Dear fellow parishioners:
I would like to talk to you about the future.
In the months leading up to the moment that we called Father Nick to serve as our priest, we had many frank and thoughtful conversations about the nature of our church. In the Search Committee’s meetings, in formal gatherings, and in a hundred phone calls and curbside talks, we hammered out what kind of church we wanted to be. Sometimes, priests complain about parishioners who never utter a word, but then step into the parking lot to vent their true feelings. We succeeded in bringing those parking lot conversations into the church.
The result of all that thought and effort galvanized our congregation. For four years, we have delighted in Nick and his family: in his joy, his spontaneity, and his willingness to support and encourage us. We have renovated much of our shared space: the rectory, the parish house, the undercroft, the nursery and the sanctuary are now marked by the hard work of Carol Deaton, Dan Cahill, and many others. We have weathered sorrow and fear under Nick’s guidance; we have lost people we love, and we have endured a historic pandemic. Throughout, he has been a shepherd to us, a leader of our flock.
As I am sure he would want me to say, much of what has happened in these four years has been the work of our congregation. But it would be a distortion to ignore the infusion of excitement and charisma that Nick has brought. He has helped us to refresh the dynamic, daring, and loving spirit of our church.
Throughout this letter, I have been looking for other ways to say “joy,” because ultimately, I think that is the legacy of Nick’s time here. For our purposes, there’s an even better word: “enthusiasm.” It has come to be a small word, one that we use for staff meetings and forced fun. But originally, it meant something entirely different. “Enthusiasm” meant becoming so filled with the Spirit of God that it changed you into an entirely new being -- precisely the sort of change that Jesus spoke of in the Gospel of John, when He says that His followers “must be born again.”
As all of us consider our donations and pledges here at the end of the year, I want to think about where we will be a year from now. A year older, hopefully wiser, richer in some ways, poorer in others. We will meditate on the absence of our priest, and search among hopeful and qualified candidates for a new shepherd. This time will ask much of us, in a moment when services are still mostly distanced, and we cannot gather.
Whether we have called a priest or not, whether we have returned to the normal routine of services, I hope that we will have carried forward the best parts of Nick’s tenure here. I hope that we will still be enthusiastic: filled with the Spirit of God, and braver than before.
Yours in Christ,
Dear Fellow Parishioners,
I write to you in a season unlike any other in our church’s history. Just a year ago,we knelt in the pews to speak the words of our Book of Common Prayer, lifting prayers for the aged and infirm, for the sick and the suffering, for our own needs, and those of others.
Today, we have added new prayers. We pray for the chance to embrace during the Peace, to join our voices with the choir, to taste the bread and wine passed from the hands of our eucharistic ministers. We pray to be reunited with our Church.
Despite being hollowed out, our Church has endured. This has been no easy task. Along with Lynn, Raul, Deborah, and our volunteer lay ministers, Father Nick has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. We have been blessed with an uninterrupted schedule of online services, and with a routine broadcast of prayers and reflections. The scale of effort and coordination involved is tremendous, and reminds us all that, even if we can’t enter the building, the work of Christ’smission forges ahead.
At night, I have taken to saying the Lord’s Prayer with our daughter Emma Jane. It is always the last thing before bedtime, after we’ve read books and sung songsand made sure the baby dolls are cozy in their blankets. She doesn’t understandevery word, of course; but she knows that we need to thank God, that we can ask for His help, and that He wants us to think about how we act in the world. Most of all, though, she knows that we can speak to God.
In the past six months, we have all seen so many plans, hopes, and expectations cancelled. We have all looked forward, and found ourselves disappointed. It has been hard to know what to say, or what to think. In times like this, when we wish to reach out to God, we do not always know how to approach Him, or what it means to speak to Him. But our Church has taught us words to say.
When I last wrote to you, I encouraged everyone to consider the blessings that we receive from our Church. That request has never been more urgent than now. Without the steady flow of anticipated pledges, and the spontaneous gifts that more naturally flow when we are in close contact, the Church suffers. On behalf of the Vestry, for the sake of our dedicated staff, their efforts, and those lovely buildings we hope to see again soon — please consider how you might give to our Church in this pledge season.
Yours in Christ,
December 28, 2020
Merry Christmas! As I reported to the Vestry this month, I was so proud that Christ Church did not find itself “slouching toward Bethlehem.” Instead we appreciated our final services with Father Nick and prepared for the coming months without a priest.
