2023 Annual Report

Senior Warden Report

This has been an interesting year for our Parish family. I joined this leadership team on February 1 of this year planning on assisting the group with the task of discovering or creating systems that provide staff and vestry effective tools to perform their duties. After several conversations with Fr. George, I created an action plan that would assist in creating systems if they did not exist or locate and communicate them so that the Vestry members and others would have guidelines and processes tools that could be executed independent of who was responsible.

Then came March 10, 2023 when George handed me and George Blaisdell his letter informing us of his retirement come June 1 of this year. All new territory for me. I had spent the past month on boarding to this role, understanding how the church functions, the many specific committees and volunteer groups. During this experience I found that one of the missing components of this organization was the lack of a new Vestry member on boarding process. One of those systems that I was going to address. That was put on the back burner while I acquired guidance and direction from Catherine Massey, the Canon for Transition and Ministry as well from Bishops Sam Rodman and Jennifer Brooke-Davidson. On April 12th of this year, Canon Massey and Bishop Jennifer met with the vestry to provide insight and guidance through the process of Transition. Catherine distributed documents to the vestry to make decisions about transition styles. In time, the vestry chose the Certain Time Rector process because it gave us the flexibility within three years to decide if our Rector was right for us.

At this time, we also began the arduous task of creating a survey for the Congregation for the sole purpose of acquiring everyone’s input to our church profile. Our church profile is used to provide insight to the Diocese with regards to our next Rector as well as where we want to be in the next few years. Paula Boyd, Leslie Haines, and Carol Thornell worked hour after hour disseminating and interpreting themes from this feedback. This work was instrumental in creating our profile. The Diocese used this information to vet perspective candidate during this search. We had two potential candidates early on who both made other choices and eventually acquired a third with whom we invited to a day of discussion and Eucharistic service. We have recently been made aware that this candidate has also decided that other options were of their best interest. Therefore, we are back in the wait game for the Diocese to identify another candidate.

During these past few months, we have contracted wit an individual to be our Events coordinator, we came up with additional funds to meet our Fair Share responsibilities, and a whole bunch of facility work was accomplished because of some generous donations and the hard work of George Blaisdell.

It has been a very different experience for me serving in this capacity and I know that my successor will get the same support that I have received. Respectfully Submitted Mark Thoma

Junior Warden Report

2023 has been relatively quite compared to my last report in 2019. What has been consistent has been the work and contributions by so many to keep our beautiful Church, buildings and grounds healthy and thriving. I continue to be humbled by the passion and dedication of our Sr Warden, Vestry and Congregation.

Thankfully our system has not required any huge capital expenditure this year. Some challenges getting the Choir Room comfortable and few other smaller issues. Our HVAC system is actually supported by three entities; Kemco handles our monthly maintenance and is always on call 24/7. AC Corp handles larger commercial/industrial issues and Hoffman are our controls folks. We met as a group in the beginning of the year and clarified everyone’s rolls and responsibilities and has really helped smooth out the servicing of our church and buildings.

Our Sister’s House Lot
After the demolition of the structure it became apparent that further grading and fill was going to be required for proper drainage and overall appearance. We got this done in the late spring thanks to a contribution by one of our many generous parishioners. We were blessed with almost perfect grass growing weather right into the summer. It’s hard to tell there was ever a building there before. When time and budget allow we are looking at adding additional parking in this area. This would likely include the removal of the garage that still stands on the lot. We don’t have any idea of the cost of such a project but we can all feel and see the growth of the congregation and want to make sure parking is never a barrier to our continued growth.

Arbor Work
Tom McClean helped us get some much needed tree trimming done with Bradford Pear trees around the parking lot next to the Great Hall. They are ready for whatever this winter might bring.

Solar Panels
This summer we installed a 54kW solar panel system has helped us become “greener” and help us protect Earth, our island home. We decided to go with a 25 year lease so there was no out of pocket expenses or maintenance to worry about. We are saving money, especially in the summer and selling power back to Duke when our demand is low. This is the latest output chart...

St A’s
We started out the year with new infestation of bees in the front wall of the building. We had a bee keeper come and remove the inside wall panel to harvest the bees and comb. Approximately 60,000 bees. There was some old comb in the wall that likely attracted the new group. That was removed and everything painted to reduce the chances of re-infestation. You may remember that we had an infestation about 5 years ago as well. The outside of the building has been scraped, caulked and painted (95%, we need to rent a lift to get to the very peak of end walls). Making sure the historic chapel was protected from the elements was our priority. There is some work being done inside but there will be an opportunity for anyone interested to review and provide input on specific work that should be done inside. Right now the list includes: reinforcing the soft spot in the floor, new more appropriate light fixtures, bathroom renovations.

Plaster Repair
The rear wall of the church and a couple of areas on the south wall had water damage that had been partially fixed. The repair and sealing of the stained-glass window last year addressed most of the water intrusion issues. Again, another generous contribution from a dedicated parishioner allowed us to bring in a professional plastering group to repair the wall(s).

Roof Leak
We did discover that we had an intermittent roof leak near the Bell Tower. It only happened after a heavy downpour. We had a roofing company that only works on slate roofs to come in and make the repair. They feel like the repair will be good for several years but at some point and more significant repair will be required.

