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TABLE OF CONTENTS Governing Board .....................................................................................................1 Senior Minister ........................................................................................................3 Senior Minister’s 2013 Annual Meeting Report ........................................................5 Administration and Finance .....................................................................................9 Church Attendance ...............................................................................................11 Finance .................................................................................................................12 Adult Education.....................................................................................................19 Adult Learning Council ..........................................................................................21 Adult Religious Life and Learning and Spiritual Growth ..........................................23 Camp Akita ...........................................................................................................28 Center for Spiritual Search .....................................................................................31 Capital Projects Committee ...................................................................................33 Early Childhood Ministry .......................................................................................34 Facilities Ministry ...................................................................................................37 First Community Foundation .................................................................................39 History and Church Archives ..................................................................................42 Children and Youth Ministry ..................................................................................43 Library ..................................................................................................................46 Marketing and Communications ...........................................................................47 Member and Visitor Services ..................................................................................49 Missions ................................................................................................................52 Heart to Heart .......................................................................................................54 Older Adult Ministry ..............................................................................................55 Pastoral Care Ministry............................................................................................56 Spiritual Searcher ..................................................................................................58 Tri-Village Trading Post ..........................................................................................60 Whitechapel Ringers ..............................................................................................61 Women’s Guild......................................................................................................62 Worship and Arts Ministry .....................................................................................63 Worship Technologies ...........................................................................................65 Youth Choirs .........................................................................................................67 2013 Committees .................................................................................................68 2013 Councils .......................................................................................................69 2013 Boards ..........................................................................................................72 Staff ......................................................................................................................74


By Jason V. Barger, 2013 Governing Board Chair

HIGHLIGHTS Someone recently asked me, “What do I like most about First Community Church?” Many images immediately raced through my mind. I saw myself sitting on Bald Eagle as a kid at Camp Akita. I saw the faces of adult leaders who positively impacted my life in Sunday School. I saw myself sitting in worship and listening to amazing sermons and sacred music. I saw myself attending joyous baptisms and weddings, as well as being with others in our community during challenging services of memory. I saw countless images of people we’ve served on the streets of Columbus, in hospitals, in the dirt in Mexico, or in the Dominican Republic. I saw the faces of friends and the faces of the dedicated staff of the Church. But, none of those images answer the question in its entirety. The real answer is, “All of it.” What I like most about First Community Church is the mission and message of a loving, compassionate God who calls all of us into abundant life. The truth is that all of the experiences I have been lucky to encounter with this Church have impacted how I see the world. It all has impacted my faith and I am grateful for it. 2013 was another year of profound ministry at First Community Church. With the unveiling of Our 20/20 Vision by Dr. Wing at last year’s Annual Meeting, the Governing Board has been working diligently to help guide and support the organizational goals. It has been a year of discernment, communication, and planning. I have reminded the Board along our journey that we need to have a Bias Toward Action. Not a bias toward busyness, but a bias toward purposeful action. Whereas it is impossible to capture every important conversation or effort made this year, these four words represent some of the progress areas that received our attention in 2013.

ENGAGEMENT So many of the solutions to our questions for the future begin with engaging the people within our faith community. At every age and stage of life, we have the opportunity to ReMember: renew and recommit to our memberships. We want to continue to strengthen and deepen authentic relationships and experiences within our journey of faith. Bias Toward Action: Cindy Harsany, Director of Finance and Operations, is charged with designing and implementing a congregational engagement plan in collaboration with our fine Program Staff. Roll out scheduled for 2014.


GOVERNING BOARD COMMUNICATION The story of a loving God and the ministry of First Community Church is one that needs to be spread throughout our world. Internally and externally, we need to be proactive about communicating what’s happening, what’s needed, what’s available, and most importantly, why all of this is taking place. The ministry and operations of this church needs to continue to be transparent and compelling. We have never been more capable of telling our story within these walls, in the community, and outside our walls through the media pathways available to us in the 21st Century. Bias Toward Action: Michael Barber was hired as our Director of Marketing and Communications. In collaboration with the Program Staff, he is leading efforts to improve our internal communications and extend our story further into the world.

SPACE Sacred space is an important piece of the puzzle as we look to growing, developing, and increasing our reach in the future. It is going to be critical that we have a good plan for enhancing and maximizing our spaces for ministry at our South Campus, Camp Akita and North Campus. With the growing trends in the Grandview and downtown areas near our South Campus as well as the land and location of the developing areas around our North Campus, we are well positioned to provide even stronger experiences and resources for the community. Bias Toward Action: The Capital Projects Committee (CPC) was chartered with the mission to answer these three questions at each of our campuses: What capital projects are needed? How much will it cost? How will we pay for it? With the leadership of Paul Anderson (CPC Chair) and Nan Weir (Project Manager) the CPC has been discerning, researching, and preparing to answer those 3 questions. Their recommendations will be brought to the Governing Board in 2014.

SUSTAINABILITY It is no secret that we seek sustainability in many areas of our church—sustainability within our ministries and programs, with our buildings, and with our budgets and financial resources. The Board is focused on strengthening the sustainability of this organization into the future. Bias Toward Action: Long-time member and professional fundraising professional, Bruce Pontious, has been hired as a consultant to assess and bring recommendations for increasing our financial resource engine and donor development strategies. He is generously gifting a portion of his time to assist the mission of the Church. “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” - Japanese Proverb It has been an honor to serve and work with so many talented people on the Board and Church Staff to help stimulate action for our compelling vision for the future. Progress is made one step at a time. Thank you for your contributions!



Dr. Richard A. Wing, Senior Minister

February 2014

We continue to celebrate and unpack Our 20/20 Vision presented at the Annual Meeting, February 2013. In the shadow of Our 20/20 Vision, we seek to journey inward and outward in the spirit of Jesus for our transformation of ourselves and the world. To that end we have begun giving ourselves to these things:


Worship - Paul Anderson and Nan Weir are leading all of us toward a place of worship at the North Campus, improvements to our South Campus space and expansion of our ministry at Camp Akita. You have their extensive report in this annual report and in regular updates through printed material and informational gatherings, including our Annual Meeting.

A Center for Spiritual Search is gaining great traction. See Rev. David Hett’s report.

Early Childhood Ministry - The early childhood fee-supported ministries continue to have healthy enrollment, including the kindergarten. The Mary Evans Center outdoor classroom, with natural landscaping, wood elements from Camp Akita, garden, a large sandbox, butterfly garden etc., is visited by people from around the state as a model of a natural playscape. Jamy Zambito, the Center's director, had the vision and has been building it piece by piece.

Evaluate Our Church Governance Structure - The Governing Board leadership are asking these questions: what changes would “best practices” demand of church governance? What form of church governance, if any, could serve us better now and in the future? All non-profits are moving toward greater simplicity in governance, and we need to examine what that might mean for us.

Develop a Culture of Generosity - Bruce Pontious will dedicate this year to develop greater generosity in annual giving, the Capital Campaign, First Community Foundation and media ministry.


Reach Out to the Millennial Generation – Dawn Costin and I have met with post-college young adults and have discovered that we need to “go to them where they are and not seek to bring them to where we are.”

Ministry of Presence to Prisoners - We have begun a “Ministry of Presence” to Death Row in Chillicothe and the Ohio Prison Hospital in Columbus. Tom White and Vicki Murphy are the heroes of beginning and maintaining this ministry.


SENIOR MINISTER CONCLUSION Twenty years ago, on January 24, 1994, I came to Columbus, Ohio midst the worst snow storms they had seen in a decade. Paul Anderson picked me up at the airport, dropped me off to pick up my lease car, then took me, to dinner, and then to my first Board meeting, and then I headed off to my apartment until Shirley arrived 3 months later. I have been “teased” about leaving the “best weather” in San Diego for the many varieties of weather in Columbus, Ohio. I tell people, “there is more to life than good weather.” I have never looked back with regret for us having joined forces together for “such a time as this” over these past 20 years. I believe that our most important work lies in the immediate future. We are right now creating, maintaining and expanding spiritual space for children yet unborn, in order that they might carry forward the bright light entrusted to us in this moment in time. The hard work we are about is not about us, but what we give to the next generation to do what we seek to do in this one. For all that has been and will be, I thank you, Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Richard A. Wing Senior Minister



As delivered by Dr. Richard A. Wing, Senior Minister

“Our 20/20 Vision, a Path for First Community Church for 2013 through 2020.” The Mission formed in 1986 and the Vision formed in 1995 are the cornerstones on which First Community Church builds its ministry through worship, study, giving and service. Periodically we are called upon to define the Mission and Vision explicitly for the time in which we live. Before us is a vision for First Community Church between now and 2020. This “20/20 Vision” clarifies what we will be about in the days and years ahead. Coach John Wooden said, "If you go as far as you can see, you will then see enough to go even farther." To go “as far as we can see,” we must review why, what and how we do it in our faith community. Why Do We Do What We Do Our words and actions are rooted in our gratitude for the unconditional love of God. We are enabled to love because we first have been loved totally and completely by God in Jesus Christ. What We Do First Community Church is “the church of the infinite quest,” as described in 1924 by The Reverend M. H. Lichliter. Remaining true to that spirit, we . . . 

Strive to follow the path of Jesus Christ, while recognizing other pathways to the Divine.

Encourage each person’s spiritual journey, embracing a variety of spiritual disciplines.

Understand that the words we use to express our faith are to be lived out by loving and compassionate action.

Take the Bible seriously, not literally; finding more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty.

Agree to differ, unite to serve, and resolve to love.

How Do We Do What We Do We imitate the spirit of Jesus in our living, giving, loving and serving. We do this for our transformation and the transformation of the world. Gracefully, we invite others to join us in this spiritual journey. Between now and 2020, we dedicate ourselves to…

JOURNEY INWARD We dedicate ourselves anew to carrying out our Mission and Vision, especially in the following ways: WORSHIP Worship marked by excellence in preaching, music, meditation and liturgy will be the centerpiece of all we do at all four campuses (North, South, Akita, Media). We will offer different forms of worship,


SR. MINISTER’S 2013 ANNUAL MEETING REPORT including traditional, blended, Taizé, meditational and evolving forms yet to be discovered. Excellence in form and content will be the hallmark of every worship experience. Our worship life will be enhanced by a new sanctuary. In 2013 it is time for us to move toward funding and building a new sanctuary for our North Campus. The sanctuary will be designed to offer intimacy to small groups and vibrancy to larger groups, increasing our capacity as well as enhancing our ability the spread the spoken word, music, fellowship and hospitality to more people. We will make sure worship space is a beautiful, inspiring home for our worshipping community and is within responsible monetary parameters. To build this sanctuary space we will: 

Complete a schematic design by the fall of 2013.

Begin advanced giving contacts in the fall of 2013.

Have the campaign kick-off at the Annual Meeting of the Congregation, February 2, 2014.

Conduct a Spring Capital Campaign in 2014 for the building of the sanctuary plus capital improvements for the South Campus and Camp Akita.

Break ground in 2014 with completion by the fall of 2016.

We will dedicate ourselves on all four campuses to be: A CENTER FOR THE INFINITE QUEST. The Center will provide safe, sacred space where individuals can explore multiple mind, body and spiritual practices within a community that encourages contemplative awareness and supports transformation, healing and peace. We recognize that First Community Church is one of the few churches in America that can provide safe space for the largest growing religious “denomination” in the United States, the “Nones” (those who check ‘none’ under religious affiliation), and appeal to the large and growing population of “Spiritual But Not Religious.” We will provide a developmental heart opening and mind-broadening path based on a variety of traditional spiritual practices, the wisdom of depth psychology and the emerging understanding of the brain’s intricacies. We are looking at the installation of a labyrinth in the Weist Room for daily meditational walks. We will offer space for classes with faculty from The Methodist Theological School in Ohio (Delaware) and Trinity Lutheran Seminary (Bexley) as well as space for sister organizations dedicated to spiritual growth and human development (like the Spirituality Network, the Jung Association of Central Ohio and the Enneagram Institute). A CENTER FOR CIVIL CONVERSATION AND THE WORK OF SOCIAL JUSTICE. We will invite graduates of Faith and American Politics to lead us in pursuing ways to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God” (Micah). We will encourage civil discourse on race, violence, gun issues, mental health, poverty, incarceration, civil rights, science and religion, restorative justice, war and peace and interfaith relations. We are already forming groups to address gun issues. We will find new ways to help members and the wider community access our: PASTORAL CARE MINISTRY including the clergy, deacons and Service Board. Dr. Peter Drucker said that among the most vital institutions in America is the “larger pastorally oriented church.” We will


SR. MINISTER’S 2013 ANNUAL MEETING REPORT remind members and the community that what we do best is care, and offer that care to all. We will continue excellence in EARLY CHILDHOOD MINISTRY in a day when children are at risk of not receiving the proper affirmation and nurture early in life. We will seek ways to encourage enrollment from across the community in our fee-supported Preschool and Mary Evans Child Development Center, and continue to offer opportunities for growth to parents and children. We will EVALUATE OUR CHURCH GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE. Church consultants have urged us to take a new look at how to govern ourselves more effectively in the 21st century. A lay and clergy group will be called upon to discover “best practices” for church governance. In response to God’s love, we will be good stewards of all our resources. We will expand ways to create A CULTURE OF GENEROSITY in time, talent and treasure. All of the above are Spiritual Journeys inward. We will also: JOURNEY OUTWARD Knowing that faith is caught far more than it is taught; we will venture to experience faith in these ways: 

Expand the SPIRIT OF AKITA, not only among our youth and adults, but with year round visits from schools and a mix of organizations both sacred and secular.

Develop a PASSION AMONG ADULTS TO GET OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF THE CHURCH in direct service to those in need locally and internationally. Those in need have as much to teach us as we have to give them.

Develop a PASSION FOR ONE YEAR OF SERVICE AMONG OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH. We will begin in our K-Middle School programs to invite youth to commit one year of collective service during and after their High School career.

Use all means available to invite the “RELIGIOUSLY WOUNDED” into our fellowship. Sometimes, in the name of religion, more damage is done than good. We will let the “religiously wounded” experience a “more excellent way” by being a part of our grace-filled faith community.

Create a MINISTRY OF PRESENCE TO PRISONERS to both death row and general prison population inmates. Jesus reminded us that in visiting people in prison, we visit him. This ministry is already in motion.

Invite people to become LOCAL OR GLOBAL MEMBERS of First Community Church. Local membership involves proximity to our campuses; global membership involves connection through Media Ministry and the internet.


SR. MINISTER’S 2013 ANNUAL MEETING REPORT CONCLUSION Two things we will do with Our 20/20 Vision: We will be clear about where we want to be and then design the pathways by which we get there. When President Kennedy set as a goal to “take a man to the moon and return him” by the end of the 1960’s, the scientists saw it as impossibility. Things changed when the scientists began thinking in a new way. Rather than starting at the launch pad, they started with a man walking on the moon. Then they asked what needed to happen just before that walk, and what needed to happen before the landing, and what needed to happen before orbiting the moon, until they came to the place where the spaceship was launched. They were then able to create the steps that needed to be taken forward by beginning from the end. With clarity we will keep our eyes fixed on where we want to be and then do whatever needs to be done to get there. We will not blind ourselves to what is possible. Ancient Egyptian carvings and writings spoke of a mythical creature some called the “African unicorn”half zebra, half giraffe. Even with testimony from African tribes, explorers did not believe them. In 1901 Sir Harry Johnston was given pelts from these animals, but still he and his people did not believe the animal to be real.



