First Baptist Church


Annual Report

January 29, 2017, 11:15 am

A Word from Our Interim Pastor:
      In truth I cannot offer an annual report, but I will give a quarter of an annual report since we have only been together for three months. In some ways it seems like much longer, not due to difficulties but because it seems like a good match God has brought together for us.
    We spent these three months catching our breath after a rather tumultuous year for you, and getting to know each other. You have been gracious in receiving me and tolerant of my mistakes, missteps and differences. In a very short time I have come to care about First Baptist Church and the people who make up this congregation. I was surprised to discover that as a community of caring people, you are in much better shape than I expected.
     In looking forward to 2017 I expect we will begin the work of discerning what God longs for FBC to be and to become. We will do that through congregational conversations, prayer, and Bible study. We will listen carefully, to one another and for the voice of God in whispers or shouts. We will explore the history of FBC, both from farther back and more recently. We will examine who you are right now and what the neighborhood is like. We will call for the dreams you have or begin to discover.
     To that end, I hope that FBC will become an Innovation Incubator. I love interim work because people often feel freer to consider things they would ordinarily never imagine.
Set your minds free to wander, to consider the unimaginable. It may cause some anxiety, but as long as we follow Jesus and stay close to him all will be well.

Executive Committee:  The newly formed Executive Committee met twice this year and will continue to meet as often as needed to integrate the many functions of the Church through its oversight role. Earlier in the year, the Church by-laws were completely reviewed and revised to bring them into alignment with how business is conducted, and a badly needed employee handbook was created to clarify the roles, obligations and procedures that all Church employees now follow.

Board of Trustees: We were blessed that we had no major expenses to the building, and we were able to take advantage and upgrade the church lighting throughout the building for about $3,000, with National Grid paying the remaining $7,000 through the energy efficiency program all customers pay into each month. An additional $4,642 was received from loose and special holiday offerings last year.  The Trustees are working on refocusing our direction on our investments in 2017, starting with a new financial planner who has promised to work with us more closely, reduce expenses, come up with a plan to pay down our loan, and reach out to local establishments/organizations to raise some funds for the church. Over $2,000 was raised by the Newport Navy Choristers’ Concert due to the efforts of Luce Cabral and Jeff Walls. All proceeds will benefit the Homeless Overflow Shelter coordinated by Steppingstone, Inc.

Board of Deacons:  The Deacons were very active this year when they added visitation and delivering flowers to their usual duties of serving Communion and providing spiritual guidance to the Church. Over $1,200 was raised by the annual Harvest Supper and the many efforts of those who contributed.  A Sunday morning nursery was staffed and plans are underway for a Children’s Day in February.

Nominations and Elections: The following were nominated and newly elected to the various boards and committees for the coming year: David Weed (Moderator), Sue Blackburn, Susan Fastino and Musu Moore (Deacons), Jeff Walls, Lou Cabral and Gary Ivanson (Trustees), and Betty Marsden (Nominating). All other Board and Committee members remain in good standing for the coming year as they serve out their terms until 2018, 2019 or 2020.

Pastoral Search Committee: A ten-member Pulpit Committee was formed in February and met frequently through the next nine months to first recruit and select a short-term interim pastor, Rev. Bruce Greer, and then a three-year intentional interim pastor, Rev. Bruce MacLeod. Throughout the process, the group developed a much clearer sense of the appropriate roles of the pastor and the beginnings of a vision for a settled pastor at the end of the three year process. A new Pastoral Search Committee will be formed in 2018 to begin the search process for that settled pastor as our vision for the Church going forward is developed over the coming year.
Spiritual Development:  Bible study, meditation and yoga continued on a weekly basis throughout the year. Spiritual growth happens when we’re in the present, and God is only in the present. We spent time with the book, When St. Francis Saved the Church, how he lived with immediacy in a time similar to our own. We also spent several weeks with the letters to the seven churches in Revelation in preparation for viewing seven Tiffany windows depicting these angels in a special exhibit at the Museum of Russian Icons.  We have begun to look at ways in which to carry this work forward as Rev. Elizabeth G. Watson prepares to retire in May.
Branch, Warming Center & Clothing Ministry:  These ministries continued on a strong basis throughout the year led or coordinated by Channa Guinard. A household goods storage area was added this year in cooperation with United Neighbors to help homeless families resettle, and Channa is looking to develop new ministries with the help of other members.
All reports submitted by David Weed, except that of the Interim Pastor, based on a record of oral reports presented at the Annual  Meeting, January 29, 2017.
First Baptist Church
Annual Schedule of Events
(over the past few years)
  • Mission/Communion: Fellowship
  • Stewardship Sunday(second Sunday)
  • Annual Meeting: Last Sunday of January
  • Appointing/Voting in new Deacons and Trustees
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration-optional
  • Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge-Dave Weed usually organizes this with a team from FBC.
  • Annual Reports Due in December to be published in January Bridge. (Trustees, Deacons, Spiritual Development, Music Ministry, Facilities, Learning Groups, CHW-Clothing Ministry, Feeding Ministries, Children/Nursery School)

