Annual Report 2023

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Annual Report | 2023

FROM THE SENIOR PASTOR Dear Friends and Disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, In Ephesians 4:11-13, Paul reminds us that we are called and gifted by Christ to “equip the saints for the work of ministry and for building up the body of Christ.” 2023 began with the adoption of Vision 2025 and a clear focus on: • Elevating relationships with Christ and each other • Empowering people to “Go make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20) and • Establishing 100 new relationships with God's love and grace especially young and diverse people I am excited to see the Holy Spirit helping us realize our goals with: • 12 new baptisms (11 children + 1 adult) • 25 new members (18 voting + 7 associate) • More young people leading worship, faith formation, and service • 12 high school youth participating in Faith Formation and 9 registered for the ELCA Youth Gathering • An increase of young adults, Lenoir-Rhyne students, and young families in worship, at Wednesday Church Night, and involved in ministry programs • Growing worship attendance, and • Generous stewardship and outreach to our community God has also blessed us with strong and faithful leaders who serve on Council, work on new Building Construction plans, and ready to lead the Igniting Connections Capital Campaign. As you read these pages, I hope you agree that we are blessed, gifted, and empowered in many ways to keep building relationships, share the Gospel, make disciples, and serve with Christ in ministry. I give thanks to God for who you are and all you do! Your brother in Christ and partner in ministry,

Pastor Chris Webb




It’s hard to believe that 2023 is already over, but it is time to reflect on where we came from and look ahead to where we are going. It was a busy year with many activities happening in every area of the church. As always, when I look at the committee reports and listen in our Council meetings, I am overwhelmed by the amount of positive actions we are all engaged in. Many of those items will be highlighted in the team reports, so let’s dive into just a few of our key 2023 details.

Church Operations We were in a state of transition for several staff positions in the congregation. Thank you to everyone for their service as many people took on tasks outside of their normal day to day efforts. We saw some familiar names depart after long tenures. To see such longevity on our staff is a testament to the wonderful family environment our congregation fosters. Associate Pastor The search for a new Associate Pastor continued as Laura Thomas and the Call Committee interviewed a significant number of candidates, but didn’t quite find that perfect fit. They have several more candidates in the interview process to start 2024. Music & Worship We bid a fond farewell to Jo Carol Thomason as she retired as Director of Instrumental Music. Shortly after that we added Kimberly Vegter as our Director of Handbells and Instrumental Music, to step into Jo Carol’s previous role. We also wished Emily Edwards well as she completed a long tenure 4

as Communications Director and is now focusing solely on her role as NewSong Worship Curator. Office Administration With Emily’s transition away from Communications, we welcomed Jennifer Moretz as the new Communication & Content Coordinator in December. We also received news that Karen Kahill will be retiring in early 2024, after more than 30 years of service across four decades. Youth & Family / Faith Formation With an opening for leadership in Youth & Family Ministry, we added several people to fill part-time roles to help in that area, including Caitlan Killian as our Interim Faith Formation Coordinator, and Jenna Ramsey as our Coordinator of Children and Youth Ministry.

Sabbatical Pastor Chris Webb took a Sabbatical this summer with a wonderfullyconstructed plan that mixed reflection, relaxation, and renewal. He came back refreshed and ready to lead us into a very busy 2024. Pastor Richard Graf took on the responsibilities of the Senior Pastor role for the summer, and we can’t say thank you enough to him (and Shirley!) for everything he accomplished during that time.

Capital Campaign Joel Miller and his team kicked off the beginning efforts of our upcoming three-year capital campaign,

working with a consulting team to help us craft a solution to ensure we can fund our long-range Vision 2025 goals and beyond.

Building Construction Team As the key action item of that campaign, Pete Mahnke and his team had an extremely busy year holding half a dozen forums to get feedback for our chosen architectural firm. We now have rough estimates for our Capital Campaign rollout to start in earnest.

Building and Grounds Kudos to Ryan Hager and Steve Triplett for keeping our campus in great shape. I’d like to give a special shoutout to Steve for converting the majority of our spaces to LED lights. Not only does it help conserve energy, it also helps brighten things up all around the campus. Thank you to every single staff member, team leader, Council member, and volunteer for a phenomenal year. We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help. Now, read on to see the details of everything our church family accomplished with God’s help in 2023! Jason Arnold Council President


January 13

• •

• Accepted the proposal for architectural services provided by WKWW to help Holy Trinity Lutheran Church plan for building repairs and enhancements as specified in the letter from J. Grason Hudson III, not to exceed $35,000, and to be paid using the designated funds available from the sale of the 7th St. house. Approved the Proposed Budget for Ministry Year 2023 of $1,301,500 and to present this to the congregation at the Annual Gathering on Sunday, January 23, 2023 for final approval. Approved Eileen Zins as a new Foundation Board Member for 2023 in place of Brad Zins. Approved Vision 2025 and to present it to the congregation at the Annual Gathering for final approval. Approved the revised job description for Director of Communication and Marketing.