By Cindy Harsany, Director of Finance and Operations

After reading through the program reports that were provided as a part of this 2013 Annual Report, I find myself further inspired to be a part of this church and staff. My hope is that as you read through this you will see First Community Church as you have never seen it before. You have made this possible, each and every one of you. Many people are supporting, participating, growing together as a diverse group that define our ministries.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS The budget was $4,507,761 for 2013. Of this budget $2,452,000 was needed from you for program support and the remaining to be brought in from the fee supported ministries and other areas of income. Giving to support our programs was actually $2,516,402, the highest amount received in the past 10 years. We currently have 1,173 pledging units. We met our revenue budget and higher giving helped offset some higher-than-anticipated expenses within Worship Technologies and Facilities. Even with programs being asked to decrease spending half-way through the year, we were over our budgeted spending by $64,187. We are further decreasing spending for our 2014 budget to help make up this shortfall. As is contained within this report, we are a large church, continuing to expand our programs to meet the needs of many people. First Community is a unique church that people cannot find other places. This continues to remind us of our obligation to take care of those who reach out to us in different ways. (Complete 2013 financial report and 2014 budget are included in this Annual Report, as well as First Community Foundation and program information.)

CHURCH ADMINISTRATION Our 20/20 Vision - In 2013, we started moving forward with Our 20/20 Vision created by Dr. Wing, in collaboration others. After being unveiled at the 2013 Annual meeting, the Vision was adopted by the Governing Board in March 2013. The Program Staff have combined their talents in bringing this Vision to life as they move forward with their programming. A booklet was put together and distributed to the congregation, which included Our 20/20 Vision and the implementation efforts that were moving forward. This Annual Report continues to capture this Vision that is moving towards 2020. Engagement Plan - The need for an Engagement Plan and what this really means was a focus that started within a small committee and has expanded. It was determined that the focus of engagement needed to be from the view point of the congregation. Are they acknowledged and appreciated, growing as individuals, do they feel like they belong. Reverend Jim Long has been leading these efforts and helping us understand our obligation in focusing on increased engagement and what it provides to


ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE others. A person who is fully engaged will feel better about themselves, participate more and invite others to join them. We will be putting together a plan in 2014 to move forward as a church in striving for excellence through engagement. We have appreciated Dr. Terry Davis who has helped us understand how to change a culture, determine what can be measured to help define success and implement a plan. Stewardship and Development - We appreciate all gifts that have been given and know that they are given with trust that we will use these gifts wisely to make a difference in people’s lives. Bruce Pontious has been a gift in this year. We have needed someone to lead us in developing a giving culture to continue to support the mission and vision of First Community Church. Bruce joined us as a consultant in September of 2013 and began work on a Stewardship and Development plan that is meant to not only ask people for money, but to provide for their spiritual needs through giving. This plan will involve everyone and be a part of 2014 initiatives. Personnel – We have been going through organizational changes over the past 5 years as we assess program and staffing needs. You will find First Community Church has a passionate, talented and educated staff prepared to accomplish whatever we are asked by the congregation of this church. Among our accomplishments in 2013 was the completion of a new personnel handbook. This was a two-year process that went through Governing Board and internal committees and legal reviews. We continue to focus on staff communication needs, what we can do to improve benefits and help them know that they are valued. HR metrics have been established that will be provided to the Governing Board Personnel Committee on a regular basis. The metrics will show employee retention, wages and benefits and other valuable information to guide organizational decisions. For example, our current turnover rate is 15.5%. The average turnover rate for non-profits is 17%. We currently have 90 regular and full time employees. Succession Plan for staff will be implemented in 2014.

IN CONCLUSION Each of you has what I have come to see as “pockets of passion”. As you read through this report, I hope you will see the passion that flows through all ministries and creates a river of life for those who are a part of this church.



By Cindy Harsany, Director of Finance and Operations

2013 Church attendance monthly averaged 1,614 at the North Campus and 1,325 at our South Campus locations. Total church attendance was 35,274. Average Sunday attendance for K-12 was 540 (does not include summer sessions). Over the past 10 years, we have seen a reduced frequency of church attendance as is reflected in national church averages that are now showing attendance at 1.7 visits per month. However, in the midst of statistics that are often discouraging to churches we found that, within the United Church of Christ 2012 numbers, we ranked 2nd for baptisms and 6th in new members. The numbers of people participating through giving increased from 2,221 in 2012 to 2,234 in 2013. Our total membership within our computerized system shows 5,422 names. Fifty percent of these are below 39 years of age and of the 103 new members that joined in 2013, 58% were less than 39 years old. Our church is doing well within the national statistics and will continue to increase participation in our programs. Through added focus on what people need, we will become more fully engaged.

















By Walter Watkins, Adult Education Coordinator

SPIRITUAL SALONS This series provides opportunities to explore influential persons, concepts and theological ideas that have formed and challenged our Christian identity. We have had the benefit of presenters from not only our First Community staff, but local university and seminary professors as well. This series has included presentations on influential theologians such as Augustine, Martin Luther and Reinhold and Richard Niebuhr. We have had the opportunity to engage timely topics as well. As an example, after the election of the new pope, a church history professor from the Methodist seminary talked about the significance of the new pope’s name choice of “Francis” and its possible implications for the Catholic Church based on what we know of the life and thought of St Francis and Clare. th

We have explored an important 20 century theological approach, process theology. Scheduled for later in 2014 are presentations on human trafficking, presented by a professor of Christian Ethics and a presentation on the images and characterization of women in the Bible. Our average attendance for the Spiritual Salon series has been 22-25 people. We are working to develop stronger relationships with the faculties of Trinity Lutheran Seminary as well as the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. A congregational survey indicated a desire to hear from seminary faculty and our intent is to use the Spiritual Salon series to meet that need.

SUNDAY MORNING SEMINARS – WICKER ROOM AND NORTH CAMPUS Our Sunday morning Adult Education offerings have always had a following at South Campus because of the depth of topic selection and excellent facilitators like Grey Austin. We have made the commitment to provide a similar experience for those who attend North Campus. We are making available, at North Campus at 9 am on Sundays, the same program and material offered at South Campus. We rotate material formats between videos and books, as well are varying topics to include things like spirituality, theology and Biblical studies. Sometimes our choices are prompted by the senior minister’s sermon series, or a Spiritual Searcher visit. An additional planning consideration is to try and bring timely material of value to our audience of which they may not have been aware while re-affirming the distinct theological traditions of First Community.

SUMMER SERIES As part of First Community’s contribution to increasing biblical literacy among mainstream and progressive Christians, we have instituted a multi-year summer lecture series to broaden and deepen our commitment as a church to “take the Bible seriously, but not literally.” We have developed, and


ADULT EDUCATION presented a course on: 1) Bible basics, and 2) the authority of scripture. In 2014 we will present a multiweek series on the Hebrew Bible, to be followed in the summer of 2015 with a series on the New Testament. The series will then repeat its 4 year cycle. Our assumption will be that since we continually experience congregational growth and we will always have current members who may not be able to participate in on year or another (and still others who might want to take a “refresher” course) will have a fresh audience each year for this series. The Bible basics course and the authority of scripture sessions (entitled “The Bible or Your Brain: Must You Choose?”) averaged 20 people per session and attracted people from outside our congregation. We would expect similar participation levels for this summers’ lectures on the Hebrew Bible.

TUESDAYS AT TEN We have a long standing theological discussion group that meets on Tuesday mornings facilitated by staff and volunteers that is in a format (90 minutes) that allows for in depth explorations of various topics. The appeal of this group is such that is also draws participants from outside our congregation. The attendance for this group ranges between 20 and 25 participants each week.

TUESDAY PM There was an expressed desire among congregants unable to avail themselves of the Tuesday mornings sessions to have the same sort of experience, so we instituted Tuesday PM as the same type of discussion group, though with different material, for those members who might still be engaged in conventional work routines, but desirous of the challenge and support that a spiritual discussion group would provide. At this point we have a small, but stable group, and plan to grow this group toward a target of 15-20 regular attendees.



By Mike Elliott, 2013 Council Chair

The Adult Learning Council with the guidance of The Rev. David Hett, Minister of Religious Life & Learning and Walter Watkins, Adult Education Coordinator, create and offer programs and other learning opportunities for adults to engage in lifelong religious learning and spiritual formation on the road of “The Infinite Quest”.

HIGHLIGHTS Sunday Morning Seminar offered five different group learning and discussion programs throughout the year that offered different topics for study and discussion: 1] Science and Religion Today, 2] Evolution of Faith – How God is Creating a Better Christianity, 3] Cultural Literacy – A Study of World Religions, 4] Painting the Stars – Science, Religion and an Evolving Faith and Embracing Spiritual Awakening-the Dynamics of Experiential Faith. For the five week period at the North Campus this summer we were privileged to have Coffee with the Clergy. Dr. Wing and Revs. David Hett, Deb Lindsay, Jim Long and Paul Baumer shared with us different aspects of their interest and calling. There were five Spiritual Salons presented through the year. In January Walter Watkins presented St. Augustine. In March Rev. Jim Long presented an evening with Richard and Reinhold Niebuhr. In May Jeffrey Jaynes from the Methodist Theological Seminary in Ohio spoke on the “First” Francis and his companion, St. Clare, Medieval Saints for a Modern World. In June Sarah Lancaster also from the Methodist Theological Seminary led us in a discussion of Process Theology. And in September Dr. Paul Laughlin, Professor Emeritus, Religion & Philosophy, Otterbein College, presented an evening discussing the Evolutionary Theology of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. During July Walter Watkins led us in The Bible or Your Brain, a four week series looking at the authority of scripture. And in September Walter started Tuesday PM, an evening class he facilitates that mirrors the spectrum of religious learning that forms the curriculum for the daytime Tuesday at Ten weekly class. During these evenings Walter has led us on a follow-up study of Dr. Wing’s fall sermon series and is now presenting a series on Great Characters of the New Testament by one of our past Spiritual Searchers, New Testament scholar Amy-Jill Levine. In September, church members Christy Caine and Marti Post brilliantly-led along with Rev. Hett an interactive book group dissecting Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly. In 2013 the Adult Learning Council assembled a Congregational Survey to find the current level of interest in our programs and to find out what may be desired from the congregation for future programming interests. The results, although not conclusive, were helpful for the council. Perhaps not surprisingly, long-time members were the predominant responders to this survey and answers spread across the board about desirable times to hold classes, where to hold them (equal numbers like the north and south campus and a large contingent has no preference regarding site). Among those


ADULT LEARNING COUNCIL responding, topic categories receiving the greatest number of responses included “SpiritualPsychological Growth,” “Ethics, Values & Justice Issues,” “Evolving Faith & Theology,” “Studying the Bible and its Development,” “Topics in Theology,” and “Interfaith Studies.” One clear response from these folks which is being addressed in our Spiritual Salon series was the desire to hear from seminary and college faculty.



By Rev. David Hett, Minister of Religious Life & Learning

THE MISSION AND VISION Lifelong learning, opportunities for personal and spiritual transformation, and conscious change toward lives increasingly informed by divine compassion are the goals of Religious Life and Learning at First Community Church. Adult Learning activities are focused around groups, classes, alternative learning experiences and resources to strengthen mind, soul, heart and body for the spiritual journey. The unique ministry th of Spiritual Searcher, celebrating its 25 anniversary year in 2014, brings innovative religious, spiritual, psychological and ethical thinkers and practitioners to central Ohio in order to expand our personal and collective horizons and consciousness. I deeply value and appreciate the leadership of our two chairs in 2013, ALC chair Mike Elliott and Searcher chair Peggy Wible. We are blessed with capable and committed volunteer leadership throughout Religious Life & Learning. Our friend, past Spiritual Searcher and noted Jesus scholar Marcus Borg, aptly sums up the goal of Religious Life and Learning in his book, The Heart of Christianity: “The Christian life is about a relationship with God that transforms us into more compassionate beings…It is about becoming conscious of and intentional about a deepening relationship with God.” (By the way, Dr. Wing and I always stress in our new member classes that The Heart of Christianity is an excellent guide and primer to the theology and practice of First Community Church.) Additionally, a new dimension of religious and spiritual growth will offer a significant expansion to these resources designed and created by our Adult Learning Council, Spiritual Searcher Committee and various “Friends of Adult Education:” Beginning in 2014, the Center for Spiritual Search, growing out of the 20/20 Vision plan after having been incubated throughout the 100-plus year history of First Community Church, becomes a reality with its mission of creating space, support, programs and companionship for personal and community transformation. The purpose of the Center for Spiritual Search is to host “sacred space” where individuals can explore spiritual, religious, psychological, and scientific disciplines as well as interfaith dialogue and “interspiritual” practices. There’s more detail below about the “center.”

HIGHLIGHTS You will read of numerous highlights in Religious Life & Learning in the reports below from Mike Elliott, chair of the Adult Learning Council, Shah Hasan, chair of the Center for Spiritual Search steering committee, Adult Education Coordinator Walter Watkins, and Peggy Wible, chair of Spiritual Searcher, and I will briefly provide my own personal list, somewhat in order of how I see their importance during 2013:



James Finley Spiritual Searcher Retreat, March 2013: Jim Finley is indeed a master teacher, and presence, of contemplative Christian practices, a person that Richard Rohr describes as his “spiritual senior.” No wonder. Holding a full weekend retreat in Grace Hall, North Campus, was a first in 24 years for the Searcher program, and we were grateful to the church and staff to allow us the opportunity to use Grace Hall for a spiritual retreat on a Sunday morning. We closed the retreat on Sunday afternoon with a beautiful contemplative service open to all, led by Dr. Finley. In addition to over 160 in attendance Friday night for his talk on Thomas Merton, 130 people completed the entire weekend retreat. This was a tremendous showing, and what thrilled me even more (although I’d love to have had more members join us of course), was that nearly 60% of the attendees were not church members—this meets our goal of reaching out to the entire community and even to theMidwest for our programs (people came from as far away as Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania for this event). I list Dr. Finley’s retreat first because this has led to the beginning of three new “contemplative way” groups, meeting weekly or bi-weekly, for periods of sacred reading, meditation and group reflection. Jim Finley stimulated us to actually practice our faith as individuals and groups. The Contemplative Way Groups formed last year would be 1-A under my highlights of the year. Promoting inner and interpersonal spiritual practice is perhaps my highest priority as a minister.

Hiring Walter Watkins as Adult Education Coordinator: I could easily have listed this action first. Walter has been leading groups at First Community for years, and having completed his Master of Theological Studies degree in May 2013, we were able to bring him on staff part-time to both coordinate and lead adult education studies. You’ll see some of what he has done below. As I advise the new member classes, “If you have a chance to take any class led by Walter Watkins, just do it!” Brilliant, compassionate, inclusive, integral are all words describing Walter. He is a gift to our church.

