St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church:

Annual Meeting

September 28, 2014

Reports to the Annual Meeting of 2014 will be posted in the order in which they are submitted, following the (unapproved) minutes from the previous year's annual meeting:

St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church

Minutes of Previous Year's Annual Meeting

St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church

22 September 2013

The Call to Order, Report of the Nominating Committee, and Call for Nominations from the Floor took place just before the start of the 10:00 a.m. service.  Maureen Ghent, Senior Warden, read the slate of nominees.  The meeting was re-convened at 11:30 a.m. in the parish hall when the elections took place.  Forty adults and two children were in attendance.  There was a break for lunch.  At 12:00 p.m. the meeting continued.  Prayer was offered and Father O’Flynn thanked the members of the Parish Life Commission who prepared the meal.  Thunderous applause ensued.    


Reporting on behalf of the Nominating Committee, Father O’Flynn read the slate of nominees.  There was a motion to proceed with the election and the motion was seconded; the nominees were elected unanimously.  The incoming vestry members will be Tom Brackett, Rick Geier, Kathy Jensen (for three-year terms), Jana Laxa (for a two-year unexpired term), and Anna-Marie Kuiper (for a one-year unexpired term).  Continuing members will be Michael Clough, Maureen Fox, Nancy Heck, and Amy Jerome.  Melissa Davies will serve as junior warden and Jerry Brown as senior warden.  Nancy Schult continues as Treasurer and the Clerk continues as the Clerk.

Clerk’s Report

There was a motion to dispense with the reading of the minutes; it was seconded.  The minutes of the Annual Meeting on September 23, 2012 were approved as written.

Treasurer’s Report

Nancy Schult presented the Treasurer’s Report for 2013 (ytd) and the Balance Sheet comparing August 2012 with August 2013.  She pointed out the significant aspects of each and was pleased to report that the parish is in good fiscal health. 

Wardens’ Report

Jerry Brown and Maureen Ghent had nothing to add to their written reports.  In Maureen’s report she emphasized what a rewarding experience she had had as Senior Warden; she characterized the parish as “generous and productive” and she thanked everyone who had contributed to it during the past year.  Jerry underscored his enthusiasm for the year ahead, concluding his written report with the statement “thank all of you for giving me the chance to be one of your wardens.  I look forward to seeing where the Holy Spirit will lead us in the coming year.” 

Rector’s Report

On behalf of the entire parish Father O’Flynn thanked Barbara Bartlett, Jane McKnight, Ed Sitts, and Lynn Staley (our outgoing vestry members) and Maureen Ghent (our outgoing senior warden) for their excellent service.  Everyone applauded.  He then highlighted various aspects of his extensive written report, mentioning, in particular, the new Donald L. Berry organ restoration fund.  Noting how grateful the parish is for Wanda Warren Berry’s donation, which will fund phase 1 of the renovations, Father O’Flynn added that he is hoping that more renovation work can be undertaken in the future.  Finally, he expressed his gratitude for the work that the Rev. Elizabeth Gillett has done in the parish over the past year.  He announced that there would be a special prayer of blessing for her on September 29th in honor of her new status as interim pastor in Chittenango.  

Commission Reports

Budget & Finance:  Jerry Brown (chair) reported that the parish’s investments and income have improved over the past year due, in part, to a healthier stock market.  And also, he mentioned, the new diocesan fund managers are very good.  He then commended the Audit Team (Ed Sitts, chair, with Karen Baase and Adger Williams) for their “wonderful presentation.”  “The bottom line,” Jerry said, “is that we’re fine.”  Other hard-working members of the Budget & Finance Commission are Liz Brackett, Maureen Ghent, Nancy Schult, Deede Van Der Mandele, and Ed Vantine.

Buildings & Grounds:  Ed Page (chair) explained that he had submitted a lengthy report for the sake of completeness.  “We have a lot of work ahead of us that needs to be done,” Ed commented.  He then explained that the sexton’s current schedule (twelve hours/week, all that is allowed Kevin Roberson, given his work status) is proving insufficient to maintain the property.  Consequently, Ed has been putting in many hours of work in the garden and on tasks related to our parish buildings.  He commented that he appreciated the support that B & G has been given by the rector and vestry, and that a physical walk-around is coming up soon.  Father O’Flynn added that Ed and Barbara Page have done an incredible amount of work already, and that he and the vestry have been listening attentively to their interim reports.  Moreover, the vestry has approved the idea submitted by Ed and Barbara to start a parish Wish List that will be overseen by the members of the vestry.  The Memorial Garden, thanks to many persons (and especially Lynn Staley) continues to flourish.  Lastly, Ed thanked the many persons who have helped with B & G issues, great and small.

