Annual Report

Dear Members and Friends of Heritage,

It’s been a busy year in the life of Heritage Presbyterian Church as we continue to minister in Christ’s name here in northwest Houston. In addition to the work of our committees that you will find record of in the pages below, Heritage engaged in a congregational survey that illuminated both areas of concern and areas of opportunity for our church. The Session used this information to develop several strategic priorities, which the committees continue to work on. Another major endeavor over the past year was a “Heritage Has Talent” fundraiser to benefit our operating fund. Through this effort, members of the Heritage family offered homemade items and other talents for sale through a website to raise money for the church. And in a significant turn of events, our pastor of 12 years, the Rev. Mark Plunkett, accepted a call at another church. We are grateful for Pastor Mark’s dedicated service to Heritage, and trust that Christ will guide us in our search for new pastoral leadership, and bless our efforts as we continue to reach out to our neighbors here in the Houston area—and beyond—in His holy name.

Yours in Christ’s faithful service,

Session Elders Cheryl Bateman, Mindy Boyd, Chris Cancila, Scott Hudson, Ann Peterson, Liz Silva; and Sue Crawford (Clerk to the Session)

Heritage Deacons Laura Hudson, Sally Luker, and Anna Record

———————   REPORT OF THE CLERK TO THE SESSION   ——————–  

Sue Crawford, Clerk

In 2023, the Session of Heritage Presbyterian Church met for twelve stated meetings, eight called meetings, two strategic planning workshops, and one budget planning meeting. We also held six congregational meetings.

On October 1, a “town hall”-style meeting was held to discuss initial next steps in light of Pastor Mark’s departure and the status of our strategic initiatives.

At the end of 2023, church membership totaled 64 members, a decrease of two from 2022. One new member joined us, one member (who moved out of state) joined a new church by letter of transfer, and two passed away.

Average weekly attendance through September 10, Pastor Mark’s last Sunday, was 40. From September 17 through December, the average attendance was 34. Average attendance for the year was 37.

As of December 31, 2023, our church membership consisted of the following:

  • SEX –  Female:  42    Male:  22
  • ETHNICITY –  White: 51    Hispanic: 4    Multiracial: 2    African-American: 5    Asian: 2
  • AGE GROUPS –  0-25:  5       26-40: 9       41-55: 5       56-70: 17       71 & over: 22


Scott Hudson, Elder

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

Over the past year, the Property Committee has continued to search for a permanent church home for Heritage. The real estate market remains challenging, and our property situation continues as such:

The church office remains at the Copperfield Professional Building, 7062A Lakeview Haven Dr., Houston, Texas 77095. A new lease agreement with Copperfield Professional Services has been executed by parties through the end of December, 2024. The monthly lease payment increased by $70 and is now $1,225. The lease includes an option for us to end the lease with one month’s notice if needed.

Worship services continue at The Heritage Lodge, 19201 N. Canyon Lake Springs Dr., Cypress, Texas 77433. A new lease agreement has been executed by both parties through the end of December, 2024, again with the provision for us to cancel with one month’s notice if desired. Our lease payment increased by $300 and is now $2,100 per month.

All church furniture and other physical assets that we don’t need for weekly use remain at SmartStop Self Storage. A storage unit cleanout session was held on December 4, 2023. The church partnered with Junkluggers of Houston West for removal of items we don’t need. Plans are being made to host another cleanout session in January to eliminate the need for the larger storage unit and to reduce our monthly cost. Our combined rent payment for the storage units increased by $223 and is now $983 monthly. This is consistent with current price trends in the storage industry.

Overall, the church will have an increase of $7,116 for property operational expenses in 2024.

Bill Ginder, Senior Vice President with Caldwell Companies, has agreed to assist us with the search for our forever church home. Available inventory of potential properties remains low in the area. However, there is currently one property of interest at 12305 Old Huffmeister Rd., Cypress, Texas 77429. Property Committee members visited this location on December 8, 2023, and another site visit was scheduled for Session Members in January.


Chris Cancila, Elder and Treasurer

“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.”  2 Corinthians 9:7

Primary 2023 accomplishments for the R&M Committee are as follows:

  • Conducted our first pledge drive in three years, resulting in over $75,000 in pledge commitments.
  • Began the process of selecting an Interim Pastor upon the departure of Rev. Mark Plunkett.
  • Began the process of forming a Pastor Nominating Committee to select a permanent called pastor for Heritage.
  • We received the following grants in 2022:
    • $6,750 Vision Initiative Grant from the Presbytery of New Covenant to pay for marketing and communication activities designed to enhance the profile of Heritage Presbyterian.
    • $2,600 Vision Initiative Grant from Presbytery to continue our Young Music Ministers program.