We were treated to some very special Advent and Christmas services in December. The Prison Angel Tree was not the “hands on” event we’ve grown to love, but the children were still treated to gifts. Vestry members worked together to ensure that our parishioners in assisted living were remembered this holiday season. Four absolutely beautiful stained-glass windows were dedicated in the chapel. Loaves and Fishes continued on a weekly basis. The Rector’s Discretionary Fund was used for some very worthwhile (and confidential) assistance.
Looking ahead, plans are being made to continue Sunday morning services. The service that Nick currently leads can be done by a layperson, and we are looking at a rotating schedule that will include a leader, a lector, and a videographer. Lynn, Raul, and Rebecca will continue to provide music. The services will be prerecorded and uploaded to YouTube. There will be no Sunday evening services for the foreseeable future.
Ed and Heather Gallop have agreed to coordinate the Daily Office via Facebook Live. If anyone is interested in assisting with this important ministry, please let the Gallops or Deborah know.
Our Stewardship Campaign continues. Greg Morrison wrote two beautiful letters encouraging us to be enthusiastic as we look to the future. I did not know the original meaning of the word “enthusiasm” before reading Greg’s letter. I agree that we must be Spirit-filled to meet the challenges ahead.
I am planning to begin a weekly Zoom “Virtual Narthex” for Christ Church beginning January 7th. Since we are currently missing that time before and after services when we meet and chat, this would give us a chance to gather remotely and check in with each other. My hope is that this might help us feel more connected during these COVID days. The meetings will be limited to 30 minutes on Thursday nights beginning at 5:30, and they will not be recorded. If you are interested in hosting a meeting, please let me know.
My time as Senior Warden is coming to an end. It has been an honor to serve Christ Church in this capacity. Hank Long will once again serve as Senior Warden beginning in January. Hank is imminently qualified to guide us through this time of transition.
My thanks to each of you for serving your church so faithfully.
You can mail a check to the Church office at:
Christ Episcopal Church
311 East Church Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24112
You may give online, safely and securely, through your PayPal account or with any major credit card.
Annual earnings from participation in rewards programs continue to grow. The next time you shop at Amazon, Food Lion, or Kroger, support Christ Episcopal Church with your purchase. For every dollar spent at one of these businesses a percentage is donated to the church. Giving is easy!
Amazon Smile: You Shop, Amazon Gives. Christ Episcopal will receive a donation equivalent to .5% of the price for eligible purchases. Click here when you make purchases from Amazon and a portion is returned to the church!
Food Lion: Purchase a grocery card at church on Sunday or in the office during the week and use it to pay for your purchases. They are available in denominations of $25, $50, and $100, $200 and $300.
Kroger: Link your Kroger Plus card to the church. Go to the Kroger website, register your card by account number, enter Christ Church’s NPO number 82143 in the search field, click search, select the church and then click on enroll. Then all you have to do is shop. The rest is automatic.
For ease in making a gift of stock to Christ Episcopal Church please complete the following form and give it to your stockbroker. Please notify the church of your gift by phone, 276-632-2896, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 26, 2020
Dear Christ Church,
These are certainly interesting times in the life of our congregation. The spread of Covid-19 has resulted in the cancellation of all in-person worship services throughout our diocese. We are fortunate that Father Nick is technologically savvy enough to provide Morning, Noonday, and Evening Prayer remotely every day. Our first YouTube Sunday service was well received. At this point, we do not know how long these restrictions will be in place. You are encouraged to contact Father Nick or any vestry member should you have questions or concerns.
While worship in the church building has stopped, the work of the church has not. Loaves and Fishes offered to-go meals this month, and precautions were taken to ensure that volunteers and guests were safe. A large crowd attended Wednesday’s dinner, and our Loaves and Fishes team has proposed offering weekly meals during this difficult time. Our staff continues to work remotely. Our Mission Committee continues to support a variety of community organizations, and Father Nick continues to provide pastoral care.
This letter is meant as a gentle reminder that our church relies on your support to operate. While we are not passing a collection plate, I encourage you to send your pledges (or other contributions) to the church by mail. Our address is 311 East Church Street, Martinsville, VA 24112. You can also donate by clicking the “Give to the Church” link on our webpage ( www.christchurchmvl.org ). Your giving is not limited to financial resources. Give of your time by calling, texting, or emailing a church member, friend, or neighbor to let them know you are thinking of them and to see if they need assistance. Pastoral care does not rest solely on the shoulders of our priest. We are all called to love and to care for each other.