the CDC recommendations with one authorized by the FDA for emergency use. OR, 2. Wear a mask over his/her nose and mouth while inside the HTLC building AND provide the results of a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at least once a week. If needed, time off from work will be granted to take a weekly (PCR) test; the employee will cover any costs of the test. • Approved to receive new members on 2/19/2023: Nathan and Meridith Huret, children, Caroline and Forrest; Craig and Libby Garner, grandchildren, Leaci, Brenna, and Maleah; Che and Jill Holt and son, Baine (baptized on 12/18/2022; Lucas Quinn; Zoey Rogers; Jeshua Bunton; Genie Parrish; and Jenna Ramsey. Potential members to join at a later time: Lauren Honeyman and Ryan Crofts.

January 23 Annual Congregation Gathering

March 21

• Adopted the Proposed 2023 Budget of $1,302,000. • Approved that Charlie & Jennifer Griffin and Alan & Karen Deal serve as HTLC voting members at the Synod Assembly. • Adopted the Proposed Vision 2025 Long Range Plan.

April 18

February 21 • Accepted the revised policy for COVID vaccinations for HTLC Staff: Guideline: A. HTLC Staff (including PreSchool, Pre-School Volunteers, Church Nursery Staff) must meet one of the following options: 1. Become fully vaccinated, according to 6

• Approved the hiring of GSB Fundraising to be the consultants on the Capital Campaign. • Approved the revisions and updates to the HTLC Employee Handbook.

• Approved Jeff Osbourne as New Foundation Board Member. • Approved that Karen Shuford’s position as Director of Music Ministry will be full-time and salaried. • Approved to fill the part-time position of Director of Handbells and Instrumental Music, starting August 1. (The person filling this position will be announced at a later date).

SUMMARY OF ACTIONS • Approved to have Nadine Wethington from Forte Leadership LLC to be our consultant for a total fee of $9,000.

May 16 • Section from the Constitution about replacing a vacant seat on Council was read. Approved to proceed down the list of highest vote recipients from the last Council Election until we have a candidate accept. • Approved to set up a line item/fund for the Capital Campaign. • Approved the Interim Senior Pastor Letter of Agreement for Pastor Graf from June 4, 2023 through August 31, 2023.

June 20 • Approved the following motions: 1. That the COVID vaccination policy for Staff at HTLC be rescinded. 2. That information on optional masking and other COVID information be at the discretion of Holy Trinity Pastors and Staff. This might include periodical information on masking for high risk individuals as they deem necessary or other pertinent health information in Holy Trinity publications. 3. That the HTLC COVID Task Force disband immediately. • Approved to use up to $67,000 from Future Funds to purchase the replacement van. • Approved to accept new members, Rev. Scott and Cynda Bollinger. • Affirmed Confirmands: Mallory Rhoney, Emmett Thomas, and Watts Rogers. • Approved to not have the July 17 Council meeting as planned unless an issue arose and would be necessary for us to meet.

August 15 • Approved to accept new member, Megan Bollinger. • Approved to donate our old van to The Dwelling.

September 19 • Heard a presentation from Gail Summer, Personnel Committee, titled “Institutional Review Results Summary.” The Personnel Committee has been meeting with Nadine Wethington, a consultant from Forte Leadership to develop a plan that will help move HTLC’s organization structure to one more appropriate for a “Program Size Congregation.” • Approved a monthly stipend for Karen Kahill during the time she is the direct supervisor for the Communication and Content Coordinator.

October 12 • Approved the new job description for Communication and Content Coordinator.

November 15 • Approved to accept the HTLC Building Construction Team Schematic Design Phase plan with WKWW. (A copy of this is on file in the Church Office). • Approved to accept the following new members on Sunday, December 3, 2023: John & Amy Cartwright and 2 children, Victoria and Alexander (baptized on November 26); Marshal & Alexandria Deal; Jeremy Fisher; and Kathy Moose; Yolanda Yoder and daughter, Mary Parish, as well as Associate Members: Jon Lakeman; Mike and Sheree Watson; and Pastor Steve & Jeanne Misenheimer. 7

• • • • •

Approved to hire Jennifer Moretz as the new full-time Communication & Content Coordinator. Approved the new job description for Coordinator of Children and Youth Ministry. Approved to have Jenna Ramsey expand her role as Coordinator of Children and Youth Ministry. Approved the new job description for Pastor of Senior Adult Discipleship. Approved to hire Pastor Scott Bollinger as Pastor of Senior Adult Discipleship.

