2017 Annual Report for Calvary Episcopal Church

Annual Report January 22, 2017

Calvary Episcopal Church

3766 Clifton Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45220
Phone: 513.861.4437            Email:


Opening Prayer and Agenda

A prayer for Calvary Episcopal Church at its annual meeting

Almighty and ever living God, source of all wisdom and understanding: Be present with us here as we meet as a congregation in discernment and hope for our church and its future, and give counsel for the renewal and mission of your church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Address from your priest
Introduction of Nominees for Vestry and 2017 Convention Delegates
Recognition of Retiring Vestry Members
Election of Vestry Members and 2017 Convention Delegates
Reading and Approval of 2016 Annual Meeting Minutes
Presentation and Discussion of 2017 Budget
Election Results Announced
Adjournment with Prayer


As Interim Rector and having been here at Calvary for a shorter time than most of you, I would like to extend my welcome to you, both old timers and newcomers to this church. As we conduct this Annual Meeting, you will get a perspective of the State of the Parish, its challenges and its hopes for the future.  You will hear what has happened in the past year of 2016, and you will hear what we are planning, both in vision and strategically, for this coming year of 2017.

As a church in transition, this is a very important time for the life of this parish, and as members of this church, you are a vital part of that life. Many of you have a passionate stake in its future, and I thank you for your love and commitment. As we look ahead and move into this new future, I hope that we will all participate together in making “all things new,” as God has promised us.  May God be with us this year and always.

The Rev. Joanna Leiserson

Interim Rector

January, 2017

Parish Statistics 2016

Funerals                                Date

Charles Von Dietrich Knighton                       04/23/2016

Doreen Quinn

Weddings                                                         Date

Leo Bible &                                                       09/24/2016

Lindsay Campbell & Steven Rogers                    10/01/2016

Graham                                                            10/08/2016

Baptisms                                Date

Enzo Dangelo                                                     07/17/2016



Received into Episcopal Church



Amanda O’Bannon

Jason, Jeannie, Bailey, Ben and Jesse Leo


Minutes of the 2016 Annual Meeting

2016 Annual Meeting of Calvary Episcopal Church

 It was determined that a quorum of church members were present.

 Senior Warden's Address

 Report of the Nominating Committee

 Treasurer's Report

 Approval of the 2015 Annual Meeting Minutes

Motion to approve the 2015 Annual Meeting Minutes: It was approved unanimously by acclamation. 

 Election of Vestry and 2015 Convention Delegates

David Berger, David Dreith and Maris Bernard-MacLachlan were both elected to the Vestry.  Matthew and Judy Sauer, Daren Grayton and Bob Hauck were elected to serve as Convention Delegates.  Hannah Teetor to serve as alternate.             

Vestry and Convention Delegates: Recognition and Election

Current Vestry, Remaining in office

Mr. Daren Grayton, Senior Warden
Mr. Duane Lewis, Junior Warden
Mr. Bob Smith, Treasurer
The Rev. Joanna Leiserson, Interim Rector (ex officio)

Class of 2017                                  Class of 2018                                  Class of 2019
Paul McCauley                                 Mr. Matthew Sauer                         Mr. David Berger
Mr. David Meyer                             Mrs. Nan Hauck                               Mrs. Maris Bernard-MacLachlan
Mrs. Abby Moran                            Mr. Nick Snow                                  Mr. David Dreith
Mrs. Marlie Montgomery
Mr. Robert Smith

The following persons have been nominated for election to the Vestry. Three will be elected for the Class of 2020.

Mrs. Helene Ault - Elected to class of 2020
Mr. Paul Davis
Mrs. Susan Jackson
Mrs. Abby Moran - Elected to class of 2020
Mr. Robert Smith - Elected to class of 2020

diocesan convention delegates in 2016

Ms. Hannah Teetor                         Mr. Matthew Sauer

Mr. Daren Grayton                          Mrs. Judy Sauer

candidates for diocesan convention delegates in 2017 Elected

Ms. Sharon Grayton, Ms. Miriam Hill, and Ms. Jane Paraskevopoulos, Mr. Stephen Clarson

Report from the Interim Rector: The Rev. Joanna Leiserson

Annual report, from the Interim Rector

Calvary’s interim period began officially on June 1, 2016, when I began work here as your interim rector. So nine months has passed and the church has begun moving steadily toward the calling of your new rector.

The First Year without Fr. Jason Leo. The work of an interim during this transition period is not just to “hold the fort” while the new guy waits in the wings. On the contrary, the goal during this time is to get the church “camera ready” so that the congregation can be its best-but-honest self during the search process. The congregation can then welcome the new rector without major issues or conflicts that might plague his or her ministry and keep him/her from being an effective pastor and priest. Many churches have gone through a transition period having to deal, painfully, with financial crisis, bitter conflict, dysfunctional dynamics, a mean-spirited environment, a total abdication of volunteers, and more. Calvary is fortunate to have a healthy and vibrant congregation, thanks both to its members and to its past rector, Fr. Jason Leo.

