This Week: December 18th 2016

Year-end Reality Check

The stewardship program has wound up, pledges are in, and we’ve started our budgeting for 2017. But, “Houston … we have a problem!”

At our parish visioning conversations in October we identified two trends: (1) people are happy overall with the direction St. Stephen’s is moving, including the quality of our congregational life, and our outreach to the city, and beyond; (2) people want more of the same, expanding our youth programs by adding to our pastoral staff, and engaging with the wider community even more intentionally by re-fitting some of our space.

The problem is, our actual givings—including the pledges we have just received—tell us that we should be doing less, not more! In fact, barring a miracle between now and Christmas, we are likely to enter 2017 with a deficit of somewhere between $12,000 and $25,000, effectively removing new staff and building upgrades from the table!

The rector and wardens are asking all parishioners to reconsider their financial support of this “lively and diverse midtown congregation”. Specifically, they are asking:

  • If you are not doing so already, please consider stabilizing our cash flow by giving by way of pre-authorized debit.
  • If you have not pledged, please do so. Let us know your intentions.
  • If you have already pledged, please revisit the amount and consider at least another 5% increase.
  • Or give us a whopper of a one-time gift, helping us climb out of debt and into the exciting possibilities of the New Year.

Will you help?

One Voice Chorus: “Food: The Concert”

A magical night of musical nosh! One Voice Chorus celebrates the season of feasting with a concert about food, followed by a sparkling reception by Chef at your Shoulder.

Special guests: BarberEllas

“Songwriters write about the things that interest them most, so it should come as no surprise that there are so many songs about food!” observes OVC’s Artistic Director, Jane Perry. “Our audience will recognize tunes such as Java Jive and The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. There will also be traditional carols with new lyrics created as odes to favourite pies. We have a cornucopia of pieces by the zany Eric Lane Barnes, a Seattle composer. The Caffeine Overload Polka is sure to be an audience favourite. And then there are the choristers’ emerging favourites, like Chili Con Carne, an Anders Edenroth creation that gives an entire recipe for meat chili set to a Latin beat!”

Joining OVC for this concert will be guest musical ensemble the BarberEllas, a barbershop group for queer gals and pals. They will bring their own unique take on food with laugh-out-loud songs such as When Banana Skins Are Falling.

On a more serious note, the concert will also feature composer Brian Tate’s Overflowing, a song about gratitude, to acknowledge the good fortune it is to have enough to eat. In recognition that not everyone is so fortunate, OVC will use the evening to introduce its audience to local community groups whose focus is providing food to those in need. The concert program will list the names and websites of these groups in the hope that those of us who are able, will help others to share in the holiday banquet.

Audience members will have the chance to partake in some feasting after the concert at a sparkling post-concert reception catered by Janey Bevan of Chef at your Shoulder. The goodies served, inspired by lyrics from the concert program, will include hot stuffed jalapeño peppers, miniature sausage rolls with honey mustard dip, beetroot cured salmon, and chocolate brownie Christmas puddings. It will be a feast for both the eye and the appetite and a wonderful start to the holiday season.

And because every great meal comes paired with great wine, be sure to watch for OVC’s 5th Annual Wall of Wine Raffle. The six baskets being raffled feature a curated selection of wine, beer, spirits, and other great prizes. Raffle tickets will be available online starting two weeks before the show and will also be sold at the concert.