The Playground
This is still on the to-do list. Some tree trimming has been done and painting of the equipment but equipment repair and mulch still needs to be addressed. Stay tuned…we will be looking for help in mulch spreading. There is also a piece of equipment that ended up on the outside of the fence that we will be moving into the actual playground. Respectfully Submitted George Blaisdell

Finance Committee Report

The finance commission is the primary advisory body to the Vestry concerning financial and accounting matters of the Holy Comforter. This year’s commission consisted of Stephen House (endowment chair) Judy Driscoll (treasurer), George Blaisdell (junior warden), Julia Buffington (financial administrator), Max Newbauer (assistant treasure), and at large member Shara Partin. Thank you to all who served.

As of November 30, 2023 the church had a cash balance of 150,324.73. We maintain separate reserve accounts with total balances as of November 30, 2023 of 162,797.03. These funds have been established to maintain accountability for funds specifically designated for various activities within our church, and as of November 30, 2023 these accounts were funded at 92.34%, 70% percent is our required minimum. Holy Comforter’s only long-term debt stems from a loan from the Harden Maintenance fund.

As of November 30, 2023 we owe 48,855.14 As of November 30, 2023 our investment portfolio was 1,224,213.40 which compares to 1,048,822.76 in 11/2022. Overall a nice bounce back from a large dip between 2022 and 2023.

In 2022 Holy Comforter moved our investments from Fidelity to the National Episcopal fund. Our first year has been a good experience. The fund has met its expectations which were laid out during out transition. Thanks to Sid Little for serving faithfully as the portfolio manager for another year.

Our investments funds values as of 11-07-22 are as follows:
Harden Maintenance Fund 403,713.27
General Endowment 408,812.48
Cecil and Edwin Gant Fund 184,617.85
Mission Fund 92,409.59
Goodale Scholarship 71,917.99
Puett Emergency 57,186.70
Comforter House Funds 5,555.75

Stewardship will have a separate report, but Holy Comforter will be hoping to receive 450,000 in pledges for fiscal year 2023. The final budget has not been approved by the vestry as of 11/30/2023 but I expect the operating budget to be like last year’s. Thank you to everyone for their support of Holy Comforter and its ongoing missions. Respectfully Submitted Max Newbauer Assistant Treasurer

Endowment Board Report

Lots of exciting things are happening with the Holy Comforter Endowment Fund.

1. First Distribution from Endowment Fund - Thanks to the generosity of the parish, the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter endowment is currently just over $550,000. This amount is important because the Vestry established that the minimum amount before distribution was allowed must be $500,000. The Endowment BOARD is very pleased to report that a distribution of $14,286 from the general endowment was approved for 2023. The Endowment BOARD wishes to thank everyone who made gifts to the endowment and for the positive impact your support is having on Holy Comforter. We are all very appreciative.

2. How can Distribution be Used? The use of assets distributed from the general endowment fund is restricted to mission and outreach, specific capital needs, and other purposes that support the mission and goals of the church.

3. Requests for Proposals (RFP) Now Open for Use of Endowment Funds – The Endowment BOARD will soon be accepting proposals from parishioners and/or parish committees/groups for the $14,286 that will be distributed from the general endowment this year. Distributions will typically range from $500 to $5,000. The application form will be available from the parish administrator or from the Endowment Fund website.

4. Endowment Fund Policies and Guidelines Updated and Simplified - At the Endowment BOARD meeting in October 2022 it was decided to shorten and clarify the December 20, 2004, version of the Holy Comforter Endowment Fund Program – Authorizing Resolutions and the Plan of Operation. The BOARD communicated with the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) and the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. After numerous rewrites the full BOARD approved a document for presentation to the Vestry. The Vestry approved on May 8, 2023 an updated and revised operating plan called the Endowment Fund Policies and Guidelines. A copy of the plan may be obtained from the parish administrator.

5. Endowment Fund Brochure Revised - The Endowment BOARD has revised the brochure for the Endowment Fund. Lots of information is provided. Additionally, the Endowment Fund website has been revised. The brochure may be obtained from the parish administrator. The website is found at the following link: https://www.holycomforterburlington.org/endowment.

6. Parish Members of the Endowment BOARD
Pete Glidewell - At Large - Secretary thru 2026
Pat House - At Large - thru 2024
Steven House - At Large - Chair - thru 2025
Tom McLean - Vestry thru 2023
Chappy Moser - At Large - thru 2023
Mark Thomas - Sr. Warden - Ex Officio
Rector - Ex Officio

To contact the Rector, Parish Treasurer, Endowment Board Chairperson, Investment Committee Chairperson, or Parish Administrator please call 336-227-4251.
Respectfully Submitted Steven House Endowment Board Chair

Sunshine Committe Report

Sunshine Committee The Sunshine Committee is the largest committee at Holy Comforter with about 60 members. There is a different team each month with a team chair and 5 to 6 members. We take meals to parishioners who are sick, arrange funeral meals and funeral receptions.