December • Approved that HTLC use the services of Robert Half (staffing and recruiting agency) to find talented applicants for the Director of Staff and Parish Administration position. • Elected the 2024 Congregation Council Officers: Rachel Nichols, President; Barbara Mahnke, Vice President; Sharon Milligan, Treasurer; and Kathy Starnes, Secretary

PERSONNEL The Personnel Ministry Team is grateful for the dedicated staff at Holy Trinity. 2023 saw several staff transitions, and in December we were excited to welcome Jennifer Moretz into the newly developed position of Communications and Content Coordinator. Many thanks to all those who stepped up to keep the office functioning smoothly despite staff vacancies! Karen Kahill announced her plans to retire at the end of March, and although she will be greatly missed, we look forward to celebrating her retirement and many years of service to Holy Trinity. The committee continues to support staff by advocating for fair compensation, providing a safe environment, and implementing consistent employment policies. The Personnel Team was excited this year to work with a leadership consultant to evaluate and revamp our organizational structure. Our current organizational structure is not aligned with the 8

size of our congregation, and is dependent on most programs being pastor-led. It is also very flat with almost all staff reporting to the senior pastor. The revamped organizational chart shifts to a more vertical structure and moves many administrative and staff responsibilities to a Staff and Parish Administrator, allowing the senior pastor to focus on the ministry and mission of Holy Trinity. The plan will be implemented incrementally over 2 to 3 years. Current staff are not affected by the change in organizational structure, but we will work toward full implementation as staff vacancies occur. In order to support the new structure, the Personnel Team also developed several new position descriptions. Thanks to Charlie Griffin, Tanya Honeycutt, Julie Huffman, Gail Summer, Pastor Webb and our Council Representative Mark Davis for their work on this committee. Maryellen Paton, Chair


The Rev. Christopher Webb


Senior Pastor

Associate Pastor

Karen Kahill

retiring in March 2024

The Rev. Scott Bollinger

Parish Administrator

Pastor of Senior Adult Discipleship

NEW Position in 2024: Director of Staff and Parish

Beginning January 2024


Denise Moose

Caitlan Killian

Financial Administrator

Interim Faith Formation Coordinator

Jennifer Moretz

Jenna Ramsey

Communication and Content Coordinator

Children & Youth Ministry Coordinator

Karen Shuford


Director of Music Ministry

Director of Youth & Family Ministry

Kimberly Vegter

Kristy Edens and Lori Trimm

Director of Handbells & Instrumental Music

Holy Trinity Pre-School Co-Directors Holy Trinity Pre-School Teachers:

David Lail

Leslie Avant, Holly Turner, Rhea Sherrill, Karen

Organist & Chapel Choir Director

Deal, Michelle Rowland, Gina Greenway

Deaconess Emily Edwards

Carol Dickson

NewSong Worship Curator & Lead Musician

Volunteer Ministry Coordinator

Wayne Mitchell

Melinda Hager

Facilities Manager

Nursery Coordinator

Crystal Kirby, Custodian

Nursery Staff:

Kathy Starnes, Early Worship Curator

Crystal Kirby, Brianna Bumgarner

Nancy Wilfong, Hospitality Coordinator



Membership Baptized (active):


Confirmed (active):


Baptized (inactive)*:


Confirmed (inactive)*: 194 TOTAL Baptized:


*We have no record that these members have communed or made a contribution during the previous two years.

Welcome With joy, we welcomed these new disciples to our community of faith in 2023. We look forward to sharing the life of faith with them in ministry, worship, and service. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 10

Craig, Libby, Brenna, and Maleah Garner Aleacia Brice Eugenia Parish Jeshua Bunton Lucas Quinn Jenna Ramsey Nathaniel, Meredith, Caroline, and Forrest Huret Ché Holt Scott & Cynda Bollinger Megan Bollinger John & Amy Cartwright Jeremy Fisher Jonathan Lakeman Steve and Jeanne Misenheimer Mike and Sheree Watson

Three youth affirmed their faith and were confirmed in 2023. Additionally, 11 children and one adult were baptized. Baptized: • Emily Kirby • Levi Newcomb • Claire Sellers • Aurora Blevins • Wade Hudson • Oliver Grove • Victoria Cartwright • Alexander Cartwright • Amelia Gragg • Lanie Williams • Jensen Rogers • Zoey Rogers

Confirmed: • Mallory Rhoney • Watts Rogers • Emmett Thomas

In memory We remember these saints who joined the Church Triumphant this year: • Vicky Huffman Clodfelter • Gail Burns Sprouse • Floyd Walter Long, Sr. • Shirley Cauble Cunningham • Ellen Neill Jones • Walter Clyde Taylor, Jr. • Anne Boyd Rogers • Barbara Obenschain Huggins • Phillip C. Yount • John Hubert Gilbert • Ruth Suther • William Earl Davis, Jr. • Steve Wilson Drum • Judith Diehl Hill Covey • Robert Colvin Paton