The Center for Spiritual Search: In any other year, the development and initial establishment of this dream for our congregation and community would be first on my list. But as it is just now poised to begin its evolution as an organization with and within the church (see Dr. Shah Hasan’s report below), we can simply be grateful for the initial developmental efforts put in by a number of hard-working volunteers over the past year, and in years past. It has been a background dream of mine since I came to FCC 15 years ago as minister of adult learning and spiritual search, but it has also been a dream of the church since its inception as the “church of the infinite quest.” Although South Campus will continue to host worship services well into the future, 50 years ago, the congregation voted by a wide margin to re-establish our 1320 “south campus” location as the “Institute for Advanced Religious Training.” Ten years later, in 1973, the board approved creation of “The Burkhart Center,” named after Roy Burkhart with the intention of having a center focused on personal and spiritual development using the latest understandings in psychology and spirituality. Here is the mission statement for our new Center for Spiritual Search as composed by our steering committee:


ADULT RELIGIOUS LEARNING & SPIRITUAL GROWTH We affirm that a loving Spirit Presence, known to many as God, permeates the universe within which All is completely immersed. The Center for Spiritual Search welcomes people from all traditions, and from no tradition, to explore the nature and direction of this Reality—and their relationship with this Loving Presence--through supportive programs, practices, conversations and community. Therefore, the Center hosts safe, sacred space where individuals can explore: 

Multiple mind, body and spiritual practices throughout the human experience;

Inclusive studies of traditional and alternative spiritual and psychological disciplines, varying faith practices and interfaith dialogue, and the interrelationship between science and spirituality.

We intend these practices, study and dialogues to take place within face-to-face and virtual communities that encourage a contemplative awareness that supports transformation, healing and peace. With reverence for each unique soul the Center for Spiritual Search is dedicated to creating and sustaining sacred space where each person, unconditionally accepted, may rise to the fullest expression of his or her own true nature. 

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Spiritual Searcher, October 2013: There are many reasons why having Dr. Moss III with us for two days in October was a highlight. (1) As far as I can discern, although I’d be happy for someone to correct me, Dr. Moss was our first African-American Spiritual Searcher. (2) And, as Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, the largest church of our UCC denomination, he did not disappoint in his unpacking of “The Racialized Imagination in America” following closely upon the heels of the Trayvon Martin killing earlier in the year. A young, very learned man, Dr. Moss is also completely approachable and led area clergy and our own staff in a workshop on use of social media in the church, and later a community lecture describing the “Hip-Hop Gospel,” which also served as a creative metaphor for American Christianity. Some 150-200 people attended his first lecture in Grace Hall. Perhaps only 75 were in attendance in the sanctuary the following night for his Hip Hop lecture, but another wonderful feature that evening was representation from several African-American churches in our community. (3) Dr. Moss’ visit was meant to be a missional “gift” to the community from Spiritual Searcher Committee, and that mission was highlighted by a closing breakfast with Dr. Moss and community leaders hosted by the Columbus Foundation.

Our new Religious Life & Learning E-Newsletter: For this I can thank our phenomenal administrative assistant, Natalia Jones, who brings all that youthful understanding of computer programs and social media together with her deep commitment to the vision and ministries of our congregation. Natalia’s father is a Georgian/Russian artist and the lovely monthly “enewsletters” that Natalia creates are truly works of art. I add an article of my current spiritual


ADULT RELIGIOUS LEARNING & SPIRITUAL GROWTH gleanings and we send out this promotional piece to over 1,000 people on our email list, including significant numbers of people outside our congregation. 

Spiritual Salons: I get teased about “When do I get my nails done?” and “Where is the massage th therapist?” at every “salon,” but our “spiritual salons” are meant to be in the spirit of 16 th century Italian and 17 century French, salons. As Wikipedia puts it so well: A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. …Salons…were carried on until quite recently in urban settings.

I hosted the first salon in 2012 on a number of books I was reading about the earliest form of “Christianity”—what took place, that is, immediately following Jesus’ crucifixion in the Jerusalem “church,” when James, the brother of Jesus, took over leadership of this new Jewish reform movement (there was no “Christianity” or “church” in these years from about 30-60 Common Era). I hoped for 10 people and we had nearly 25 people crowded in the high school classroom at north campus. Since that time we have had numerous seminary and college professors, as well as our Adult Education Coordinator, Walter Watkins, and other clergy like Jim Long, leading these learning discussions, and 20-25 participants have become an average turnout.

Our ongoing Weekly Adult Learning Groups: OK, this could be the number one highlight of any year because in the course of any given week some 200 adults are involved in weekly growth in knowledge, faith and community in the dozen or so “small” groups that meet to study books, DVDs, spiritual life and to engage in fellowship, support and community-building. A number of these groups have regular leadership from our Adult Learning Council and program committee members (“Sunday Seminar at South”) or from the Spiritual Searcher committee (“Contemplative Way” groups), as well as from Walter Watkins (“Sunday Seminar at North,” “Tuesday PM” evening study). Others have regular adult leaders like “Tuesday at Ten” with Pete and Pidge Diehl alternating with Walter and often bringing in Rev. Deborah Lindsay, or the “Wednesday Evening Bible Study” that Rev. Jim Long continues to lead. Still others are selfdirected groups like the long-standing “Men’s Wednesday Fellowship” coordinated by Lee Vescelius, the more recent Wednesday “Men’s Study Group” coordinated by Price Finley and Craig Sturtz among others, and the “Women Living the Questions” group coordinated by Cara Shary, among others.


ADULT RELIGIOUS LEARNING & SPIRITUAL GROWTH LOOKING AHEAD The year 2014 promises to be a rich year. The capstone of our section of Our 20/20 Vision plan is the Center for Spiritual Search, and 2014 will be a “launch” year in determining exactly what this center will be and how it will impact the community at large. th

Spiritual Searcher celebrates its 25 anniversary year with a series of tremendous presenters: John Dominic Crossan, the leading New Testament and historical Jesus scholar in the United States (and a delightful teacher) on March 7 and 8; a new light in the spiritual horizon, Mirabai Starr, will bring her “interspiritual” wisdom and love of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish mystics to us on June 6 and 7; and to cap off the year, we bring back teacher of Celtic spirituality John Philip Newell from Edinburgh, Scotland, for a full weekend retreat at North Campus on November 14-16, 2014. Mark your calendars for all of these events! A third Contemplative Way Group began in January, meeting on Saturday mornings, and utilizing Mirabai Starr’s new translation of the female Christian mystic Julian of Norwich’s powerful statement, The Showings. We will have Walter Watkins, our new Adult Education Coordinator, for a full year of ministry and education (although he will still be only at a part time employment status for the time being). Walter has prepared a full slate of varied and interesting Spiritual Salons, ranging from a look at Martin Luther and a study of gender and the Bible to the crisis of human trafficking and the justice-orientation of liberation theology for just four such salons. We begin in 2014 with a January 22 forum in Grace Hall hosted by former WOSU-radio talk show host, Fred Anderle. Now with the OSU Humanities Institute, Fred will be moderating a panel of representatives from four Eastern religious traditions. We hope you’ll be able to take advantage of the many opportunities for personal spiritual and intellectual growth at FCC in 2014.



By Scot Nicoll, Executive Director of Camp Akita

Since Dr. Burkhart realized his vision 65 years ago, Camp Akita has played an integral role in the mission of First Community Church. We are rightfully proud of our legacy. Although Camp Akita has experienced great growth and many physical changes over the years, our core mission continues to be the church in God’s out-of-doors for our young people. In the summer of 2013, we welcomed more than 1,500 campers to Logan, Ohio, enriching lives through an inclusive community and meaningful programs. In 2012, the Camp Akita team began developing a new strategy to improve its processes and more fully utilize camp resources for the benefit of First Community’s mission. We began by enhancing our staffing structure. The Governing Board approved the creation of two new full-time positions—an Executive Director to manage year round operations of Camp Akita from our Columbus offices, and a Program Director to create, manage, and oversee year round programs at Camp Akita. With these new staff members in place, we have already been able to give this incredible place more of the attention it deserves. We now want to focus on ensuring that Camp programs and facilities can be leveraged to make a more lasting impact all year long. Operationally, Camp Akita is focused on five program areas of growth: 

Summer Camp Ministry. Summer camp remains our primary and most important program. Our current camp program model has been successful for over 20 years and features an excellent college staff that builds a lasting community with campers to further our goals of fun, message, community, affirmation, and safety. While we anticipate the core of this model will stay in place for many years, we have found great success by diversifying our camper program areas. We are currently transitioning our model from a “fun” based camp experience to one that offers small group educational opportunities, linking the passions of our staff and volunteers to groups of campers that share in those interests.

Camp Akita. We know that by exposing people to the beauty of Camp Akita, our open theology, great facilities, and loving spirit, we can create meaningful life long relationships. It is our goal to offer open programs monthly, where church members and non-members alike can enjoy Camp Akita. These programs will be affordable, family friendly, and fun.

Facility rentals. When renting one of our cabins or lodge, our customers should interact with our staff in a way that reflects our theology. Our facilities need to be clean, accessible, and meet the needs of the groups who us them. We need to have materials available so that renters can learn about who we are as First Community Church and what we offer as Camp Akita. We also need to do a better job of marketing our facilities and develop strategies to expand our reach.



Outdoor Education. This program increases our mid-week rentals, an area that currently has great room for growth. We now offer excellent learning opportunities and staff to teach students about their natural world. Since most students are camp age, it provides an opportunity to share our camp ministry with many potential campers.


Leadership Training. We already have amazing facilities at Outpost to offer these programs and many years of experience delivering them. These programs allow us to work with all ages, teaching valuable leadership skills in a fun and loving environment.

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013 Tim Carlson, hired in the fall of 2012 as the Director of Camp Akita ministries, completed his first summer as camp director. Tim brings a deep passion for Akita and an incredible attention to detail to his work at First Community Church. We are very excited to see how Tim grows and expands the ministry of Camp Akita in his second summer. In June of 2013, Camp Akita hosted an open house for all of our campers and families. Our goal was to allow time and space for first time campers to get acquainted with Camp Akita. We were also excited to get a chance to meet the parents of long time campers and allow parents to see for themselves the magic of Camp Akita. We were overwhelmed by the response, over 400 people showed up to experience a beautiful day at Camp Akita with our summer staff. In 2013, Camp Akita hosted two Wilderness Medicine classes. With instructors from the Wilderness Medicine Institute, we offered public classes in Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder. These classes are currently not offered to the public in the state of Ohio anywhere else. In the fall of 2013, we hired Julie Richards as our Camp Akita Education Coordinator. Julie brings a Masters Degree in Education and was a teacher in the Upper Arlington School District for 10 years. Julie is focused on increasing our outdoor education program offerings and making sure they are of the highest quality.

DIRECTION FOR 2014 The upcoming year will see the Camp Akita staff continue to focus on our 5 program areas of growth. We are looking forward to another amazing summer at Camp Akita. We have increased our Backcountry program offerings from two sessions to seven sessions. Andy Frick leads the Backcountry program, and we are very excited to be able to offer small group educational outdoor programs at Camp Akita at the same time as our traditional summer camp sessions. Julie will be visiting local schools to promote our many outdoor education opportunities. She will also be working hard on curriculum and teacher development to ensure our programs are the best around.


CAMP AKITA Most excitingly, in 2014 we will replace our original wastewater treatment plant and go through the master planning process with funding from the capital campaign. This year we will be setting the groundwork and planning for the next 20 years of amazing ministry at Camp Akita.

2013 STATS Number of Participants: Camp Type:




MS Backcountry


HS Backcountry


L.I.F.E. Guard


Summer Camp


Family Camp




Scholarships: Type of Camper

# Campers Served

Scholarship $ Amt Granted







Campers LIFE Guard Backcountry Family Camp Friends of Akita Totals:

Representing: # States


# Countries


# Schools


# School Districts


# of 1st time campers

688 (44%)



By Shah Hasan, coordinator, Center Steering Committee

The process of discerning the concept, pattern and shape of a “center” for spiritual search has been ongoing since at least 2005 when Kathy Cleveland Bull led a creative brainstorming retreat involving numerous church members and leaders in the Columbus spiritual community. To reinvigorate this concept, a series of deliberate steps were taken in 2012 and 2013 to draw on the diverse and deep community of church members actively involved and interested in adult spiritual transformation. Toward that end, a team of seven facilitators, led by Shah Hasan and Rev. David Hett, organized a Saturday Retreat morning discussion on September 15, 2012 at the South Campus. Thirty-five church members and friends were personally invited to participate and 24 were able to join us. The structure of the Retreat conversation was designed around a process for identifying and/or refining the business model of a new or renewed enterprise, and was adapted specifically from the process described in the book Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, and others (Wiley, 2010). The Retreat discussions were successful and yielded some emergent insights on the enterprise of the Center for Spiritual Search. Participants facilitated through a structured discussion process yielded specific insights on the business model elements of the Center for Spiritual Search’s Key Partners, Key Activities, Key Resources, and the Cost Structure. We also explored the Center’s Relationships, Customer Segments, Channels, and the potential Revenue Streams. These elements were then combined to clarify and refine the Value Proposition of the Center for Spiritual Search. Several of the facilitators and participants and others interested in this concept formed a “Center Steering Committee:” Shah Hasan, coordinator; Rev. David Hett and Natalia Jones, staff; and Lisa Bueche, Pete Diehl, Price Finley, John Hoberg, Rose Konrath, Jed Swift and Walter Watkins (at that time Walter was not on staff). Three of the members were current or former chairpersons of Spiritual Searcher Committee. The rich discussions with this group yielded insights on the elements that during the first two quarters of 2013 were collated, summarized, and then incorporated into the draft business plan for the Center. The draft was then refined by the members of the Center Steering Committee through additional conversation and reflection during the remainder of 2013. Also, during these months a mission statement was drafted by members of the steering committee, and continually processed and refined, and thanks especially to John Hoberg, receiving input from a number of church members deeply involved in the spiritual search, as well as non-members involved in spiritual quests from varying paths. (See Center for Spiritual Search mission statement in Rev. Hett’s report.) In the meantime, Rev. Hett met periodically with Dr. Wing and Cindy Harsany, director of finance and operations for the church, updating them on the progress of the center. Rev. Hett spoke to the governing board in November, including information about the center and its mission. Finally, a group from the steering committee met with Cindy Harsany and developed a plan that would incorporate a


CENTER FOR SPIRITUAL SEARCH change to the church by-laws substituting the Center for Spiritual Search for Spiritual Searcher (Searcher will become a major programming initiative of the Center). The version of the by-law approved by the governing board executive committee reads this way:

CENTER FOR SPIRITUAL SEARCH BY-LAW December 4, 2013 The Center for Spiritual Search grows out of the historic mission and vision of First Community Church beginning with its description, at the laying of the sanctuary cornerstone in 1924, as the “church of the infinite quest,” and continuing through such initiatives as Dr. Burkhart’s “Minister’s Seminars” in the 1940s and ‘50s, The Institute for Advanced Religious Training in 1962, The Burkhart Center in 1973, and Spiritual Searcher in 1989. The basic mission of Center for Spiritual Search is to create space, support, programs and companionship for personal and community transformation. The purpose of the Center is to host “sacred space” where individuals can explore spiritual, religious, psychological, and scientific disciplines as well as interfaith dialogue and “interspiritual” practices. As such, objectives of the Center for Spiritual Search include: 

Serving as the “umbrella” organization for First Community Church adult spiritual transformation and adult learning programs, including Spiritual Searcher; offering inclusive, alternative practices and programs to undergird the spiritual growth of individuals and the community; and bringing together like-minded organizations and initiatives.

