Report of the People’s Warden

State of the Church: Part I

A warden is a person charged with the care or keeping of “things”. In the case of the Anglican Church, the “things” are order and peace, the church buildings and facilities, and the properties belonging to the church.

Wardens have a particular duty to maintain order and peace in the church and churchyard at all times, and especially during services. In England a fine of £200 can be assessed for “riotous, violent, or indecent behaviour in any cathedral church, parish, or district church or chapel of the Church of England.” I am happy to report that no such incidents have occurred at St Stephen’s during the past year—although the treasurer might welcome the extra income.

The second “particular duty” of the warden is the care and keeping of the church buildings and facilities. Our buildings, now approaching their 20th year, have the same maintenance needs of any structures of that age. Fortunately we have had no major structural repairs during the past year, but time does march on and some needs are emerging.

The siding on the south wall of the sanctuary, under the windows, has shown signs of significant rot. In the coming months we will have to replace the siding in order to keep our building weather tight. We don’t anticipate this to be a significant expenditure since the work is straightforward and can be accomplished by our own parishioners. At the same time, the rain gutters will be rehung to remove water away from the building and prevent the damage from recurring.

Our buildings and grounds wouldn’t be in such excellent condition were it not for the efforts of a group of parishioners whose dedication certainly merits the accolade of “unsung heroes.” They clean the bathrooms, mop the floors, polish the brass, make the windows sparkle, cut the grass and trim the bushes, dust the pews, and do any number of other jobs to keep our church buildings and grounds as beautiful as they are. Theirs is truly a labor of love. A heart-felt thank you to all of them.

The final “particular duty” of the warden is for the care and keeping of the properties belonging to the church. And it’s amazing how much stuff we have!

This year a comprehensive inventory of the furnishings and fittings of the church was compiled. The result of the inventory was the doubling of our insurance coverage for our church furnishings and property.

But even as a dollar value can be assigned to many of our furnishings, they are, in fact, irreplaceable given, their history and the path by which they found their home at St Stephen’s. (Read “The Remarkable History of St Stephen’s Altar” on our website as an example.) Hopefully we’ll not need our insurance.

It has been my privilege and pleasure to serve this church and this congregation this past year as People’s Warden. Don Ruthig

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