During Covid the Sunshine Committee expanded its outreach to parishioners through “Red Ribbon Boxes”……..now called “Red Ribbon Sunshine“. These thinking of you surprises were created by Nancy Slott and have meant a lot to parishioners.

In October 2023 another outreach arm of the Sunshine Committee was created……”.Sunshine Visits”. These are visits by a phone call or a note in the mail. Chappy Moser takes care of these visits. From the following 2023 Report it will be seen how busy the Sunshine Committee has been.
Sick Meals - 15
Funerals - 6 | Funeral Meals - 2 (Daniel Todd, Kara Burris Bramhall, Sue Schilke, Harriet Whitley, The Rev. Rod Reinecke, Ann Williams)
Red Ribbon Sunshine - 95
Red Ribbon Newcomers - 15
Rector - Thank you | Good Bye Reception - The Rev. George Silides
Sunshine Visits - calls and notes (Oct.-Nov.) - 6

The Sunshine Committee thanks the parish for all of its support!! New Committee Members are welcome at anytime. Respectfully Submitted Susan Ryan Sunshine Chair

Personnel Commission Report

During the year parishioner members serving on the Holy Comforter Personnel Commission have been Jim Romer, Patrick Rudd and Hu Womack. Pat House completed her long service on the commission at the end of December 2022 and we are grateful that she has been available to offer wise advice to those serving now. 2023 saw the completion of the Employee Handbook, approved by the Vestry in July. This comprehensive document was the work of former chair, Pat House, and it serves a major need in enumerating policies and procedures involving employment at Holy Comforter.

During the year there have been two new hires: Administrative Director of the Newlin Partnership (who reports to the Newlin Partnership Board of Trustees) and Assistant for Youth and Family Projects. We were fortunate in that there has been no turnover of staff during the year and we appreciate their hard work and dedication, all of which makes the continuing work of the Church possible.

After the departure of Fr. George in May the office staff has been ably led by our Senior Warden. We have made new job descriptions for the nursery assistants and all of the staff job descriptions have been reformatted to match a single standard. Commission members have been assigned liaison roles and have participated in staff evaluations.
Respectfully Submitted Jim Romer Personnel Commission Chair

Parish Life Commission Report

There have been numerous parish luncheons and cookouts. There were several special receptions, George’s retirement, All Saints, Bishop visits, Christmas Eve. We had a casual breakfast on Palm Sunday. Coffee and lemonade has returned to being held every week. The pancake supper was very well attended. There was a soup dinner every Wednesday during lent. Hospitality has been well attended.
Respectfully Submitted Joanne McClusky

Men’s Breakfast Group Report

This group has continued to function every week during the school year for over 30 years. The format has remained the same of breakfast, fellowship, and a program to educate and enlighten the group.

2023 has seen a continuation of Thursday morning gatherings at Twin Lakes Retirement Community, in the Coble Rehabilitation Center. A very personal competent staff has cooked and served breakfast, while everyone following COVID protocol. And the Coble Room has far exceeded our expectations of a warm environment to seat a range of 12 to 20 attendees.

Programs have been varied and excellent in subject matter and presentations. Speakers have been in person or virtual (Zoom) from within the US to Europe. Attendees are mostly members of Holy Comforter, but several are non-denominational, unaffiliated. It is the fellowship and camaraderie that is at the core of this group—that brings us together to share a little of our lives, while increasing our knowledge and appreciation of subjects not always in our consciousness.
Respectfully Submitted Phil Savage, Bob Kirchen, Richard McBride

Adult Christian Formation Report

Adult Ministry 2023 continued to be a slow year for Adult Formation. While various parishioners made some suggestions for programs, folks didn’t step up to be the presenters.

As our Lenten Program, we presented the Way of Love (Practices for a Jesus-centered Life) series at the Wednesday night suppers. Bible Study between services was ongoing all year, with attendance ranging from 4-6 each week. Respectfully Submitted Leslie Haines

Children and Youth Christian Formation Report

Children and Youth ministry This spring we completed our first school year, since Covid, of weekly Godly Play lessons provided to all ages. This was accomplished through scheduling an extension of the former “Children’s Chapel” time.

Through the summer I continued to design curriculum - using, purchasing and completing additional Godly Play Units for another 30+ Sundays. We now have each Sunday’s lesson –with the manipulatives needed and the printed curriculum – boxed, labeled and organized by date – for two years of teaching. This summer more volunteers were recruited and trained in Godly Play instruction.

As a result, this fall we have 6 teams of 2 teachers each, scheduled for the entire 23/24 Sunday school year. I believe that this regular offering and the increased participation of parents and other adults has impacted attendance. Since September, the number of children attending Children’s Chapel has averaged between 9 and 14 youth each Sunday. Thanks to the inspiration and energy of our Minister of Music, we have added a music component to each Sunday’s Children Chapel. Christin joins the children upstairs during the sermon time and teaches them songs for church. They have performed once already and Christin plans to have them sing on the first 3 Sundays in Advent and at the end of the Christmas Pageant that we will perform on Christmas Eve. The hope is to gradually build a Children’s Choir back.