Creating various communities of learners and seekers by welcoming people from all traditions, and from no tradition, to explore the nature and direction of Divine Reality through supportive programs, practices, conversations and community.



By Paul Anderson, Chair of the Capital Projects Committee

PURPOSE (CHARGE) OF COMMITTEE Engage in a comprehensive assessment of program, capital and maintenance needs to support our 2020 Vision at our South Campus, North Campus and Camp Akita that involves staff, church leadership and the congregation. This assessment will take into consideration regional demographics and other important data to project future trends and opportunities.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS (CPC AND SUB-COMMITTEES) Capital Projects Committee Members: Paul Anderson (Chair), Virginia Barney, Joe Bull, Erik Clark, Thomas Gross, Cindy Harsany, Cydney Philbin, Tracy Stuck, Dr. Richard Wing, Nan Weir (Owner’s Representative), Bruce Pontious (Ex-Officio) Committee (NCDC) Members - Tracy Stuck (Chair & CPC Liaison), Scott Doellinger, Cindy Harsany (exofficio), Ron Jenkins, Rev. Deborah Lindsay, Bruce Pontious (ex-officio), Glenn Zook, and Nan Weir (Owner’s Representative). Committee (SCDC) Members - Pam Jameson (Chair), Jackie Cherry, Cindy Harsany (ex-officio), David Hett, Mary Ann Krauss, Missy Obergefell, Cydney Philbin (CPC Liaison), Bruce Pontious (ex-officio), Bob Wandel, Donice Wooster, and Nan Weir (Owner’s Representative). Akita Master Plan Committee Members: Scot Nicoll (Chair), Carl Anderson, TR Gross (CPC Liaison), Sarah Joanus, Jamie Miller, Dave Parsons, Danita Young, Nan Weir (Owner’s Representative)


Formation of CPC and all subcommittees

Development of program definition for all projects

Completion of NC Master Plan

Multiple points of communication and engagement with Governing Board, Program and Support Staff and congregation


Completion of SC and Akita master plans

Completion of fund raising for all capital projections

Commencement of construction on NC

Continued communication and engagement with Governing Board, Program and Support Staff and congregation on our activities



By Donice Wooster, Director of Early Childhood Ministry

A unique aspect of the Early Childhood Department is that it includes both fee-supported ministries that benefit members and the community and outreach ministries to parents and families. The family is a child’s first community of faith, and we believe that in supporting parents we begin a child’s faith formation through them.

FEE-SUPPORTED MINISTRIES Salaries and supplies for these programs are entirely supported by tuition fees, and they make a contribution to the church Operating Fund.

MARY EVANS CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER The Mary Evans Child Development Center opened at the North Campus in 1991. It continues to serve families looking for quality full time child care. Our excellent teachers all have degrees in Early Childhood and many have been here over 10 years. We have 3 teachers that have over 20 years with the center. Our goal continues to be a place where children from 6 weeks through kindergarten experience daily care and education in a beautiful and stimulating setting, engaged with adults that have the education and background to support their growth and development in all domains - physical, social, emotional and cognitive. Highlights We have a history and reputation for engaging children with nature. Our outdoor space is recognized as a model natural playscape and we host many visitors that want ideas for how to incorporate natural play experiences for children. This fall we completed another phase of our outdoor playscape with the implementation of outdoor musical elements. They were placed as part of a master plan and the children have responded to them enthusiastically! The focus on nature has been continued in our full day kindergarten. In addition to daily outdoor experiences the kindergarten travels once a month to Indian Village for a nature inspired field trip. We are pleased that the kindergarten enjoyed full enrollment this year and are hopeful to continue the program with full enrollment for many years. Other highlights include:      

Full enrollment in our infant, toddler and preschool programs The January Open House and Homecoming Event Participation in International Mud Day for the third year in a row Fully attended family events including The Pancake Dinner and family picnics in the fall and spring. Increased teacher and family attendance at Down on the Farm Parenting workshops led by Mary Evans



Reports from 2 separate families that their child cried when they found out the center was closed for a snow day early in December!

FIRST COMMUNITY CHURCH PRESCHOOL The Preschool, housed at South Campus for almost 70 years, is a part-time program for children 3-5, and the unique Twogether class for parent and child together. Our spacious classrooms are a rich environment for hands-on learning. Our low teacher: child ratios assure that children have support and guidance in their early social interactions and learning experiences. The Preschool offers 6 different classes that meet September – May, and a 4-week summer session in June. Highlights 

first Saturday morning Open House and Homecoming in January for past, current and future families

adding a class for 4 and 5 year olds meeting from 9 am to 1 pm every day

teacher retreat at Camp Akita where a new mission statement was created o

Our mission is to nourish the curiosity and self-discovery of young children in a rich classroom environment, valuing their individual patterns of growth and partnering with families to understand each child’s unique gifts.

Continued strong enrollment from enthusiastic parents

OUTREACH MINISTRIES Parent Groups Three regular parent groups are led by Donice Wooster. They focus on understanding child development, good parenting strategies, and balancing self-care with the demands of parenting. Each session has a particular topic but parents are welcome to bring any concerns or questions. 

Parent Growth meets weekly through the school year on Monday mornings with child care available, and average attendance is 12-15, with a peak of 20.

For Moms Only meets monthly throughout the year in the evening, serving mothers working outside the home and those who prefer an evening meeting

For Dads Only meets monthly in the evening, and has had steady core of fathers who attend, and others who come for particular topics

Sunday morning child care We offer child care for infants through 5 year olds (not in kindergarten) at the 10:00 service North and the 11:00 service South, except for Akita Sunday and the Sunday after Christmas. Each room is staffed


EARLY CHILDHOOD MINISTRY by one consistent teacher (so that children see a familiar face) supplemented by monthly parent volunteers. Space for child care on Sundays is shared with and equipped by the Mary Evans Center at North Campus and the Preschool at South Campus. 

Average number of young children at the 10:00 service in 2013 was 30

Average number of young children at the 11:00 service in 2013 was 15

For some Sundays, attendance was higher

Early Childhood Council 

By Kelly Burtch Dusseau, Chair

The Early Childhood Council has focused on providing experiences for families with young children, in our church family and beyond, that are particularly suited to the needs and schedules of young families. Annual events include: 

Parent Retreat at Camp Akita in the winter months

Pajama Story Time in February, tied to pajama and storybook donations for children who are in homeless shelters or domestic violence shelters

Down on the Farm event in April, with farm animals, horse rides, activities and dinner

Harvest Hullabaloo in October, a costume-optional event that allows children to enjoy the fun of the Halloween season without risk of being overwhelmed or frightened

In August of 2013, the Council had a special meeting led by Jason Barger, in which the Council stepped back to examine its purpose, define its goals, and adjust some of its activities to better align with its goals. These conversations will continue into 2014, with the hope of giving young families more opportunities to come together and know each other.



By Pam Jameson, Director of Facilities Ministry

Understanding we are One Church with multiple locations and called upon to serve others in our faith journey, the Facilities Ministry is focused on best practices to increase an environment of hospitality, community, daily operations and demands, short and long term maintenance needs and improvements, in order to carry forth Our Vision, our missions and our ministries.

HIGHLIGHTS North Campus Church Sign. The last phase of the resurfacing of the North Campus Church Sign by Dublin Road was completed Spring 2013. This improvement was made possible by a grant approved October 2012 for up to $3,000. New Storage Cabinets. New cabinets were built and installed the first half of 2013 to organize and safely house liturgical day to day and seasonal items, items used for Sundays and special services along with maintenance items. The cabinets were made possible by a grant approved December 2012 for up to $4,000. New Concrete Patio. A new patio was installed during the summer measuring 20x50 in the east courtyard to allow our congregation additional space to gather together in community. The patio was made possible through a grant approved May 2013 for up to $7,000, which came in under budget. New Handicap Operators for the Rose Wing. A grant for $4,300 was approved late 2013 for a new handicap operator for the Rose Wing doors, currently being scheduled for late January early February 2014. Once completed, our main entrances will provide easy access for those needing assistance. South Campus Improvements to Sidewalks/Entrances. A grant for up to $16,224 was approved October 2012 to address needed improvements to sidewalks and entries around the south campus. A new sidewalk was designed and completed late 2012 from the Annex building to Lincoln Road Chapel and the east parking area. Improvements to the entries of the sanctuary, receptionist area and Annex building were completed Spring 2013. Sanctuary Lighting Improvements. Due to inadequate and inoperable dimming equipment for the Sanctuary, Weist Room and Gallery Court, a grant was approved to upgrade the lighting system. The original grant was approved in April followed by a subsequent grant approved in October to cover unplanned overages. The grant was part of a larger grant with Worship Technologies. HVAC Controls and Roof Drain Repairs. Improvements to the pneumatic controls for the second floor classrooms and east offices were approved in October as well as repairs to a roof drain in classroom 209, for a total cost of $20,000. This work had been delayed due to an emergency with the boiler system and in the process of rescheduling.


FACILITIES MINISTRY New Exterior Sign for the Annex. A grant was approved in October for up to $2,000 for an exterior sign on the Annex building listing the outreach ministries occupying the building. The sign was installed in December. Annunciator for the 1320 Building. A grant was approved in December for up to $2,000 for the installation of an annunciator, fire panel, on the main floor of the building at the request from the Fire Department. Our current panel is located in the lower basement creating a safety hazard for the members of the fire department. This addition is currently being scheduled. New Boiler. Heat for the 1320 building is generated through a steam boiler system. Late in the year we uncovered a leak in our 1991 boiler. As a result, the State of Ohio refused our licensing forcing us to move forward with its replacement. Due to the untimely discovery in the midst of the heating season, it became an emergency situation. Due to the limitations on timing, location and age of the system, this has been a significant undertaking requiring a great deal of time, planning and implementation. A grant will be submitted to the Foundation early February for the first of a three phase process.

LOOKING AHEAD We will continue implementing and working on our goals as outlined in Our 20/20 Vision Implementation booklet with a major focus on the following: 

Proactive, preventative and planned maintenance and cleaning programs

Re-engage the Safety Committee

Continue seeking ways to reduce expenses

Increase our abilities to meet the expectations of our staff, ministries, councils, boards, visitors and faith community gathering within our buildings

Create ways to strengthen community and ownership through volunteer opportunities in support of our facilities

Manage, communicate and support facilities personnel to effectively meet the goals and objectives of our church.

CURRENT AND FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS New and long term plans for improvements are being considered and addressed as part of the Capital Projects. Many mechanicals for the south campus have reached the end of their life expectancy and in need of replacement. Apart from the Capital Project, proposed 2014 grants for the south campus will include; a new ice machine, new drinking fountains, a new master key system and a new utility sink and improved lighting for the Trading Post maintenance room. The Facilities Ministry will continue seeking ways to provide a welcoming environment for worship, celebrations of life, pastoral care, education, outreach, social gatherings, meeting and missions of our church.



By Lauri Sullivan, Interim Director

First Community Foundation was started in 1954 to honor the work of Dr. Roy Burkhart whose vision was to create a community in service, with the resources to address needs, building the role of God’s love in the World. In 1961, it was spun off as a separate 501 (c) 3 from First Community Church. It is supported and built by individual donations and bequeaths, and currently has about $8 million invested with Bank of New York Mellon with almost 65 individual funds and 37 endowments. Many of these funds and endowments are dedicated to specific ministries. Approximately 5% of the Foundation is spent annually to aid programs and facilities within First Community Church and to serve other missions worldwide. In 2013, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees approved $335,197 in grants that ranged from facilities improvements to program support to mission work. It is a privilege to have a resource to bolster these integral initiatives outside the annual operating plan of the church.

FOUNDATION GROWTH The investment expertise of Bank of New York Mellon has earned the Foundation over 7.5% annually for the last five years. This is slightly below the S and P 500, due to the necessary inclusion of bonds to prevent overexposure in the stock market and buffer against market fluctuations. Given the market turndown in 2008, the results are substantial. In 2013 two new funds were started by members. The Don and Mary Jameson Beautification Fund was begun to honor Don’s retirement after leading the Foundation for over twenty years. The fund will be used to augment exterior facilities as needed. Doug and Darian Torrance also initiated the Heart to Heart Fund, which is well on its way to becoming an endowment. While Heart to Heart Food Pantry has been part of First Community since 1995, it has never had a fund within the Foundation. The pantry will benefit from the vision of the Torrance’s in the future. Additionally, James Wiggins passed away in November and left an insurance policy he purchased in 1993 in the Foundation’s name to be simply used to “help the church.” The Foundation depends on gifts like these from individuals to fuel future needs. Lastly, the Foundation relies on Foundation Sunday and individual contributions to build the resources. Most of these gifts are given as memorials or honorariums. More than 500 were received in 2013, far exceeding 2012. A total of $146,743 was contributed to the Foundation in 2013.

FOUNDATION USAGE The Board of Trustees awards grants after an application process that includes a description of need and impact on First Community Church. For Worship and Arts, a timpani was purchased and the Foundation underwrote a part of the Chancel Choir European trip. North Campus received a new patio and refrigerators for the Mary Evans Center. Akita got a new hot water heater, an all terrain vehicle and a loan to replace the septic system. The Foundation also continues to support education giving early


FIRST COMMUNITY FOUNDATION childhood scholarships, staff enrichment programs and even supported an Ecuadorian student. Missions used Foundation money to aid the Homeless Families Foundation and the Salvation Army. Media received new lighting and cameras to continue their fine productions on the CW network, exposing First Community to the entire Columbus market. A portion of the funds went to bring James Findley to our Spiritual Searcher program. The Foundation has also aided First Community directly with a gift of $53,145 to its annual operating plan. This is a continuation of a policy established in 2000.

LOOKING AHEAD Objective I: Manage portfolio for its heritage and long term viability. 2014 will be the Foundation’s sixtieth anniversary, the Diamond anniversary. This is an opportunity to celebrate, but also take stock of how the foundation is run. While many of the basics are in place, working with other churches and the guidance of the Church of Christ and the Disciples has reinforced to only spend 5% of the base annually. The last few years, the Foundation has slightly exceeded that. Given the reality of inflation and market fluctuation, it is imperative to adhere to strong standards. It is also hoped the Foundation will seek to develop an advisory committee to assist with the legal and financial reality of running the Foundation. This would augment the Board of Trustees and simply improve decision making. Objective 2: Support First Community Church and its initiatives. This will be a year to continue to support the Church and its endeavors. The facilities at both campuses and Akita need continuous planned expensive maintenance given their age. Some of this can be planned in advance, but as any major outlay of funds, it can cripple a budget if the assets are not in place. The Foundation is in a position to buffer the Church and reach beyond the walls with strategic planned gifts. Bank of New York Mellon can offer a line of credit at a low interest rate, keeping the corpus intact and at work in the investment markets. Additionally, the grant process will be streamlined on all levels. A new grant approval policy was accepted at the end of 2013 by the Governing Board that will accelerate the dispersal of funds. This requires a revision of the Grant Spending Policy. A committee is also in place to evaluate the current grant forms and recommend any modifications. Objective 3: Increase the congregation’s care of the Foundation and ultimately the corpus. This is and will be the Foundation’s biggest challenge as the church embraces Our 20/20 Vision. It is essential all active members understand there are a number of vehicles in place to support the established ministries and the ministries that have not even been dreamed up. There are also many ways to support the church financially to build those ministries. A gift to the Foundation is an act of belief that the church and its ministries will continue to grow and exist beyond 2014.


