Plan for Covenantal Giving - Two Little Fork Success Stories
This is a continuing series of eNews articles about the Plan for Covenantal Giving, and the questions and responses from the meeting with leaders of the Diocese. To view previous articles please visit Vestry & Financial Health Archive
Question: Please share two success stories from your church during the past year.
Little Fork Church Response:
- MUSIC MINISTRY: For several years before summer of 2020, Little Fork did not have consistent or competent music leadership for Sunday worship. Yet, over and over, when the congregation discussed worship elements that were most important to them, music was at the top of the list every time. We celebrate that through the work of the Holy Spirit, we are developing an appropriately sized and vital music program. Since January of 2020, we have received a donation of a Steinway piano (which we have restored), hired a wonderfully talented musician- Ben Grove, repaired our organ, and updated our sound equipment for quality in both the church and via our live streaming services.
- MASTER PLAN: One of the greatest resources we have as a congregation is our 16 acres of land that surround our historic church. A year ago, we began the process to develop a master plan of how we would develop this land to maintain the view shed of our historic property and serve as a place for spiritual respite for our community. Our Rector and Vestry are working closely with the congregation, truly making collaborative decisions and sharing information and resources transparently. We have collaborated to document operations and procedures of the church, and as a result, came to more fully understand the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders.
In the summer of 2019, God’s most perfect timing, we received an estate gift that we earmarked to help support our musician’s salary for the foreseeable three years, should we need the funding. These funds were held in our reserve fund and earmarked to cover a musician's salary for 2020, 2021, and 2022. To date, we have not needed to use the reserve funds for this purpose. 2023 will be the first year that our budget will be required to cover this cost without the safety net of the reserve funds, but we are confident that will be possible.
We remain ever grateful for the energy that Ben brings to our worship services, and we pray and trust that the music will continue to help our congregation grow. Our most recent celebration and success story is the launch of our concert series, which will take place on Pentecost and All Saints Sundays each year.At our first one on June 5, 44 were in attendance, with 10 of those being community members without any prior ties to the church. We were overjoyed! The musical compositions were both traditional and original and the level of talent displayed from the host of musicians was tremendous!
Little Fork is a unique entity, as it is a historical property and is subject to further rules and regulations as a result. It is also a vibrant and vital congregation full of members who have great ambition and strong perseverance in ensuring the church’s success. The last few years under a new Rector have refreshed our need to operate efficiently and effectively, as a united congregation. As a result, the Rector, Vestry, and leaders of committees, committed to creating a master plan that would accurately respect the historic character at the core of the church, while allowing for new elements to be added as the congregation grows and evolves.
Through the planning and development of the Master Plan, we have successfully unearthed an impressive amount of historical information, digitally preserved many artifacts, learned a vast amount about the inner workings of our church from a historical point of view, and developed into an even stronger, more cohesive group of Christ’s followers.
The process has truly helped us reach consensus about many of the decisions made in the Master Plan. Just last Sunday, the congregation had the opportunity to view different options of the draft Master Plan, presented by Julie Basic, PLA, who shares an interest in landscape architecture and historic landscape preservation. This project was collaboratively funded by the Church, the Preservation Foundation, and the Burying Grounds.