In addition to the above grants, in 2023 we received a total of $126,667 in contributions, a decrease of $18,807 from the prior year. $75,318 of 2023 contributions represented pledged giving. There was a total of $35,490 in Undesignated Funds to operate our church. The remaining contributions were designated giving and contributions from fundraisers. Annual expenses associated with church operation totaled $127,066, a decrease of $31,207 from the prior year. This provided us a surplus of $12,224 for the year. This surplus occurred because we were refunded over $27,000 in property taxes we had paid to Harris County. Our funds invested in the Texas Presbyterian Foundation (TPF) earned $177,000 in 2023. This enables us to have a cash surplus of over $30,000 going into 2024, and brings our total balance at TPF to $1,410,357. It is likely we will have either an interim pastor or pulpit supply for at least the first few months of 2024, which should enable us to protect a large part of our cash surplus. In preparing a budget for 2024, we will assume that Heritage will have a full-time pastor for the year, which will very likely result in a deficit for the year.

Approximately 80% of our expenditures in 2023 went for salaries and property expenses associated with having a church office, a worship center, and offsite storage. We did receive a refund of legal fees associated with the litigation on the taxes assessed on our West Road property.



Worship                                                        $108,775

Christian Education                                  $250

Fellowship & Hospitality                          $3,150

Mission & Outreach                                  $21,950

Resource & Management                        $33,417

Property                                                        $46,883

TOTAL EXPENSES:                                   $214,425


Laura Hudson, Sally Luker, & Anna Record, Deacons

“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.” 1 Timothy 3: 8-13

Heritage is one of only a few small churches to still have 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 assists individuals and families with essential expenses like groceries, rent or mortgage, prescriptions, medical insurance, and gasoline. The Deacons’ Fund also provides funding as needed to our Christmas Jar program, which supports families in need at Postma Elementary School. Our congregation is invited on the third Sunday of every month to support the Deacons’ Fund 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. Our Deacons were pleased this year to help celebrate with one of our member families the birth of their first child with the gift of a cross.

For several years now, our Deacons have organized a cookie drive that provides tasty treats for our high school and college students. This is typically done in the fall, right after the Thanksgiving holidays. This year the Deacons elected to postpone the cookie drive until spring 2024.

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


Mindy Boyd, Elder

The purpose of the Fellowship and 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 a list of activities that our church held during 2023:

  • January – a light lunch in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Congregation
  • April – Palm Sunday Pancake and Sausage Breakfast
  • May
    • Graduation Celebration – Graduates were honored with cake and punch
    • Mother’s Day – mothers were honored with a gift of candies
  • June – Father’s Day, celebrating dads with root beer floats
  • July – Christmas in July Luncheon, the annual kick-off of our Christmas Jar mission program, with members bringing their favorite Christmas dishes
  • September – End of Summer Bash honoring the Rev. Mark Plunkett for his service to Heritage
  • October – Pastor Appreciation Sunday honoring our supply pastor, Rev. Cindy Mood
  • December
    • Advent Breakfast potluck
    • Ladies luncheon and gift exchange at the French Quarter restaurant


Ann Peterson, Elder


“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35

Mission is the church in action, sharing Christ’s love and grace in the world. We had another busy year at Heritage in Mission in 2023, reaching out to our neighbors locally, nationally, and across the world in the name of Christ.

As has been our practice for several years, we collected two standing monthly offerings in 2023, on the first and third Sundays of the month, respectively:

  • We collected $1,222 for the Deacon’s Fund. A description of how these funds are used is included in the Deacons section of this report.
  • We continued our support of anti-human trafficking efforts—in particular, sex trafficking—but transitioned our support this year to The Landing. The Landing is a faith-based non-profit located on the “Bissonnet Track” in southwest Houston, an known for unabashed prostitution activity. Our contribution of $1,165 to fight sex trafficking in 2023 reflects a modest increase over 2022.

We continued our partnership with Postma Elementary School in 2023, and supported their 135-member staff with the following:

  • Valentine’s Appreciation – individual gifts of small bags of Lindor chocolates.
  • Members provided individual support for Postma’s annual Daddy-Daughter Dance in February.
  • A Salsa Bar to kick off STAAR testing.
  • 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 “Start Your Engines!”
  • Snack bags for counselors to distribute to students, who sometimes need a snack when they may have missed a meal or are acting out.
  • Our Thanksgiving Pie Day was again a huge hit.
  • We helped to make the holidays brighter for five Postma families in need—including two homeless families—through our Christmas Jar effort, distributing $1,000 among the families.

We supported the following organizations in their outreach to those in need in our community:

  • Our annual Souper Bowl of Caring drive benefitted Cy Fair Helping Hands, which works to help the homeless in our area to become self-sufficient. We provided a cash donation of $458.
  • In September we provided a tamale luncheon for 20 Cy Fair Helping Hands clients and volunteers at their Homeless Day Center.
  • We provided a cash gift of $355 to Undies for Everyone, which provides underwear to area school children.

We participated in three special offerings through the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2023. Overall giving totaled $1,457.