The Rogers Family Story

Dylan Rogers has been a member of Holy Trinity his whole life. His mother Lisa (and her parents) are lifelong members, and his father, Brian, joined when he and Lisa got married. Dylan and his sister, Christian, were baptized here by Pastor Bob Shoffner. “It was a special experience to see my wife, Zoey, and our children baptized in the same church where I was baptized,” said Dylan. “Beth Shoffner came up to me after the service and gave me a big hug which meant so much to me. We were blessed to have our whole family there to celebrate with us, and that includes our church family, and I can only describe it as an amazing day.” Their son, Jensen (who turned six months old on Christmas Eve), and daughter Lanie (3) were baptized along with their cousin, Amelia (1). “After Lanie was baptized, her cousin Addison jumped on the stool and wanted to be re-baptized with her sister and cousins,” Dylan shared. “It was an important day for all of us—one we will always remember.” This is just one of many memories Dylan and Zoey are making with Holy Trinty. Pastor Webb married the couple at an outdoor ceremony in Florida— during a hurricane!


The Cartwright’s Story At Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, we are Led by Christ, Helping, Teaching, Loving, and Connecting. It was their strong connection with Pastor Webb that brought the Cartwright family to our church. John and Amy Cartwright attended St. Mark’s Lutheran in Asheville while Pastor Webb served there as senior pastor. Prior to John and Amy meeting, Pastor Webb officiated at the funeral when John’s father passed away and also married his younger sister. After the couple met, Pastor Webb guided John and Amy through pre-marriage counseling, and baptized their oldest daughter, Bianca. “Just before Victoria was born, Amy reached out to Pastor Webb about her baptism,” John shared. “The next thing we knew, we were at the hospital facing an emergency C-section. It was at that moment Pastor Webb returned her call. He prayed with us right then and there over the phone; his timing was amazing and such a blessing for us.” When the family moved to Morganton, they decided to consider Holy Trinity when looking for a church home. “One thing that really blew us out of the water, was how nice and welcoming the members were,” said John. “Listening to Pastor Webb’s sermon reminded us how much he has guided and been a part of our faith journey.” John added that of all the pastors he has heard over the years, it is Pastor Webb’s sermons that keep him tuned in and connected to Christ. In December, John and Amy were welcomed as new members and Victoria and their son, Alexander, were baptized by Pastor Webb. “We are excited to have joined Holy Trinity and to continue our journey with Pastor Webb,” said John. “We look forward to connecting with our new church family.”



Our conversations for 2023 have centered around the theme that you (and everyone else) are a part of the Evangelism Team. Your church needs you to not only receive, but also to bless. God has a vital part for you to play every time we gather. Come listen, come encourage, come risk having a real conversation, come meet someone new, come welcome. As we learn and grow in faith, we connect with others in our congregation, community and beyond. Thank you, Evangelism Team members.

The projects for this year include: • Emphasized wearing name tags and signing the red worship pad. Greeters asked that members wear name tags and offered paper tags to visitors. We also printed name tags for new members who joined. • Contacted visitors, attended new member orientation, and matched new members with a partner as they joined. • Changed the pew information to be more visitor friendly, adding a QR Code that links to the Holy Trinity website. • Conducted two ShelbyNext training sessions with Denise Moose as leader. All who attended were successful in accessing the congregation’s contact information. • Participated in God’s Work. Our Hands., making greeting cards. Jennifer Moretz served as leader. • Teamed with Todd Cutter, Chaplain at Lenoir-Rhyne University (LRU) to increase our connections with students: 14 Holy Trinity members participated in new Student Move-in Day, passing out water, snacks and offering coupons for a free Wednesday Church Night meal. Attended chapel services on campus on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. Filled 25 treat boxes for LRU freshman as they began their exams. • Helped with Harvest Welcome Center on Halloween with 40+ volunteers (adults, youth, LRU students) and 3,000+ community participants. We invited all into Saints’ Hall for candy, water, bathrooms, and guided them to Trinity Chapel where there was a Photo Booth, a large poster detailing other Holy Trinity children’s events, a prayer request board, and people to welcome and answer questions. Portajohns were funded by a Thrivent grant. • Family greeters welcomed guests to Christmas Eve services. • Contacted Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Catawba Valley Quilters Guild. (Both groups meet on our campus). Placed information on our Sunday and Christmas Eve services in the Community Rooms to offer an invitation to them to join us in worship. Shared cookies with NA groups.