  • Mission/Communion: Souper Bowl of Caring
  • Staff & Officers to be posted with new additions and changes.
  • Lent/Easter Plans (Flowers, services, etc)
  • Planning Annual Yard Sale (Usually scheduled for first Saturday of May)

  • Mission/Communion: America For Christ
  • Lent/Easter Plans
  • Easter Flowers-Reminder in Bridge and Bulletins, flowers for loved ones
  • Easter Letter?2015-letter sent out for Holy Week
  • Ash Wednesday, March 1, Beginning of Lent
  • Start to plan Annual Yard Sale

  • Mission/Communion: Easter Offering
  • Palm Sunday, April 9th
  • Palm Sunday Breakfast?
  • Holy Thursday, April 13th
  • Good Friday, April 14th
  • Easter Sunday, April 16th
  • Tenebrae Service?
  • Good Friday Service?
  • Bridge Info: Lifetime Learning Spring Semester
  • Easter Flowers for sanctuary, then taken to homebound
  • Yard Sale plans firming up

  • Mission/Communion: Grotonwood/Oceanwood Camper Offering
  • Memorial Roll Call for members who have died
  • Upcoming graduations for family members?
  • Children/Nursery summer plans? Vacation bible school?
  • Yard Sale
  • CROP Walk Fundraiser-Council of Churches (walk is usually the end of May)
  • Memorial Day Flowers for sanctuary, then taken to homebound

  • Mission/Communion: One Great Hour of Sharing (Christian Disaster Relief Fund)
  • Graduations
  • Summer Outings
  • Music Appreciation Luncheon (Craig)

  • Mission/Communion: Get Steppin Walk/Summer Mission
  • Get Steppin Walk it to support Steppingstone. Channa forms a team that walks every year. We have one offering to support her and her team.
  • Summer Mission is usually a project at the church in the past (i.e. organ repairs, renovations, new sound system for sanctuary, etc). Going forward, it should be chosen by the Deacons and a project outside the church.
  • Summer Mission usually extends through July, August, and September

  • Mission/Communion: Summer Mission Con’t.
  • Highlight area events
  • Kids going away to college, starting school

  • Start Planning Harvest Supper (happens late October, early November)
  • 2015 we had an organ recital with Matthew Dion, it took place in November.
  • Muster Fall coffee hour sponsors/volunteers. (this has been a struggle as of late)
  • Harvest Supper date posted in October Bridge
  • Harvest Supper organization beginning

  • Mission/Communion: World Mission
  • Harvest Supper plans firming up
  • Stewardship Campaign/Planning
  • Lifetime Learning Fall Semester (Shepherd’s Center)
  • Annual Missions Conference in October (who will attend)

  • Mission/Communion: Thanksgiving/Help for the Holidays
  • Stewardship Campaign
  • Council of Churches Ecumenical Service
  • Planning Newport Navy Choristers (usually first Sunday of December)
  • Memorial Poinsettias Note in December Bridge in memory of loved ones

  • Mission/Communion: Christmas/Help for the Holidays
  • Newport Navy Choristers Concert
  • Advent
  • First Sunday Dec 3
  • Notice in December bulletin for memorial poinsettias
  • Holiday Services Schedule