Annual Report

Dear Members and Friends of Heritage,

Below is the annual report of our church as written by your church officers.  As you read it, remember to give thanks for all the excellent work that was done with your help and by our church.  We are always open to any suggestions or comments you might have.

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

At the end of 2021, our church membership consisted of the following:

TOTAL OFFICIAL MEMBERS:  66

MEMBERS LOST DURING 2021: 7

SEX

  • Female: 43
  • Male: 23
  • Total: 66

ETHNICITY

  • White: 54
  • Hispanic: 4
  • Multiracial: 2
  • African-American: 5
  • Asian: 1

AGE GROUPS

  • 0-25: 5
  • 26-40: 7
  • 41-55: 14
  • 56-70: 14
  • Over 71: 33

In 2021 our church had 4 Congregational meetings and 6 Called Session meetings.

MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S HOUSE: RESOURCE & MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

Elder: Steve Vetters          Treasurer:  Chris Cancila

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  2nd Corinthians 9:7

Primary 2021 accomplishments for the R&M Committee are as follows:

  • Sale of the West Road church property.
  • Mark, Chris, Gary and Steve met with Zack Green, Texas Presbyterian Foundation, to discuss the possibility of investing our assets with them. Zack Green presented an overview of the TPF investment funds and listened to our ideas about what we wanted with respect to security, return and accessibility of our assets.
  • We received the following grants in 2021:
    • $5000 Tech Grant from the Presbytery to pay for salaries of two employees who assist with technology
    • $1200 from Synod of the Sun for Worship tech equipment
    • $3000 Vision Initiative Grant from the Presbytery to pay for our Young Music Minister program (funds ended December 31, 2021)
  • We continue to have leftover funds from a previous grant that can be spent on communication and revitalization. Plans are in the works to spend these remaining funds.

In 2021 we received over $157,000 in Undesignated Funds to operate our church. Annual expenses associated with church operation totaled $162,000, meaning we operated at a deficit for the year. By the grace of God, we had an existing surplus of cash in our bank entering the year, and that balance was reduced by our deficit, but remains at almost $20,000.

We were able to offset part of our operating costs with grants secured by Pastor for our Youth Musicians and to purchase additional equipment for the church office. We also received donations of equipment from members of the congregation.

Our major expenditures were for computer software, property and liability insurance and legal fees.

We are appealing the assessed valuation of our property on West Road that was sold in 2021. If successful, we should receive a rebate of a portion of the taxes we paid in 2021 on this property. The exact amount cannot be determined at this time.

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2022 CHURCH BUDGET

EXPENSES:

Worship                                                        $4400

Christian Education                                  $500

Fellowship & Hospitality                          $3150

Mission & Outreach                                  $11,055

Resource & Management                        $106,590

Property                                                        $41,604

TOTAL EXPENSES:                                   $167,300

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MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S HOUSE: PROPERTY COMMITTEE

Elder: Gary Shapley

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”  Psalm 127:1

  1. On June 23, 2021, of this year the property on West Road was sold for $1,193,000.00 to Towne Lake Health & Commerce, LLC. After closing costs were deducted $1,100,123.70 was received by the church and placed in its building fund which now amounts to $ 1,350,000.00.
  2. After meeting with real estate broker Herman Munster, the Session agreed to enter into a brokerage agreement with Mr. Munster to locate new church property. Mr. Munster has an extensive background in brokering real estate transactions for smaller churches. He has been providing the church with potential properties for sale in our area. As of this report, we have yet to find anything. Yet, our realtor continues to remind us that “we will find our new home in God’s good time.”  We prayerfully agree!
  3. All Heritage furniture and other physical assets have been in storage for all of 2021.
  4. The Church entered into a new lease agreement with Copperfield Professional Services for the Church Office at 7062A Lakeview Haven Drive Houston, Texas 77095 which extends through 2022; there was no increase in the monthly lease payment.

The Lodge’s lease payments increased from $1000 in 2021 to $1800 beginning January 2022.  (Recall the impact of Covid on the Lodge’s building use.)  The storage unit payment increased minimally.

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MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S WORD: CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE

Elder Katie McMillen

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  2nd Timothy 3:16-17

We believe teaching and learning God’s Word is essential to a Christian’s formation; thus, this is the focus of our committee and our classes.