FIRST COMMUNITY FOUNDATION It is the aim of the Foundation to continue the passion of FCC of those members that have already given to the Foundation and those that have promised a gift to the Foundation. These people are the backbone of real growth in the next five to ten years and they need nourishment, reinforcing their decision. It is also imperative to develop the love and enthusiasm of FCC with all members to include the Foundation in their estate planning. No one likes to talk about death and dying, but the reality of good stewardship extends beyond today. The Foundation is a way to leave a legacy for a specific ministry or for the general welfare of the church. In 2014 expect to hear more dialogue and see more demonstrated uses of Foundation funds. The Foundation is First Community’s trust in its future. 2014 is a milestone for leadership and vision, an opportunity to stop and recognize what a diamond the Foundation is to the church. It is a hard, worthy, unbreakable, unalterable gem reflecting the love and light of Jesus in a world fractured and spent. Its silent support of maintenance, projects and ministries is a testament of the faith of many by sharing all God had given. Let us help make the resources continue for the next generation.


Gifts and Bequests Dividends and Interest Total

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 5 year Total $ 143,274.12 $ 302,467.26 $ 68,101.60 $ 162,366.75 $ 950,992.08 $ 1,627,201.81 $ 204,887.07 $ 254,900.35 $ 212,234.53 $ 168,075.38 $ 194,341.78 $ 1,034,439.11 $ 350,173.19 $ 559,378.61 $ 282,346.13 $ 332,451.13 $ 1,147,341.86 $ 2,661,640.92

Program grants Program grants unused Genl and Admin Total

$ 475,872.83 $ 454,473.48 $ 374,785.09 $ (2,285.00) $ 144,010.10 $ 125,210.44 $ 118,934.60 $ 619,882.93 $ 577,398.92 $ 493,719.69

$ 205,075.54 $ $ (9,346.17) $ $ 104,035.30 $ $ 299,764.67 $

Other Income Realized gain (loss) Unrealized gain (loss) Total

$ $ $ $ 76,514.38 $ (199,626.59) $ 5,569.45 $ 524,843.34 $ (214,093.79) $ 587,627.90 $ 601,357.72 $ (413,720.38) $ 593,197.35

$ 2,467.23 $ (245,681.98) $ 1,243,541.06 $ 1,000,326.31

Net Assets

$ 7,294,878.52 $ 6,993,353.18 $ 7,454,489.50 $ 7,079,587.66 $ 6,049,780.66

Grant % of previous year asset base Genl and Admin % of previous year asset base Grant and admin % of previous year asset base

Program grants Program grants unused Genl and Admin Total

6.8% 2.1% 8.9%

6.1% 1.7% 7.7%

2012 % change $ 475,872.83 4.7% $ na $ 144,010.10 15.0% $ 619,882.93 7.4%

5.3% 1.7% 7.0%

$ 480.50 $ (31,187.20) $ (2,120,879.10) $ (2,151,585.80)

3.2% 1.7% 5.0%

2011 % change $ 454,473.48 21.3% $ $ (2,285.00) na $ 125,210.44 5.3% $ $ 577,398.92 16.9% $


373,295.23 (1,171.60) 103,007.88 475,131.51

$ 1,883,502.17 $ (12,802.77) $ 595,198.32 $ 2,465,897.72

5 year Average $ 325,440.36 $ 206,887.82 $ 534,338.18 $ 376,700.43 $ (4,267.59) $ 119,039.66 $ 493,179.54

$ 2,947.73 $ 589.55 $ (394,411.94) $ (78,882.39) $ 21,039.41 $ 4,207.88 $ (370,424.80) $ (74,084.96)

4.9% 1.4% 6.3% 2010 % change 374,785.09 82.8% na 118,934.60 14.3% 493,719.69 64.7%

2009 % change $ 205,075.54 -45.1% $ (9,346.17) 697.7% $ 104,035.30 1.0% $ 299,764.67 -36.9%

2008 5 year % C AVG % Cha $ 373,295.23 27.5% 0.07 $ (1,171.60) na $ 103,007.88 39.8% 0.10 $ 475,131.51 30.5% 0.08


By Jackie Cherry, Church Historian

Many hands have contributed to the new home for the First Community Church archives. One of the final tasks undertaken by Joel Hawley before his retirement from the church staff was to create a space in Lincoln Road Chapel for the archives, a fitting spot for them within the walls built by our founders. The young adult Quarterlifers carried file drawers and cartons of documents to their new repository. A gift from Jim and Merry Hamilton financed the purchase of brand new file cabinets. In the ensuing years Rachael Binder, ably assisted by son, Evan, have donated hundreds of hours to sorting and filing and creating order out of chaos. The historical heritage of First Community Church has been tapped repeatedly in recent years, especially as we celebrated our centennial. It was exciting to see what had been stashed away in the cornerstone of 1320 and to observe how well the contents had been preserved. Before the stone was resealed, new materials were added to provide a glimpse of what our church is doing today. I am always gratified to see people stop and study the timelines that are still on display at both campuses. They do graphically tell our story. In my role as historian, I respond to queries from members and church staffers alike. The history of Heritage Sunday and overviews of what was happening in our church forty years ago have become regular features of our annual observance, as well as a display of selected archival materials in the library. I am always happy to meet with our young people, Guild groups, circles and other groups within the church to share the fascinating story that is our history and heritage. Donations to our archive collection are always welcome. The most recent came from Ann Knodt in the form of photos and memorabilia from her mother, Virginia Armstrong, who was a long time staff member. Our history is not dead; it is alive and well and ever growing.



By Dawn Costin, Director of Children and Youth Ministries

The over-arching goal of our Children and Youth Ministry is to help kindergarten thru twelfth grade youth develop a sustainable faith that will guide them as they grow and mature and eventually move out into the world. Our relational ministries strive to provide programs and activities for children and youth to encounter God’s unconditional love and grace. We help to prepare the soil, plant the seeds and provide the nurturance to sustain a life that is enriched in faith in God and one that imitates the life of Jesus through loving and serving. We provide the tools for youth to develop a solid rock on which to stand and a soft pillow on which to rest. To this end, we provide multiple opportunities throughout their lifetime, for youth to connect and grow spiritually, develop a strong sense of community with one another and become vital members of our church and the world. We recognize that our culture demands more and more time and attention of our youth and their families. Sunday mornings no longer hold the sacred grounds they have historically held. By providing multiple opportunities for church sponsored events and involvement throughout the week, we are able to provide touch points for youth to connect with God, the church and others, beyond Sunday mornings. Below are the descriptions of the many ways the church serves our youth.

HIGHLIGHTS Sunday mornings Sunday morning classes provide opportunities to K-12 youth for Christian focused education, faith exploration, and fostering community with their peers and adult mentors and leaders. Curriculum is designed to be developmentally appropriate for each stage of spiritual and emotional development. We have 565 youth on our Sunday morning rosters, with an average attendance of 66%. Missions Imitating the life of Jesus calls us to serve others. Beginning in elementary school, children are encouraged to participate in multiple mission opportunities that include Wednesday evening Midweek Missions, collecting food for Thanksgiving Baskets (33 this year), stocking our Heart to Heart Food Pantry, and providing gifts to our new members and residents of First Community Village. As youth enter middle and high school, they participate in Y-Family meals, Monday evening meals, stocking our Heart to Heart food pantry, providing gifts for families in need through Adopt-a-Family at Christmas time, building houses in Mexico and providing service in the Dominica Republic. In 2013 we had 184 youth participate K-12 missions. As a part of Our 20/20 Vision to “encourage and cultivate a life that involves service among our children and youth”, we are strengthening our mission opportunities for all of our youth. Additionally, we have made a concentrated effort on providing outreach to our post-college young adults and have connected with 20 of these folks who are interested in staying involved with the church, with an


CHILDREN AND YOUTH MINISTRY emphasis on spiritual/faith development, serving the church and serving others. It is our hope to engage and energize this age group, while cultivating a spirit of giving that will last a lifetime. Special Youth Worship Events By honoring milestones during worship, youth learn that they are valued members of our faith community. Special worship services are prepared for Akita Sunday, Third Grade Bibles, Fourth Grade Communion, Mexico Commissioning service, Block of Wood (Confirmation) Sunday, and Senior Youth Celebration Sunday. Youth Worship Participants rd


Forty 3 through 12 grade youth participated in 2013 as liturgists and ushers in worship. This is a recent new effort, which we hope to continue to expand. Children’s Choirs Our K-12 Ministry works closely with the Worship and Arts department to help support the music ministry for children and youth. Approximately 60 K-12 grade youth participate in our choir and bell choirs. Family Events Through special events coordinated by our K-12 Council and staff, we provide opportunities for families to come together for food and fellowship, as well as providing funds for our on-going missions. These events include our annual Chili Cook-Off, Christmas Craft Shop, Pasta Dinner and Beach Party. Fellowship Fellowship occurs whenever we gather together, but additional opportunities for fun and fellowship for our youth are provided throughout the year. Activities include, Middle School Midweek, Wednesday night High School Impact, Middle and High School Fun Bus, Retreats, and 1,2,3…Akita! for first through third-graders. Middle and High school leaders also meet youth for lunch during the school day and coffee in the afternoons. Leadership Development Whenever possible, we provide our middle and high school youth with opportunities to develop their leadership skills by volunteering in K-5 Sunday school, helping with 1,2,3…Akita! and volunteering at special events. Additionally, college-age students serve as Middle School Crossroads leaders and volunteers for youth retreats. All these opportunities provide more touch points, while helping youth gain confidence in their leadership skills under the guidance of church leaders. Mentors and Leaders A strong component of our K-12 ministry is that of volunteer leadership. Helping youth develop strong relationships with caring adults within our faith community provides life-long church connections. We


CHILDREN AND YOUTH MINISTRY have 65 adult volunteers who help us lead our K-12 Sunday morning classes, with 17 of those volunteers being college students who grew up in our church. Pastoral Care Coordinating with our church pastoral care team, K-12 staff members are available to help meet the emotional and spiritual needs of K-12 youth and their families during times of transitions and crisis.

GOALS FOR 2014 

Continue to refine our curriculum to provide developmental and spiritual continuity throughout the K-12 years, while staying current and relevant to our faith and the culture in which we live.

Strengthen our volunteer base by providing opportunities for spiritual growth and leadership development.

Create a system to better track the use of youth volunteers in order to develop a strong youth volunteer base, while helping the youth develop their church leadership skills.

Strengthen and coordinate our mission opportunities by working more closely with our Missions Ministry and creating a unified mission goal for K-12.

Follow our high school seniors as they graduate and move out in to the world, helping them stay connected to our church.

Identify ways to help our young adults stay connected to the church and help them identify and use their gifts in service to others.

K-12 COUNCIL The mission of our K-12 Council is to provide support for the implementation of the K-12 programs as they continue to bring the Christian faith into closer focus for our young people. The Council addresses the overall needs of the K-5, Middle School and High School programs through task-driven projects that positively impact the key areas of the K-12 programs which are fundraising, promotions, event support, volunteer recruitment, and missions. Council members serve as advocates for the growth and health of the K-12 ministries. Currently, we have 16 council members, but are always seeking more willing hearts to help with our many ministries. Whether you have youth or not, if there are ways you would like participate in our Children and Youth Ministry, we encourage and welcome you to join us.



By Ann Eliot-Naille, Church Librarian

HIGHLIGHTS The South Campus Library is a work in progress, which we hope to stimulate greatly in the next year with the addition of Walter Watkins, Adult Education Coordinator, as our staff Liaison with Religious Life & Learning. Walter has library experience with the Methodist Theological Seminary as well. We are also grateful to our faithful library volunteer, Priscilla Ratliff. Priscilla has been maintaining circulation of the books in the library. There has been a fair amount of circulation and she is very thorough in checking back in those returned books. In this past year, the library acquired a large assortment of titles from the Book Store. In addition, donations have been made and are very welcome. It should be noted that if there is a book donated that we already have one or more copies in circulation, we donated it to the church garage sale. Walter Watkins has done an inventory of North Campus material, and has crossed checked it against the south campus catalog. We have also made some subject divisions at north in preparation for cataloging. We are also identifying professional librarians within the congregation who might assist us in future planning and organizing.

LOOKING AHEAD In the next year, we will be concentrating on weeding out titles, cataloging the rest of the South Campus library and the donations there and beginning the North Campus donations. To do this, we need to expand our software license to include others who are able to input preliminary data on a regular basis. Ann will still be in charge of assigning catalogue number and subjects. We also hope to acquire more titles, new and classic, especially for our Spiritual Searcher collection.



By Michael Barber, Director of Marketing and Communications

Comprised of Tabitha McCleery (Graphics), Emily Rogers (Admin) and myself, the Marketing and Communications Department is tasked with the mission to spread the good news of First Community Church to its congregation, the larger community and the world. Our team works closely with all Program areas to understand and help realize their goals. Our efforts help raise revenue, attendance and awareness of the various ministries.


Firstnews Monthly, our flagship publication, celebrates 60 years of service to the congregation. In 2013, Monthly was delivered by mail to 2,100 homes for a total of 25,200 reads. Each issue is also downloaded from our website an average of 1,500 times for a total of 18,000 reads.

Firstnews Sunday, our weekly bulletin insert, was delivered to congregants in worship each week for a total of 43,225 reads in 2013. Additionally, Sunday is downloaded from our website an average of 225 times each week for a total of 11,700 reads. o

Both publications in the firstnews family combine to provide a total of 98,125 reads - both print and online - in 2013.

Our website,, witnessed exceptional interest and growth. More than 70,900 visits were made to the site in 2013 compared to 59,100 the year before. More than 227,700 pages were accessed with a primary interest in worship schedules, worship videos, church events, firstnews and missions.

Our team produced a comprehensive Communications Plan that clearly defines our process for promoting nearly 100 events annually. Each event is assigned a combination of print, video and web elements that work in tandem to provide a more proactive approach to communication.

Our team has worked closely with members of the Capital Projects Committee to inform the congregation of the many aspects of the projects as they relate to Our 20/20 Vision. These efforts include many promotions of a series of Community Forums and related printed materials, the maintenance of a CPC blog on our website and the formation and frequent meetings with a CPC Communications Committee.

We ended the year by creating a series of Impact Videos; short, sharable videos that tell a story in 3 minutes or less. Three Christmas-related videos saw a total of 574 downloads in December. We see this form of messaging as an effective means of communicating church events large and small.