Music and Worship:  Father O’Flynn announced that the Music and Worship commissions had combined their written reports this year.  He and the others attending the Annual Meeting were thrilled at the “amazing series of musicians” that Dianne had brought into the services over the summer.  Father O’Flynn offered thanks, once again, to Christian Clough for his willingness to play the organ on his visits to Hamilton.  Father O’Flynn reviewed the many special worship services, together with the more predictable seasonal liturgies, that had occurred during the past twelve months. (All are described and discussed carefully by Dianne Adams McDowell in her thorough report.) He mentioned that incense has been added to some services. There was a round of applause for the Music and Worship Commissions and all who make liturgical events “happen,” whether on special occasions or during our normal weekly worship services.       

Acolytes:  Reporting on behalf of Debbie Barker, Father O’Flynn reviewed the significant aspects of Debbie’s update.    

Altar Guild:  Mea Martineau, our “eternal” Altar Guild Directress, was pleased to announce that the Guild has had two new recruits (the Eggingtons), in addition to Susan B. Truworthy.  Barbara Page now shares linen maintenance with Bev McKay.  The Altar Guild welcomes volunteers for the annual “polishing parties” just before Christmas and Easter.  Those joining Mea are Judy Brown, Wynn and Everett Eggington, Marlene Houck, Bev McKay, Barbara Page, June Schaupp, Susan B. Truworthy.              

Flower Guild:  Deede Van Der Mandle noted that the members of the Flower Guild are continually busy and they are always interested in welcoming new members.  Those to be thanked for their lovely work during the last year include our regulars (Deede and Jana Laxa (chair), Rose Novak, Jane McKnight, Liz Brackett, and Barbara Frost) who are assisted, on various occasions, by Jim and Joan Ford, Gina Sakal, Maureen Fox, Ed Page, and various family members of the Guild and their associates. 

Parish Life:  The parishioners again (wildly) applauded the amazing work carried out by Parish Life.  Nan Schmitt (chair) stated that they had a particularly interesting time supporting the activities of the Anglican Hour, which scheduled some cooking classes for Colgate students.  Other notable moments included the party to honor Dianne Adams McDowell and the reception following the requiem service for Donald L. Berry. As might be expected Parish Life requires a large group of supporters that includes Nan along with Barbara Bartlett, Millie Franklin, Janice Frutiger, Marlene Houck, Mea Martineau, and Gina Sakal, assisted on select occasions by Amy Jerome and Deb Radford.  

Stewardship:  Nancy Heck (chair) announced that Pledge Sunday will be November 17th.  The number of pledge units remains stable, as does the income of the parish.  The commission is pleased to include Marcia Sitts, Liz Brackett, John Novak, Nancy Schult, and Tom Brackett.   

Youth Group:  Father O’Flynn, reporting for Debbie Barker, was pleased with the “incredible” range of activities that had been planned for the Youth Group during the past year.  He talked about the success of the group’s KIVA account and stated that he hoped that the young people might be encouraged to raise additional funds for that project.

Outreach:  Judy Fischer (chair) reported that the group are supporting seven different groups this year.  Father O’Flynn added that the local Interfaith Group has come together this year to generate even more energy for Outreach activities.  He named last summer’s special picnic for migrant workers as an example of one such place where combined efforts had resulted in a wonderful experience for everyone involved.  The commission is pleased to include Maureen Fox, Jana Laxa, Liz Brackett, and Fr. O’Flynn.

Action Items:  There were no items to present.

Discussion Items:  There were no items to present.

Necrology:  Those at the meeting remembered Donald Berry and Richard Conant with prayer.

There was a motion to adjourn and it was seconded.  The meeting ended at 12:35 p.m. and the room was filled immediately with animated chatter.  Many lingered in the parish hall to talk more about the many blessings that the parish had enjoyed during the previous year and, of course, to begin making plans for the year to come. 

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Cerasano

Parish Clerk 

Reports to the 2014 Meeting:

Christian Education      

The Teen/Pre-teen Group met for three sessions in total. Debbie and Father O'Flynn taught in the fall, followed by Amy Jerome and Nancy Schult.  Rick Geier and Father O'Flynn rounded out the year.  Some of the curriculum was geared toward the preparation of confirmation for Kevin, Geordi and Kristen. However, due to an unplanned illness, the Bishop was unavailable for the planned confirmation date. The three teens were ready to be presented and one (Geordi Geier) was confirmed on May 29 at a District ceremony in Sherrill, while two others (Kevin Schult and Kristen Meadows)  will be presented at St. Thomas' when the Bishop visits on All Saints' Sunday The other younger kids also participated with reasonably good attention.