The first six months at Calvary, until June, was, in a way, a time of stagnation, when you were in a holding pattern until an interim priest was appointed. But it was also a productive time in that you found out what got lost with the departure of the rector. You found out about locking the church doors at night, cleaning the pantry, making sure that all bases are covered in all events, planning liturgy, and all of the other myriad things that Fr. Jason did in his inimitable and dynamic way that you now needed to take over.

After that, the interim time is being used to prepare the church well and thoroughly for the rector who will, God willing, guide you through the next several years. Healthy or not, some changes will need to be made. And as the saying goes, Episcopalians hate change! (“We’ve always done it that way!”) The idea is to make the church adaptable, and the interim time—a period of change and transition—is the right time to do this. At this point, we have made some minor changes in communications, in liturgy, and in staff.

The Transition Process. A profile committee has been formed and was commissioned on January 8. It has already begun its exhaustive work, meeting regularly and assigning tasks for the creation of the parish profile.

 A comprehensive survey, titled “Parish Search Inventory,” is now available. The survey, when all responses are compiled and analyzed, will help the committee to discern the pulse of this particular Body of Christ—your demographics, your likes and dislikes about various parts of church, your priorities, your opinions on worship style, pastoral care, community service, social justice, and faith formation.

In addition, a series of six Profile Gatherings will introduce you to different ways of looking at “church” and church size, leadership styles, and church identity. As interactive gatherings, they will also allow members to talk about the churches past, its core values, and its mission. In addition, the gatherings will offer helpful information about how the church can touch different generations, and how to find out whether the church is a healthy congregation.

During Lent, weekly evening meetings, in a series on “Images of Christ: How we view Jesus and why it matters,” will explore how the Church sees Jesus (High Priest, personal savior, Messiah, etc.) and how these images shape our spiritual life and the identity of the church. From that starting point, we will then look more deeply into the question of Calvary’s Christological identity, with the main questions, “Who are we at Calvary, and where do we want to go? What image of Jesus best fits us at Calvary?”

When the profile is completed, it will summarize all of these responses in an accurate and complete picture of Calvary. The profile is the document that will be used by potential candidates to discern whether or not they might be a good “fit” for the church.

Many of you would prefer to move quickly to calling a new rector. But as I have mentioned, if you have a two-week search, you will end up with a two-week rector. All of the processes in this interim period are meant to be deliberate and timely, and the various steps are happening right on schedule.

The Role and Perspective of the Interim Rector. During this period, my role is also to look at the congregation “from the outside” and point out your strengths and challenges (what we in the church call “growing edges.”)

You have many strengths as a congregation, but here are the most important. Calvary’s worship is vibrant, with three worship services displaying three wildly different worship styles to appeal to diverse needs. There is a strong volunteer base and a great community spirit that pervades the church. You are a fun, friendly, welcoming church with a lay ministry that is often invisible, unrecognized and even unaware of its own existence, potential, and accomplishments. And you care deeply for one another.

Calvary does have challenges to face in the coming years. I believe there may be succession issues in the future, when you may need to plan for a decline in volunteers or at least leaders. For example, the very important Altar Guild is in great need of new volunteers. It has been noted by some of you that Calvary has insufficient staff for a church of this size. The shortage of staff stretches your human resources, stretches the capacity of the persons who do work here, and also increases the need for volunteers at a time in society when it is harder for people to volunteer. Both of these issues—the need for successors in lay ministry and the need for a larger staff—means that stewardship will be an issue that needs to be addressed, as it will require funding to hire more staff to do what volunteers no longer can handle.

Calvary’s Future and the Gift of Its People. You are just beginning the hard work of your transition and you are on the way to the Promised Land. Your journey, however, will be much less than the forty years that the Israelites endured! But as with them in the wilderness, with you there have been, and still will be, times of uncertainty and stress while you deal with your loss of Fr. Jason and then work so hard to prepare for the next person to lead you into that Promised Land. The coming year will be an exciting time for you, and I am honored to be able to lead you to the edge of that Promised Land and then, like Moses, make room for your new leader to begin your new chapter in the history of Calvary Episcopal Church.

I am thankful for the ever-resilient and capable staff of Calvary: Howard Helvey, Sally Engelbert, Edy Dreith, and Judy Gardner, who ensure the smooth running of the church administration, the success of community events, and the excellence of the music program. I am grateful to the clergy who have remained here to be of liturgical help: the Revs. Chuck Washam, Wilson Willard, John Morrison, and Gary Givler. I also thank all of you who continue to give your support to Calvary during this uncertain and critical time, and who have offered their time and skills and love of the church during this past year.

In particular, my gratitude extends to the senior and junior wardens, Daren Grayton and Duane Lewis, and to all of the Vestry who share with me in this partnership of ministry. And to all of the lay ministers who keep the church running smoothly, thank you and God bless you all. May this coming year be an exciting and fruitful time.

Grace and peace,

The Rev. Joanna Leiserson
Interim Rector

Treasurer’s Report: Mr. Bob Smith

The financial condition of Calvary is good.  Last year finished with excess cash amounting to $48,000.  While pledge income and contributions were down compared to 2015, expenses were significantly less due primarily to lower personnel, rectory, and maintenance costs.  Calvary’s investments grew by just over 5%, gaining $53,000 after our monthly withdrawals. 