Adult Christian Education

We had one adult Sunday school class that took place due to Covid.  This class decides collectively which book of the Bible or Christian DVD they will study.  They met with Jodie Smith this year, and they just finished the video series “The Chosen.”  They have a new DVD about Daniel that they may do next. The other class, “Saints Under Construction,” studies The Common Lectionary led by Ruth Kerr, and has not met this year due to Covid.  We are discussing whether to begin it again next year or to wait.

Mark has maintained a Children’s sermon each Sunday morning using Facebook, a weekly devotional that is posted on our church web site, and a 2-minute Bible lesson posted on Instagram.  He also leads a Bible Study via Zoom weekly on Thursdays.

Mrs. Kay Cronk from St. Thomas Presbyterian Church teaches a Women’s Bible Study weekly.  The group provides an opportunity to learn as well as pray for local and worldwide concerns. This group usually has 7 attendees and meets online.  They are currently studying the Gospel of John.

Christian Education for Children

We have not had any classes for the children or youth of the church, but I am working on some lessons that can be emailed to our children next year.   I plan to send them to families on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.

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MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S WORD: WORSHIP COMMITTEE

Elder Carol Beverlin

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven…” Matthew 5:12

We have now had our ninth year at the Lodge.  Rev. Mark Plunkett continues to lead us in worship every Sunday at our 10:30am service in person and on Zoom. Our attendance for 2021 averaged 40 per Sundays, a combination of in-person and on-line. This number was also 40 in 2020 and 53 in 2019.  Hopefully with the quieting of the pandemic these numbers can increase again.

We celebrated 57 services including 5 special ones:  Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Christmas Eve, and Blue Christmas. All services were in-person and on Zoom.

Pulpit supply this year was filled by Rev. Johnny Wood and Mr. Herman Munster.  We also had guest speakers including Shelley Hernandez on Synod Sunday, and Keiana Kreitz on Youth Sunday.

Highlights of our year follow:

  • We have had great leadership with music under the Direction of Nancy Kissinger. Her work and the work of the choir bring us joyful music every Sunday. Cathy Wafford is our accompanist on piano, and substitute accompanists are Michelle Wiley and Liz Silva.   We still encourage soloists to join us. This year our soloists were Liz Silva, JC Kissinger, and Keiana Kreitz, on vocals and Patsy Cargill on French horn.
  • On the fifth Sunday in any month, we continue to enjoy “Stump the Choir” Sunday.
  • Our YMM program also continues with grant funds and special donations. Our 2021-2022 class of YMM’s includes Keiana Kreitz, Dylan Gamble, and Sam Taylor.
  • Our liturgists help bring even more wisdom and praise to our services. A new training session for liturgists was postponed due to the pandemic but hopefully we will reschedule soon.
  • Our congregation again purchased lilies for Easter and poinsettias for Christmas from Brookwood, a faith-based community for functionally disabled adults in Brookshire.
  • We still use our website and social media more to tell the public about Heritage. We also use these sources for Bible Study, Children’s Services, Devotionals and sermons as well as live services via Zoom.
  • Pastor Mark officiated at 2 weddings, 4 funerals, and 1 Anniversary Blessing.

Memorable Services throughout the year include:

  • Good Friday
  • Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day Sundays - special remembrances for our troops.
  • Fourth of July service with patriotic hymns.
  • World Communion Sunday on October 3rd.
  • Youth Sunday on October 17th.
  • A Special Music Sunday during Advent – “The Other Wise Man” with song and story.
  • Our first ever Blue Christmas to lift up those who struggle during the holidays.
  • Our traditional Candlelight Christmas Eve evening service.

We look forward to serving the members of our congregation in the year of 2022.

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MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S PEOPLE:

FELLOWSHIP & HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE

Elder Jodie Smith

 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,  and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1st John 1:7

The purpose of the Fellowship & Hospitality Committee is to assist and inspire members in their spiritual growth, to make connections with each other, and to participate in the life of the church of Jesus Christ.

Below is the list of the activities that our church held during 2021:

  • January-June: No activities planned or held due to Covid
  • July - Christmas in July. This is the annual kick-off for the Christmas Jar distribution. This event is a collection of money or gift cards to be given to needy families at Christmas time. This year due to Covid, we had a Pizza lunch instead of the usual pot-luck dinner.  The committee also divided up the names from the church directory and called or texted each person inviting them to this event and to encourage those who have not attended church since Covid to return.  This event was the first since Covid and approximately 40 people were in attendance.
  • August-September: No activities planned or held
  • October - Celebration of our 41st anniversary and Pastor Appreciation was a Taco Bar luncheon. The committee was responsible for all the ingredients and served the members.  Again, we contacted all the people in the directory inviting them to come.
  • November - No activities planned or held
  • December - Advent Pancake Breakfast was held on the first Sunday of December. The Christmas Ladies Luncheon was held at the French Quarter Restaurant where gifts were exchanged and great fellowship.