Once monthly I have planned an “after church” event for the children and youth to build community. Parents are recruited to help design and lead those activities. Lunch is provided, of course. We started in September with our “Bouncey House” picnic in the grove, with games and face-painting which was very popular. In October, we had a Halloween Party. December 3rd we will have an around-the-church Scavenger Hunt.

I appreciate the financial support of the Vestry in providing for this programming and look forward to continued growth in 2024!
Respectfully Submitted Jocelyn Safrit

Annual Worship Report

The participants under “Worship” are volunteers who graciously and generously give their time to make our worship services (including funerals, weddings and special church services) meaningful and efficient. Ushers, Lay Readers, Acolytes( Crucifer, Chalicist, Torch Bearer, Gospel Bearer), Flower Guild, Altar Guild,Music and Verger are part of the worship committee. Volunteers are always welcomed and encouraged to join any of these committees.

Altar Guild Report

The year 2023 has been quite a year for the Altar Guild after the broken pipe/flooding in the sacristy, evacuation of the facility, repairs, moving back into the sacristy and relocating all of the variety of things that we use on a weekly basis. We have a renovated room with things organized in a manner that is easier to navigate, with adequate storage.

The Altar Guild currently has 29 members divided into teams for each of the five weeks that we might be scheduled to work. Our work consists of typically 3 assignments:
Set up on Saturday morning for the early service
Reset after the early service for the 2nd service
Carry elements to the front and clear / clean after the second service. 

We also deliver altar flowers after the second service to sick or homebound parishioners or for certain celebrations. Set up and clear for additional services as needed including funerals, weddings, or services in St. Athanasius.

Our budget is adequate for the purchase of wafers/wine for communion as well as the replacement periodically of worn linens. Major replacements over the past two years (new letters for the board) and a railing for the steps from the altar have been purchased with memorial contributions from deceased altar guild members.

The altar guild currently seeks new members to support our work as our membership ages. Several men in the church have been partners in helping us move the large heavy vases from the altar to the sacristy after the service, for which we are grateful.

Early Service Acolytes Report

The early service acolytes consist of a dedicated group of three. Curt Odem, Julie Smith, and Peter Dahl cover the early service and also serve as Chalicists. They also read the lessons most of the Sunday’s they are scheduled. Since it is the early service, we arrive before 8:00 in order to see that the altar is set and ready. Since there are usually 4 Sunday’s in a month we would be happy to have an additional volunteer join our crew.

Acolyte Report

We held a new acolyte training in January 2023 and recruited and trained nine new acolytes. Between the two services, there are now about 20 parishioners regularly serving as acolytes. Other parishioners and families have expressed interest in serving and another training session is scheduled for January 7th.

Verger Report

In 2023, I completed my first full solo year as Verger. Much of my focus has been on restoring what we lost during the pandemic, especially by rebuilding the acolyte program and bringing back traditions, such as kites on Easter and All Saints Sundays. In addition to our regular Sunday services, I am on-site to ensure funerals and special services, like Good Friday, run smoothly. During our transition time and retirement of Father George, I worked to make sure our guest rectors felt welcomed and were taken care of so our services had limited disruptions, and I look forward to working with our next rector, once they are called. It has been a great honor to serve Holy Comforter as our church family grows, and I am hopeful for the blessings that 2024 will bring us.

Verger Budget: Note - Gary Schilke has indicated interest in training to be assistant Verger in 2024. This would be very helpful in covering our many services, especially as our church calendar comes back to life.

Verger Association Dues - $40/pp/year = $80 Training Course for Gary (may be okay to wait until 2025 on this because Steve is still finishing the course himself) - $65 Chimere (the gray vestment) and pewter morse (buckle) for Gary - $300 Total - $445

Respectfully Submitted Diana H. Wallace

Music Report

The year of 2022 has been busy, challenging, and rewarding year for the music program at Holy Comforter!

Just after the start of the year, the Bishop placed a moratorium on singing as the Delta variant of Covid-19 surged. Fortunately, these safety measures were able to be lifted in just over a month, and choral and congregational singing were able to resume. This allowed the choir to once again sing favorite anthems while diligently working to learn new music. Highlights from the year include the Allegri Miserere, a challenging piece that has been sung in the Vatican to mark the beginning of Lent since the sixteenth century; the congregational singing of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus for Easter; and several staples of choral repertoire in the Anglican tradition. Most recently, we were able to offer selections from the Fauré Reqiuem in our worship service on All Saints. This was quite an undertaking, and I was moved and inspired by the dedication and musicianship displayed both by our choir and the chamber orchestra.

This year has also been one of change for the choir, as we have said goodbye to a member who moved away and welcomed (or re-welcomed) others. It is wonderful to see full choir stalls! Each member is invaluable to our group and our worship, and I am always honored by their trust, commitment, and accomplishments. We are now in the midst of preparing for an Advent Compline, Lessons and Carols, and Christmas Eve services, and I look forward to sharing what should be a beautiful, enriching service with all of you.

