St. Luke’s in the Meadow Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, Texas
Annual Parish Meeting
January 8, 2022
2022 was a good year for St. Luke’s in the Meadow. There were challenges along the way but more stability than in the previous two years. We were not shut down by the ongoing pandemic and in May of this year finally brought to a close the long and ugly litigation issue that disrupted our lives a bit. As a parish you have weathered these storms with faith, love and resilience.
In February 2022 we celebrated the life of The Reverend Mo Lewis who was one of our own. She was a vital part of our parish life and spiritual growth. Her sudden death left a hole in our parish family which was especially noticeable at Church in the Park and the Pet Blessings which she loved.
In April, our long-time Altar Guild Directress, Jeannie Russell retired. Her leadership is certainly missed. The Altar Guild has found a new way of functioning without a current Director. There are two teams but mostly whoever is here helps prepare for worship and Eucharist each Sunday. Thank you, Jeannie, for your many years of service. Thank you, current Altar Guild members, for your dedicated ministry of preparation every Sunday. And the extension of the Altar Guild is the Usher Team who set-ups chairs, folds worship leaflets, fills the baptismal font and does many other behind the scenes tasks. Thank you all! (If you would like to join the Altar Guild or Ushers/Greeters there will be a training session when we move to our new location, which I will talk more about in a minute.)
In May, I was away one weekend for the joyful occasion of my daughter’s wedding. Then at the end of May my 3-month sabbatical began. It was a much-needed time away for rest, recreation and rejuvenation. The toll of the past two years had been greater than I even realized. I was running on less than fumes and am very grateful for the gift of sabbatical to recharge and reconnect with God, myself, my family and friends. Thank you for the beautiful send-off, the communal prayer that traveled with me and was shared with others in my life, and especially for the joyful “welcome back” in September! It was one of the happiest days of my time with you over these eight years. Another joy was being able to share more about my pilgrimage with you as we did “The Way through Advent.” I was surprised by your interest and loved answering your questions and sharing more of the details of my journey. Again, thank you for the gift of sabbatical that made my 500+ mile walk possible!
In relationship to my sabbatical, I need to thank Robin Glaze, Senior Warden (now Bishop’s Warden) for all the extra time and duties she put in due to my absence. (Unfortunately, due to illness, Robin isn’t able to be here today. Her report will be read later in our meeting today.)
And a special thank you to all the supply clergy who were with you the Sundays I was away. The Rev. Canon Linda Taylor, The Rev. Eric Liles, and The Rev. Sandi Michels. And finally, thank you all for your faithfulness in attending church and being the dedicated lay leaders that you are!
Another exciting event in our parish life was our wonderful Organist/Choir Director, Tony Kroll, becoming a Postulant for Holy Orders. Tony facilitated the summer book study, Unabashedly Episcopalian, by The Right Reverend Andy Doyle, our diocesan bishop. We have also heard a few fabulous sermons from Tony as well as his continued music ministry for St. Luke’s. Tony serves on the Bishop’s Committee and is an integral member of the design team for our new location.
In June, when The Episcopal Church in North Texas, former Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, reunited with The Episcopal Diocese of Texas, St. Luke’s in the Meadow had an important decision to make regarding its classification as a parish or as a mission. Realizing that St. Luke’s met the criteria of being a mission rather than a parish in our new diocesan structure, the vestry voted in favor of mission status and you all supported that decision. Mission status means that we are eligible for more support from the Diocesan level. Our Vestry is now called the Bishop’s Committee. The Bishop’s Committee applied for a grant for $125,000 to be distributed in increments of $25,000 for the next five years to support operating expenses and the cost of full-time clergy. This grant was approved at the end of December and the first installment is already in our account. Receiving this grant shows the belief that the EDOT has in you as a vital faith community!
Our Sunday attendance is holding steady, and more and more visitors are finding their way to St. Luke’s. The number of pledges increased for this year by seven and the amount of those pledges is up 12% over last year, but I won’t steal all the thunder from our fabulous treasurer, William Ledbetter, who will give us more specifics in his report.
I will close with the good news that we are very close to signing a 3-year lease agreement with Meadowbrook-Poly United Methodist Church to use their Community Life Center as the new, temporary home for St. Luke’s and 4Saints. This is an exciting opportunity for us and for MPUMC. It puts us closer to where we will be at 5015 E. Lancaster after we raise money and build a building – puts us back in the Meadowbrook area of east Fort Worth. It will help MPUMC as they move forward in mission and ministry after the hurdles they have jumped with Covid, merging two churches and experiencing a split in their denomination. They are very excited about hosting us and in their words, “feeding people right from their campus.” They have a non-profit Community Garden that anyone from St. Luke’s is invited to participate with. The next meeting for that garden project is January 21st, at 9:30 a.m. Please let me or Patti Callahan know if you would like the details about that.
We are aiming for February 12 to be in our new worship space! Thank you to John, Patti, Tony and several 4Saints folks who have been working behind the scenes to make this possible! It will be our space – no set-up and tear down every week! No more wondering what we might find when we arrive on Sundays. And freedom to have gatherings whenever we would like to schedule them! All of this for about $200 monthly for St. Luke’s. And to top that off, our new organ will be delivered to that location in time for our first Sunday there!
Thanks be to God for all the many blessings St. Luke’s is experiencing! And thanks be to God for your faithful participation in the mission and ministry of Christ’s love in our community!
I am honored to serve with you and among you! I look forward to seeing what God has in store for St. Luke’s in the Meadow for 2023!
As they say on the Camino: Ultreia! (Onward! Forward! Let’s keep going!)
The Rev. Karen A. Calafat,