Annual Meeting – A Hair Raising (Falling) Event!

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Sandy Lacasse assists making pancakes for over 100 hungry congregation members

This year’s Annual Meeting was a collection of several events rolled into one. Immediately following the Sunday worship service on March 2nd, about 100 people ventured down to Heritage Hall where a Shrove Tuesday feast arrived a couple of days early. The youth group hosted a fund raiser that not only included the traditional pancakes served in the run-up to Ash Wednesday, but scrambled eggs as well. Many thanks go to the youth and adult volunteers that made this lunch possible.

The plans to hold the luncheon were put into question when the latest storm piled snow and ice in the valleys of the Heritage Hall roof causing significant leaking and concerns over the structural integrity of the roof. Through the efforts of many volunteers, the leaking water was captured and the snow and ice melted. The roof, although damaged, was considered safe.

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Rob Thornton explains budget history.

While the congregation enjoyed the pancakes, Rob Thornton from the Stewardship Committee led a discussion of the evolution of the Church’s 2014 budget. Over the past several years, the amount of pledges received by the Church has remained relatively flat, but expenses have continued to rise resulting in significant deficits. Even when much-needed repairs to the facilities have been deferred and salaries frozen, withdrawals from Memorial Funds have been required to pay the bills. At the end of 2013, the Church’s financial reserves have been nearly depleted and corrective action was required.

In January and February, a second effort on financial pledges was initiated by the Stewardship Committee and planned expenditures were cut further resulting in a budget that brings the Church to within $12,000 of a balanced budget. While the Church is still not operating “in the black,” the increased commitment of the members to financially support Pennington Presbyterian Church has put us well along the path toward financial stability. A large “Thank You” was part of the stewardship message of the day as well as the commitment of the Stewardship Committee and the Session to keep stewardship as a top priority in 2014.
 

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Jack Tatar takes up collection to “save the hair”

After the lunch, the next phase of the celebration began. Part of the youth’s mission commitment in 2013 was to collect over 1,000 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls, a global not-for-profit institution dedicated to fighting the devastating impact and perpetuation of poverty. To help motivate the youth to achieve this impressive goal, leaders Bob Fletcher and the Rev. David Hallgren agreed to “lose “ their hair if the goal was exceeded. Bob agreed to have his mustache of many, many years shaved and David agreed to have his head shaved. A last minute push by the youth and community took the number of collected pairs of shoes to 1,129 and Bob and David were there to pay up. Frank, the town barber, was on hand to do the honors. A last minute effort was made by Jack Tatar to raise $1,129 of cash to stop the shaving and a collection basket was passed, but cries went up from the crowd “Off with their hair!” and Bob and David honored their commitment and sat for the shavings.

 

 

It was a fun and memorable Annual Meeting that will set a high bar for next year.