January 29, 2015
Dear Parishioners of St. James,
This is the presentation I made as Senior Warden for 2015 to attendees at our Annual Meeting held on January 18. Please read this and consider how you will participate:
Thousands of people have benefited from this church and its parishioners. Consider the many lives that have been brought to Christ here, the joyous weddings, baptisms, confirmations, and even the solemn funerals where we have celebrated life and given thanks.
Think of Saint James Day School and the countless number of children who have been blessed and have received an excellent Christian education. We went on to found Episcopal High School. We have added properties: Bishops Hall, the Ministries Building and Killgore Hall. Think of St. James Place, an important ministry of our church. Consider our wonderful ministries in the church: the music ministry program, the Center for Spiritual Formation, and so many others.
The question is, “Now what?” This question was the catalyst that caused the Vestry to initiate a Strategic Planning Committee. We have outstanding human resources, physical facilities, and the largest parcel of undeveloped land in downtown Baton Rouge. What do we do with these resources in order to take advantage of what we think is a window of opportunity?
We, as a committee, have listened to experts in downtown real estate and about the expected growth in population downtown. Residential housing in downtown is booming. How will we take advantage of this growth? Your Vestry and the Strategic Planning Committee see an unprecedented opportunity to grow our parish family and to make a transformational contribution to society. How do we do this?
In addition to our Strategic Planning Committee Members — Lolly Martin, Chair; Bob Bowsher; Pat Broderick; Charlie Frey; Chris Frink; Nancy Jo Poirrier, and me —we also have eight task forces studying the parish programs and facilities. Each of these task forces has five or more members: Day School, led by Trey Roberts; Finance, John Noland; Real Estate with Skeet LeBlanc; Youth Programs headed by Nancy Roberts; Adult Programs, Judy Foil; Community Ministry led by Alan Miller; Maintenance, Sue Larisey; and, Millennials, studied with Hill Savoy.
You will be asked to complete a parish survey, attend town hall meetings, and possibly answer questions from these task force committees. We need your input as to what you want St. James to be in the next five to ten years. What would you have us do as a parish family?
Finally, the question we ask ourselves is, “Will we be satisfied with our contributions and successes of the past or are we willing to aggressively and prayerfully seek to use our many resources to take advantage of the window of opportunity that exists today?” The answer to this question can only come from you.
Yours in Christ,