 The pledges for 2017 are greater than for 2016 and we are budgeting a 4.5% increase in pledges and contributions.  We have increased personnel costs to support growing church programs and the search process.  Also Maintenance costs are budgeted to increase to previous levels with the expectation of many improvements.  The budget has a $7,000 deficit is explained by onetime Search Expenses.  The budget supports a healthy church with well supported ministries. 

 The excess cash from 2016 will be used to support the church in 2017 and possibly increase the financial reserve in our invested funds.

 Bob Smith

Report from the Senior Warden: Mr. Daren Grayton



In 2016, Calvary experienced a significant change.  Calvary adjusted to the change in the most positive ways.  We embraced it as an opportunity to grow.  This growth has manifested itself by Calvary showing its strength, perseverance, dedication and pluck; strength in family - centered activities, its perseverance in times of uncertainty, its dedication to outreach and its pluck in moving forward in the search for a new and dynamic pastor. 


Examples of growth:

Our pledged income has increased in this time of change.

Sunday attendance is steady and ticking ever so upward.

We also have new members are among us too. 

All positives moving forward.

Growth is our theme for 2017.

Joanna Leiserson was hired as our Interim Rector to shepherd through this phase in our growth.  She is herding us towards a glorious new birth in the form of a new pastor.  Thank You Joanna!

Our Vestry has stepped up too and has taken on more responsibility than they ever set out to do.  I personally thank each and every one of them for their service, dedication and flexibility.  Mr. Paul McCauley, Mr. Matthew Sauer, Mr. David Berger, Mr. David Meyer, Mrs. Nan Hauck, Mrs. Maris Bernard-MacLachlan,

Mrs. Abby Moran,  Mr. Nick Snow, Mr. David Dreith, Mrs. Marlie Montgomery, Mr. Robert Smith 

 A special Thank You to Jr. Warden Dr. Duane Lewis for his work-ethic and ability to make everyone feel right at home and included in all that makes up Calvary.

Last I would like to thank those who have said, “Yes!” to joining the Profile Committee.  This group of individuals have begun the tireless task of helping us learn and define who we are as a church. Helene Ault, Stephen Clarson, Sharon Grayton, Eric Landon, Chair, Maggie Davis, Richard Sininger, Bob Hauck, Dave Meyer, Florine Postell, with Maris Bernard-MacLachlan and Duane Lewis and Vestry liaisons

So 2016 was an opportunity to shrink and fade away but Calvary said, “No!” and decided to embrace the opportunity to move forward together and Grow.

 Growth is our theme for 2017!

 Respectfully Yours,

Daren A. Grayton

Calvary Sr. Warden

Daren Grayton, Senior Warden

Reports from ministries of Calvary Episcopal Church

  • ·            Outreach
  • ·            Adult Spirituality and Formation
  • ·            Young Adults
  • ·            Altar Guild
  • ·            Choir and Music
  • ·            Children and Family Ministries
  • ·            Communications and Church Office
  • ·            Property (Building and grounds)
  • ·            Worship


Calvary Outreach Ministries for 2016

Interfaith Hospitality Network                                        $7,019

El Hogar                                                                        10,400

Tender Mercies                                                                    626

Habitat for Humanity                                                       1,500

CAIN (Churches Active in Northside)                                 3,340

Lighthouse Youth Crisis Center                                          1,654

Boy Scout Troop 161                                                            409

Sunrock Farm                                                                       250

Heifer Project                                                                     1,035

Total                                                                               $26,233

In 2016 Calvary served as host for five evenings, including the dinners.  Although I do not have records for each occasion, we usually have a total of 10 volunteers contributing.  This includes preparation of dinner items (4), serving and cleaning up (2), evening hosts (~3), and one overnight host.  We will be doing five evenings again for 2017.  

The Greenwald’s lead the Tender Mercies ministry which serves dinner and dessert the last Friday of each month. This is usually a team of 4-8 volunteers.  I do not have figures on how many volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or other programs we have, but IHN and TM are the main volunteering efforts we have.  When you add up the several programs in terms of volunteers participating each time, it will be quite a good number, including of course, many repeats!

Respectfully submitted,

Dave Meyer


Adult Spirituality and Formation

Shortly after my arrival in June, beginning in the fall, I offered a class called Inside the Episcopal Mind. This three-week class had two purposes:

 An introductory or newcomer’s class that provided an audio-visual exploration into the beliefs, ethos, and spirit of the Episcopal Church; and  

An introduction to Calvary’s transition period, by reviewing the basic foundation of the Episcopal Church and the parameters of our church life—what is required and prohibited in worship, what is traditional, what is optional, and what changes the next rector (or any rector or church) may or may not make to the church liturgy and theology and still have the church be considered an Episcopal Church.

In addition, two other classes for adults were offered 

A three-week session on spirituality and spiritual direction, taught by Ms. Kitty Clark, who is a spiritual director and theologian;

A four-week-plus series by Dr. Robb Feldhaus on “Prophets and Heretics (and Mystics Too),” which explored in open but facilitated discussions the deepest spiritual questions that we hold. The class provided a safe environment for lively but open-minded discussions about the nature of existence, faith, and God.

