As we prepare for the annual meeting of Vestry next Sunday, I want to take this opportunity to offer heartfelt thanks to everyone for standing by St. Paul’s through an extraordinary time. As you’ll see in the reports, and as will be presented next week, not only has giving been generous and the parish remained strong, together we have prayed without ceasing, we have kept our eye on each other, we have done our best to adapt, and we have acted act on new opportunities that the Lord has presented.
*The envelope and overall giving increased by approximately 4% over 2020, with a significant percentage in the last two months, for which we offer you our heartfelt thanks.
The electronic donations – Canada Helps, PAG’s, e-transfers – have gradually increased to approximately 44% of our receipts, and cheques mailed-in constitute another 26% totalling approximately 70%.
We really appreciate your support in these formats, realizing that it is not the same, nor is it as satisfying, as it is to present our gifts in person at a church service.
The remaining 30% has been gratefully received from the donations from the church services that we were fortunately able to hold.
*This faithful support, along with careful stewardship, makes possible a proposal to Vestry for major renovations in 2022 that would not only replace a 44-year-old roof and greatly improve its drainage, the funds can be drawn entirely from what’s available in the Capital Account, leaving a healthy balance as protection for the unforeseen. Importantly, with this repair the path would be cleared of all known major repairs for the next 5-10 years. As has been typical, St. Paul’s stays ahead of its challenges rather than fighting to catch up.
*We have protected and kept in place our team of clergy and staff. In fact, we have added to it with the happy welcome of Canon Kim Beard. And a strong "Contingency Fund" has been created to help us navigate the balance of giving and expenses as the doors re-open and our program of Christian ministry resumes.
*Generous gifts and grants were requested and received that have helped shore up our music program ($7000) and our Youth ($3800) and Mandarin ($23,000) ministries. We thank the Diocese, the York-Scarborough Area, the Mustard Seed Foundation, the Church Cemetery, and a generous patron.
*As mentioned last year at Vestry, a sponsorship committee was formed and St. Paul’s co-sponsored a refugee family providing the necessary guarantee for their support in Canada. Guided through this by AURA (Anglican United Refugee Alliance), the last we heard the application is proceeding ahead of schedule. We continue to pray for its success and the reunion of the family in Toronto.
*As mentioned on Anniversary Sunday, over the last while new friends from Africa have joined us at St. Paul’s, reflecting a pattern of immigration in our neighborhood. To that end, an African Fellowship Committee has been organized with events being planned for 2022, offering the welcome of Christ to new friends in their new home.
*Additionally, an opportunity has presented itself for us to serve as a spiritual centre for First Nation Anglicans in Scarborough, a centre for young people and a bridge to the senior services of SPLC. With the help and encouragement of Archbishop Mark MacDonald, bishop to all First Nation Anglicans in Canada, and Fr. Andrew Wesley, a retired priest in the Diocese and a leader in aboriginal ministry here, our first public gathering is being organized for March.
*And all of this as we continue to build on our outreach to Tamil-speaking friends and throughout southeast Asia;
. . . on our outreach to Chinese friends;
. . . as we pray for the day when we can unlock the gate and let our youth ministry back into the community at full strength;
. . . when we can sing again, filling the air with the music of our choirs, our steel pans and our community youth music programs.
Friends, others will have to be discouraged about the future because the Lord has blessed us too richly and given us too much to do for his sake.
So, with hearts overflowing for the One in whom righteousness and mercy burn at full strength, with courage rising from quiet but unshakeable confidence in Jesus Christ - we give thanks for what we’ve received, for a heritage of courage and vision on which a strong and generous congregation continues to build, and God being our helper, look forward to 180 more years of faithful service at St. Paul, L’Amoreaux.