Dear Members and Friends of Heritage,
Below is the annual report of our church as written by your 2018 Session elders. Please read it carefully – and give thanks – for all the excellent work that was done with your help and by our church. Let us know of any suggestions or comments you might have to help us improve.
Thank you for supporting your church!
Yours in Christ’s joyful service!
Rev. Mark Plunkett, Pastor
REPORT OF CLERK TO THE SESSION
Sue Crawford, Clerk
Presbytery of New Covenant work:
- Pastor Mark is the vice-chair of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry; he is also a member of an administrative commission serving Formosan Presbytery Church.
- Clerk Sue Crawford served as Moderator of the Outreach Committee and a member of the Ministries Division Steering Committee.
In 2018, the Session of Heritage Presbyterian Church met for twelve stated meetings and two called meetings. Two congregational meetings were held for the following purposes:
- January 28: to approve Rev. Mark Plunkett’s terms of call and to receive the annual report of the Session committees,
- October 28: to elect new church officers and 2019 congregation members of the Nominating Committee.
On September 16, a “town hall” style meeting was held to discuss why the church building project needed to be discontinued; this was because we could not reasonably acquire a loan.
At the end of 2018, active church membership totaled 69 members. Two members were removed from our church rolls, and two members joined us by transfer of letter.
On December 31, 2018, our church membership consisted of the following:
- SEX Female: 45 Male: 24
- ETHNICITY White: 56 Hispanic: 5 Multiracial: 4 African-American: 3 Asian: 1
- AGE GROUPS 0-25: 5 41-55: 8 26-40: 10 56-70: 19 Over 70: 27
MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S WORD: WORSHIP COMMITTEE
Elders Carol Beverlin and Sally Dunnagan
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100: 1-3
Joyfully we celebrate our sixth year worshiping at Heritage Lodge in Towne Lake, Houston, Texas. Rev. Mark Plunkett leads us in worship every Sunday beginning at 10:30 am. We have also held Prayer Time for anyone who wishes to gather in the Ballroom at 9:00 am.
Highlights of our year follow:
- Choir Director Nancy Kissinger and Accompanist Leticia Lima, along with the choir and Young Music Ministers, have done a wonderful job of faithfully leading our music. We have enjoyed several guest musicians, singers, and our children’s songs. We continued our fifth Sunday tradition of “Stump the Choir.” Leticia provided music during July as the choir took its usual summer sabbatical.
- Our relationship with Sundance Memory Care has continued strong through this year. “Worship Time” there begins each Sunday, 8:30 am, as we worship and greet residents.
- The Young Music Minister’s program, funded for the fifth year by a Vision Initiative Grant from the Presbytery, continued to enhance our worship, as well as the lives of the young people who sing. Four high school students returned to again join our choir – Jessica Omokheyeke, Keiana Krietz, Natalie Pantuso, and Cameron Iwaskewycz.
- This year we held 56 worship services including Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Christmas Eve. We had guest speakers on seven Sundays during the year: Rev. Amy Klinkovsky twice, Rev. Dr. Rose Niles, Elder Shelly Hernandez/Moderator of Synod of the Sun, Elder Jessie Keuhner/Inquirer under the care of the Presbytery of New Covenant, Principal Terry Bell from Postma Elementary School, and a pulpit exchange with Rev. Jonathan Murray. So, 49 of our services were led by our pastor.
- Pastor Mark officiated at 6 weddings and 2 funerals outside of our church membership.
- Our congregation continued the tradition of purchasing lilies and poinsettias from Brookwood, a faith-based community for functionally disabled adults in Brookshire.
- Daily Advent posts on Facebook were done this year by a variety of elders.
Memorable services throughout the year included:
- Good Friday Tenebrae Service
- Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day Sundays special remembrances for our troops
- Fourth of July service with patriotic hymns
- World Communion Sunday, October 7
- Youth Sunday, October 21
- Christmas Cantata “One Silent Night” by Pepper Choplin, December 9
- Our traditional Candlelight Christmas Eve evening service.
We look forward to serving the members of our congregation in the coming year of 2019.
MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S WORD: CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Elders Ruth Kerr and Jodie Smith
“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction for understanding words of insight or receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” Proverbs 1:1-5
We believe teaching and learning God’s Word is essential to a Christian’s formation; thus, this is the focus of our committee.
In our current facilities, we sponsor two adult Sunday School classes each week. One meets in the Lodge library and is taught by Jim Lower. This class is given the opportunity to decide collectively what book of the Bible they wish to study. Currently and for most of the year 2019 the class is and will be studying the Gospel of John. The other class, “Saints Under Construction,” studied the common lectionary. It meets in the Lodge living room and is taught by Ruth Kerr. Each Sunday, four prescribed lessons are read and discussed with attention given to a common theme. Students found study of these lessons usually give them a preview into the passages chosen by the pastor for his sermon during worship. This weekly sermon by our pastor Rev. Mark Plunkett is our primary source of biblical education each week.