WORSHIP & MUSIC Worship Leader Participation:

hymnal workshop at Lenoir-Rhyne University led by Holy Trinity member Paul Weber and We have a host of volunteers serving weekly as featuring his new hymnal, So Great a Cloud of worship assistants and volunteer coordinators; Witnesses. Dr. Weber and Florence Jowers were choir members and other musicians; ushers; guest musicians for Sunday morning worship sound technicians; camera operators; crucifers and several of Dr. Weber’s hymns were used in and acolytes; bulletin proofreaders and printers; worship. valet parking attendants; altar guild; greeters; and • Holy Trinity hosted holiday concert by Hickory liturgical arts team members. Rings Handbell Ensemble, led by Holy Trinity member Mike Watson. Special Worship Services and Outreach • Staff members Kimberly Vegter and Karen In addition to our regular worship services, there Shuford and Trinity Ringers member Janice were special services throughout the year at which Gravely participated in the Mid-Carolinas our musical ensembles participated, including: Handbell Festival in Charlotte. • Throughout the year, worship was enhanced by Consecration Service for Deaconess Emily Edwards Youth Sunday musical offerings from our many talented vocal and instrumental soloists in addition to our Good Friday Tenebrae Service vocal and handbell ensembles. Church Music Sunday Caring for Creation Sunday Stephen Ministry Sunday God’s work. Our hands. Celebration Concert Service Blessing of the Animals Advent Lessons and Carols Christmas Lessons and Carols Christmas Coffeehouse Special events which included our worship and music team included: • Opening the Nave during Holy Week for self-guided tours of the Stations of the Cross, accompanied by organ music by staff member David Lail. • Purchase and dedication of new altar paraments, banners, and linens for Reformation, Christmas, and Festival Sundays (white) • Staff member Karen Shuford and vocal soloist Debbie Williams provided service music for the community Good Friday Service • Some staff and choir members attended a 14

Staff Transitions • Jo Carol Thomason retired in May 2023 from her many years of service on our music staff, most recently as Director of Instrumental Music. • Kimberly Vegter assumed the responsibilities of Director of Handbells and Instrumental Music in August 2023.

Average Worship Attendance 239 In Person 76 Online/Video

315 Total weekly worshipers Christmas Eve: 994 Easter Sunday: 536

Music Ministry

Thanks to:

7 vocal choirs: Chancel Choir—Adults Chapel Choir—Adults Youth Singers and Luther Choir—Youth, grades 6-12 Joy Singers—Children, grades 2-5 Cherub Choir—Children, age 4-grade 1 Carol Choir—Children, ages 2 and 3 with caregiver Volunteer Choir Directors: 3

• The Worship and Music Team, led by chair Nancy Miller, for your wise guidance. • All participants in vocal, instrumental, and handbell ensembles for your faithful service. • Cathy Lail, Linda Sigmon, Megan Evans, Cheryl Arnold, and Tiffany Brittain for serving as volunteer choir and dance directors. • Rachel Nichols and Janine Webb for coordinating the Altar Guild teams. • Pete Mahnke and Kathy Starnes for coordinating the usher teams. • The Liturgical Arts Team for decorating our worship spaces. • Bobby Barger for coordinating a team of volunteers to decorate the nave for Advent and Christmas. They also took the decorations down and packed them away for next year. • Wade Poust and Larry Shuford for coordinating video and sound operators. • Rachel Nichols, Gail Summer, and Gail and White Iddings for assuring that our Worship Assistants have everything they need to lead worship. • All Worship and Music participants for helping provide multiple meaningful funerals and memorial services throughout the year. • The people of Holy Trinity, for giving generously so that we could purchase what we needed, and for joining us faithfully in worship, in person or online, every Sunday.

4 handbell choirs: Trinity Ringers—Adults Chapel Ringers—Adults Luther Ringers—Youth, grades 9-12 Notabells—Youth, grades 6-8 Prime Chimes—Children, grades 3-5 and adult beginners Liturgical Dance: Youth grades 5-12 Volunteer Choreographers: 2 NewSong Worship Team: Adults and youth Music Staff Karen Shuford, Director of Music Ministry David Lail, Organist and Director of Chapel Choir & Luther Singers Emily Edwards, NewSong Worship Curator Kimberly Vegter, Director of Handbells & Instrumental Music

We are the church together.


SERVICE & OUTREACH The Service & Outreach Ministry at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church spreads God’s Word and shares love of neighbor within the community we serve. The Service & Outreach Ministry is an extension of our church and offers an opportunity to engage, heal, and inspire others creating a ripple effect of change. The goals of the Service & Outreach Ministry are to reach out personally or with the church’s benevolences to the poor, disenfranchised, and struggling to be a witness of God’s grace. Team members put their faith in action and invite others within the congregation to join them in serving others. The team also discerns how best to use the church’s resources to support others.

Good Stewards of Our Resources

Creation Care

In addition, we drafted a list of questions to ask ourselves before taking on additional projects to give more focus to the programs at hand.

A Creation Care Sunday was held to emphasize God’s creation and our challenge to sustain, protect, and enhance it. Emphasis was placed on doing our share to keep creation as God intended and exploring the outdoors. Yoga in the Park was held to bring awareness to creation and spread outreach; approximately 35 people participated.

Ministry Highlights

Community Support

Developed an evaluation process to better vet our current Service & Outreach organizations to see that they are good stewards, and their missions align with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church provides many opportunities to serve others in the community. The Service & Outreach Ministry Team felt that better awareness of these organizations would inform the congregation. A Fact Sheet on each organization has been secured in hopes we can highlight a ministry per month and a banner will be displayed at the church identifying those organizations we gift to financially.