“Market Worship” is a new term used by our team to identify our intent to promote worship activities as “A new event every 7 days.” Dr. Wing indicates that worship is the number one


MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS thing we do. Our team uses online video, web graphics and book promotions to connect congregants and the community to the unique message of First Community Church. 

Facebook has become an integral part of our marketing strategy for many events. Our total audience has grown 41% in 2013, from 812 to 1,156. Their inexpensive promotion structure allows us access to thousands with a small investment. Our current demographics indicate visits to our Facebook page from 10 countries. More than 30% are women under age 44.

LOOKING AHEAD Our team has made significant progress this year and will work to further enhance our support of the ministries of our church. 

We are excited to work closely with Worship and Arts and Worship Technologies to produce creative, cohesive messaging across all platforms; from the live worship experience to web and television.

This is the year of the ‘spin off’ website. Our goal is to increase our reach by building unique websites for several areas of the church. All sites will be accessible from will be the first of these sites to launch in 2014. is an extension of the Monthly and Sunday print publications. The blog format will provide a platform for photos, video and information that may not have a timely place in the printed publications. Additional planned ‘spin off’ sites for 2014 include:

Our firstnews family of products will continue to serve as a vehicle for communicating all aspects of church life. Additionally, we will explore new opportunities for sponsorships allowing our church community to connect with local businesses.



By Paula Russell, Director of Member and Visitor Services

The primary goals of Member and Visitor Services are to assist in providing members and visitors a welcoming experience; become acquainted with, nurture and assist new members; serve as a liaison between the staff and congregation; collaborate with the Pastoral Care staff. Additionally, we provide administrative maintenance of the membership/participant database, visitor outreach, coordinate and lead the process of membership, attend to general member and visitor requests and inquiries, provide assistance in connecting members to programs, volunteer opportunities and small group experiences.

HIGHLIGHTS Four Membership Seminars were held in 2013 with the return of the Celebration of Opportunities. The Celebration of Opportunities provides new members information about church programs and an opportunity to ask program representatives specific questions. A video of short presentations by members of our Clergy and Program Staff has been created to use in the membership process. Those seeking a new church, those who wish to learn more about the church and those who are ready to join, but are unable to attend a Membership Seminar will have the benefit of learning about areas of the church through these video presentations. The Membership Council continues to meet and greet members and visitors at our Welcome Centers on Sunday mornings. They also welcome attendees at the Membership Seminars, and prepare and serve them a meal. The Welcome Centers were updated with new transparencies and program area signage. The North and South Campus Welcome Centers remain the key location for information for visitors and members, not only on Sunday mornings, but also throughout the week. A high priority has been placed on standardizing and updating our Membership Database to provide more accurate and useful information for staff and church leaders. The database now includes multiple profiles that have been added to members’ records, each identifying a member’s participation in small groups, volunteer and leadership roles. Reports using this information are frequently prepared for staff and church leaders. Our program was involved in the planning and implementation of two successful, annual events. The Celebration of Giving is an evening that honors our members who pledge at the Pacesetters and Rose Circle levels. In 2012 and 2013, this event took place in the homes of church members, with Program Staff and Governing Board serving as hosts. The response has been very positive and the event has become a wonderful opportunity for the Staff and Board to simply say, “Thank you”. The other event is Heritage Sunday, which is jointly planned and coordinated by the Director of Member and Visitor Services, the Director of Older Adult Ministry and the Older Adult Council. The


MEMBER AND VISITOR SERVICES current Block of Wood class also plays a role in this special day as our guests who are recognized during worship. On Heritage Sunday, members of 40 years or more are recognized during worship services. This event dates back to 1973 when 156 members were honored. In November 2013, we celebrated 516 members who have maintained their membership for 40 years or more. A Celebration Reunion filled Brownlee Hall following the 11 am worship service where attendees viewed a slideshow of photos provided by members. Archives were displayed in the Library. Friendship Circles (formerly Couples Circles) provide a “sense of the small church” within our large church family. This ongoing group experience helps church members develop close friendships and provides a source of support through the transitions of life. Typically, Friendship Circles meet on a monthly basis. There are currently 39 Friendship Circles, with new Circles forming. Over 400 members of our congregation are members of a Friendship Circle. For the first time, First Community Church organized a group of members and friends to march in the 2012 Columbus Pride Parade. In 2013, First Community Church, along with five other churches in the Central Southeast Ohio Association, gathered for an unprecedented presence at the Pride Parade and Festival. From these churches, approximately 75 people marched together in Christian unity sharing the message of love and acceptance of their congregations. In addition, a pamphlet was distributed with information from the participating churches, including the church names, addresses, contact information, social media information and information about worship services.

STATISTICS FOR 2013 The following statistics appear in the most recently published 2012 Yearbooks of our two denominational affiliations - the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  


With 73 baptisms at First Community Church in 2012, we rank 2 in the United Church of rd Christ and 3 in the Christian Church throughout the United States. th For membership additions in 2012, First Community Church is 6 in the United Church of th Christ and 9 in the Christian Church with 112 new members.

New Member statistics for 2013 

103 new members were received into membership.

New members by age o

27 – age 19 and under (21 joined through Block of Wood)


5 – age 20 to 29


28 – age 30 to 39




15 – age 40 to 49


12 – age 50 to 59


10 – age 60 to 69


4 – age 70 to 79

In addition, new member families include 84 children living at home.

2013 Resignations and Transfers 

9 members transferred their membership and 8 members resigned in 2013. Of those 17 members, 8 moved out of the Columbus area.

Visitors 

The average Sunday attendance in 2013 for visitors ranged from 43 to 74. During a recorded 25-week period, 1,505 visitors worshiped with us.

LOOKING AHEAD The Leadership Roundtable will resume after a ten-year hiatus. These gatherings will provide Council and Board Chairs the opportunity to share with other church leaders and serve as a Think Tank in support of one another. Topics will evolve as to the needs of the group, but will focus on what each respective group is planning, discuss ways to offer support for one another, and share the groups’ needs, challenges, successes and suggestions. Maintenance of the Membership Database will specifically focus on Adult Children who joined the church through the Block of Wood program, but remain listed with their parents. This updating will be done in coordination with the Director of K-12 and the Youth Team. As related to Our 20/20 Vision, the meaning, measurement and significance of engagement will be a focus in 2014. This ministry will concentrate on matching skills, experience and interests of new members with our various ministries and programs.



By Rev. Kate Shaner, Minister of Mission

The Mission Council and Refugee Task Force of First Community Church seek to engage and encourage people in ministry outside the walls of the church. We are called to tell the stories of our brothers and sisters as well as provide opportunities for the congregation to work alongside those we serve. Through relationship building, dialogue, presence and service the entirety of the mission program at FCC seeks to transform individuals and our world into who God has called each of us to be. First Community Church is blessed with a congregation who loves to serve.

HIGHLIGHTS Carol Baker, coordinator of the Monday Night Meals for the Friends of the Homeless (in which FCC has not missed a Monday in 10 years) estimates 330 volunteers have served this year, including a group of th 12 who serve the women’s shelter Rebecca’s Place every 4 Tuesday. Beth Hanson, Garage Sale Guru, reported 300 volunteers for the Garage Sale alone (in one week!) including 50 volunteers who were not church members. Approximately 60 congregation members joined together this year to help sort, reclaim and box food at Mid-Ohio Foodbank. A committed group of volunteers helped Chris Casavant, Mary Buzby and the Refugee Task Force clean and furnish an entire apartment for the Kafle family, who arrived from Nepal last April. FCC members donated over $5,000 in household goods to make sure they arrived “home” to a well furnished apartment. Lamar Graham, Director of Heart to Heart, notes that his volunteer base grew from 4-5 volunteers over the summer to over 250 from September to December of this year alone, including area church members and Grandview Community Residents. Two gardeners from the Seeds of Hope Garden came to Heart to Heart every Thursday this summer and provided fresh produce, knowledge and community to our clients. Heart to Heart Both the Deep Griha Bollywood and Barbeque and the Shrimp Boil to benefit Back Bay Mission were sold out! With more than 200 attending each event respectively, can you imagine all the hands it takes to make them successful! First Community Church is blessed with those who are willing to share their time with others: Over 100 people traveled on mission this year with FCC to Back Bay Mission, Tecate, Kenya and Pune, India. A small group of committed volunteers has begun the first ever prison ministry at the Franklin Medical Center and work with inmates Mondays and Fridays bringing their presence to a unit that has never had volunteers before.


MISSIONS And, FCC is also blessed with members who give of their treasure The Garage Sale is the largest fundraiser that benefits missions. This year, our profit exceeded $45,000.00. Not only did we did we generate revenue for mission but we received other valuable donations from 2 Men and a Truck and Mayflower Storage; Davidson’s Rentals donated 10 tables for ongoing use; the FCC Guilds provided food for volunteers all week, and much more. We believe in sharing our abundance so all left over merchandise went to Volunteers of America, Trading Post, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Camp Akita, a Sudanese refugee family, Brown County (Ohio’s poorest county) and others. Our special mission offerings generated $60,000 to benefit organizations chosen by mission council with the November offering of over $10,000 going to support the ministry of Heart to Heart and a portion of the Easter utilized to send 18 refugee children to Camp Akita. Thanks to committed Sunday volunteers, Kroger shoppers and grocery certificate purchasers, mission council receives quarterly rewards checks to add to our donations. It is through the generosity of the entirety of the First Community Church family that mission council was able to provide the following mission grants: $15,000-Hilltop Shalom Zone (Columbus) for a Freedom School Library $2,200-Tandana (Mali/Ecuador) Foundation for scholarships $10,000-Rafiki (Kenya) for general operations $12,000-Healing Arts Mission (Haiti) for half of the Medical Director’s salary. (Note: In Haiti, there are approximately 100 surgeons for 10,000,000 people. Our donation assures one of these physicians will continue to care for the 20,000 people served by the Healing Arts Clinic) $200 Silvia Cotacachi Sponsorship- (Ecuador) (In collaboration with the Project Amigos foundation Fund) $5,000 to The United Church of Christ Wider Missions for Typhoon Haiyan relief $1,000 in support of the surviving Shahad children These are only some of the ways people are serving the wider world through missions at FCC. They keep growing and multiplying, blessing upon blessing, a never ending source of light and joy.



By Rev. Kate Shaner, Minister of Mission

Heart to Heart is a choice pantry, allowing clients to choose the food that works for their family. This is different from many other pantries which only provide pre-bagged groceries. We provide 3 meals a day for 3 days for each member of the household. Clients may shop with us once per month, so when you see 220 households in December that is 220 different households, no repeats. We take walk-ins only, however, many clients are referred from Hands On Central Ohio’s Food bank hotline. A majority of our food comes from Mid-Ohio Food bank however local businesses such as Huffman’s Market and Starbucks donate weekly food items. Our typical Mid-Ohio food pick up is 3-5 pallets of food. We work collaboratively with the Trading Post to help provide access to low cost clothing to families in need of this support. Heart to Heart is funded entirely by donations.


Total households served = 2,713

Individuals served = 7,399

Children Served = 2,673

Adults = 3,976

Seniors = 750

Meals Provided = 66,591



By Missy Obergefell, Director of Older Adult Ministry

The Older Adult Ministry continues to tend the needs of our older members inside and outside the walls of the church. In addition to providing pastoral care through hospital and care center visits, home visits and office appointments are scheduled with those who request them. Resources for in home care, later life living arrangements and caregiver support are investigated and shared as needed. Also, much attention is given to ensuring that our facilities and our functions consider and accommodate the particular needs and culture of our elders. Older Adult Council The Older Adult council has 15 members and meets once per month during the program year to support the efforts of the Older Adult Ministry. Some of the functions of the council include Listening Post (periodically reserves a table after services to encourage congregational feedback so that concerns can be addressed), Trip committee (plans a trip that is tailored to the interests and accommodates the needs of older members), Heritage Sunday committee (plans a reception/reunion to follow the Heritage Sunday service), and the newly formed Education Committee, which focuses on providing various forms of information that pertains to aging. Friend to Friend This program is in its third year. It provides an opportunity for those in our congregation who have a passion for communing with older adults to be paired with our older members who desire companionship. There are currently 6 visitors who are engaged with 9 elders in ongoing relationships. These visitors meet monthly to discuss celebrations and concerns they encounter in their visits. ElderWisdom In this, its first year, this book group has met to discuss 5 books that focus on the spiritual aspects of aging. The group composition varies, and averages about 8 in-person participants. In addition to those who convene to discuss the book as a group, a number of others read along with the selections as they are published in the newsletter. This year, 4 of those people have requested personal visits to share their insights even though they are not able to attend in person. Spiritual Direction Currently, 4 of our older members are engaged in monthly, one on one spiritual direction with Missy Obergefell. These people are companioned as they consciously deepen in their inner connection to the Divine.


PASTORAL CARE MINISTRY The Pastoral Care Department includes Rev. Jim Long, Minister of Pastoral Care; Rev. Deborah Lindsay, Minister of Spiritual Care; Missy Obergefell, Director of Older Adult Ministry; and Paula Russell, Director of Member and Visitor Services. The Pastoral Care Assistant is Kathy Weatherby who came on staff after the retirement of Sandy Turner. The Pastoral Care Ministry continued to pay close attention to the pastoral and spiritual needs of the church. As such, clergy, staff and laity were involved in a number of areas in the life of our community of faith.

HIGHLIGHTS Communion The pastoral care office worked with the clergy, board of deacons, and service board to celebrate the sacrament of communion in public worship at the beginning of liturgical seasons such as Advent and Lent and on special days such as Maundy Thursday and Pentecost. In addition, clergy upon request took communion to people who were unable to come to church due to health issues or other reasons. Baptisms The pastoral care office arranged for public and private baptisms. There were a total of 54 baptisms during the year. Weddings and Commitment Ceremonies Clergy officiated at 34 weddings and commitment ceremonies both inside and outside the church during the year. Clergy also officiated in 2 services for the renewal of marriage or commitment vows. Funerals and Services of Memory There were 46 funerals or services of memory conducted in the church, at funeral homes, and at gravesides. Memorial Garden The church has a memorial garden at the south campus for the burial or scattering of ashes of those loved ones who have been cremated after death. The names of the people memorialized were engraved on the arch at the entrance to the memorial garden. There were 3 services at the memorial garden. Hospital Calling and Visitation The pastoral care staff made calls on people in the hospital and other health care institutions throughout the year. The pastoral care staff also visited parishioners and others in homes, retirement centers, and other living units upon request to provide pastoral care. This included visiting people who were unable to attend church for health or other reasons.