Looking ahead to the next year, there are many hopes and possibilities for musical offerings. We anticipate welcoming guest musicians to enhance worship on feast days, and there are opportunities for collaboration with other churches for special services or other events. As the children’s programs are developed, I hope that including children in choir and worship will begin as well. Planning for special services happens well in advance, and even now I am considering and excited by the preliminary sketches for All Saints and Lessons and Carols in 2023.

No report would be complete without offering thanks to the many people who sustain the music ministry in countless seen and unseen ways. First, to the congregation and staff, thank you for your support, flexibility, and guidance. To the choir members, I am eternally grateful for all you do on a weekly basis. To Terri Kirchen, Martha Stewart, Phil Deadmon, and Richard Parker, thank you for continuing to share the history of church and choral traditions. To Phil Deadmon, Julie Brannon, and Julie Swanner, thank you for your willingness to help conduct for tricky anthems, lead sectionals, and share your voices as soloists. To Marilyn Tyler, thank you for providing accompaniment to music both in worship and for congregational events. And to all of those who offer support in countless untold ways, through words, donations, or appreciation, many, many thanks. It takes a village, as they say, and the village at Holy Comforter is phenomenal.

I look forward to all that the next year holds with our choir and congregation and offer my deepest thanks and appreciation to all those who make the music ministry possible.
Respectfully Submitted Christin Baker Music Director

Flower Guild Report

The purpose of the Holy Comforter Flower Guild is to enhance worship through the creation of floral displays for the altar. For a modest fee (currently $65), Flower Guild members create two vases of flowers for Sunday worship services. (Parishioners may also choose to use the commercial florist of their choice.) Special floral displays are also done for funerals and parish events, by request.

Flower Guild members are frequently involved with installing special flowers (such as poinsettias and lilies) for Christmas and Easter worship. Flower Guild is self-supporting. We are funded through our weekly donors, and through special contributions made in thanks for our services.

Currently, we have eleven members, and are always happy to add more. No experience in floral arranging is needed, as we provide training alongside experienced Flower Guild members. Please contact Connie Griner (336-260-8804) if you would like to join our creative team.
Respectfully Submitted Connie Griner Chair

Readers Report

The lay readers of Holy Comforter are a vibrant group of individuals committed to using their skills and developing their spiritual gifts to the glory of God. Lay reading is one way that believers can share in the “priesthood of all believers” and in ministry when Christ calls his people to corporate worship. Lay readers assist in worship through reading the lessons and leading the Prayers of the People. Anyone who desires to be a lay reader should speak to Cat Sykes who schedules the weekly readers. We still are in need of a reader coordinator.
Respectfully Submitted Cat Sykes Parish Administrator 

Ushers Report

Ushers are the ones who greet, including Sunday worship, and funerals and represent our parish to new and old alike. We assist the Verger in all services both worship, and funerals. I schedule, and send weekly reminders. We still are in need of a usher coordinator.
Respectfully Submitted Cat Sykes Parish Administrator

Communication Report

CComfortable Words is published once a month, delivered always on the beginning of the month, and includes the parish calendar and a list of the lay service participants, and is a great way to keep up with news about Holy Comforter.

Weekly Words is a short, weekly email-only newsletter to compliment Comfortable Words. WW comes out each Friday. Over the course of the week, through Constant Contact I worked on making sure all members received accurate updated event information and current protocols from our Bishops.

This ministry is truly a collaborative effort, with regular columnists, such as Clergy, Pastoral Care, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, and multiple ministries.

With continuing to work on the website weekly I update and improve web pages. We have begun to increase the number of people who check the website out. The website can be found at www.hc-b.org. As the church begins to grow and increase on events, it has become a bigger job than for just one person. I personally have reached out for additional volunteers to help with the all social media and the church website. I have put together a team and am in process of meeting with them to discuss what can be done as well very much improve. The team consists of Cat Sykes, Mary Collins, Ashton Fitzpatrick, and Debbie Nichols-Smith.

Statistics - January 2023 - December 2023
Comfortable Words | 12 issues sent
Weekly Words | 52 issues sent
Constant Contact Subscribed | +96 new contacts
Constant Contact Unsubscribed | -5 contacts
Website Unique Views | 1010

Respectfully Submitted Cat Sykes Parish Administrator

Technology Report

2023 saw continuous live worship service broadcasts and a variety of other meetings and events. special projects:
• Weekly live broadcast of Sunday services, and special holiday services.
• Weekly live Zoom broadcasts of the Men’s Fellowship breakfast meeting at the Twin Lakes community continued during the first half of the year; in the second half Zoom is on an as needed basis only.
• Audio-video equipment assistance for the Augustine Literacy Project tutors training sessions • Audio-video equipment assistance for ECW meetings
• Audio-video equipment assistance for Diocesan meetings
• Audio-video for other organizations and church members via the Events Committee using Holy Comforter facilities in the Great Hall, Small Dining Room and the Auditorium
• Several private live broadcasts of weddings and funerals were provided
• One of the PTZ cameras was replaced due to failure and was covered under warranty
• A spare PTZ camera was donated by Stan Williams which will help in the event of a failed unit, and could be used if cables are run to the Great Hall or Auditorium
• Bluetooth capability was added to the PA system in the Great Hall which provides for music playlists and other audio to be supplied via phone or tablet for events Future Projects and Needs:
• The assisted listening devices system requires upgrading and funding
• Two new additional cameras and associated cabling are pending installation in the sanctuary
• Additional work on the sound system

