Annual Report

Dear Members and Friends of Heritage,

Despite all the hardship that the Covid-19 pandemic brought to our society and our church, we persevered and continued gathering and working as a faithful family of God.  Below is the annual report of our church as written by your church officers. 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

Presbytery of New Covenant work:  Pastor Mark’s three-year term ended on the presbytery’s Committee on Preparation for Ministry.  His work on the Administrative Commission of Formosan Presbyterian Church ended after four years of work when FPC elected a new Session.

In 2020 the Session of Heritage Presbyterian Church met for twelve stated meetings and seven called meetings. The called meetings were for the following purposes:

  • to accept a new member and examine an Elder-elect;
  • to cancel in-person worship for March 15th;
  • to consider future worship in the Lodge, our finances, and the status of property tax bills;
  • two meetings to consider returning to in-person worship;
  • to issue an invitation to fill the pulpit in August for Synod Sunday;
  • to examine new church officers and to draft the budget; and to discuss a sales contract for our church property.

Also we had three Congregational meetings:

  • January 20:  to approve the Rev. Mark Plunkett’s terms of call, to receive the 2020 church budget, and to receive the annual report of the Session committees
  • October 25:  to elect new church officers
  • December 6:  to vote on an offer for our property.

In a year filled with turmoil, social distancing, and mask requirement due to the Covid pandemic, active church membership totaled 73 members, which is a decrease of only two members over 2019.  In a year filled with the terrible effects on the lives of our friends and our congregation, we had NO funerals in our church at all.  Three members were removed from our church rolls, and one member joined us by transfer of letter.

At the end of 2020, our church membership consisted of the following:

SEX     Female:  46      Male:  27                      Total: 73

ETHNICITY       White: 60     Hispanic: 5     Multiracial: 2     African-American: 5     Asian: 1    

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

 

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

Elder: Sally Luker          Treasurer:  Jim Lower    Assistant to the Treasurer:  Chris Cancila

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us… if it is giving, then give generously.”  Romans 12: 6-8 (NIV)

This committee includes the church treasurer, Jim Lower, Steve Vetters, and Sally Luker. Meetings for our committee are on an “as needed” basis.

The purpose of our committee is two-fold:

  1. To record and deposit gifts and offerings received by our church, and;
  2. To control expenditures required to operate the church.

Our office administrator, Wendy Ballard, 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. Our financial review shows that all financials are in good order.

This year:

  • We have collected $138,945 in pledges and offerings for use by our church.
  • We have paid $149,888 in church expenses and charitable contributions. The resulting deficit of -$10,943 does not reflect the PPP Loan Forgiveness and is less than the anticipated one of -$28,386.
  • We requested and received a $19,175 loan from the Small Business Administration as a participant in the Payroll Protection Program in March. Accurate records were kept and the loan was completely forgiven in November. This resulted in our achieving an actual surplus of $10,317 for the year. It should be noted this is a one-time only benefit to us.
  • We have paid all taxes associated with our property on West Road.
  • The Memorial Fund established last year has been an asset to our income.
  • We will be implementing a “Faith Budget” again this coming year; our expectations continue to be that our congregation will underwrite the work of our church.
  • We are in the process of selling our property, but we expect to continue worshipping at The Lodge in The Heritage at Towne Lake in 2021 until such time as we secure another location. We will continue to look for areas in the budget where we can save money on expenditures. Our committee welcomes your ideas or suggestions to contain costs.

 

2021 CHURCH BUDGET

ESTIMATED TOTAL INCOME:              $143,500

 

EXPENSES:

Worship                                               $5,100.00

Christian Education                             $2,700.00

Fellowship & Hospitality                      $2,400.00

Mission & Outreach                             $9,875.00

Resource & Management/Property      $138,040.00

 

TOTAL EXPENSES:                             $158,115.00

 

POSSIBLE SHORTFALL:                      (- $14,615)

  

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MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S HOUSE: PROPERTY COMMITTEE and CHURCH SALES TEAM

Chair: Chris Rigoulot      Members: Elder JC Kissinger and Pastor Mark Plunkett

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

All Heritage assets have been in storage and the West Road property was for sale for the entirety of 2020. There was an initial meeting in January to try to set some general goals if we were to divide the land into two parcels, selling one parcel and keeping the other. However, since the land had not yet sold, there was no need for any further meetings.  Eventually, it was decided to continue trying to sell the whole parcel.