PASTORAL CARE MINISTRY Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction The clergy and pastoral care staff provided pastoral counseling upon request. The clergy or staff counselor referred counselees to a licensed therapist in appropriate cases. Clergy and lay people trained in spiritual direction provided individual or group spiritual guidance to those wishing to have spiritual companionship as they intentionally were attentive to the movement of the spirit in their lives. The Prayer Chain Requests for prayer made to the pastoral care office were sent to the prayer chain, which consists of individuals who agree to maintain confidentiality and pray for the needs of parishioners, their loved ones, and others. Bridges to Healing and Transitions A grief group for those who have experienced the death of a loved one met on the second and fourth Tuesday each month. A group for those who have experienced divorce or broken relationship s met on the first and third Tuesday each month. Board of Deacons The Board of Deacons assisted with the sacraments of communion and baptism and made posthospital and post- bereavement calls on those who have been in the hospital or experienced the death of a loved one. They also assisted with vespers at First Community Village and delivered roses to older adults at Christmas time. They provided support and assistance to candidates for ministry from the church. Service Board The Service Board prepared the elements for communion services and assisted with communion. They also delivered roses to those who were in the hospital and provided hospitality after church services and for certain special events. They are elected by the Board for three year terms. Prayers and Squares The group is comprised of fifteen master quilt makers and artists who share their passion - and the power of prayer - with their faith community. Church member Barb Davis brought the concept to First Community Church 11 years ago after learning of the nationwide ministry while attending a quilting retreat in Hocking Hills. She and a handful of others formed Prayers and Squares #62. Today, the ministry has grown to more than 1,000 circles internationally. Quilts are requested by the pastoral team, however, it must also be approved by the recipient. Each 40� x 60� masterpiece is dotted with loose strings, ready to be tied into knots by those who will say a prayer on their behalf. Quilts are present during church events and worship services, providing an opportunity for the congregation to participate and to sign an accompanying booklet. More than 600 quilts have been created, prayed over and delivered – each taking as long as 1 to 3 weeks to complete.



By Peggy Wible, Committee Chair th

The unique ministry of Spiritual Searcher, celebrating its 25 anniversary year in 2014, brings innovative religious, spiritual, psychological and ethical thinkers and practitioners to central Ohio in order to expand our personal and collective horizons and consciousness. We deeply value the leadership of Rev. David Hett, the support of Natalia Jones and the collaboration and efforts of our committee members in 2013.

HIGHLIGHTS James Finley Spiritual Searcher Retreat, March 2013 Rev. Hett fully describes the value and impact of James Finley’s visit with us this past year. We especially thank Lisa Bueche, our project chair for the Finley retreat, who was instrumental in encouraging the committee to invite this amazing presence as our Searcher. Lisa had the vision to bring Dr. Finley to our community and shepherded her vision to create a true ‘sacred space’ experience for all in attendance. Rose Konrath, 2012 Spiritual Searcher Chair, was also deeply involved in making sure that Dr. Finley reached as many searchers as possible. As always, we thank our in-house media and technical advisor, Stewart Pitchford, who handles all the audio-visual needs and provided participants with DVDs of the weekend. Dr. Finley’s retreat has led to the beginning of three new “contemplative way” groups, meeting weekly or bi-weekly, for periods of sacred reading, meditation and group reflection. Jim Finley stimulated us to actually practice our faith as individuals and groups. Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Spiritual Searcher, October 2013 We were especially pleased to offer this Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago as our missional “offering” to the church and Columbus community. He was recommended to us originally by two “friends of Spiritual Searcher,” Pete and Pidge Diehl, and Rev. Hett organized the event with Natalia after gathering input from Dr. Wing and Rev. Shaner regarding the themes that Dr. Moss might present. Searcher committee members Charles and Linda Baldeck have encouraged us to host events for donation only, and we were able to put this into practice with this special mid-week event, hopefully encouraging many in the community, and many younger people to attend where possible. We are also grateful to our church member, Doug Kridler, for inviting Dr. Moss to a community leaders gathering at the end of his stay. We were hoping, in a sense, to “give away" Dr. Moss to the greater community and this final event helped us realize that goal.

In keeping with our goal to expand the reach of Spiritual Searcher throughout the Midwest, a group from our committee made a field trip to the Rivers Edge retreat center in Cleveland, a ministry of the congregation of St. Joseph ( They offer programs and retreats in the tradition of Spiritual Searcher. They were very generous in sharing their best practices, many of which we are employing to optimize the quality and outreach of our programming. We learned how they plan ahead


SPIRITUAL SEARCHER and craft pricing to reach the greatest number of participants. We formed a collaborative bond with them, which will surely continue to bear fruit. We began in 2012 and continue to date to not only bring master teachers on the cutting edge of spirituality to our community but also to offer webcasts (Richard Rhor), movie nights, book studies and study groups. We have adopted a budget and timeline approach to assist us in setting the table for our searchers and reaching those who would really want to be blessed by their presence. We are blessed to have a dedicated committee who can always be counted on to genuinely welcome our Searchers and those who seek their wisdom.

LOOKING AHEAD We begin in 2014 with our newest Contemplative Way Group on Saturday mornings, and a January 22 forum on Eastern Religions in Grace Hall hosted by former WOSU-radio talk show host, Fred Anderle. th

And, of course, Spiritual Searcher celebrates its 25 anniversary year with a series of our favorite and new presenters: Jesus scholar and enlivening teacher John Dominic Crossan coming in March; an exciting new voice full of grace and wisdom, Mirabai Starr, in June; and we conclude the year in November bringing back one of the most deeply spiritual teachers we have ever experienced, John Philip Newell from Edinburgh, Scotland, for a full weekend retreat at North Campus. Finally, we are excited to work hand-in-hand with the evolving Center for Spiritual Searcher, part of Our 20/20 Vision and a special interest of our Spiritual Searcher Committee.



By Rebecca Wolfe, Director Tri-Village Trading Post

The Tri-Village Trading Post is located between our church at 1320 Cambridge Blvd. and Lincoln Road Chapel. This ministry and outreach opened February 3, 1953 to help provide funding for a psychologist on the church staff. Trading Post continues to minister to our community and church through the help of many volunteers. We continue to provide the community with a large variety of gently-used items that are donated or offered on consignment. Trading Post has had a busy year with the hiring of a new director, Rebecca Wolfe, and officially becoming a fee-supported ministry of First Community Church. Trading Post remains committed to serving the community with affordable clothing and an eclectic mix of personal and home items. Our byline is: “a boutique shopping experience at bargain prices” and we continue working toward that vision. January 2014 we open our doors with newly stripped and waxed floors, areas of new paint, some new fixtures and an overall beautiful look. At our luncheon in December, Trading Post volunteers voted on our mission goal for 2014. We are choosing to support Friends of the Homeless through our FCC organization. Our plan is to provide them with $5,000. Other profits from our work will go toward the various ministries of FCC and Our 20/20 Vision.



By Carol Neff, director

Besides the privilege of ringing once a month or more at First Community Church, the Whitechapel Ringers play community events whenever asked or the schedule permits.

HIGHLIGHTS In 2013 we rang a solo and performed with thirteen other bell choirs in the annual Columbus May Ring held at New Albany High School. On December 8, we rang and sang Christmas Carols at the Glenmont Retirement Center in Hilliard; and on December 21, we walked through all units of the First Community Village Health Center ringing and singing Christmas Carols for the residents. These events are always rewarding to the ringers as well as the recipients, and provide the ringers a chance for further growth in ringing skills. We welcome as substitutes those who have rhythm skills and can read music.


WOMEN’S GUILD The Women’s Guild membership consists of more than 275 women of First Community Church who come together to develop friendships, share their faith and serve the needs of the church, the community and the larger world. Our 12 unique Guild Groups have supported these needs through various Fundraisers and Events in 2013: 

Instillation Potluck and Baby Shower for Church Women United

Christmas Wreath Sale

Betty O’Neill Election Day Bake Sale

Soup and Casserole Sale

“We Love You Luncheon” for First Community Church Staff

New Member Event

Spring Event for the women of First Community Church

A few of the many recipients that receive support from the Women’s Guild include: Camp Akita

Mary Evans Center

Friends of Music

Friends of the Homeless

White Chapel Ringers

Pastoral Care

Heart to Heart

Prayers and Squares


Deep Griha

Back Bay Mission

Mexico AMOR project

Rebecca’s Place

Homeless Family Foundation

Trading Post

Church Women United Layette Program

Habitat for Humanity

FCC Annual Garage Sale

The Women’s Guild welcomed the formation of Group L this year and continues to reach out to the women of First Community Church to join its membership. The rich traditions of fellowship and purpose will lead the Women’s Guild into the future with a renewed focus on expanding its outreach within the church and developing new programming and events to enrich the membership experience.



By Ronald J. Jenkins, Minister of Worship and Liturgy

The year 2013 was a wonderfully enriching year for music and worship at First Community Church. In addition to the music and liturgy provided for the weekly Sunday morning Services of Worship, and the many weddings and Services of Memory, the annual Taizé service on Ash Wednesday began the season of Lent, and was followed by the presentation of WinterSong, February 17, on the first Sunday in Lent in which the Chancel Choir sang works new to their repertoire by Mendelssohn, Handl , and Christiansen. The Holy Week services (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter) continue to bring large numbers of worshippers for these enriching spiritual experiences. Perhaps the most significant ‘new’ happening was the Chancel Choir’s European Tour in June. It had begun with an invitation from the Director Music of the Cathedral in Salzburg, Austria, to sing the Mozart Missa Longa, June 16, 2013. Much of the choir’s tour repertoire of 22 anthems and the Mozart Mass was presented to the church and community in an “Aufwiedersehen” concert on Sunday evening, June 2, to an overflow audience with people standing in all the hallways…it was a wonderful ‘sendoff’ for the choir! The choir sang in the Berlin Cathedral, and Frauenkirche and Kreuzkirche in Dresden, Our Lady before Tyne Cathedral in Prague, and the Salzburg Cathedral. It was a truly ‘once in a lifetime’ experience for 87 people---a musically and spiritually enriching trip. We had two clergy ‘chaperones’—Jim Long and Paul Baumer---and were joined in Salzburg by Dick Wing. A key leadership volunteer in this tour was the dedicated work of Chancel Choir president, Robert Cannell. We were also enriched and great memories saved by the video John Hoberg provided at the end of our tour. The fall brought the beginning of a new church program year carrying from the previous winter/spring seven new choir members. Soli Deo Gloria was presented on October 20, a service in which the 40 year ministry of Ronald Jenkins at First Community Church was celebrated, including a new anthem, Author of Faith, Eternal Word, given as a gift by Howard Helvey. On November 22 a special concert was presented to a large audience in Grace Hall, celebrating the th 100 anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten. Outstanding performances were given by our soloists and Chamber Singers, especially the presentation of Britten’s Canticle II (the story of Abraham and Isaac), sung by Andy Blosser and Emily Rogers with accompaniment by Suzanne Newcomb. The season of Advent has many traditions that are a deep and enriching part of First Community Church, i.e. Sally Beske’s annual Christmas music, an absolutely marvelous presentation by our Youth choirs of a new work written by the gifted hand of Ms. Beske; the many families who participate in the th Advent Candlelighting; the 40 Annual Candlelight Christmas Concert on December 15; and the five


WORSHIP AND ARTS MINISTRY services of worship presented on Christmas Eve, ending with the Festival of Lessons and Carols with choir and orchestra. We have continued to be blessed with outstanding musical leadership from the organ keyboard by Robert Griffith, Senior Organist, at the South Campus. This year he was granted the first sabbatical in his 38 years of service to our church and though we were very ably led during his time away by energetic spirits of Dene Barnard and Marti Rideout, we all rejoiced on Robert’s return in May. His weekly service playing continues at the very highest level, enriching everyone’s worship experience. Sally Beske, Assistant Organist and Director of Youth Choirs, continues to inspire our youth and the numbers are growing. Each week the children under her leadership are inspired and affirmed, and led to grow in their knowledge of music and in their relationship with God and one another. Carol Neff provides excellent leadership for our adult handbell choir, The Whitechapel Ringers, both in worship and special concerts in which they participate. Lois Zook, administrative assistant in the Worship & Arts Department, carefully and lovingly coordinates all the many, many people who participate or attend, all the information related to rehearsals, services of worship, concerts, including the ushers, all with accuracy and sensitivity to everyone’s individual needs. Andy Blosser, our tenor soloist and section leader, is a very important person in rehearsals with his knowledge of vocal technique, instructing the choir to sing better through his weekly ‘warm-ups’ as well as direction of rehearsals and services when Ron is away. We are also indebted to Judy Hoberg who oversees the art displays in Brownlee Hall, Bart Krogman for his work on special liturgical season decorations, and the entire Worship and Arts Council, especially chair, Tom White. We are deeply grateful to the gifts from the “Friends of Music” which are so critical to our music budget. Their gifts continue to financially undergird the artistic efforts of the Music Department, as well as subsidize the services on Christmas Eve, Good Friday and Easter morning. We are always looking at new ways for the worship experience to be enriched. This past year we worked with Dawn Costin (K-12) and Missy Obergefell (Older Adults), and have successfully incorporated youth and older adult lay readers into the services of worship---truly a significant and meaningful addition not only for the readers, but also for the congregation. And this coming year, especially, we are looking at additional meditation services, particularly around the manner of Taizé. It is our hope that our efforts in music and liturgy might provide a moment of beauty in worship and for the ‘presence of the divine’ to be experienced.



By Stewart Pitchford

If it’s sound, light and visual in First Community Church the Worship Technologies Group is involved in its execution. For more than 40 years, our efforts have been instrumental in getting the variety of program message out in radio, television, web and intra facility assistive technology.

HIGHLIGHTS The year began with the continuing implementation of video information systems in Brownlee, Garden Court and the Wicker Room and the maintaining of two broadcast facilities - both underpinned by equipment purchased most recently and originally from the 80’s. We reviewed our programming content and found that while it was fundamentally correct, it represented an aged style which was disconnected from the experience of First Community Church today. Our previous year’s efforts and investments in newer web streaming technologies had returned dividends, but clearly we needed to refocus our energies, our budgets and our talents to create, manage and distribute credible technology for the web and local television. Engaging industry leading talents in media, production and infrastructure consulting, all of our staff, practices, environments and production tools were reviewed and evaluated. We implemented new lighting equipment and procedures, invested in cornerstone video recording equipment forming the basis for our transition into HD and event production techniques. We rented and deployed HD systems for evaluation. We conducted team building and training exercises. We built new camera viewing positions. We also consulted with church staff to creative a more contemporary opening and closing for First Edition. We embraced change and implementation at a pace not seen in years previous. Our goal to aggressively expand the access, distribution and viability of the church's content were reflected in the expansion of the lighting controls of both facilities. We integrated a central control necessary for broadcast production with event operator control for smaller lectures and meetings, the expansion of event operator video and computer inputs eliminating the need for paid staffing to manage such content, and the expansion of the Wicker Room AV capabilities allowing ease of computer display. As we finished 2013, we saw our productions of sermons for broadcast and streaming reach new markets for web and television, specifically on WWHO-TV, The CW. Our productions of music events were broadcast as standards in excellence on WOSU Radio. We realized the limitation of our video equipment and began the process of acquiring Broadcast and Production High Definition Video gear.