All of the classes have been well received, with an average attendance of 25-35 persons. It is hoped that in 2017, more classes will be held, to enrich the spirituality of members and to pique the interest of newcomers and seekers. Various speakers may be invited to offer presentations, and perhaps a Christian Formation “ideas” group will be created to oversee and coordinate such events, for the benefit of the church.


Young adults

Annual Report for Coffeehouse/ Young Adult Group

 Coffeehouse 2016

January- John Campbell, Children's Home

February- Friends and Favors, CAIN

March- YPCC, Habitat for Humanity

April- Choir Cabaret, Choral Scholars

September- Robb & Edy, Church Picnic

November- Acouschicks, Lighthouse Youth

Exact amount of money was not cataloged. (Estimated over $3000)

All Coffeehouses were well attended, around 40 people each night.

Two new music guests performed (YPCC and Acouschicks)


Accurate record of people attended and money received

Increase attendance and donations

Invite more outside musicians (with possible payment)

Run through the summer (needs approval)

Become a popular monthly music destination


Nov- Jane Gerdsen

Dec -Stacy Sands

The brunches had low attendance, possibly due to conflicts after the service. We will not continue them.

 YAG members sang in the choir, gave readings during the worship services, served on committees, helped with children's activities, and maintained their presence in the parish.

 The ongoing efforts to keep young adults coming to Calvary will not diminish, but the structure of the Young Adult Group will change in 2017.

 Respectfully submitted,

 Edy Dreith

Altar guild

Last year we had 6 members for most of the year; Caroline Bieser, Shirley Adams, Betsy DeMatteo, Estrelita Dixon-Powell, Susan Givler and Janet Keller. Stephen Clarson joined at the end of the year.

Throughout the year we set up and cleaned up for approximately 156 regular Sunday services. We also set up and cleaned up several weddings and funerals. Our members also laundered and pressed the liturgical linens.

As Director of Altar Guild, I was responsible for ordering all supplies such as wine, communion host, 6 day devotional candles and new linens as needed. I was also responsible for ordering flowers for special occasions such as Easter and Christmas.

Last year we did have more weddings than usual. This was problematic because of a shortage of members. Another problem was that since we had had so few weddings over my tenure as Director, I didn’t have very much experience with weddings. Thankfully Shirley Adams had more experience with weddings from when she was on our Altar Guild a few years ago.

Altar Guild could definitely use a few more members so that we would only have to serve about once a month. It would also help to have more members if we’re going to continue to have a greater number of weddings going forward.

Respectfully Submitted by Caroline Bieser, Chair

choir and music

General Music Program and Choir

Primary focus and energy, musically, was directed toward the Sunday-morning liturgical experiences.  Our location, building, history, acoustics and instruments (organ and pianos) are a natural match for extra events (concerts, special programs/services, etc.), and care was taken to thoughtfully schedule these during the season.

The average attendance in 2016 of the Calvary Choir was approximately 18-20 singers (24 total active members currently appear on the roster).  In addition to our many skilled volunteers, the Choral Scholar program remained strong in 2016 (but decreased to only four as of December).  Many of our former Choral Scholars are found now all over the world performing on opera and concert stages, pursuing advanced degrees, singing in professional choirs (many in churches), and teaching in private studios, secondary schools and universities.  We have been happy to hear back from several of the scholars periodically, and they all relate with great fondness their time spent at Calvary Church.

In the fall of 2016, we engaged Sungyun Kim as Organ Scholar for the 2015-2016 season.  In addition to assisting at the organ, Sungyun also sings regularly with the choir.  The organ scholar position at Calvary is in conjunction with the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music as a practicum, as he's receiving academic credit toward his Master of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance.

Edy Dreith, in her 6th season as Calvary’s Young Adult Coordinator (a position soon to likely be expanded/redefined), continued to offer organizational help, moral support, humor, and snacks.  Edy has continued to do a marvelous job with the planning of the Coffee House programs (see below).

Robb Feldhaus, a regular chorister, began in late 2016 providing reflective, improvised piano music during the first part of communion distribution each week during the 10:30 AM service.

The Anglican chant (choir)/Antiphon (congregation) method remained our primary method of psalm-singing employed during the 10:30 AM services.  The collection of antiphons for psalms and canticles appointed for all Sundays and Holy Days within the 3-year Revised Common Lectionary was completed in early February, 2015.  This resource, The Clifton Antiphons, was available for a time as an electronic download (as a large PDF) from Howard's personal website; it is now pending external publication with one of my publishers. 

In the summer months, without the choir, we continued in the 10:30 AM service singing the psalms each week in a simple responsorial method between cantor and congregation (sung directly from the BCP or service bulletin, primarily employing monotone, with an altered pitch in the final stress of each half verse).

Congregational hymn-singing naturally remains a priority, too, with an effort toward gradually building a larger compass of relevant hymnody.

The Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble (a federally-registered 501[c] 3 not-for-profit professional chamber choir co-founded and conducted by Howard Helvey) continued its quasi-residency, using Calvary as their primary rehearsal space when in its chamber-choir formation, and being a part of six concerts at Calvary through the year.  In the spring, CFE collaborated with internationally-lauded organist Dr. Raymond Nagem (Associate Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City) and Cantorum (a professional chamber choir from Orem, Utah; Steve Durtchi, conductor); the summer saw the 3rd annual Gaslight Chamber Music Series (3 consecutive evenings); in the fall, CFE collaborated with organist, Dr. Yun Kim in a performance of the Duruflé Requiem under the guest direction of Dr. George Mabry (from Nashville, Tennessee).  We are grateful for the additional sponsorship by Mr. Sanford Martin for making many of these programs possible.