The highlight of Baby Andrew's day was filling out his pledge card! He loves the fact that he can give his Church an idea of how much he plans on giving in the next year, so they can make budgets and do other really boring and really important things. Bring your pledge cards to Church, so you can help with Church fiscal responsibility as well!
A convenient way to support the ministry of Christ Church is to schedule your monthly pledge via the online bill pay services of your local bank. This is the electronic equivalent of writing a check. It’s fast, direct, and saves trees. The contact details you need for setting up the church as a bill pay account are:
Christ Episcopal Church
311 East Church Street
Martinsville VA 24112
We welcome your remembrances, gifts, and honorariums and will follow your instructions for such including specific tangible gifts, monetary gifts, flowers or other items for special occasions or holy days. More substantial contributions should be coordinated with the senior warden who will work with you to honor and remember your family and loved ones.
Please remember Christ Episcopal Church in your will. The church welcomes bequests and charitable giving through wills and trusts. Gifts may be mailed to: Christ Episcopal Church, 311 East Church Street, Martinsville, VA 24112.
July 17, 2017
Dear Fellow Parishioners,
Christ Church is very alive and full of spirit!! We are so very blessed for all that we have, especially Father Nick and Leandra. We know that they had a wonderful vacation and are so happy they are home safely.
Our next vestry meeting is July 19th, and we will review the first six (6) months of 2017.
Pledges received to date are about what we received the first 6 months of last year. Plate offerings, other receipts and unpledged gifts for operating, are well over budget. We hope that this trend will continue!
Expenses are in line as budgeted, which means that the “faith” budget that was prayerfully adopted will be a deficit, of over $20,000. We continue to pray for more income.
However, our church property, an asset which must be maintained, is in need of urgent repairs.
The west (left) stained glass window and outside masonry issues both must be addressed to avoid further degradation and to prevent water from coming into a room off of the undercroft. Estimated cost is $18,000, but thankfully we were able to obtain a grant from the Patterson Foundation for $9,000. Repairs are underway and we are very grateful for the generous members who have made donations toward this. More is needed!
The condensation from the duct system above the ceiling in the sanctuary has caused damage to the wood in several places and continues to leak onto pews. Thankfully, the problem is not with the roof. Estimated cost to wrap the duct system, which includes removing a large part of the ceiling for access, and replace the damaged wood is between $10,000-$15,000. Delaying this repair will only result in more damage.
The columns in the Parish House are in need of repair with estimated cost to be approximately $4,000.
We are a very generous church, and we continuously respond to needs when presented!
Let us, with grateful hearts, show our love and support, as together we are able to find the needed funds. Please note “Special Projects” on your donation.
Lewis Pitzer, Senior Warden
Carol Deaton, Junior Warden
Hank Long, Chairman of Finance Committee
Tommy Hudgins, Chairman of Stewardship
Sue Rosser, Treasurer
Father Nick Hull
By far the best way to support the ministry of Christ Church is to pledge your yearly giving in advance. This allows us to plan our annual budget and programs more effectively and responsibly. Pledge cards are available in the church office and pews, and are distributed every Fall during our pledge campaign. Once you’ve filled it out, simply mail it to the church office at the address above or drop it in the collection plate.
The stewardship letter, from Chairman Tommy Hudgins, for 2017 embodies the spirit of the church and giving.
October 6, 2016
Dear Fellow Parishioner:
It’s October, and in Episcopal churches all over the country, parishioners are hearing the annual call for pledges. In that respect, we at Christ Episcopal Church are no different.
In other respects, we are very different indeed. During the past fifteen months of supply ministry and programs directed almost fully by volunteers, we have shown that we are an active, caring community eager to participate in many opportunities to worship and serve. We have resurrected the rectory through gifts of time, talent and treasure. And, thanks to the hard work of our search committee, we now welcome a dynamic new rector and his wife to occupy it and lead us into new ministry.
We need to make sure Father Nick will have sufficient resources to maintain our program and to lead us into any new and exciting areas to which the Holy Spirit might lead us. To accomplish that, we are hoping to increase pledged income by at least 15% in 2017.
How does our church serve you? Surely, it is the center of your worship and spiritual development. It provides opportunities for you to help others. CEC gives many of us the chance to experience valued fellowship. We may take advantage of these in varying degrees, but our parish offers us all the chance to become better people.
What do I think I can afford to pledge for 2017? That’s the wrong question. The question we all should be asking ourselves is “What do I want to give in 2017?” Just this once, cast aside your “inner accountant” and let your heart make the call. Give the church what you want, and the rest takes care of itself. Please join me in increasing my pledge for 2017.