During 2020, despite a very depressed market for commercial property, we did receive an offer to buy our land late in the fall.  That offer was accepted at a congregational meeting held on Sunday, December 6th.  We are currently waiting for the 90-day inspection period to end.  If this sale proves to be successful, our next step will be for the Session to set the budget for purchasing and/or building our new church home.

During the mid-point of 2020, a survey was sent to all church members and friends to gauge their interest in a future location somewhat on the 290 corridor.  Overwhelmingly, the church membership indicated that this area would be acceptable.  In any future plans, this will guide our search for that new location.

If we are blessed enough to find a new church home, we have all our needed church furnishings safely in storage and ready to be deployed.

Property issues have occupied much of our focus since Pastor Mark arrived to serve Heritage PC in the summer of 2011.  It is time to get this matter settled so that our primary focus can be on the ministry and mission of our church.  To this end, a new church home task force is being formed and a professional realtor is being hired to help us find a new home we can afford.

 

MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S WORD: CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE

Elder: Katie McMillen

“All Scripture is God-breathes 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 the work of our committee and our classes.

Two adult Sunday school classes were held each week.

  • One class decided collectively which book of the Bible or which Christian DVD they will study. They were involved in a study on Martin Luther before the Covid pandemic shut down all our in-person classes.
  • The other class, “Saints Under Construction,” studies The Common Lectionary and is led by Ruth Kerr. Each Sunday, four prescribed lessons are read and discussed with attention given to a common theme.  Students find the study of these lessons gives a preview into the passages chosen by the pastor for his weekly sermon.  This class, like the others, was forced to suspend their in-person students.

Mark has begun and has maintained a Weekly Devotional that is posted on Facebook, as well as the church web page.

We also had a Children’s Sunday school on the second and fourth Sundays of each month.  The teacher had knee surgery in late February, so the class was supposed to be temporarily suspended until her recovery.  Unfortunately, as was the case with the other Sunday school classes, Covid forced these classes to be stopped due to the Covid pandemic.

An Easter activity and lesson was sent out via email to all our families with children.

Mrs. Kay Cronk from St. Thomas PC teaches a weekly ladies’ Bible study.  The group provides an opportunity to learn as well as pray for local and worldwide concerns.  They met in person during January and February.  They switched to Zoom after the Covid shutdown, but they have continued meeting virtually each week.  They are currently studying the Book of Acts.

 

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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 eighth year at the Heritage Lodge, Rev. Mark Plunkett continues to lead us in worship every Sunday at our 10:30am service.  We also had an 8:30am chapel service on Sundays at Sundance Memory Care until we were forced to discontinue it due to Covid concerns.

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.  We still encourage soloists to join us.  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 2020-2021 class of YMM”s includes Keiana Kreitz, Nina Nguyen, and Dylan Gamble. We have also had several soloists, Liz Silva, Mikaela Kissinger, Patsy Cargill on French Horn and Rev. Chery Gans on guitar.
  • Pastor Mark continues to lead Children’s Sermons each Sunday. When Covid forced our in-person services to be suspended, he began delivering those same sermons on Facebook Live each Sunday morning at 9:00 AM.  Currently, Mark is also working on a book of children’s sermons he has written and delivered over the years; the book currently has the working title of A Time With the Younger Church.
  • We celebrated 56 worship services including four special ones: Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Christmas Eve. Our worship services included:
    • 11 in person services prior to Covid
    • 14 Scripture and sermon pre-recorded videos only
    • 18 Zoom only services
    • 5 outdoor services at the lodge (1 in parking lot and 4 on back porch)
    • 8 in person and Zoom services.
  • We had one guest speaker last year – Elder Shelley Hernandez on Synod Sunday in August.
  • Our liturgists help bring even more wisdom and praise to our services. A new training session for liturgists was postponed due to the pandemic.
  • 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 and sermons, as well as live services via Zoom, Children’s sermons on Sunday morning via Facebook Live, 2-minute Bible lessons on Instagram, and weekly devotionals on the church web page and Facebook.
  • Pastor Mark officiated at one wedding, one wedding vow renewal, and one funeral last year.

 

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 6
  • Youth Sunday
  • A Special Music Sunday during Advent.
  • Our traditional Candlelight Christmas Eve evening service.

We look forward to serving the members of our congregation in the year of 2021.

 

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

Elders Doris Stallings and Ann Peterson

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12

There is little about 2020 that was not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including our Mission & Outreach activities at Heritage. The pandemic brought initial confusion and hesitation about what precautions were prudent or necessary, and then a whirlwind of questions about how to continue our activities in ways that would be safe for all.