On September 10, Calvary's nave and chancel became a recording studio as members of the Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble recorded several new and best-selling choral anthems released by the historic publisher H.W. Gray (part of the Jubilate Music Group based in Nashville), for which Howard Helvey began serving as Editor in the late winter of 2016.  These recordings have been released world-wide, and are available to hear on the publisher's website.  Personnel involved included: Brad Caldwell, Artistic Director; Howard Helvey, Conductor; Yun Kim, Organ; Mark Cabaniss, Producer; Thomas Haines, Engineer.

The carillon continues to ring out Calvary's presence and identity to Clifton!

The electric motor of the Calvary organ was assessed by a specialist in the early spring, and is working consistently well now following two repairs by Matlock Electric (with advisement from Quimby Pipe Organs in Missouri).  In likely the somewhat near future, the replacement of the motor will need to be investigated; the current one is the original motor from 1927.

Many thanks go to the countless volunteers who help Calvary's music program live and breathe: the choir members, ushers, lectors, music leaders during the 9:30 AM Family Service, committee members, and chairs. 
Liturgy and Music Highlights in 2016

The Capital University Chordsmen (from Columbus, Ohio)

Craig Courtney, director

Guest choir during 10:30 morning liturgy.

Sunday, January 31, 2016, 10:30 AM

Stephen Tharp Organ Masterclass

Sponsored by the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and coordinated by Dr. Michael Unger, several organ-performance graduate students participated in this masterclass, which was open to the public.

Monday, February 1, 2016

If Music Be the Food of Love
A fundraiser (scholarship) program for and presented by members of the Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble.
Friday, February 12, 2016, 8:00 PM

A Meditation for Palm Sunday

A narrative of scripture, meditation, prayer and music creatively designed by Charles Parsons.

Sunday, March 29, 2015, 10:30 AM

Maundy Thursday Liturgy (foot washing)

with music provided by Edy Dreith, Sharon Grayton, and Howard Helvey. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016, 7:00 PM

Good Friday Liturgy with
   Satish Casie Chetty, violin and viola
   Susan Petersen, cello
   Howard Helvey, organ and piano
Prayers, scripture readings, and poignantly beautiful music (in various solo and combinations of violin, viola, cello, organ, and piano) by Pergolesi, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Reger, and Rota.
Friday, March 25, 2016, 7:00 PM

The Sandy Sanborn Martin Memorial Organ Concert

MOUNTAINS MEET THE MIDWEST: a choral collaboration
Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble
     Brad Caldwell, Artistic Director
     Howard Helvey, Conductor
Cantorum Chamber Choir (One of Utah's Premier Chamber Vocal Ensemble)
     Steve Durtschi, Artistic Director
Raymond Nagem, Guest Organist, Associate Organist
     The Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York City)
These two professional chamber choirs celebrated their inaugural collaboration with a program of music highlighting a broad stylistic palette, including a world premiere work composed by Howard Helvey, "Lost in Wonder, Love and Praise."
Two performances:
Saturday, April 9, 2016, 7:30 PM (Christ Church Cathedral, downtown Cincinnati)
Sunday, April 10, 2016, 7:00 PM (Calvary Episcopal Church)

Ascension Day Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral

Combined Cathedral and Calvary Choirs singing masterworks by Charles V. Stanford and Gerald Finzi.

Thursday, May 5, 2016, 7 PM
Gaslight Chamber Music Series
featuring members and guests of the Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble

Thursday through Saturday, July 21-23, 2016

Three consecutive evenings at 7:30 PM

The Mary Slade Rust Martin and Louis Henry Martin Memorial Program

and in memory of Donald C. Wellington

The Duruflé Requiem and other French Masterworks
   Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble 
   Brad Caldwell, Artistic Director and Pianist
   Howard Helvey, Conductor
   George Mabry, Guest Conductor
   Yun Kim, Guest Organist
Sunday, October 23, 2016, 7:00 PM

The 38th Annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Sunday, December 11, 2016, 10:30 AM


Calvary Coffee House Evenings

Convening in Calvary's Hannaford Hall on average once per month September through May, these relaxed, informal evenings feature a variety of local musicians performing across a wide variety of styles and genres. Light refreshments are served, and there is no admission charge; each evening, however, highlights a specific charity, so contributions are encouraged and gratefully accepted.

See report from Edy Dreith for dates and performance details.

(Copies of all programs, bulletins and promotional materials for the above are archived in the music office.)

Since the summer of 2010, special Liturgy and Music events were promoted primarily by Calvary's Constant Contact email system (reaching nearly 700 households) and on the Liturgy and Music Series page on Calvary's website.

