The Administration and Inclusion Council is something of a pot-pourri, comprising such varied programs and activities as staffing our office, caring for our buildings, welcoming Sunday worshippers, overseeing communications, managing the church’s finances, and shepherding our stewardship activities. Perhaps this council’s mission is best described by someone at a recent parish conversation who said, “To administer is to minister,” an apt reflection on how this important council understands its work.
There are many ways we seek to minister and include. In what we sometimes refer to as “radical welcome,” each Sunday 30 volunteers act as greeters at worship services or as hosts at the Welcome Table and resource tables during the coffee hour. Our Hands and Heart Ministry assists those in wheelchairs and/or those with physical challenges getting into and out of the church, and assigns someone each week to sit with them during the service to ensure their full inclusion.
The Parish Office.
Our Parish Office in many respects exemplifies the activities of inclusion and administration. The staff (and the volunteers who assist them) greet and welcome people to the parish hall every weekday. They view themselves as engaged in an important ministry both to the church and to the community. As the office staff reported in last year’s Annual Report, “. . . we meet tourists, seekers, questioners, the faithful, the homeless, the hungry, the lost, and the mentally ill and confused, sometimes all on the same day! It’s a temptation to think of these interactions as interruptions and a challenge to remember that the interruptions are where faith and action come together as reality.”
Beyond the reception desk work, the office staff of course attends to other duties, including the important work of scheduling meetings of parish committees and outside community groups who use our facilities, and generally keeping things humming. Our three primary means of communication within the parish and the larger Santa Barbara community and beyond are orchestrated from this office: Weekly Parish Notes, Trinity Notes (weekly email), and our website.
The Communications Committee is an important new ministry, and has been very active in the past year upgrading the venues of communication, thereby making “Digital Trinity” a reality. Better communication has opened up not just new possibilities of coordination and outreach for all the shared ministries but also for “shining our light” more broadly within the Santa Barbara community and beyond. Our website presents the parish as active and diverse, open to people of varying religious and spiritual styles, a community grounded in faith and committed to spiritual growth.
Finance and stewardship.
Finance and stewardship, which report to the vestry, are significant areas of oversight for this council. The Stewardship Committee plans and carries out the annual stewardship campaign, with resulting pledges that comprise about 85% of the annual budget for the mission and ministry of the parish. In fulfilling this responsibility the committee regularly engages parish members, in some years through an every member canvass, seeking their feedback about the well-being of the church and how our work can be improved. Detailed information about our stewardship and financial oversight activities, as well as about the council’s Investment Committee and the Trinity Legacy Circle, can be found in the “Finance and Stewardship” section of this Portfolio.
Buildings and grounds.
The building and Grounds Committee, which reports to the vestry, is part of this council, has overseen the various projects funded by the recently completed capital campaign, and is now focusing on improvements in lighting, our landscaping and rectory-transition needs, and the overall care of our buildings and grounds.