We collected two standing monthly offerings in 2020, on the first and third Sundays of the month, respectively:

  • We collected $3490 for the Deacon’s Fund. Details regarding the use of the fund are outlined in the Deacon’s Report.
  • We continued to support Free the Captives, a faith-based non-profit that fights teenage sex trafficking in Houston. In 2020, our church donated $465 to this worthy cause.

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 – Hershey bars in staff mailboxes with conversation-heart style messages.
  • End of School Appreciation – We did not do our traditional end-of-school staff appreciation in 2020, as all classes were being held only virtually at that point.
  • Welcome Back! – For the start of school in August, we provided donuts and juice, inspirational “fortunes” staff could select from a jar, and wristbands reflecting the school’s annual theme.
  • Thanksgiving Staff Appreciation – single-serving popcorn packages in staff mailboxes with the message, “Gobble it up!”
  • We helped to make the holidays brighter for Postma families in need through our Christmas Jar effort, distributing $575 among four families.

COVID lockdowns and social distancing precautions brought challenges to our community outreach efforts, which typically involve collecting items for local non-profits that distribute them to those in need.  Nonetheless, our community outreach efforts for 2020 benefitted the following organizations:

  • Cypress Assistance Ministries – Our annual Souper Bowl of Caring food drive collected more than 300 cans and packages of soup, chili, and ramen, for a total of almost 700 servings of food.
  • Undies for Everyone – Although COVID lockdowns meant that we couldn’t hold our traditional drive, we encouraged our congregation to give directly to Undies for Everyone (which distributes new underwear to school-aged children) through direct donation or through their Amazon Wish List.

We participated in two special offerings through the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2020:

  • On World Communion Sunday, in October, we collected $318.75. 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 $200 Westminster Presbyterian Church, in Sulphur, Louisiana.  Westminster is a smaller church that has sustained damage from multiple storms, and serves as a distribution point for aid in Sulphur and surrounding rural communities.
  • On the third Sunday of Advent – Joy Sunday – we collected $270.00. 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.

Elder Doris Stallings moved at the end of 2019, leaving the Mission & Outreach elder position open.  It was moderated by Ann Peterson to finish 2020.

Special thanks to our congregation, who in a year full of challenges, helped to share Christ’s love with those in need - and to the God’s People Ministry Team, whose friendship and willing hearts always make our committee a joy to work with.

 

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MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD'S PEOPLE: FELLOWSHIP & HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE

Elder Jodie Smith

“These things I command you, that you love one another.”  John 15:17

God's two greatest commandments are to love God and love others. To love everyone equally is a true sign of our love for God and our desire to live Christ-like. Hospitality is known as entertaining and welcoming in guests or visitors. It is a genuine way to show love for others! Jesus tells us in in Matthew 25:40 that whatever we do for the least of people, we do for him.

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 2020 (which is very little due to Covid):

  • January: A new members Lasagna dinner was held in a member’s home. The Deacons and Elders were also present which gave the new members an opportunity to have social interaction with all.  There were approximately 30 people in attendance.
  • February-June No activities planned or held.
  • July: Christmas in July luncheon via Zoom and the congregational members wore a Christmas sweater. This was done to announce our kick off of Christmas Jars where members of the congregation collect their change and donate it to either someone they know or is used to support families at the elementary school that is our church partner.
  • August – Sept No activities planned or held.
  • October: Pastor appreciation was celebrated at an outside worship with the presentation of gift cards and a Bobble head replica of the pastor. We truly wanted to honor Mark for all the hard work he did during Covid and in 2020.
  • November—December No activities planned or held.

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MINISTRY TEAM FOR GOD’S PEOPLE: DEACONS

Deacons: Mindy Boyd, Betty Brown, Pat Schoenfelder

Senior Deacon: 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, utilities, food, prescriptions, medical insurance bills, and even gasoline.  The Deacons’ Fund is supported each month on the third Sunday of the month with a special collection.  During 2020, the Deacons’ Fund spent $3708 helping those in our church and our surrounding area.

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.  (This was especially helpful during the early days of the Covid pandemic, when all of us were virtually confined to our homes.)  In this role, they are truly shepherds of our flock.

During the past six years, our Deacons have organized a cookie drive that provides tasty treats for our high school and college students as they prepare for the end of semester projects, papers, and exams.  These treats are usually collected on Cookie Sunday, which is immediately following the Thanksgiving holidays, but it could not be done safely this year due to Covid concerns.  Instead, the Deacons’ Fund was used to purchase pre-packed cookies and treats, which were then boxed and mailed to our students.

 

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