Beginning in the Spring, Father O'Flynn started to think about re-introducing a curriculum into the younger grades of the Sunday School program. The gravitation of children towards the nursery led to this consideration.   He heard about a program, Godly Play, that was going on at St. James, Clinton.  Following some conversations with Deacon Nick and others, he felt that it would be a good program to bring to St. Thomas.  During the Spring/Summer, Lara Scott was hired to begin leading the Godly Play classroom in September, and with much enthusiasm started planning the instruction.

Amy Jerome

Parish Life Commission 2014

The Parish Life Commission organizes, oversees and provides food and beverages for special events and coffee hours throughout the year including baptism and funeral receptions.

The following is a list of events we hosted this past year:

Annual Meeting Luncheon, Sunday, September 22, 2013, 11:30 AM, Parish House.

Served lasagna, eggplant parmesan, garlic knots and house salad (prepared by VJ’s Restaurant), cookies, and beverages.

All Saints’ Sunday and Baptism (Eden Gwen Hubbard), November 3, 2013,        11:30 AM, Parish House. Provided and served devilled eggs, taco salad, salami & cream cheese, cheeseball, cheese & crackers, and beverages. Cake & cupcakes prepared by Sharon Stevens.

12th Night Christmas/pre-Epiphany Brunch, Sunday, January 5, 2014, 11:30 AM, Parish House.  Provided and served a large variety of food, including, quiche, French toast casserole, egg casserole, fruit & dip, cheese & crackers, beverages, and Sharon Stevens’ special King’s cake. Music & games were also part of the festive mix.

Bishop’s Visitation Luncheon, Sunday, March 30, 2014, 11:30 AM, Parish House.  Provided and served sausage rolls, cheeseball, cheese & crackers, hot cheese dip & pumpernickel, taco dip, devilled eggs, fruit, veggies, little hotdogs in chili sauce, and beverages, including a punch. Unfortunately, the bishop was ill and couldn’t make it; but we ate well anyways!

Pentecost Sunday Luncheon, Sunday, May 18, 2014, 11:30 AM, Parish House.  Provided and served taco salads (one with meat and one without), fruit tart, grape salsa & lime chips, sausage rolls, cheese & crackers, half-moon cookies and beverages.

Annual Parish Picnic, Sunday, August 24, 2014, 11:30 AM, Parish House.  Served Holy Smokes pulled pork & bbq chicken with sauce, rolls (Sherburne Big M), salads & desserts (provided by parishioners), and beverages.  Parishioners also helped with set up and clean up.

Thank you to all our members and to those who just pitch in to help when needed.  We are definitely not an exclusive group, so if any of you would like to join us, we would love to have you!

Respectfully submitted,

Nan Schmitt, Chair

Barbara Bartlett

Millie Franklin

Marlene Houck

Mea Martineau

Gina Sakal

Annual Buildings & Grounds Commission

Report 2014

The Buildings & Grounds Commission this year continues to be a work party of two (2), one (1) being my wife, Barbara, who has been very supportive and helpful, especially in the area concerning the grounds, which includes the flower gardens, and insight regarding the many issues I have been faced with.  Thank you to Dave McKay, Jack Martineau, and John Novak  for continuing as advisors.  My main function continues to be supplementing the duties of the Sexton, as his average of twelve (12) hours per week has been, and never was, nearly enough time to accomplish the many needs and demands required to maintain our facilities as they should be kept.  The care of the St. Thomas’ property has slowly improved in some areas. 

  • Since December 2013, there have been two (2) Community Service Volunteers, one serving 30 hours and the other 10 hours, which required someone to supervise them while they were working.  Typically, they assist me while performing various tasks, which boils down to my exceeding their required hours to make preparations and provide tools and material, in advance. 

  • I am pleased to report the Fire System, for the most part, has been trouble-free with only very minor system reports, which continues to be under watch.

  • Parish Hall and Rectory basement clean-up continues to be a “Work in progress”.

  • Parish Hall main entrance, “Great Room”,  and restroom floors remain in very poor condition and require attention.

  • The grounds have seen continued tree trimming with more waiting to be done.  There are many flower gardens which require constant care and upkeep.  Many thanks to John and Rose Novak for continually providing and caring for the flowers along the church entry walkway.  Thanks, also, to Lynn Staley for monitoring the shrubbery in the Memorial Garden. 

  • There have been miscellaneous repairs to electrical fixtures, pews, doors, and a broken window replacement,  as well as numerous other maintenance needs.

  • On July 29th the long awaited installation of a water softener was installed, which now treats water to the Rectory, Parish Hall, and Sacristy.  A maintenance log was developed and presently posted next to the unit.  In addition, the faucet in the small restroom has been replaced, as well as the Parish Hall water heater being improved to meet code. 

  • On June 24th a signed contract agreement with Urben Roofing, Hamilton, and first payment, was delivered for the Rectory and Sacristy roof replacement project.

  • Parish office computer updates and maintenance are being continued regularly.

