January 2020 Rector's Letter
Dear Parish Family,
I first want to begin this letter by thanking you all for your incredible generosity! Over the last two years, just over 2.2 million dollars has been generously given to the work of the kingdom through the ministry of the St. Laurence family. When I think of so many families sacrificing so much for the work of the Body of Christ, I am inspired and humbled. It's an incredible story of a Parish that has grown in worship, and education, and mission work, pushing the limits of anything that we’ve ever been able to accomplish before. With God’s grace, and your generosity, St. Laurence is making a difference in the lives of many.
Many of you told us in 2018 that you were giving gifts ahead of schedule for 2019 and that turned out to be the case. Because of this reality, in 2018 we finished the year with a $68,000 surplus, and in 2019 we finished with a $38,000 deficit. With that reality, we collected right about 1.1 million dollars both years, far exceeding anything that had come before.
Now that the 2020 pledges have all been made, there is more generosity to report! 218 families have pledged to give $906,380, both are St. Laurence records! We’ve never had this many families participating in this way, and we’ve never had so many dollars pledged towards ministry! We give thanks to God for this outpouring of generosity! God calls us to be a generous people and y’all have responded wonderfully. Thank you!
Last Thursday evening, a Southlake police officer led a session here at St. Laurence about what individuals can do in difficult and even potentially violent situations. This is part of a state-wide program that is taught in churches, schools, and businesses in order to deter violent acts.
Rightly, this brought up lots of questions. What is our plan for security at St. Laurence? Is it robust enough? We want to assure you that we absolutely do have a plan, one that was developed several years ago by multiple law enforcement and security officials who are Church members. The plan is multi-faceted and envisions all types of events from severe weather, to medical episodes, to potentially violent events.
- Our Church members who are law enforcement and security professionals are ready to step forward should an event occur. They are trained in crisis response and de-escalation and they are all willing to put their professional training to use should there be a need at St. Laurence.
- Our Church members who are medical professionals are ready to help as well. These folks are trained in First Aid and emergency medical situations and they understand how best to respond. AED's are installed in the Parish Hall and Church Narthex and first aids kits are in every building.
- Our Golf Cart and Usher Teams have procedures in place to help recognize and prevent a developing emergency situation. The golf cart driver continuously drives around the property during the entire Church service looking for anything that might be out of the ordinary. An usher is always present in the Church Narthex so that no one can enter the Church without being met by an usher. The ushers also regularly enter the Parish Hall during the service and check on the nursery.
- We installed security cameras around the property in 2019 in the hopes of deterring any potential wrongdoing. New locks were installed in 2018 on the Parish Hall building and classrooms that enhance our ability to secure the building at appropriate times.
- As in any emergency situation, calling 911 is the right thing to do. Our security procedures are meant for early detection of any event that might be beginning but it is our goal to get the professionals here as quickly as possible.
It is a huge priority for all of the Parish’s leadership that St. Laurence continue to be the safe and loving environment that it has always been.
Annual Parish Meeting
The Annual Parish Meeting is coming up on Sunday, January 26. It is a time to look back on the year that God has given us and look ahead to some of our plans in 2020. We will elect new Vestry members and Delegates to the Diocesan Convention and hear ministry reports from some of our staff members. Retiring from the Vestry in the coming weeks are: John Geertsema (Sr. Warden), Sarah Oliver and Laura Roach. They have been outstanding leaders for our Parish, who demonstrated amazing faithfulness over their three years of service on our vestry. I’m grateful to them for the significant contribution they’ve made!