Online viewership continued to grow this past year with dozens of views of the weekly Sunday service, both live and replay during the week. We see bursts of significantly higher traffic on certain weeks. All service broadcasts are archived and available any time on our YouTube channel.
Respectfully Submitted David Day

Mission and Outreach Report

This commission just keeps chugging along like the little engine that could, due to the outstanding people who man the tracks and maintain the programs. Newlin Partnership had a highly successful Spelling Bee in the spring, LEAF is going strong but we need 2 more folks to agree to be on the board, and Holy Comforter’s overwhelming support for donations to Allied Churches has not flagged, as witnessed by the heaps of goods to be found in the bell tower. Our joint breakfast ministry with Davis St. Methodist continues to serve those who need a hot meal, and I believe they could use some drop-in help too. Our participation in Foster Kids Christmas was a big success eventually serving over 101 kids overall. And looking toward our own, The Goodale Scholarship Fund has helped our Holy Comforter students with college expenses.

Thank you everyone; the people who head these programs, the many, many volunteers who participate and the many folks who support them with time and dollars. I read an article that said that many churches could just disappear and no one would notice. I saw that and thought, this isn’t true for Holy Comforter, we are here, we contribute to the community and we try to help people “within the sound of our church bell.” Thank you all. I have enjoyed working with all of you.

Respectfully Submitted Paula Boyd Vestry Liaison for Mission and Outreach Commission

The Newlin Partnership Report

The Newlin Partnership (NP) completed its 10th anniversary in 2022. We began the 2023 year with the following Board of Trustees members: Pam Brumbaugh, Phil Deadmon, Margaret Egede-Nissen, Molly Exum, Sandy Gerow, Sid Little, Betsey Savage, Ann Wooten, and officers Louis Hibbits, Treasurer; Morgan Robinson, Secretary; Martha Ann Rabon, Vice-Chair, and Susan Klopman, Chair. Fr. George Silides and Principal Liz Fogleman are ex-officio members. The Board meets on the third Monday of each month and completes the majority of its work through three committees: Advancement/Community Relations, Marketing/Communications, and Finance.

Our main project for the Spring of 2023 was the Spelling Bee. This popular parish event was again a great hit and we were able see around $13,000 in profit from generous donations from parishioners and the professional Dental community. Also in the spring, we hired a new Administrative Assistant, Mindy Robinson who assists the Board in many areas, most specifically the tutoring program and management of parish and community relations and donations. In May, five very experienced Board members announced their retirements effective the end of May: Susan Klopman, Betsey Savage, Martha Ann Rabon, Ann Wooten, and Sandy Gerow. We added two new members in May, Maggie Holt and Kathy Landes. We also learned Principal Liz Fogleman would be transferring to Southern Middle School as Principal and a new Principal would soon be named.

Our annual planning meeting was held on June 17th. The Board members held discussions regarding our vision going forward and important considerations for the future. Since we lost five members of the Board in the spring, we placed a major focus on recruitment. Over the summer we were fortunate to add three more new members: Jan Kelly, Micah Ash, and Mourine Todd. The Board also suggested the focus of the work of the NP would continue to be the Reading Literacy Program and the Food/Backpack Program. Maggie Holt was elected Vice-Chair and Chair of the Advancement Committee. The focus of that committee will look at a vision for fundraising and applying for available grants. Louis Hibbits resigned as Treasurer but will remain a Board member. The Board made the decision to combine the Treasurer position with the Chair of the Finance Committee and rename the office Chief Financial Officer. Sid Little was elected to that position. The Board also decided to make a change to the fiscal year from January-December to July-June to coincide with the ABSS school year calendar. The Board did not meet in July so the remainder of the summer was focused on preparations for the Annual Back to School Luncheon for the Newlin Staff in August in the Holy Comforter Great Hall. We were also delighted to learn Will Price will be the new Principal at Newlin and will become an ex-officio member of the Board.

The annual Back to School Luncheon for the staff at Newlin was held on August 23rd with over 100 in attendance including the tutors for the 23-24 school year. The lunch was catered by Occasions and the ECW was very helpful in providing desserts as well as setup and cleanup. Dr. Greg Lilly, retired professor at Elon University and also a tutor at Newlin, was guest speaker. In other August events, parishioner Elizabeth Hood joined the Finance Committee as a non-Board member. Molly Exum attended the Alamance Community Foundation Grant workshop and Maggie Holt began writing a grant request to the ACF from the NP. The tutor training team conducted tutor training for three new members which took place over four days in September. All current tutors also attended at least one day of the training. There will be eighteen trained tutors for the new school year and began tutoring in October. The NP is recruiting for new volunteers who might be interested in working in the Lucky Listeners Program which will resume second semester. Sixty-five students are receiving weekly weekend backpack/food. Fifty are funded by Holy Comforter and fifteen by First Wesleyan Church. Margaret and Stig Egede-Nissen oversee this entire program. They pick up the food every six weeks from a center in Greensboro from the Second Harvest Food Bank in Winston-Salem and deliver to the school each week. The Helping Hands program, a versatile and responsive effort, supports Newlin students in various ways. Teachers have reached out and received help when children need winter coats, refreshments for classroom events, and money for field trips, to name a few of the ways the NP responds to identified needs of students and teachers. Parish volunteers also provide Christmas gifts to the children who receive the food/backpacks.