We have a children’s time of study for children on the second and fourth Sundays during part of worship. Katie McMillen serves as teacher for this ungraded group of boys and girls.
Our committee oversees a nursery staffed by Elizabeth Curiel. They meet in the arts and crafts room at the Heritage Lodge during Sunday services.
Every Tuesday morning, a ladies Bible study meets in the church office. It is taught by Mrs. Kay Cronk from St. Thomas Presbyterian Church. Currently we are studying the Gospel of Matthew. The group serves as an opportunity to learn as well as pray for local and worldwide concerns. This serves as a very nurturing support group for the attendees.
MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S PEOPLE: FELLOWSHIP & HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE
Elder Angeline Martin
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10
The purpose of the Fellowship & Hospitality Committee is to assist and inspire members in their spiritual growth, connections with each other, and participation in the life of the church of Jesus Christ. Below is the list of the activities that our church held during 2018:
- Valentines treats were provided for worship on February 11th.
- Rustic Brush – Saturday, March 24 11:00 AM – Crosses were painted, 3 in attendance.
- Palm Sunday Pancake Breakfast, Sunday, March 25th – Pancakes, sausage, syrup, and juice were provided, and the ballroom was decorated.
- April 15th Celebration for our accompanist, Leticia, and her husband, Victor – and we met their new baby, Noah! Cake, punch and decorations were provided.
- Mother’s Day, May 13th – A Hershey’s candy bar was given to all the HPC mothers following worship. A special wrapper for each candy bar was printed and attached.
- Father’s Day, June 17th – A Hershey’s candy bar was given to all the HPC fathers following worship. A special wrapper for each candy bar was printed and attached.
- Christmas in July Pot luck – July 15th following worship. Christmas jars were provided and decorated by God’s People. Juice, paper products and decorations were provided.
- End of Summer Luncheon – September 9th – Committee provided hot dogs and beverages and congregation brought sides. Bingo was played with the pastor as our caller and “white elephant” style prizes were awarded to our winners. Prizes donated by committee. Good turnout and a lot of fun.
- Youth Sunday – October 21st. Committee provided cupcakes and punch.
- Advent Potluck Breakfast – December 16th. The committee provided coffee and juice, and the congregation brought their favorite breakfast items.
- Ladies Holiday Luncheon – December 8th, 11:00 am @ Sterling Country Club (28 in attendance) A “white elephant” style gift exchange occurred.
A big “thank you” to all who helped with these activities!
MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S PEOPLE: MISSION & OUTREACH COMMITTEE
Elder Doris Stallings
“These things I command you, that yea love one another.” John 15:17
Specific MISSION efforts for 2018:
- Monthly collections for Free the Captives and Deacon’s Fund
- Three PCUSA Special offerings:
- Easter: Great Hour of Sharing
- World Communion Sunday, October: Peace & Global Witness
- Christmas Joy Gift
- Financial support for the Presbytery of New Covenant
- Food and Clothing for our neighbors through Souper Bowl of Caring in February
- We exceeded our goal by donating 703 cans and packages!
- Spam and Jam for CAM in June (433 jars and cans delivered!)
- Undies for Everyone in October (400+ pairs delivered!)
- The faculty and staff at Postma Elementary, mostly through gifts of food:
- Served donuts and juice to the teachers on their first day of in-service
- Placed Valentine Jars in Postma’s teachers’ boxes in May (total 84)
- Provided cupcakes to Postma staff
- Served “Pie Day” treats for the staff just prior to Thanksgiving
- Provided Christmas cookies for staff following Thanksgiving vacation
- Holiday Cheer for our College Students through our Deacons’ Cookie Drive
- Assisting families in need at Postma and others through our Christmas Jars
- Provided 5 families at Postma with gift cards totaling $200 each
Pastor Mark has noted, no matter the amount we give, the most important thing is that we are helping our sisters and brothers. I have found this is the most giving and caring Church I have been involved with. As Christ teaches, “Whatever you do to the least of my friends, you do to me.”
- Use of Facebook ads and our church website to promote church activities
- Banners displayed at the Heritage Lodge announcing seasonal worship services
- Membership in Cypress Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, to build
relationship with local business and churches
- Our efforts were funded by a Vision Initiative Grant of $8640 from Presbytery
- This enabled us to hire Rev. Dr. Ron Holloman to assist and guide us through a revisioning and revitalization process for our church
Special thanks to the members of Ministry Team who helped plan and to carry out the Mission & Outreach efforts!
MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S PEOPLE: DEACONS
Mindy Boyd, Pat Schoenfelder, George McDonald, Jean Smith
“Deacons must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons; for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” 1st Timothy 3: 8-13
Heritage is one of a very few small churches that still has a Board of Deacons. Each Deacon is assigned a “shepherd group” of church folks to look after. Our Deacons care for the individuals in our congregation by visiting or calling when they are sick, bringing meals during times of need, and talking with or listening to the individual concerns of our church. They manage our Deacons’ Fund, which is a benevolence that benefits others by assisting with rent/mortgage payments, food, prescriptions, medical insurance bills, and even gasoline; in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Deacons’ Fund was used extensively to assist victims of the hurricane’s devastating effects. The Deacons’ Fund is supported each month on the third Sunday of the month with a special collection.
During the past four years, our Deacons have organized a cookie drive that provides tasty treats for our high school and college students. These treats are collected on Cookie Sunday, which is immediately following the Thanksgiving holidays. Then they are sorted, bagged, boxed, labeled, and mailed to the students to use during their preparation times for their final exams and projects. We have received delightful feedback about how the treats were shared and greatly appreciated by the students. In many cases, our students reported that their friends remarked, “Your church does this? How cool is that!” We believe it not only reminds the young people of our church that we have not forgotten them, but it also serves as a way for us to spread the Good News to the Kingdom! Sometimes, when we have LOTS of cookies left over, we have taken them to Postma Elementary School and laid them out on the tables in the faculty break room for the teachers and staff to enjoy.
Deacons bring a ministry of caring to the God’s people, and we praise God for their good work!
MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S HOUSE: PROPERTY/NEW CHURCH HOME TASK FORCE
Elders JC Kissinger and Richard Silva
“……and all the people responded with a great shout when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” Ezra 3:11
2018 began with renewed hope and expectations that we had finally achieved the requisite amount of capital needed to actively seek the funding needed to build our new church home.
We picked up our permits from the county and prepared to approach Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program (PILP) and the Presbytery with our research, facts, and financial figures in place. With the help of our friends at Caldwell Companies, we arrived at a construction cost that was very feasible based on our proposed loan application and our on-hand funds.
Unfortunately, PILP denied our loan application, and in effect, the six-year roller coaster ride came to a screeching halt.
Again, with help from our friends at Caldwell, the session voted to sell the property and set our sights on finding a place to rent, lease, or purchase in the near area that we could repurpose for our needs on a temporary or permanent situation dependent on factors such as cost and location. If we are blessed enough to find a new church home, we have all of our needed church furnishings safely in storage and ready to be deployed.
We signed a contract with Caldwell Commercial Realtors to not only market and sell our property, but also to help us find a suitable place to rent, lease, or purchase outright. We have only lost a battle, not the WAR! The faith that the congregation has placed in the members of this committee and in the New Church Home Task Force is the driving force behind our commitment to see this endeavor through until we have a new and permanent church home.
MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S HOUSE: RESOURCE & MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
Elder Sally Luker
Treasurer Jim Lower
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2nd Corinthians 9:7
Our committee includes the chair, Sally Luker; church treasurer, Jim Lower; and Elder Steve Vetters. Meetings for this committee occur on an “as needed” basis.
The purpose of our committee is two-fold:
- to record and deposit gifts and offerings received by our church, and;
- to anticipate and control expenditures required to operate the church.
Our office administrator handles the weekly deposits as well as the payments for all goods and services. Disbursements require the signature of one of three designated elders, and the monthly bank statements are reconciled by another elder.
During 2018, we continued to receive and record funds that were pledged to our building campaign. Although we did not secure a loan as anticipated, we continue to collect funds for future development in whatever form that may be. Our future site will hopefully be found during 2019 after our current property has been sold.
- We collected over $153,500 in pledges and offerings for use by our church.
- We paid $160,700 in church expenses and charitable contributions. The resulting deficit of $7200 Is much less than the anticipated one of $32,700.
- We changed insurance agencies and re-evaluated services needed and reduced our payment from $5,400 to $3,550 for the year.
- We paid all expenses associated with the anticipated building on our property.
- We moved the building fund money from the current bank to another to achieve a higher interest rate.
We expect to continue worshiping at The Lodge in The Heritage at Towne Lake in 2019 until such time as we secure another location. We will continue to look for areas within the budget where we can save money on expenditures. Our committee welcomes your ideas or suggestions to contain costs.
2019 CHURCH BUDGET
ESTIMATED TOTAL INCOME: $133,400
Christian Education: $2,900.00
Fellowship & Hospitality: $3,200.00
Mission & Outreach: $14,380.00
Resource & Management/Property: $142,632.28
TOTAL EXPENSES: $168,862.28
PREDICTED SHORTFALL: ($35,462.28)