Emmanuel Re-Inaugural Newsletter
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We have had several vestry transitions during these last months. We have all benefited from Ron Fleming’s faithful and experienced service as Treasurer for the past over three years. One of Ron’s many important gifts of financial leadership to Emmanuel Church was to develop with the Diocese a fair and thoughtful system of cost allocation against the revenues from the apartments, St. Andrew’s Room, and EDS, which corrected the calculation and sizing of our diocesan apportionment. Ron has served Emmanuel Church in many capacities, including as vestry member at large, School Committee Chair, Senior Warden, and finally Treasurer. With his wife, Pam, he has also has taken a major role for many years in the care of our beautiful building and grounds.
Ron’s term as Treasurer would normally have ended at our Annual Meeting in January 2019, but he generously agreed to stay on to help Della+ and the newly elected Assistant Treasurer, Dave Monroe, transition into budgeting and financial management. Ron decided to retire on April 30th, leaving us grateful for his faithful leadership and continuing counsel. While Ron continues to advise the Treasurer and the Assistant Treasurer in the transition, we miss his wise advice and deep spirituality on the vestry, and are grateful for Ron’s and Pam’s ongoing ministry on the Property Committee and hands on with the building and gardens. The vestry confirmed Dave Monroe, elected Assistant Treasurer at the Annual Meeting, as Treasurer as provided in Emmanuel’s Bylaws, and Valerie Martin was elected Assistant Treasurer.
We also honor LeEtta Nolan, who retired as Clerk of the Vestry in April. The Vestry elected Catherine Curtis to fill LeEtta’s unexpired term as Clerk, and elected Cindy Larned to fill Catherine’s unexpired term as vestry member at large. Jackie Breen was elected to fill Valerie Martin’s term as vestry member at large.
Our COVIDtide Quarantine
We were preparing for regular Sunday worship when we learned the Saturday after clergy conference in March that we would start live casting worship from the church with a worship team, but with all of you joining from home. Emmanuel Day School began an early spring break the following Monday, following the early extended spring break of the Newport Public Schools. Within two weeks, we were live streaming from our dining room on Mary Street, what we’ve come to call “Emmanuel North,” and we had begun “EDS Online,” with instructional materials at home in the hands of the EDS parents and “Morning Meeting” every day at 10:00 on the Zoom platform with our EDS students.
The business closure and stay at home orders that quickly followed required us to suspend our treasured Soup’s On ministry beginning in April, and we began holding all of our meetings — from Vestry, book group, and Bible Study to Coffee Hour — with the online Zoom platform. This was a lot of change, and the church building was essentially closed.
Bishop Knisely’s wife, Karen, observed in an encouraging note to the clergy recently that while our church buildings were closed, the Church has never been more open. We donated the funds we would have spent hosting Soup’s On to the Martin Luther King Community Center’s Food Assistance Program. And Catherine Curtis has delivered over 30 heads of lettuce grown in the hydroponics unit in the gym to the MLK Center, helping the Food Assistance Program to meet the critical food need with fresh produce.
The Vestry started a phone tree, reaching out to everyone in our Parish Directory. While some people were as far away as the Kingdom of Bahrain, they were grateful for the connection with Emmanuel. Christina Fitch emailed back to Valerie Martin, thanking her for reaching out,
Both phones are presently on vacation mode as my husband is stationed overseas in the Kingdom of Bahrain. We are 1 month away from having baby 3 here in Bahrain! As soon as we come back state side in 2022, we will contact you all about another baptism! There is a big Anglican Church out here, but there is something about coming home, and being at our home church, that makes some things worth waiting for…
Please keep us as members. Though we are far away you’re always in our hearts. I think often of times being in the choir, and my son’s and daughter’s baptisms by Mother Anita (though I know she has moved). I think of my teacher Lillian Hargrove from confirmation class and playing basketball in the basement when we had to help get Choir robes. These are small memories from a lifetime ago. But coming home even for only one service is still coming home…
Keep us in your prayers and we will keep you in ours.
Christine gave us permission to share her kind email with all of you, this word from far away that Emmanuel still holds a place in her heart, and that even while COVIDtide has kept us apart, it has also made space and time for us to reconnect in new ways.
The Executive Committee of the Vestry met (and continues to meet) weekly to follow up on many building and office priorities, and created a Reopening Planning Group chaired by Junior Warden Maggie Martin to plan our safe reopening for worship in person in the church. Committee members Deb Venancio, Valerie Martin, Margaret Keiran, and Phil Schmitt, with adjunct member Ellen Vadney, are finalizing the church’s plan this week for approval by the Vestry.
We couldn’t have imagined in January when we first heard news of the coronavirus, or even in early March — when we first began talking about washing our hands for twenty seconds with soap — the economic and social impact that COVID-19 would have on our lives. With EDS converted from a day school to home schooling with EDS staff providing instructional materials and online support, some parents understandably suspended tuition payments, which we rely on to pay teachers. Ron immediately investigated funding options and led the successful application to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (SBA PPP). We were awarded $39,950 to continue to pay staff. While the PPP procedures are still being finalized, we anticipate that the loan will be forgiven, as funds were expended as provided by the PPP.
Emmanuel Staff Transitions
While the church building has been closed, the church itself has never been more open. Annie Sherman continues her great work as Parish Administrator and has been cheerful, creative, and flexible figuring out how to do the work of the church remotely. You can reach Annie any time by email at email@example.com, or by leaving a voicemail on the church phone (401-847-0675).
Many of you have met our Sexton, Lori Rodrigues, who started in the fall. Lori is also an experienced bookkeeper, and so has expanded her duties to include bookkeeping and will be your contact for any questions about checks or accounts at the church. You can reach Lori by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving a voicemail on the church phone (401-847-0675). Annie’s and Lori’s support has been essential, together with the hard work of Executive Committee members Deb Venancio, Maggie Martin, Dave Monroe, Valerie Martin, and Catherine Curtis as we have together undertaken the hard work of planning the safe re-opening of the church building and Emmanuel Day School, as well as updating both staffing responsibilities and office systems for Emmanuel’s best future.
Dear Emmanuel Family,
In case you missed this item, Tiiu (Rüiis) Booth died this month. The funeral was private, so we did not have the chance to show our love for her.
Remember she served as Junior Warden, helped start Soup’s On, helped establish the church garden, worked on rummage sales to fund the garden, and was a stalwart of the Tuesday Group. She was the best friend a person could have.
By leaving Estonia during wartime, enrolling in Cornell, marrying Don Booth and joining our church, she enriched us all.
I loved her and miss her and thought the parish would want to know.