  • Presently, ongoing preparations, required involving the organ renovation, were not included in the contact.  This meant the relocation of a fire system wire, organist cue light system, and installation of a ‘Computer Grade Electrical Outlet’ required to power the new organ equipment, refinishing the floor beneath the organ console, and modification of the low wall surrounding the console.

I must report the lawns/grounds care and general housekeeping still do not meet my expectations.  Jason’s Landscaping, L.L.C., Hubbardsville, will NOT be providing lawn care services this fall as previously reported, due to their increased workload. Personally, I feel we missed our opportunity to employ their services this past spring when it was decided to continue lawn care as we have done in the past.  With the leaves beginning to descend upon us, a  need still exists.

In closing, on May 19th I submitted in writing to the Vestry, my formal notification and intent regarding my present position as Buildings & Grounds Commission Chairman at St. Thomas’. Upon accepting the position of Chairman, it was unclear to me what the job description and expectations would be.  I made an effort to seek a defined role in which to fill the needs of St. Thomas’ within the B&G Commission since January 2013.  Since then, I have discovered the many physical and maintenance needs of our property.  Hopefully, my past reports and efforts to supplement the limitations of our Sexton has brought to light many ongoing issues of concern, which has been my primary goal.

As of the calendar end of 2014, I request to be replaced as Chairman of the Commission, while continuing to provide maintenance/repair support within my abilities, skill sets, and available time.  The administration and management aspect of the chairmanship would better be served by someone with greater managing skills.  Hopefully, this will allow me more time to pursue personal projects.

Respectfully submitted,

Edward O. Page

  Edward O. Page


Worship Commission


This year we met in person and by email, as that seems to suit our busy schedules.
We follow the church calendar. Father O'Flynn and Dianne Adams McDowell tend
to details. Mea Martineau keeps the schedule for worship and supplies us with all
necessary items and staffs the Altar Guild.
The summer schedule of one nine o'clock service which began in 2011 has become
a tradition, and it has been well received. We have established the basil cross for
Holy Cross Day.
The highlight of our year has been having a Deacon, Curate and now, ordained
Priest. Nick Smith's presence has allowed us to see the parts of liturgy appointed to
those positions and to learn from him. Father O'Flynn referred to his 'fresh out of
seminary' reflections to our Bible Study group and we were delighted with his
preaching and outreach work.
Since Father O'Flynn became Dean of our district, which we now call Deanery, he 
has developed programs to bring all our churches together in an educational and 
fun style. Already we have shared ideas, developed a website, planned future
events and held Choral Evensong at our lovely 'first church' at Paris Hill. Expect
much more as we grow into a really bonded group.
Carol Compton 

Commission for the Common Good

“What Can We Do?” was the resonating message from those attending last fall’s Adult Education Discussion series, which began with the “Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

In December 2013, Irene Brown and Karen Baase initiated the first step by proposing that St. Thomas’ Vestry create a Commission for the Common Good. Its mission would be to explore concrete ways to address injustice and discrimination, in order to transform unjust structures of society, challenge violence of every kind, and pursue peace and reconciliation. This Commission could work in concert with other Hamilton churches to address local needs.  The Vestry approved that request in December 2013.

Members of the Commission include Tom & Liz Brackett, Everett Eggington, David Struges, Maureen Fox, Irene Brown, and Karen Baase. The Commission met twice during 2014 and sponsored its first discussion in May with John Pumilio, Colgate University’s Sustainability Director.  Other topics suggested for consideration include:

  1. Examining income disparity in U.S society.
  2. Further exploration of Friendship Inn and the Hamilton Food Cupboard. What’s needed? What additional things can we do to help?
  3. Hunger in Madison County.
  4. The Community Garden at Colgate.
  5. Camp Fiver.
  6. How to improve children’s’ access to books, libraries, and other services with the support of local retailers and grocery stores.
  7. Learn about services available from Madison County Community Action.
  8. Learn more about innovation at Madison County’s Solid Waste Dept. and its recycling efforts.

The 2nd action requested of the Vestry was to consider making a commitment as a parish to work in concert with the Cochran-Baker Family to establish A Better Chance chapter in Hamilton. This would be a residential home for high school age scholars of color needing a supportive home and community environment to develop their potential to become well-educated young people capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in American society.

In early 2014, a Steering Committee was formed to further study establishing an ABC Chapter in Hamilton in concert with the Cochran-Baker Family.  The Steering consisted of Irene Brown, Linda Leech, Terry Monty, and Karen Baase.

After considerable discussion, study, and consultations with the Cochran Family, leaders at Hamilton Central School and Colgate University, village officials, and visits to ABC Chapters in Clinton and Fayetteville, the Steering Committee decided that “this is not the right time to pursue an ABC house in Hamilton.” 

Respectfully submitted,

Karen Baase

Irene Brown

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