  • For our One Great Hour of Sharing drive this year, we decided to give by way of the Presbyterian Giving Catalog. We collected $1,052—an increase of more than 70% over our 2022 giving—and designated our funds to purchase a cow and four goats, with the remainder going to the area of greatest need.
  • On World Communion Sunday in October, we collected $190 for the Peace and Global Witness Offering, and donated $100 to Sew Powerful, a Christian ministry that works to combat extreme poverty in Zambia by enabling academic success and creating jobs.
  • On the third Sunday of Advent – Joy Sunday – we collected $215 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 the Mission & Fellowship committee for their commitment and enthusiasm for mission work at Heritage, and their friendship as sisters and brothers in Christ. The committee is also deeply appreciative of the Heritage congregation for making our mission efforts a success.

Outreach (Marketing & Communications)

With Pastor Mark’s departure in September 2023, we decided to redouble our Marketing and Communications efforts to help ensure that we are effectively engaging current members and getting the word out to potential new members about Heritage.

Accomplishments for 2023 include:

  • Winning a grant of $6,750 from Presbytery to help fund our marketing and communications efforts.
  • Placing an ad in the December Towne Lake Harborside magazine to promote our Christmas services.
  • Sending a direct mail flyer to close to 2,300 targeted homes within a mile of our worship place, plus a flyer to our congregational mailing list, advertising our Christmas services.
  • Cross-promoting our Christmas services on Facebook using the same graphic design as the flyers.
  • Producing a four-color flyer to distribute to our congregation to promote our “Christmas Hymn Song-a-palooza” on the Sunday after Christmas, which is typically a low Sunday.


Cheryl Bateman, Elder

Adult Christian Education

Heritage continued to hold an adult Sunday school class this year at The Heritage Lodge. Classes met at 9:15 before Sunday service. Ruth Kerr led classes from The Common Lectionary with an average of six in attendance. The class watched season three of the video series “The Chosen” during the summer months. This is the story of Jesus as told through the eyes of his followers. “The Messenger and The Shepard” was watched during the Christmas season. This is a short film exploring the story of Christmas.

Kay Cronk from St. Thomas Presbyterian Church continued to lead a Women’s Bible Study once a week. These women are given the opportunity to pray for local and worldwide issues.

Prior to his departure in September, Pastor Mark posted a weekly devotional on the church website and posted a weekly two-minute Bible lesson on Instagram.

Pastor Mark also led a weekly Bible study via Zoom on Thursday mornings. Jim Lower now leads this group. They are currently studying “The Hard Sayings of Jesus.”

Children’s Christian Education 

Until Pastor Mark’s departure in September, he posted a weekly children’s sermon on Facebook on Sunday mornings. Although we were unable to host weekly Sunday School classes for children, since we have children in attendance only on occasion, we continue to have childcare available on Sundays. In addition, we made available children’s worship activity packets for young visitors for special services such as Easter and Christmas.


Liz Silva, Elder

The Worship Committee had a very busy year in 2023! There are a lot of people to thank who work week-in and week-out to keep our worship services going. Many members serve faithfully as ushers and liturgists on a rotating basis, as well as occasional substitutes. My sincere thanks to all of you!

The work of the committee increased exponentially in September when Pastor Mark accepted a new call, what with filling the pulpit every week and communicating with visiting pastors and coordinating information with Wendy, our office administrator. Many people have stepped up to help in these matters. Nancy Kissinger, of course, has worked diligently picking out the music, and Jodie Smith has helped to proofread the bulletins before they are finalized and printed. We even had one church member, Curtis LaMontagne, fill the pulpit in November.

We continued to hold our special services:

  • Ash Wednesday got us into the spirit of Lent.
  • Although we had planned to have a joint Maundy Thursday service at The Lodge with New Hope Presbyterian, bad weather caused its cancellation.
  • However, we were able to worship with New Hope in their sanctuary on Good Friday.
  • Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day brought special remembrances for our troops and veterans with banners supplied by Rick Luker.
  • World Communion was celebrated on October 3, accompanied by the Peace and Global Witness Offering.
  • We also had our traditional Christmas Advent Wreath lightings and Christmas Eve Service. Many thanks to the families who did the readings and lit the candles! Special thanks to Carol Beverlin for setting up the Nativity every week during the Advent Season.
  • The Choir presented the annual Christmas cantata on December 17, with a narrative written by Ann Peterson and read by Jim Lower and Anna Record.
  • Also adding to our Worship Services were the Easter lilies and Christmas poinsettias, which the congregation purchased through Brookwood, a faith-based community for functionally disabled adults in Brookshire.
  • We adjusted our “Stump the Choir” Services a little in 2023. In October, our pianist, Neena Taylor, blessed us with a sermon touching on the backgrounds of some of our favorite hymns. On New Year’s Eve we had a “Song-a-palooza” where people were able to enjoy cocoa and choose their favorite Christmas carols to sing.

Our choir continues to bless us with music every week, and we are so fortunate to have Nancy Kissinger at the helm! Her expertise and dedication are real assets to our worship. Once again, we received a grant from Presbytery to fund our Young Music Ministers programs. We continue to enjoy the musical offerings of Adrian Astorga as he sings with us in the choir.