Music events and goals for 2017

  • "If Music Be the Food of Love" evening, February 10 (CFE)
  • improve lighting for the choir in the chancel
  • explore possibility of engaging a Children's Choir Director
  • Choral Scholars to be featured for Good Friday evening
  • spring and fall choral/organ recitals (with guest singers likely from the Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble)
  • summer chamber music series with members of the Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble
  • potentially increase the number of participating Choral Scholars (even mid-season)
  • increased featuring of students liturgically
  • continued, regular liturgical use of piano during 10:30 AM service
  • continued evaluation of especially the Steinway A (Hannaford Hall) piano for rebuilding/repair
  • continue the Organ Scholar position 2017-2018
  • continue to maintain healthy relationships—partly through representative choristers—with area universities and colleges, especially CCM
  • improve weekly choir attendance and attendance consistency


Respectfully submitted,
Howard Helvey

Children and Family Ministries

 I have recently taken the position of Director of Children and Family Ministries in June of 2016, following the end of the 2015-2016 program year. The summer program included the already planned Stories in the Garden and Vacation Bible School.  I was also able to use the time to attend a Godly Play Training and familiarize myself with the curriculum and my resources available.  Starting in September, we had three classrooms of weekly Sunday School classes for children ages 3-12.  We have also offered three family events including Movie Night, Families Giving Thanks dinner, and Kids Only Gift Making, in addition to the advent wreath making available to the congregation.

 We have enjoyed a healthy attendance for both our Sunday School Program and our Family Events.  Sunday School attendance averages just over 14 children each week, with our highest attended week at 20 children.  We have switched two classrooms around in order to accommodate our large and growing 3-6 year class whose attendance makes up half the total and was at its highest at 12 children.  We have 25 total children registered.

 Vacation Bible School, this year led by Janet Keller, was attended by approximately 22 children.  Some of these are our regular Sunday attendees, however 14 of these children are not enrolled in Sunday School and many of them are from the Clifton neighborhood, making this a great platform for fellowship outside of our typical Sunday parish gatherings.

 Our Family Events were also well attended.  Over our three scheduled events, we had 69 total attendees with our highest attendance of 30 people at our Movie Night in mid-October.  Our Families Giving Thanks evening was able to gather a full box of canned goods to donate to CAIN ministries.  There has been a good amount of enthusiasm around these events.

 We have also had a great group of volunteers.  During the summer months we had 11 people read for our Stories in the Garden Program and 21 volunteers for Vacation Bible School. We had 6 dedicated Sunday School teachers across the three classrooms and 3 additional subs to fill in when needed.  We had 11 doorpersons, the second adult in each classroom, who each came in about once a month to help.  Our family events have included 9 volunteers.  Some of these people have helped in many ways, and so our total number of individuals volunteering in these programs is 49 people.

 Some of the things I am happy to have accomplished in the past six months are increasing the classroom and resources organization, updating our curriculum format, providing continuity of teachers within each classroom, and creating community focused events.

 The classroom shelves have been labeled to help children and room volunteers locate and replace stories easily, and room-specific binders of every story are available in each room.  Spreadsheets are available to the doorpersons to help keep track of which children have heard each story. Classroom resources have been consolidated to free up space in the additional room for use as a workspace.  These changes help the volunteers with classroom management.

 We have purchased an electronic copy of the Godly Play curriculum in order to facilitate ease of use and eliminate the need for so many paper copies of lessons.  The Children’s Worship Bulletin subscription has also been transferred to an electronic instead of paper version, which allows children access to more activities online.  The lesson summary that goes home to the parents is now created weekly by me instead of being purchased from Godly Play. These thing help the curriculum run smoothly.

 One thing that is helpful in dealing with especially young children is continuity.  Thanks to some very dedicated volunteers, we have been able to offer the children in each classroom the opportunity to have only two storytellers switching weeks as their schedules permit.  The children get to know the teachers quite well this way as opposed to having many storytellers that cycle through the room.  This also allows the teachers to know the classroom and the children well enough to focus on the lesson for the day and not so much on general classroom management.

 The family events have been well received.  We have generally had a meal and an activity for these events. There is a good sense of community building and energy around these gatherings, and it is nice to be able to provide a setting for entire families to come together outside of the Sunday classroom. They have also provided an opportunity for adults who may not have a regular role in Children’s ministry to get involved in the program. These have been a wonderful fellowship time and they will be continued in varying forms in the 2017.

 Some things I would like to accomplish in the next year are to find an additional storyteller to fill a recently vacated place in a classroom, to provide a bit more guidance for the Stories in the Garden program, and to create some picture story guides for use by the children in the classrooms. 

 Our intern had been one of the main teachers in the 6-9 year old classroom, and I am still looking for an interested person to take over that role.  I currently have wonderful subs to fill the needed weeks, but for the previously mentioned teacher continuity, it would be nice to have another storyteller dedicated to that room.

 The Stories in the Garden program will have more resources available to the readers if they so desire.  There have been in the past stories available as well as art supplies for children to use after they listen to the story. There will be made available stories coordinated with a small project or craft in order to provide a little more guidance and structure to readers who prefer that option.

 In the classrooms, I would like to be able to provide a picture guide card for each story.  This will allow children who would like to know the steps of the story to tell it to themselves.  Many children are happy telling the parts they remember and not worrying about the parts they don’t.  For those who would like to get the story closer to the way they have heard it before, I would like to provide this option.