WORSHIP TECHNOLOGIES As we move into 2014, our efforts again are to be ever mindful of the skills, planning and execution demanded by an organization as richly dynamic as First Community Church and the growth set before us.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS           

Sunday Worship Services Produced - 140 First Editions Produced – 40 (12 replays) Services of Memory Sanctuary - 20 Weddings Sanctuary - 9 Music Events Produced - 9 Winter Song, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, Auf Weidersehen, Soli Deo Gloria, Britten, Christmas Concert and Christmas Eve Spiritual Searcher Events Produced - 13 Richard Rohr Live Stream, James Finley, Otis Moss Christmas Eve Services - 6 September Night of Inspiration February Annual Meeting

LOOKING AHEAD                  

Expansion – Worship Technologies Financial Budget Contribution by 50% Installation – South Campus HD System Installation – Upgrade South Campus Signage Systems Development – Media Distribution Hard Goods, Broadcast, Programming and Web Hosting Development – Programming Content First Edition Classics Development - Process and Media through Program Staff collaboration Development – Programming Content Program Staff-Directed Advertising Development – Programming Content Program Staff-Directed Web Content Installation – North Campus Production Control Room Video Suite Modular Development – North Campus Signage and Video Systems Expansion -Training of Event Staffing and Volunteer Team Training - Production Management Best Practices Expansion - Input Lines allowing for 5.1 Recording and Mixdown Training and Education Leadership Development - Single Camera and Two Camera Recording Streaming Systems Grant Application for Production Costs of Archival Media into Distributable content Sale and or Removal of Legacy Equipment no longer used Monitor - Pending FCC Spectrum Auction of 600MHZ Wireless impacting our current Wireless Systems



By Sally Beske, Director of Youth Choirs

In the youth choirs we work to bring children closer to God by creating an emotionally safe environment where they can explore music literacy and become confident participants in worship. That mission was fulfilled on many levels in 2013, most recently in the performance of our musical Christmas in the Candy Cane Kingdom where all our youth choirs combined to tell a story of compassion and acceptance.

HIGHLIGHTS Six youth choirs; Kindergarten Choir for 5 year olds, Cherub Choir for grades 1 and 2, Junior Choir for grades 3-5, The Middle School Vocal Ensemble and Youth Bell Choirs 1 and 2 rehearsed and performed regularly during our choir season from Sept.-May. Overall participation continued to increase in 2013 as it has historically for the past 18 years. Participation numbers in the Cherub and Junior Choirs have held steady in the mid-twenties in the past three years while the Kindergarten Choir and Middle School Vocal Ensemble show the largest percentage increase from the previous year. Twenty children are actively participating in the Kindergarten Choir up from 12 in 2012. An additional highlight of 2013 was the donation of 9 Orff instruments to our children’s choirs. 123 Akita children were introduced to our music ministry this summer while creating compositions on these child sized xylophones.

LOOKING AHEAD Goals for 2014 include the performance of another new musical for Christmas, participation in worship at the South Campus this spring and the addition of The High School Vocal Ensemble, a new choir beginning in early 2014. The youth choirs fit into the 20/20 Vision by creating opportunities for increased engagement and by bringing vitality to our worship services. We anticipate continued growth this year in musicality, participation and spiritual development.


2013 COMMITTEES NOMINATING COMMITTEE Sherry Barger Joy Barney Buck Byrne Kathy Cleveland Bull Jackie Cherry Barb Davis T.R. Gross Julie Helland Sarah Jonaus Allison Kingsley Mary Ann Krauss Janet McCutcheon

William Mead Hilda Neff Walter Neff Doug Obergefell Brent Osborn Karen Patterson Samuel Porter III Pamela Shisler Craig Sturtz Kelsey Walker Mike Zook

SPIRITUAL SEARCHER COMMITTEE David Hett, Minister of Religious Life and Learning Natalia Jones, Administrative Staff Judy Reinhard, Governing Board Representative Peggy Wible, Chair David Quelette, Vice Chair Rose Konrath, Past Chair Linda Baldeck, Secretary Charles Baldeck Lisa Bueche Beth Dropkin

Price Finley Connie Hieatt Vicki Johnson Janet McCutcheon Cindy Lanese Luli Osmani Stewart Pitchford Cathie Reichert Jamie Rhein Kassie Steegman

CAPITAL PROJECT COMMITTEE Paul Anderson, Chair Nan Weir, Owner’s Rep Cindy Harsany, Director of Operations and Finance Dr. Richard A. Wing, Senior Minister Bruce Pontious, Stewardship and Development Consultant

Ginny Barney Joe Bull Erik Clark T.R. Gross Cydney Philbin Tracy Stuck


2013 COUNCILS AKITA COUNCIL Scot Nicoll, Executive Director, Camp Akita Tim Carlson, Director of Camp Akita Ministries Bobbi Mueller, NC Resource Manager Hayley Head, Governing Board Representative JD Biros, Council Chair Rob Canlas Kyle Edwards Tom Hoffman

Joey Karl Doug Miller Jane Moog Lisa Mueller David Rickert Katie Shough Mark Summers Andrew Wildman

ADULT LEARNING COUNCIL David Hett, Minister of Religious Life and Learning Walter Watkins, Staff Natalia Jones, Administrative Staff Susan Brooks, Governing Board Representative Mike Elliott, Chair Christy Caine, Vice Chair Joe Ray, Past Chair David L. Haury, Past Chair

Jennie Nickel, Secretary Anne Cooper Laura Elliott Gail Evans David Nickel Kurt Taube Charlie Vachris

EARLY CHILDHOOD COUNCIL Donice Wooster, Director of Early Childhood Ministry Paige Schlembach, Staff Representative Erik Clark, Governing Board Representative Kelly Dusseau, Co-Chair Liz White, Co-Chair Tracy Agbunag Dawn Carlisle Molly Crist Tabatha Fisher Mindy Gabriel

Adam Gabriel Tina Jelen Lisa McConnell Dionne Nicol Courtney Pearson Cathy Shaw Carolyn Snyder Andrew Wildman Brian Wilson Mollie Zook

K-5 COUNCIL Dawn Costin, Director of Children and Youth Ministries Tim Carlson, Director of Camp Akita Ministries & Youth Programming Lauren Patris de Breuil, K-5 Program Coordinator Kirsten Dove, K-5 Program Coordinator Julie Richards, K-5 Program Coordinator Amy Gray

MaryAnn Hopping April Howe Mindy Lively Adam Miller Paige Schlembach Leah Sneed


2013 COUNCILS MEMBERSHIP COUNCIL Paula Russell, Director of Member and Visitor Services Robin Taylor, Administrative Assistant Allison Kingsley, Chair Cindy Hudson, Past Chair Stephanie Evans, Seminar Meals Coordinator Peggy Johnson, Governing Board Representative Katy Brown Erin Byrne John Butcher Linda Butcher Claudia Dusseau Stephanie Evans

Becky Harr Cindy Hudson Peggy Johnson Kathleen Jones Scott Kingsley Jenny Morrison Thea Patrick Jenny Lou Renkert Marianne Thompson Barb Tingley Erin Tom Donna Waggener

MISSION COUNCIL Kate Shaner, Minister of Mission Natalia Jones, Administrative Assistant Susan Brooks, Governing Board Representative Connie Johnston, Chair Crystal Allen, Vice Chair Bill Ditty, Treasurer Joy Converse Bruce Crouthamel Tom Denune Pat Donovan Nancy Ewing Karyl Hanhilammi

Mary Hollinger Gavin Howe Linda Larrimer Clare Long David Markworth Ryan Miller Susan Napier Kie Seiple Sandie Southern Doug Torrance Cheryl Van Deusen

REPRESENTATIVES TO MISSION COUNCIL Ferne Arnett - Women’s Guild Carol Baker – Friends of the Homeless Beth Hanson – Garage Sale Task Force Cathy Hanson – Trading Post Dayna Harp – Scrip Gift Card Program Connie Hieatt - Rafiki

Mary Hollinger – Grocery Gift Cards (NC) Susan Napier – Grocery Gift Cards (SC) Kitty Rohrer – Deep Griha Ned Timmons – Habitat for Humanity Doug Torrance – Heart to Heart Barbara Wood – Refugee Task Force


2013 COUNCILS OLDER ADULT COUNCIL Missy Obergefell, Director of Older Adult Ministry Molly Hood, Chair Buck Byrne, Past Chair Jude Endicott, Recording Secretary Kris Kipp, Governing Board Representative Kay Bradford Bob Claussen Nancy Evans Jinny Frick

Jim Howe Sarah Reid Bob Reid Bill Ress Jane Smith Kay Moore Bob Wandel Carolyn Warmolts George Wilson

YOUTH COUNCIL Dawn Costin, Director of Children and Youth Ministries Sam Donovan, Middle School Program Coordinator Sarah Kientz, High School Program Coordinator Susan Murray, Governing Board Representative Jeff DeRoberts Laura Helland Cindi Klamar Patty McClarren

Dave Mueller Beth Piscopo Jeff Reasinger Julie Richards Pam Shisler Mary Brett Whitfield Theresa Wydick


2013 BOARDS GOVERNING BOARD Jason Barger, Chair Kris Kipp, Vice-Chair Michael Schoedinger, Past Chair Dr. Wing, Senior Minister Cindy Harsany, Director of Finance and Operations Erick Piscopo, Treasurer Patti Link, Administrative Staff Ginny Barney Susan Brooks Scott Campbell Erik Clark

Peggy Concilla Don Gardiner Hayley Head Bill Hinga John Hoberg Peggy Johnson Susan Murray Heidi Orsini Judy Reinhard Tracy Stuck

BOARD OF DEACONS Patti Hambley, Chair Doug Obergefell, Vice-Chair Steve Mushrush, Secretary Jim Long, Minister of Pastoral Care Kathy Weatherby, Administrative Staff Erik Clark, Governing Board Representative Steve Brown John Butcher Ginny Cunningham Patrick Donadio Shirley Edler Bob Eberhart Jude Endicott Mary Kay Fenner

Matthew Gatsch Laura Helland David Hogrefe Susan Huhta Scott Kingsley Jane Ledman Jim Ledman Tony Moog Dody Parsons Don Ross Lisa Schoedinger Marti Garvin Timmons Darian Torrance Julie Wilkinson

FOUNDATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES Doug Torrance, Chair Herb Johnston, Past Chair Buck Byrne, Vice Chair Cindy Harsany, Director of Finance and Operations Erick Piscopo, Treasurer Lauri Sullivan, Interim Director of Foundation Patti Link, Administrative Staff Sandy Anderson Matt Byrne Doug Covell

Jennifer Fountain Wayne Harer Scott McLaughlin Walter Neff David Quelette Lee Vescelius Jon Welty Cheryl Zeiger Mike Zook


2013 BOARDS SPIRITUAL CARE MINISTRY SERVICE BOARD Deborah Lindsay, Minister of Spiritual Care Kathy Weatherby, Administrative Staff Peggy Johnson, Governing Board Representative Deb Steidle, Chair Amy Armstrong Marlo Blazer Stephanie Blazer Pat Boyd Melissa Burns Erica Carlson Lisa Collins Kathy Damiano Danielle Dehmani-Roberts Nancy Dell Donna Doellinger Scott Doellinger Anne Eberhart Laura Elliott Mike Elliott Gail Evans-Hervey Mary Gossard Jamey Gray Nancy Hartman Dick Helland Brenda Hendricks Debbie Hodges Jo Hollander Rick Hollander MaryAnn Hopping Patrick Hopping Bev Houseman

Jessica Irene Sally Jaynes Kathy Kaliker Joan Kraner Tim Kraner Iola Lanaman Jolene McCabe Susan Forbes-McClelland Edward McGinnis Emily McGurk Roselynn McVey Roger Meyer Mark Misicka Sandy Misicka Jeanne Morrow Bill Ress Ginny Ress Jan Sawyer Caroline Schleappi Anne Sheline Joe Storer Liz Sturges Kurt Taube Krista Thatcher Mary Troutman Janice Walsh Jennifer Weaver Russ Wiegand Corinne Wilson Martha Wilson











Donna Alexander SC Preschool Teacher

Ron Arledge Volunteer

Michael Barber Director of Marketing & Communications

Rev. Paul Baumer Minister to the Staff

Sally Beske Director of Youth Choirs & Organist

Robin Brydie SC Facilities

Tim Carlson Director of Camp Akita & Youth Programming

Amy Caskie NC Administrative Coordinator

Holly Cavallaro SC Preschool Teacher

Marilyn Cordle SC Preschool Teacher

Dawn Costin Director of Children & Youth MInistries

Rosie Crego Accounting Supervisor

Kim Crumrine SC Preschool Teacher

Mike Daubenmire Akita Maintenance

Sam Donovan Middle School Program Coordinator

Kirsten Dove K-5 Coordinator

Andy Frick Director of Camp Akita Programming

Lamar Graham Director of Heart to Heart Ministry

Cindy Harsany Director of Finance & Operations

Angie Hatfield SC Facilities



Rev. David Hett Minister of Religious Life and Learning

MaryEllen Hett SC Receptionist

Pam Jameson Director of Facilities Ministry

Ronald Jenkins Minister of Music & Liturgy

J.T. Jones NC Facilities Supervisor

Natalia Jones NC Executive Assistant

Sarah Kientz High School Program Coordinator

Rev. Deborah Lindsay Minister of Spiritual Care

Patti Link Admin of Operations, Finance & Preschool

Rev. James Long Minister of Pastoral Care

Judith Lyons Ceremony Coordinator

Tabitha McCleery Graphic Designer

Denise Morrison Business Administrator

Bobbi Mueller NC Resource Manager

Scot Nicoll Executive Director of Camp Akita

Missy Obergefell Director of Older Adult Ministry

Sally Porterfield SC Receptionist

Julie Richards Akita & K-5 Coordinator

Jennifer Roe SC Preschool Teacher

Emily Rogers Admin, Marketing & Communications



Paula Russell Director of Member and Visitor Services

Paige Schlembach Sunday School Admin

Rev. Kate Shaner Minister of Mission

Michael Singer SC Facilities Supervisor

Lauri Sullivan First Community Foundation

Robin Taylor Admin, Senior Minister & Membership

Walter Watkins Adult Education Coordinator

Kathy Weatherby Admin, Pastoral Care

Dr. Richard Wing Senior Minister

Amy Winslow Finance Department, Pledge Coordinator

Rebecca Wolfe Director of Tri-Village Trading Post

Donice Wooster Director of Early Childhood Ministry

Danita Young Director of Akita Facilities & Admin

Michael Young Supervisor, Akita Maintenance

Jamy Zambito Director of Mary Evans Center

Staff Not Pictured: Jackie Cherry, Church Historian Leigh Anne Easterling, Mary Evans Teacher Ann Eliot-Naile, Library Bob Griffith, Organ Larry Miller , Facilities Lois Zook Admin, Worship & Arts Ministry

Lauren Patris de Breuil. Administrative Assistant Sheryl Rawlings, Akita Food Service Louis Woincinski, Facilities



3777 Dublin Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43221 Fax: 614 777.4098


1320 Cambridge Blvd., Columbus, Ohio 43212 Fax: 614 488.2763


For complete information about the life of First Community Church visit our website at


Published the first day of each month, available online at


Watch each Sunday at 9 am on WWHO-TV “The CW.”

For additional copies of this report, please visit

Annual report final  
Annual report final