Annual Meeting Reports 2021
The return to normalcy in 2021 did not happen and we were unable to return to the church building for Sunday services. Instead, we met by Zoom, Facebook, and/or at the Aquatic Center depending on the severity of COVID-19.
Church Council continued to meet each month by Zoom or in person (when possible). The portfolios of Congregational Care, Missions and Outreach, and Communications were able to continue their responsibilities and their annual reports will reflect their accomplishments.
The church building was put on the market and in December was sold to Hobby Lobby, who in turn will make it available to Elkhart City Church. The church pastor is Clay Powell, and Pastor Izzy has developed a comfortable working relationship with him. He has been helpful as we worked to remove the items we will take with us to a new location.
At present the Columbarium remains in the Memorial Garden. When weather permits, Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home will remove it and hold it until we are in a permanent location.
We have been in discussion with St. David’s Episcopal Church on County Road 4 to share space with them. A rental agreement has been made and at present we are waiting to hear if the Episcopal Bishops will accept it. We have discovered things move very slowly in the “religious world.” The non-religious furnishings we didn’t plan to take with us were offered to our members and then to Saving Grace to be used to help set up apartments for former homeless persons or families.
Pastor Izzy has set up an office in her home, and despite a very busy year, continues to provide thoughtful and uplifting services each Sunday.
Regardless of the complications brought on by COVID-19, the Council members have been busy and committed to the productive future of First Congregational Church, UCC.
Please take the time to read the annual reports written by Pastor Izzy; Treasurer, Bob Shaefer; Secretary Pet Thornton; and the Portfolio chairs Dot Hansen, Marie Cobb, Nancy Denlinger, and Lori Weirich. I appreciate each and every one of them for their dedication to our church.
As I said last year, I look forward to the day we can all be together again. Until then, stay safe and stay well. And to quote Pastor Izzy, “May it be so.”
Jeri Stahr, Moderator
Due to Covid related issues , I have nothing to report this year.
Did meet a few times via Zoom to discuss future goals. Work in process.
Jill Larson, Vice Moderator
I continued to take minutes of all council meetings, typed the minutes from each meeting and presented them to be officially voted on by council at the next meeting.
Meeting notes were saved for our archives, including amendments or corrections.
Peg Thornton, Secretary
Missions and Outreach
The following supported Missions and Outreach during 2021 in planning and support of projects during the year: Marie Cobb, Peg Thornton, Jeri Stahr, Dot Hansen and Pastor Izzy.
Although the activities of Missions and Outreach were somewhat limited due to restrictions related to Covid, Missions and Outreach accomplished the following:
Provided funding for new glasses for an individual in need
Provided quarters for patrons at two laundromats on June 13. Funding was donated by members of the congregation and those following us on Facebook. We also distributed “goodie bags” which included healthy snacks and a bottle of water and information about our church.
Supported the Salvation Army by filling three laundry baskets with items suggested. These included personal care and cleaning supplies. In addition, we filled two additional baskets with miscellaneous items. These were to be distributed by the Salvation Army prior to Christmas.
Members donated coffee and hot chocolate mix which were delivered to Guidance Ministries.
Through News from the Corner, members are made aware of ways to support Church Community Services, Saving Grace and Guidance Ministries individually on an ongoing basis through donations of household items, clothing and money.
First Congregational is committed to supporting Five for Five missions of the United Church of Christ. However, due to the Covid pandemic, this support was minimal during 2021.
We are looking forward to 2022, settling in a new location, and expanding opportunities for Missions and Outreach!!
Dot Hansen, Missions and Outreach Chair
This year has been an interesting experience. Not a lot to do in my portfolio as we were on zoom earlier in the year. Then we met at The Aquatic Center. Several people stepped up to guarantee there were refreshments each Sunday. Jeri Starr has been a great person to guide and help me learn this portfolio.
Marie Cobb, Congregational Chair
Continued to mail birthday cards to members of the UCC congregation in a timely manner. I also kept the list of members updated and bought supplies as needed.
Nancy Denlinger, Committee Member
Media and Communications
We have continued with Federated Digital Solutions to assist with our social media ads, posts, and presence. We have increased our followers slightly in the last year to 353. We need more members to share the weekly posts and invite their friends to follow the church page. With that said, we do reach a good number of people with our ads & posts. the last few months the comments have also increased. On any given Sunday we will have 8-15 users watching our service live. This number increases greatly throughout that Sunday & the following week. We will continue our work with Federated Digital in the short-term. Once we are meeting in-person again, we hope to instruct more members on how to follow our page and share the weekly posts.
Lori Weirich, Media and Communications
Treasurer's Report, Bob Shaefer
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