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The State of the Parish: The Rector’s Report 2018/19

For Saint Stephen’s, the year 2018/19 has been marked by a number of notable changes and transitions. Not least, our vicar, The Very Reverend Michael Kerouac, his wife Caroline and their family left Saint Stephen’s for Florida. Shortly after their arrival, Bishop John Vaughan installed Fr Kerouac as the Dean of St Patrick’s ProCathedral at Port St John, not far from Cape Canaveral.

Fr Kerouac has been succeeded as vicar by The Rev’d John P. Novicki, a long-serving assistant rector. Fr Novicki has already made his present felt by master-minding the acquisition of a new, cutting edge telephone system. When fully operational it will be far more flexible and user friendly than the current system.

The Rev’d Dan Bursi was ordained to the priesthood by the bishop at this year’s diocesan synod. The newly minted Fr Bursi will continue his work with the parish’s busy—and highly successful—pastoral care team together with Mrs Happy Riley, our director of Pastoral Care. Bishop Vaughan has also licensed The Rev Dr Norman Flowers and The Rev’d Mark Newsome to serve at Saint Stephen’s altar.

Congratulations and best wishes for success are in order for veteran lay reader and director of adult education Brock Johnson, who has embarked a course of theological studies at Saint Bede’s Anglican Catholic Theological College. Saint Bede’s provides academic, spiritual and pastoral training of men for the ordained ministry; post-secondary theological education for lay people; and post-ordination training and professional development.

There have also been significant changes on the vestry, following the departure of our long serving treasurer Bill Hawkins (and his much loved wife Annie) for their native Wales. Bob Reynolds, well known to congregants as a lay-reader and usher, for taking over the onerous job of managing parish’s exchequer. Meanwhile, two long-serving vestrymen—Brice Richardson and John Karlsen—have left the vestry.

Heartfelt thanks are owed to them for their years of conscientious service to the parish. Thanks are also due to Mrs Priscilla Huffman who has also announced that she will be retiring from the vestry at the annual meeting on Sunday, November 17th. However, Mrs Huffman, with her husband, Dick, will continue to lead the Parish Life Committee.

Retiring vestrymen offering themselves for re-election are Mr Peter Threadgill and Mr Brock Johnson. In addition three candidates have been nominated to fill the places of the vestrymen who have resigned. They are: Mrs Anne-Stuart Darrell, Mr Jai Seunarine, and Mr Tom Fitzgerald. They will join serving vestrymen Mrs Tracy Collins, Mr Severn Miller, Mr Paul Douglas, and John Cobb, Esq.

  • Mrs Darrell, the wife of former vestryman Richard Darrell, has attended Saint Stephen’s for more than 20 years. The couple have a daughter and two sons, both of whom sang in the Choir of Men and Boys. Recently she founded a new company named Maryland Move Managers Inc.
  • Mr Seunarine is a graduate of Boys Latin and Loyola University. He grew up in the Anglican Church and as a boy he sang with the Choir of Men & Boys at Saint Michael & All Angels Church. For the past 28 years he has been CEO of Jai Medical Systems and Jai Medical Center which provide health care for poor and low income city and Baltimore County families. Jai Medical is the highest rated managed health care organization in Maryland and one of the highest rated in the U.S.A. St Stephen’s has been his family’s church home for the past 15 years and both of his children were recently confirmed here.
  • Mr Fitizgerald is a member the Sunday School Steering Committee and his family have been associated with. the best part of 30 years. He and wife Rachel have two children—both Sunday School students—and are expecting their third. Mr FitzGerald is admissions director of the Woodburn Center.

Turning to the parish’s work in the community, the parish provides chaplains for organizations including the U.S. Navy League, the Ancient & Honorable Mechanical Company of Baltimore, The Great War Association and the Saint George’s Society. We also provide pastoral care and support at The Joseph Richey Hospice, Union Memorial Hospital and The Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

Our clergy also conduct regular church services at many retirement communities and nursing homes, including The Joseph Richey Hospice, Glen Meadows, Mays Chapel Ridge, Powerback at Brightwood, Genesis at Mays Chapel, Lorien at Mays Chapel, and Roland Park Place.

COL Scott Taylor organizes the parish’s regular collections of non-perishable foodstuffs, household goods and cash donations for At Jacob’s Well, a charity that helps Baltimore’s mentally ill homeless population. The organization is also looking for furniture for its growing inventory of apartments.

In addition our to Thursday and Friday morning Bible Studies (led by Brock Johnson and Fr Hawtin), the parish has instituted two services Morning Prayer each week. The services are scheduled for 9:30 AM on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and are generally conducted by Brock Johnson.

The Knitting Circle—mentored by Cyndie Baker and Mar Bopst—meets in the Cadwalader Room on Thursdays at 10 AM. Members produce beautifully crafted comforts for the patients at local nursing homes and folks on the parish sick lists, items auctioned during the Cookie Walk in aid of the Heifer Project. New members are always welcome.

The annual Cookie Walk and the British Garden Party, organized by the Parish Life Committee, were as successful as ever. Parish Life’s many other events, including a diet-busting Shrove Tuesday Pancake & Sausage Supper, as well as the usual parish picnics and cookouts.

Thanks to the creativity of Adric, our Organist & Choir Master, the Choir of Men & Boys has maintained its monthly Choral Evensong program despite an acute shortage of trebles. The offertory is in aid of the choir’s special charity, The Christ Child Society. The choir also sings Choral Mattins on three Sundays a month.

In addition to Mr Reynolds ands Mr Johnson, our lay readers are Mr Christopher Browne, Mr Carroll Browne, Lt Col Taylor, and Mr Threadgill, who usually officiates at the Sunday Morning and Evening offices. We are desperately seeking ushers—particularly for the 11:15 AM Sunday service.

The Ladies Who Lunch, under the leadership of Mrs Sara Douglas, have enjoyed another year of fellowship and fine dining.

The Altar Guild, led by Mrs Ellen Reather has had another busy year. Membership is open to both men and women. If you are interested in this vital work, please contact the parish office or an Altar Guild member.

The Sunday School has grown substantially during the past couple of years thanks to the leadership of Mrs Diane Novicki, and teachers Mrs Collins, Ms Kiki Gushue, Mrs Tracey Gushue and Brock Johnson, as well as parent volunteers.

Mrs Devon Rock has assumed leadership of our talented Flower Guild which continues to deck the sanctuary with spectacular floral arrangements.

Meanwhile, if you would like to keep abreast of parish affairs, check a date, read a sermon, hunt through ancient newsletters or keep up with the endless complaints of Isaac the Misanthropic Brass Eagle, our website is the place to do it. You will find it at our web address: GPH✠

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