In a few weeks, I will send an update with some hard numbers. In the meantime, please return to the church the accompanying pledge card. Feel free to mail it to the office or drop it in the collection plate on Sunday. In order to set a reasonably accurate budget for next year, the Vestry needs to hear from everyone by the annual meeting in mid-November.
2017 Stewardship Chair
October 25, 2018
Dear Christ Church,
It is well into our Pledge Period at Christ Episcopal Church. A number of you have already returned your Pledge Card, and we thank you for that. For those of you that have not returned your Pledge card, I would like to encourage you to do so. Your Pledge Card can make a difference at Christ Church.
We love Christ Church and the ministry it provides in our community. You are Christ Church and your Pledge makes that ministry possible.
Please return your Pledge Card to the Church Office, in the Collection Plate or to any Vestry Member by November 4, 2018.
Thank you for your prayers and consideration.
October 3, 2018
Dear Christ Church,
It is with excitement and anticipation that I come to you today as a member of the Stewardship Committee of Christ Episcopal Church. This is the kick-off of the Pledge Period that will fuel our Planning and Budgetary Phases for 2019. What programs we try…what projects we do…what ministries we support will be determined by our Financial Pledges.
What a wonderful wealth of opportunities we have here at Christ Church. From the oldest to the youngest, we have a chance to touch and influence our community and our world. Your financial commitment makes this possible.
By returning your Pledge Card, Christ Church can develop a budget and a list of programs we all want and enjoy.
Did you participate in the Church Picnic? Are you a Choir Member?
Do you attend Sunday School? Do you participate in the Loaves & Fishes Program?
Do you attend the Book Club? Are you a member of the Men’s Club?
Did you help Pack the Bus? Do you enjoy the Public Theology discussions?
Do you enjoy the shared community Church services?
How many Knitting Projects have you done? Do you enjoy the Church Parties?
How about all the NEW Church services at Easter? Do you participate in Grace Network?
How about the NEW Christmas services, do you like them?
Do you use our NEW Nursery? Do you enjoy our church bells?
Do you enjoy the Church air conditioning? Have you noticed the roof leaks have stopped?
These programs and projects expand our ministries and our influence in the community.
After some prayerful consideration, please fill out your Pledge Card. Return it so that your Vestry can then develop a budget and a programs list. All Pledge Cards should be returned by Sunday, November 4, 2018. You may return your Pledge Card to the Church office, in the Offering Plate or to any Vestry Member.
We are excited about what we were able to do in 2018. Let’s keep the growth and momentum going in 2019. With your pledge, we can.
Dear Fellow Parishioners:
Have you seen Father Nick’s stewardship video? If not, stop right now, pull it up on your computer, and watch it. It is so reflective of what our parish has become during our first year under his dynamic leadership!
In preparation for composing this letter, I reread the letter I wrote to you last fall. Nick and Leandra has just taken up residence in the rectory, and I requested that everyone consider a pledge increase to provide our new minister with funds to begin to implement his vision for Christ Episcopal Church. A slight increase in pledges allowed the Vestry to approve a budget that almost balanced, but the ripples of support have, over the course of 2017, transformed into a tidal wave of generosity that has allowed us to make desperately needed repairs to the church. Additionally, inspired by father Nick’s enthusiasm, volunteers have come “out of the woodwork” to commit time and talent to lead new programs. We have grown so much in the past twelve months!
So it is with confidence that I say to you that your 2018 pledge will make a demonstrable difference in the life of the church. Just consider what great strides we have made in 2017, and imagine what is possible in 2018!
Your Vestry asks that everyone consider a pledge increase of 10% for 2018. If our membership can find it in their hearts to make such a commitment, we can certainly present a balanced budget for the coming year, even with our expanded program offerings.
In a few weeks, I will send an update with some hard numbers. In the meantime, please return to the church the accompanying pledge card. Feel free to mail it to the office or drop it in the collection plate on Sunday. In order to set a reasonable accurate budget for next year, the Vestry needs to hear from everyone by the annual meeting, which will be held on Pledge Ingathering Sunday on November 19.
Please give your 2018 pledge to Christ Episcopal Church serious and prayerful consideration. If you have been generous in the past without making a pledge, we ask that you consider making one to help the Vestry get a true handle on income for 2018. We look forward to hearing from you!
2018 Stewardship Chair
8:00 AM: Holy Eucharist, Rite I
10:30 AM: Holy Eucharist, Rite II