Thank you to all the committee members and elders who helped make all this happen!

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MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD'S PEOPLE: MISSION & OUTREACH COMMITTEE

Elder Ann Peterson

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.  John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” – Luke 3: 10-11

2021 brought another year of adapting to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, and our congregation met this “new normal” with relative success.

We collected two standing monthly offerings in 2021, on the first and third Sundays of the month, respectively:

  • We collected $3,156 for the Deacon’s Fund. Details regarding the use of the fund is included in the Deacon’s Report.
  • We continued to support Free the Captives, a faith-based non-profit that fights teenage sex trafficking in Houston. Our support of $820 for Free the Captives in 2021 was almost twice our 2020 donation (although off from our pre-pandemic levels).

We were pleased to continue our partnership with Postma Elementary school – located just a few blocks from our place of worship – and supported their 100+ member staff with the following:

  • Valentine’s Appreciation – staff mailbox treats of pink, red, and white M&Ms in a heart-shaped jar.
  • End of School Appreciation – We were able to resume our traditional end-of-school staff appreciation in 2021 and provided cupcakes. (This activity had been cancelled in 2020 since all classes were being held remotely.)
  • Welcome Back! – For the start of school in August, we provided donuts and juice, and wrapped candy bars reflecting the school’s annual theme of “Glow to Grow.”
  • Snack bags for counselors to distribute to students, who sometimes just need a snack when they are acting out.
  • Raffle items for students, for weekly drawings for small gifts. Students earn raffle tickets based on good behavior and other positive actions.
  • Pie Day returned this year as our Thanksgiving Staff Appreciation, eliciting much elation from the Postma staff.
  • We helped to make the holidays brighter for Postma families in need through our Christmas Jar effort, distributing $1000 among five families.

COVID precautions brought continued challenges to our community outreach efforts, which typically involve collecting items for local non-profits that distribute them to those in need.  We shifted from in-kind gifts to cash and gift cards, which seems to have been successful. New mission partners seem also to have inspired renewed interest. In 2021, we supported the following organizations:

  • Our annual Souper Bowl of Caring drive benefitted Cy Fair Helping Hands, which provides food to those in need. We provided a cash donation of $505.
  • Another new mission effort benefitted Camp Hope, a residential facility supporting Veterans with PTSD. We collected 12 gift cards totaling $430 to use at grocery and hardware stores.

We participated in three special offerings through the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2021, up from two offerings in 2020. Overall giving totaled $1125.

  • We collected $355 this year for One Great Hour of Sharing, which is collected around Easter and supports disaster assistance globally.
  • On World Communion Sunday, in October, we collected $400 for the Peace and Global Witness Offering.Seventy-five percent of the money raised for this offering goes to support peace and global witness initiatives around the world, and 25% is given at the discretion of the church to a group in need.  We gave $100 to First Presbyterian Church, Dickinson, which is still working to rebuild from flooding three years ago!
  • On the third Sunday of Advent – Joy Sunday – we collected $370 for the Christmas Joy Offering. This annual offering helps provide financial assistance to current and former church workers and their families and also enables deserving students to attend Presbyterian-related colleges and schools.

Special thanks to our congregation, who in another year of challenge and adaptation, helped to share Christ’s love with those in need.  Thanks always to our God’s People committee, whose friendship, kindness, and willing hearts always make our committee a joy to work with.

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MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S PEOPLE: DEACONS

Deacons: Betty Brown, Laura Hudson, Pat Schoenfelder, Liz Silva

“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.

Our Deacons help the pastor to keep up with the lives of our individual congregation members.  If someone is missing or ill, our Deacons will reach out to that person and often give the pastor a “heads-up” that a call might help.  In this role, they are truly shepherds of our flock.

During the past five 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.  Although we were not able to do this as we have done in the past, pre-packed treats were still mailed to 14 students from our church family.  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!

Deacons bring a ministry of caring to the God’s people, and we praise God for their good work!