A partnership was formed with Lutheran Family Services of the Carolinas Fostering and Adoption Program. The organization, along with DSS, hosted onsite classes at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church partnered with Lutheran Family Immigration and Refugee Service to support a local Afghan refugee family.


• Distributed money provided by the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Foundation to organizations in need. • Provided funding and volunteer support for Centro Latino Lutheridge Camp. • Gifted Holy Trinity retired van to The Dwelling in Winston-Salem, a church for the wanderers, the seekers, the questioners, and doubters who are living on the margins. • Collected pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House Charities to assist those receiving medical care.

“God’s work. Our hands.” is an annual program within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America to demonstrate love of neighbor. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church members blanketed the community with open hearts to serve; approximately 80 people participated. Projects planned include: The Corner Table, Newton Prepped, served, and cleaned to accommodate meals for those with food insecurities. Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministries, Newton Organized and assisted with the Food Bank operations of the agency. The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, Hickory The congregation collected snack supplies for the organization. Youth Center, Holy Trinity Cleaned and organized to better serve teens. Hickory Soup Kitchen, Hickory Prepped, served, and cleaned to accommodate meals for those with food insecurities. Greeting Cards, Holy Trinity Designed a variety of greeting cards to be shared with nursing home residents, shut-ins, etc. The week-long activities concluded with a celebration concert by NewSong.

God’s work. Our hands. 17

FAITH FORMATION Faith Formation continues to offer a wide variety of programming and learning opportunities for our church family. We focus on supporting faith journeys from birth through adulthood. Our theme for the 2023-2024 school year is “God’s Masterpiece.” Each and every one of us is “God’s masterpiece, created to do good things!” (Ephesians 2:10) We hope everyone at Holy Trinity grows in confidence in their God-given gifts and talents, ready to serve others in our community. May we learn together and grow together in faith!

Cross+Generation Collaboration Faith Formation has focused on creating cross+generation opportunities for our classes. In line with our “God’s Masterpiece” theme, this year’s events provided creative outlets for all ages. • Advent Service Project, December 3: We • Fall Kickoff, August 27: Our kick off was a collaborated with Stephen Ministry to… great event featuring… Decorate Christmas cards for Holy Trinity’s Cross+Generational art project designed by Caring Roster Maria Register Collect as many signatures as possible on Another mural painting opportunity each card—like a giant yearbook signing specifically for teens and adults party! Games, relays, and cookie decorating Learn from Pastor Webb’s devotion about the Information available about each Sunday good news of the angels in the Bible morning class, how to register children, and Celebrate the Advent season by serving volunteer opportunities others as a church family

Camp Experiences


• 8 students attended Kairos Campfirmation • 12 students attended a Faith Alive event at Lutheridge • 96 Students attended Holy Trinity’s Vacation Bible Camp • 28 students attended Lutheridge Day Camp at St. Stephens ELCA (in partnership with Holy Trinity’s Service & Outreach Team)

Affirmation of Baptism was held on May 28 (Pentecost Sunday). Three students affirmed their faith and were Confirmed.


Faith Stepping Stones

January: • 12th Grade: “Stepping Out” (Received a copy of “Jesus Calling”) • 2 year olds: “Building Blocks of Faith” February: • 3 year olds: “Pocket Full of Prayers” March: • 3rd and 4th Grades: “Stewardship” May: • 12th Grade: Quillow Presentations

September: • 5th Grade: Bible Presentations October: • 6th Grade: “Walking Together” with Confirmation Mentors • 7th Grade: “Unbridled Faith” with therapy horses • 11th Grade: “Faith as a Journey” hiking at Baker’s Mountain November: • 10th Grade: “Vocation and Calling”

June: • 2nd Grade: “Walking Wet”

Libraries Holy Trinity is blessed to house both the Rainbow Library (with children’s literature and videos) and the Christus Victor Library (with learning materials for adults). The library team ensures faith formation resources are available for all ages.

Ongoing Support Did you know that Faith Formation provides a variety of support materials throughout the year? • Seasonal devotions and family kits for Lent and Advent • Children’s worship bags and bulletins for Sunday services • Splash Newsletter for families of Infants-Age 2


New and Noteworthy New curriculum for Senior High Class. To breathe fresh life into our high school Faith Formation experience, we started over the summer. More than 20 students and parents met August 26 to clean out the Youth Center. We held a focus group with youth to learn what mattered to them and collaborated with other teams to make our Youth Center a place where our high schoolers want to spend time and grow in faith. • Youth Center was painted and lights were replaced. • Furniture and technology were rearranged to facilitate our new curriculum. • We built a brand-new team of volunteers to team-teach this class. • We are using the “Think Believe Do” curriculum, specifically designed to support students post-Confirmation. It combines videos, scripture, and real-world application to remind students that faith is a life-long journey, and always in progress. • Attendance has more than doubled this fall! We are pleased these actions re-engaged our high schoolers and hope they continue to know their value and importance at Holy Trinity.