Respectfully submitted,
Sally Engelbert

Communication and Church Office

Calvary Episcopal Church has updated it’s website during 2016.  We also issue a weekly Calvary Chimes newsletter with announcements, critical updates, and thoughtful insights from the Interim, Music and Sunday school news and prayer.  If you are not currently receiving please contact the church office so we can add your email.

The Church Office is led by Judy Gardner but wholly assisted by Richard Sininger, who volunteers two mornings a week to proof and fold the bulletins. Also Lynn Lockwood and Phyllis Reid who staff the office on Wednesday and Friday, doing folding, stuffing, phone answering and generally anything that needs to be done.  These three volunteers are a valuable and important part of providing information to church members.

In 2017 the goal is to form a Communications Committee to gather and submit timely happenings at Calvary. As a church there are so many wonderful activities and social happenings.  Let’s not hide our light under a bushel.  See Joanna about joining the Communication Team.

Respectfully submitted,
Judy Gardner, Parish Administrator


Many repairs and improvements have been made to the church building and grounds in 2016. Here is just a sampling of the work that was done:

 Grounds Maintenance

Daryl Snodgrass provides mowing and trimming for the Church and the Rectory.

Madison provides snow removal and salting for driveways and walkways.

Randy McKnight repainted the main entry doors a bright welcoming red.

A new recycle dumpster has been added to the trash dumpster from Republic.  These are shared with Apple Tree Daycare.  Apple Tree also pays for half of the cost.

Building Maintenance, Repairs and Improvements  

Duncan Cleaning Service provides cleaning services to the Church and Apple Tree multiple times during the week.

New signage and bulletin boards were placed throughout the building to assist newcomers and inform. Current members.

A maintenance team, John Malone and Chris Gardner, were hired as contractors to make repairs and oversee outside contractors. They will usually work one day per week with additional hours as needed.

The new maintenance team repaired many small and some large issues; A few of the major issues were addressed were: plumbing & toilets in the church and Apple Tree; replacing a cabinet and counter top in Apple Tree and drain; Repaired concrete and metal threshold for Little Apple door; repaired hand rails; fixed church kitchen handwashing sink; repaired front door of church; Repaired and replaced light fixtures in Sunday School room.

Niesan Plumbing and Electric replaced several copper pipes to the boiler and radiators throughout the building.  They also serviced the Rectory boilers and installed a new timed thermostat,

The Church office was updated with new furniture, refinished flooring and new draperies.

The temporary Rector’s office was updated, furnished and draperies installed.

The Youth room was updated; carpet removed, floors refinished; bookcase removed.

The Burton Room was updated with light weight (hold a weight of up to 1,

Proposed Building Maintenance, Repairs and Improvements 

LED lights will be installed to the current outside light fixtures.

Repair all windowsills damaged from age and air conditioner usage.

Repair handicap ramp into church.

Bids are out for additional electrical outlet for the Church Office to accommodate window air conditioner.

Bids will be acquired for additional lighting for the parking lot.

Bids will be acquired for keyless entry into the church building.

Bids are out for additional lighting in the Chancel for the choir.

Bids will be acquired for repairs to the church roof (several small leaks have been identified.)

Structural engineering assessment of the church is being done to identify the source of cement gaps in the front steps and wall leaks in the building.

Structural engineering assessment of the outside wall of the Rectory garage, which is leaking will be done as well as repair of the wall and ceiling.

 Apple Tree is our major tenant and they are delighted with the new maintenance team.  Other outside groups using our building are the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, Forget Me Not Dancers, Hamilton County Election Board, and Cincinnati Fusion.  In 2017 Dan Ames will conduct a tour of the church’s stained glass to a Cincinnati Museum Center group.

 Respectfully submitted, 

Judy Gardner, Parish Administrator


The year 2016 began by the absence of Calvary’s rector of 13 years, the Rev. Jason Leo.  By January, Calvary was blessed with several months of liturgical leadership from assisting clergy, the Revs. Wilson Willard, John Morrison, Chuck Washam, and the Rev. Deacon Gary Givler, along with a few Sundays with supply priests. When I arrived in June, I think that the congregation had become adaptable to liturgical change and chance.

So this has been a year of changes in worship, as each priest brings his or her own style and theology to the worship practices of the church.  Since I have been here, the victims of these many small and big changes—the Altar Guild, choir, ministers of the altar, and congregation—have been very gracious in accepting new practices.

My own preference is to allow the tradition of the parish to continue, when there is a transition time, so that there is at least some continuity in worship. However, some changes were made to Sunday services, most of which are invisible to the congregation. The worship bulletins for the 8:00am and 10:30am services received facelifts. They now have a cover page with a picture (different for each service) that reflects the readings of that Sunday. And the bulletins now include the text of the readings. A boxed section invites people to communion with instructions for newcomers. In fact, the purpose of these changes was to make the service more accessible to newcomers and guests

The altar vestments—the coverings for the chalice and paten—are being used again to decorate the altar and give the sacramental vessels the dignity and beauty worthy of their importance. Now the display acts as a spotlight and a foretaste of the heavenly banquet that we will taste at the Eucharist.  You might also notice, if you look carefully, that we now use a lavabo, with the assisting priest ceremonially washing the hands of the celebrant, and the two make a formal bow, to begin the Holy Communion.

