parish’s community service team is Mrs. Anne Hawkins, Director of Pastoral Care. She also edits the newsletter, and coordinates our remarkably successful community blood drives.

We provide chaplains for organizations including the U.S. Navy League, the Ancient & Honorable Mechanical Company of Baltimore, and the St. George’s Society. We also provide pastoral care and support at The Joseph Richey Hospice, Union Memorial Hospital, and The Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

The clergy conduct regular church services at retirement communities and nursing homes, including Glen Meadows, Mays Chapel Ridge, Genesis at Brightwood, Genesis at Mays Chapel, Lorien at Mays Chapel, Lorien in Columbia, and Roland Park Place, as well as occasional services at other communities including Heart Homes, Blakehurst, Edenwald, and Keswick.

The parish continues its monthly collections of nonperishable foodstuffs and household goods for At Jacob’s Well, a charity that helps Baltimore’s mentally ill homeless population.

The Joseph Richey Hospice’s new hospice for children, Dr. Bob’s Place, has been in operation for almost a year now and is serving an increasing number of patients. Joseph Richey has been a particular focus of our community service for upwards of 20 years and parishioner Bea Kallina, the Volunteer Coordinator, reports an increasing need for our volunteer services, particularly at the new children’s hospice.

Our Tuesday and Friday morning and Wednesday afternoon Bible Studies are led by Brock Johnson who also serves as lay reader and Sunday School teacher.

The Tuesday morning Knitting Circle—mentored by Happy Riley and Karen Ruthig—meets in the parish hall to laugh and chat while producing beautifully crafted comforts for the patients at the Joseph Richey Hospice and folks on the parish sick list. They are always ready to welcome new members—learners or expert. And it is not necessary to be physically present to join the circle.

The newsletter comes to you thanks to the hard-working mailroom team: Donna Szper, Joyce Perlberg (and Misty), Mar Bopst and Jim Halbert. (If you change your address or if you’re going away for few days, please let them know, so they can make the necessary adjustments to the mailing list.)

The Parish Life Committee (PLC), led by Chairman Stephanie Verhage, excelled itself once again. The annual Cookie Walk, organized by the irrepressible Donna Szper was as successful as ever. Donna also organizes the annual British Garden Party, which netted a hefty $4,000 profit.

The committee organized a host of other events, including a diet–busting Shrove Tuesday Pancake & Sausage Supper. The committee’s Silly Summer Suppers—a brainchild of Anne Hawkins and Charlotte Hawtin—ran through the summer and much of the fall, attracting an enthusiastic following not only among parishioners, but among folks in the neighborhood.

The parish owes a considerable debt of gratitude to the Vestry for its work in overseeing the parish’s affairs. They are John Cobb, Rector’s Warden; Gordon Turner & Don Ruthig, People’s Wardens; Paul Douglas, assistant to the People’s Warden; Bill Hawkins, treasurer; Dr. Kirby von Kessler, registrar; Alan Gushue, fund-raiser-in-chief; Brock Johnson, director of Adult Education; Donna Szper, who represents the parish life committee; and J. Brice Richardson, who is a member of the diocesan Standing Committee and the church’s National Executive Council.

The building and grounds have never looked better thanks to Grounds Chairman Martha Miller, Buildings Chairman Don Ruthig, and Brock Johnson (a.k.a. “Sparkles”), who lead a team of enthusiastic volunteers, including Colby Hawks, Judy Elliot, Sev Miller, and Bill Hawkins.

A special vote of thanks should go Don Ruthig, whose woodworking talents have earned him the title of “Purveyor of Crosiers to the Episcopate”. Having produced a gorgeous wooden crosier for Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Brian Marsh, Don made an even more splendid one for our new suffragan, The Rt. Rev. John Vaughan. (Don is planning to make an equally splendid one for Bishop Marsh.)

This year we will be electing three vestry members. The nominees are Don Ruthig, J. Brice Richardson, and Severn Miller (to replace Allan Gushue, who is retiring).

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