Resurrection Class

LIFE Class

The Resurrection Class met each Sunday in 2023, except for summer break. Thank you to Pastor Richard Graf, who was leader for most of the classes. The group continues to open classes with cares, concerns and celebrations. The group enjoyed several special events together this year: • Outdoor workday to plant, weed and clean up outside spaces at Holy Trinity • “Lunch and Learn” with Denise Moose to introduce ShelbyNext • “God’s Work. Our Hands.” project sorting and bagging food for Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry (ECCCM) • Filled stockings for the Salvation Army Men’s Transitional House • Salvation Army Bell Ringing • Annual Christmas Dinner

The LIFE class shared a lot of excellent conversation and laughs this year! The class welcomed new people to the group and continues to invite more. Participants engage in discussion about each Sunday’s gospel using the Daily Discipleship resource. The class also enjoyed a visit with guest speaker and friend, The Reverend Emily Norris, pastor at The Dwelling in WinstonSalem. She enlightened the group about her ministry and was kind to answer our questions. The class looks forward to the year to come, with God’s guidance and blessings!



25 Active Stephen Ministers

Sandra Annas Maxine Barnhardt Jan Jolly Bob Kapellusch Skip Pearce Pastor Chris Webb

3 Inactive Stephen Ministers

Stephen Ministry Assignments 25 Stephen Ministers made approximately 888 or more weekly visits to care receivers

Tele-Care Phone Calls

Caring Phone Calls

Approximately 577 calls made in 2023

Approximately 183 calls made in 2023

Eucharistic Ministry Approximately 297 visits made in 2023 to serve Holy Communion to members unable to attend worship regularly

Stephen Ministry - Service Activities • Stephen Ministers provided 26 pieces of new and gently-used rolling luggage for foster children in five local counties, including Catawba County. This generous donation was in response to a request by Lutheran Services Carolinas for local foster children programs, which they coordinate. • During the “God's work. Our hands.” campaign, Stephen Leaders served in local soup kitchens to provide compassionate conversation and service to disadvantaged communities. • On Stephen Ministry Sunday (June 25), Bob Kapellusch, Jan Jolly, and Gennai Henning provided a brief explanation of our program, during each worship service. Pastor Richard Graf arranged and delivered an inspiring sermon about the loving care and support that Stephen Ministry provides at Holy Trinity. • Sandra Annas coordinated Continuing Education during four Stephen Ministry meetings to provide a better understanding of ways Stephen Ministers can help those experiencing the grief of losing a loved one. • Skip Pearce was recognized for 25 years of service as a Stephen Minister and Stephen Leader in December. • Stephen Ministers personally delivered Christmas cards that were handmade by Holy Trinity members through a project coordinated by the Faith Formation Team.These meaningful Christmas cards were delivered to more than 20 members who have been unable to attend church services due to illness, disability or advanced age.



What a wonderful year 2023 has been for Holy Trinity Pre-School! We continue to play, learn, and grow in God’s love. • Our Ones and Twos classes enjoy a wide range of activities with their creative, energetic, loving teachers. They also enjoy daily strolls through the neighborhood, playing on the playground and music time. • Our Threes and Fours have been busy in and out of their own rooms. With weekly chapel, visits from the Hickory Museum of Art, Catawba Science Center and Stretch & Grow, there is a constant buzz of energy and excitement. • Some favorite units have been learning about the holidays, animals, colors, introduction to the alphabet and numbers, and multi-sensory activities that tend do be as much fun as they are messy! The children have had fun learning about their letters, shapes, the Five Senses, geography, and conducting science experiments. • We have also been able to go on a few field trips, something that the school has not been able to incorporate regularly since the pandemic. • The philosophy of our preschool focuses heavily on socialization, with a Christian based emphasis that is woven throughout our days, weeks, and seasons. The annual Christmas pageant is always a highlight of our school year and we enjoy the holiday season with our Savior, Jesus Christ, at the center of it all. • Our dedicated staff is full of energy and appreciation for the wonderful gift that is Holy Trinity Pre-School. The smiles are contagious and life is good!


The Lawhon’s Story To Andy and Lindsey Lawhon, there is nothing more important than knowing their children are safe and happy. As parents of four, they have appreciated that assurance while their sons have attended preschool at Holy Trinity. “The teachers love our babies,” said Lindsey. “They show it in so many ways, and that means everything to us.” Their sons Anderson and Davis, who are in the four and one-year old class respectively, enjoy learning in a structured environment, complimented by creative and fun programs. “They love Fun Fridays, Stretch-n-Grow as well as any field trip they get to ride in the Marshmallow (the affectionate name given to the church’s travel van). They also love the art projects,” added Lindsey, “but I think we love them more because they provide keepsakes from their short time as young children which we will treasure always.” Anderson and Davis followed in their older brother’s footsteps; Cannon (8) and Beckham (6) are also graduates of the preschool and now attend Oakwood Elementary. “They are better prepared because of the foundation they gained in preschool,” Lindsey said. “And that goes beyond their education to include learning about being good people and Christians.”