The 800am Eucharist is sparsely attended, as it is at every Episcopal Church, and it always will be. However, it is good to retain it for those people who prefer an early service, or a service without music, or a more meditative worship environment. At this service, we invite the whole congregation to gather around the altar at the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, reflecting the theology that all are “ministers of the altar” and the celebrating priest is only a spotlight. When the bread and wine are distributed, they are passed one to another, ending with the celebrant. So we all share in the ministry of Eucharist. Often, when Bishop Nedi Rivera is in attendance, she offers the blessing at the end of the service—a special treat for all of us.

Another change was made to the prayer list that is read on Sundays. The office keeps track of who is on the prayer list, and for how long.  The prayer list process was updated and prayer request cards created. Now, to add someone to the prayer list, one may fill out the prayer request, which is found at the entrance to the church and in Hannaford Hall, and put the card in the offering plate or leave it in the office. The prayer request card allows one to specify whether the prayer is for short-term, long-term, homebound, or other, and also asks for the name of the requestor. So the Sunday Prayers are always current.

The 9:30am family service has had some subtle changes to bring the order of service more in line with Prayer Book requirements. The Eucharistic Prayer was revised, and a post-communion prayer said by everyone was added. Sally Engelbert and Hannah Teetor led the music, and the children’s message was often given by Deacon Gary Givler. Judy Sauer is instrumental in finding ways for the children and adults to participate actively in the service. Lately, new members Scotty McEvoy (percussion) and his fiancé Sarah (violin) have joined the musical leadership after Hannah departed. I have given up on making the service begin exactly on time, at 9:30am as is published, by telling myself that the assignment of the various parts of the service (ringing the gong, reading, lighting the candle, etc.) is “an integral part of the service itself.”

Some highlights since my arrival in June include the special services that are held to celebrate the great holy days of the Church, including (at least for animal lovers) the Pet Blessing in October, which was held outside next to Homeless Jesus, and the moving All Saints’ Day service in November. At that service, we name those who have died in the past year. And then there were the Christmas Eve services.  I was impressed by the dedication and love and care shown by those who decorated the sanctuary and prepared the church for the special celebration of the birth of our Lord. The services and the receptions following were grand, and very well attended, and reflected the spirit of hospitality and joy that is such a part of the fabric of Calvary.

There are many people who contribute to the excellence of the worship service. To the dismay of many musically-tasteful people, I often compare the preparation for Sunday services to Ravel’s “Bolero.” In that piece, the percussion begins softly, and one instrument builds upon another until, at the end, the entire orchestra blazes with the dance of bolero. So too with the church. Sunday worship begins on Monday. The church is cleaned. The Altar Guild cleans and prepares the elements of the altar. The musicians practice their pieces for the prelude, postlude, offertory music, and communion music. The choir rehearses until their voices blend perfectly. The readers and chalice bearers prepare for their participation. The clergy prepare their sermons. The 9:30am PowerPoint is created. The flowers are delivered. The coffee hour hosts prepare hospitality and refreshments. On Sunday morning, the church is unlocked, the lights go on, the building is heated or cooled, the altar is prepared, the people gather in their respective places, and the time of praise and worship to God begins. A holy time.

Special thanks are in order, for creating that holy space for that holy time. First, many thanks to Mr. Dan Ames, who as our “Sunday sexton” makes sure that the church is ready for us on Sundays. For his dedication, he was commissioned as Calvary’s Sunday Sexton last fall. A ton of gratitude also goes to Mr. Dick Sininger, who so faithfully proofreads the bulletins every week and also prepares the schedule of readers, intercessors, and chalice bearers.  Kudos to Sally Engelbert, who with our intern Hannah Teetor (who left on December 31) pulled together a welcoming and warm 9:30am family service, and to Deacon Gary Givler for his charming stories that he tells to the children, to give them a godly message that they can understand. Thanks to the invisible work done by the office staff to prepare the bulletins: Judy Gardner, the parish administrator, and volunteers Dick Sininger, Phyllis Reid, and Lynn Lockwood. And to Wesley Duncan and Terrell Lackey, who provide all-around assistance, support, and maintenance not only of the building but also of the staff with their awesome friendliness, to prepare us for Sundays. Thank you to the Altar Guild, and especially to its chair, Caroline Bieser, for their hard work making the altar beautiful. And finally, thanks to the awesomely talented musicians and choir, who give their all to bring us the gift of music voice and to lead us in singing some of those really difficult hymns that no one would be able to sing were it not for their musical leadership. Special, special thanks to Howard Helvey, organist and choirmaster, and to our organ scholar Sungyun Kim, for their outstanding, astounding, luminous music. Thanks to Stephen Clarson, the head usher, who makes sure that the service runs smoothly for the congregation. Thanks to the acolytes, who are willing to get up early on Sunday morning to serve in the church.  And of course, many thanks to the clergy who share the liturgical leadership with me: Gary, John, Chuck, and Wilson, and at special times, Bishop Nedi Rivera and the Rev. Bob Moore.

Have I left anyone out? Of course! To all the congregation, and especially to all who participate in the church’s worship and all who grace us with their presence. God bless you all.



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