The annual Newlin Sunday was held in October with several staff members from Newlin in attendance as well as Principal Will Price. Mr. Price spoke briefly. We also had a special recognition for parishioner Betsey Savage for her ten years of service to the NP. Once again, the women of the church provided a wonderful parish meal after the service which included our guests from Newlin. The Board decided not to have another Spelling Bee in 2024 but the Advancement Committee presented plans to the Board for a special Bake Sale in February. The Board approved that proposal and Maggie Holt will head up the project.

In November we received wonderful news the NP was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Alamance Community Foundation! That money will be used to directly impact the programs we sponsor at Newlin, particularly the food/backpack program and tutor training. Phil Deadmon and Maggie Holt spoke to the November ECW meeting with an update of the NP. Also in November, the Board approved the appointments of two new Board members, parishioners Carol Thornell and Janice Davis! In our fiscal year budget for the NP for the 23-24 school year, the Board approved projected income of $30,670 and expenses of $30,635. The Communications/Marketing Committee sent out solicitation letters in November for annual donations to the NP. The Board also holds an investment account with Fidelity Bank in the amount of $51,878. That money has accumulated over ten years and will be used to enhance the NP for as many students as we can each year going forward. The Board of Trustees is most grateful for HC parishioners and members of the greater Burlington community for the continued support of the NP. Thank you, Holy Comforter for continued support for this life-changing ministry! If you would like to know more, volunteer or help with a gift of your time, talent, or resources, please contact Phil Deadmon, Board Chair at [email protected].

Respectfully Submitted Phil Deadmon Board Chair

Stephen Ministry Report

Stephen Ministry at Holy Comforter continues to support parishioners in crisis. We have 3 active Stephen Ministers and 3 Care Receivers. We also serve parishioners experiencing grief through our Journeying Through Grief books. There are 29 active recipients. An inactive Stephen Minister is also donating Cancer Now What, a book on surviving cancer treatment to members of our congregation who are under treatment at this time. Thanks to the help of Gordon Wong from St Marks Church we were able to sponsor a Grief Share session called Surviving the Holidays. Janice Davis stepped up to help lead this session. Our ministry is confidential, but meaningful to those who participate. We need more trained Stephen Ministers and will offer the training in January. The Vestry’s support is appreciated.

Respectfully Submitted Rene Burgess Stephen Leader

L.E.A.F Report

LEAF had an extremely successful 2023, highlighted in February with a visit and lecture by the Reverend Dr. Jonathan Augustine. They also participated in a March Spring Break service trip to New Mexico. Parishioners from both Holy Comforter continue to provide home cooked dinners on Sunday evenings, as well as cookies for exam time. Many thanks to all those who have cooked dinners or provided cookies this fall: Rene Burgess, Chuck Beard, Paula Boyd, Connie Griner, Jennell and Frank Harris, and Ren Bryan.

Looking forward to 2024, we need to expand our Sunday evening cooks - we will be responsible for quite a few meals this spring. If anyone is willing to help cook in the spring, please contact Paige Ysteboe.

Respectfully Submitted Paige Ysteboe

Goodale Scholarship Report

After advertising the Goodale Scholarship information in Weekly Words and Comfy Words, we had one new applicant and three returning applicants.

New applicants:
1. Hannagrace Daniels East Carolina University

Returning applicants:
1. Caroline Wall Western Carolina University
2. Spencer Hood University of NC at Chapel Hill
3. James Steed University of Denver

The Goodale Scholarship Committee for 2023, made up of Mary Collins, Gregg Lee and Adriane Newbauer (Chair), unanimously approved all four applications. Each recipient received $641.00 this year. That number was calculated based on the interest and dividends earned by the account in the last fiscal year to be divided evenly among all recipients. As I roll off the committee as chair, Derek Bates will join the 2024 committee with Greg Lee as the chair.

Respectfully Submitted Adriane Newbauer

Meals On Wheels

Meals On Wheels provides hot meals to individuals or couples in Alamance County who are unable to get provisions for themselves. Volunteers deliver 15-17 meals to approximately 13 residences and the routes normally take an hour and a half. Each volunteer delivers the route every 8 weeks.

This year Marilyn Tyler, Margaret Egede-Nissen, Diana Wallace, Renee Burgess, Betty and Dick Hatch, Jane and Jim Romer, Coral Erikson, Gretchen Peet, Stig, Frank Harris, Pete Glidewell, Shara Partin, Martha Adams, and Terri and Bob Kirchen all volunteered for this rewarding ministry. Many thanks to all but especially Terri and Bob who have decided to retire after many years of dedicated service.

Because of the Kirchen’s retirement and the Hatch’s move, there are two routes that need volunteers. If you might be interested in volunteering, call Stig (336 214-4877).

Respectfully Submitted Stig Egede-Nissen

Mission Fund Report

The Mission Fund Committee meets on an as-needed basis to consider submitted requests for funding. There was no Mission Fund Committee activity in 2023, as no requests were presented to us. In September, a $3800 disbursement was made from the Mission Fund to the Newlin Partnership by direct approval of the vestry.

Respectfully Submitted Connie Griner

ACAC: Allied Churches of Alamance County Outreach Report

In 2023, Holy Comforter consistently provided support for Allied Churches of Alamance County (ACAC.) Thanks to our generous parishioners, our monthly pile of “needed items” donations increased dramatically. It was a second strong year following our resumed collection of goods after Covid years.

• In 2023, our parish gave a fiscal donation to ACAC of $250 monthly. It is stretched to feed and shelter more indigent and is much appreciated by the organization.

• We also helped ACAC provide 3 tasty, healthy meals to homeless shelter residents 7 days a week plus the community hungry 2 meals - lunch and dinner inside and with takeout boxes 5 days weekly. This means a total of about 150 meals for individuals fed daily.

• Parishioners generously donated significantly more non-perishable food items this year to hungry with our collection taken monthly in bulk on First Sunday mornings to ACAC. Most months this year the Bell tower ACAC basket was running over with items on the floor before the 1st Sunday monthly!

• In 2022, we expanded monthly collection to include cleaning supplies, toiletries and other daily living necessities requested by Allied Churches and still collect many. These create better food, healthier living and assist residents with daily needs like hygiene and washing clothes. These products assist with easing transition for those leaving the shelter and moving toward self-sufficiency.

Also, our Sunday morning breakfast ministry team with Davis Street United Methodist Church gave takeout boxes to ACAC when they were desperately requested.

• Again we sold ACAC Honor Cards as a holiday fundraiser for the shelter, with many parishioners making donations to purchase cards and all proceeds going to Allied churches.

Working with Alisa Moore-Woods and Jai Baker at ACAC we determined the organization’s ever-changing food and general supplies need and alerted parishioners through Weekly Words and Comfortable Words.

Thanks to our quite generous, GIVING church, the large “ACAC” basket remains in the Bell Tower full time now to accept donations from parishioners. Impressive for a smaller congregation!
Respectfully Submitted Martha Adams Allied Churches Liaison

Pastoral Care Report

This report has to begin with a huge thank you to David Williams who has been so helpful over these years during his so-called “retirement”. He has met me at the ER to comfort parishioners during Covid, he has stepped up to get the Lay Eucharistic Minister program back on track after the pandemic and he has been a good resource for me whenever I have had a question regarding anything regarding the history of our Pastoral Care ministry. And along with this a big thanks to Sarah Williams for supporting him and thereby supporting us also. Thank you both.

Again, Pastoral Care wouldn’t amount to anything without its wonderful leaders and volunteers. There has always been a terrific behind the scenes Pastoral Care ministry at Holy Comforter, but until involved, I hadn’t realized the depth and breadth. The Sunshine Ministry encompasses Bereavement planning, including funeral receptions and food to those who just need a dinner due to illness. Sunshine cares/visits ensures telephone visits and cards to those who need a little bit of attention, Sunshine Red Ribbon delivers a beautifully wrapped gift to someone who gets special recognition, either congratulatory or in sympathy. Sunshine has also started a Newcomers program with little welcoming gifts delivered to those who visit our parish. The folks who head and work in this program truly do deliver a bit of sunshine to everyone they see.

Stephens Ministry has also expanded this year with a “Grief Sharing for the Holiday” program which was attended by those who have a difficult time during this season of festivity. We hope to have a regular Grief Sharing group started early next year. Stephens Ministry is looking for people to become Stephens Ministers.

Again, It has been an honor to work with everyone involved with these fine groups who look after us.

Respectfully Submitted Paula Boyd Vestry Liaison for Pastoral Care

Administrative Division Report

Baptisms | 2
Ralph Manning Holt, V February 19, 2023
Raleigh Grace Holt February 19, 2023

Confirmations and Receptions | 5
Wesley Swanner February 12, 2023
Micah White February 12, 2023
Annagrace Newbauer February 12, 2023
Lily Marina Elizabeth HeffleyFebruary 12, 2023
Laura Katherine May Heffley February 12, 2023

Weddings | 4
William Hill and Maria Ferrara March 1, 2023
Peter Ansbacher and Erin Duddy May 20, 2023
Joshua Patton and Chelsea Pencola June 21, 2023
Matthew Jacot and Elisabeth Murray October 14, 2023

Burials | 9
Rev. Rod Reinecke January 21, 2023
Ann Williams January 25, 2023
Daniel Todd, Jr. February 17, 2023
Kara Burruss Bramhall April 15, 2023
Nelson Pierce May 8, 2023
Sue Schilke May 13, 2023
Dean Wright -----------------------
Patricia Ratcliffe November 3, 2023
Rev. Robert Walker December 20, 2023

Transfer In | 0
Transfer Out | 0

The Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter

320 East Davis Street | PO Box 1336 (27216)
Burlington 27215, US

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