“We visited many places when choosing a preschool but as soon as we entered Holy Trinity, we knew it was the perfect fit.”


Libby Barger is 12. She has grown up at Holy Trinity, supported in her faith journey by her mom (Cally) and grandparents (Bobby and Lynn), as well as her extended church family. Her great grandparents began attending Holy Trinity as young children and her grandmother (Lynn) is a lifelong member. For the Bargers, attending church as a family is not only a tradition but a priority they have chosen for themselves – and for Libby. “I like being at church,” said Libby, who enjoys singing in the choir, playing handbells, and participating in youth activities and service projects with her friends. She is in her first year of confirmation, supported by her confirmation mentor, Riley Bollinger. “There are so many people I feel close to at church and there is always something fun we can do together.” A 6th grader at Grandview Middle School, Libby’s favorite subject is science. Outside the classroom, her favorite pastime is caring for her horse, Maverick. She chose the name because it is based on the story of a farmer who was strong enough to stand up for what he believed and go his own way—something Libby has learned a lot about in her Bible studies. “I have learned so much going to church, Sunday school, and confirmation,” Libby said. “It has helped me to become closer to God and that is important to me.” Libby feels blessed to be developing a strong foundation of faith, among family and friends, that she will carry with her throughout her journey in life. We look forward to seeing what plans God has in store for Libby.

Libby’s Story 24





Snow Tubing for all youth and families

Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) Gathering in Greensboro 11 youth attended

Youth Sunday Worship Service: “God So Loved the World”

Faith Alive Weekend @ Lutheridge



Pool parties at the home of Pete & Barbara Mahnke for Middle School and High School Youth

Faith Alive Weekend @ Lutheridge Youth Center Clean Up for God’s Work. Our Hands.

OCTOBER Harvest Welcome Center Youth Quake at Lutheridge for Rainbow Kids

- High School & Middle School Youth met regulary under the direction of Nathan Shackelford, Jenna Ramsey, and Jon Lakeman. - Rainbow Kids (grades 3-5) met quarterly under the guidance of Jennifer Griffin.




• Parish Life hosts Coffee Fellowship on Sunday mornings in Saints’ Hall. Coffee and “treats” are served after the 8:30 a.m. service and continue until the 11:00 a.m. service begins. • Spaghetti Bingo returned in January. Folks had a fun night enjoying a spaghetti dinner, Bingo, and so many prizes! • Parish Life hosted a joyous reception for Deaconess Emily Edwards’ consecration on February 5. • Parish Life supports Senior Adult Ministries when needed. • Shrove Tuesday was celebrated on February 21. Pancakes and all the sides were served in the Fellowship Hall. In history, Shrove Tuesday was celebrated as the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before beginning on the Lenten fast, and pancakes were the perfect way to use up these ingredients! • In May, we celebrated the conclusion of the Wednesday Church Night (WCN) season with a cookout; everyone enjoyed hamburgers, hotdogs, and fellowship. • Parish Life hosted an Ice Cream Social on June 4 after the 11:00 a.m. service as a send-off for Pastor Webb’s sabbatical. • A movie night was enjoyed in June. • We offered two summer picnic opportunities after the 10:00 a.m. services. One in July was enjoyed on the church lawn, and another in August was enjoyed at Bruce Meisner Park. • In August, we celebrated the beginning of WCN with an “inside” cookout. Scott Bollinger and “Rev Up” entertained us with some great music. Even though it was a rainy night, everyone had a good time. • We celebrated Pastor Webb’s return from sabbatical with a covered dish lunch on September 10. • Our own Maria Register hosted members of the Parish Life Team for an art night. • We celebrated a day of thanksgiving with our church family on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. A wonderful potluck meal was shared, and we are so grateful for the whole Holy Trinity family. • Thank you to all the volunteers who share their time and talents by serving on the Parish Life Team!



Planned Capital Improvement Projects • • • • • • •

Replaced Roof L – Education wing north area Replaced Roof J – Ambulatory area Replaced Roof F – Office area Major repairs to Chiller Painted youth room Painted storage rooms in Community Room C Purchased new van and donated old van to The Dwelling in Winston-Salem, NC

Misc Repairs/Improvements • Various repairs to minimize water intrusion • Consulting firm SKA performed water intrusion testing • Miscellaneous mechanical system repairs Quarterly maintenance Cleaned ducts serving the Nave and Community Rooms A&B Chiller maintenance • Maintained Grounds • Electrical improvements Replaced lights with LED throughout the facility including Fellowship Hall and outside wall packs Upper parking lot lights Replaced lights in the Nave

In the spring of 2023 nine dedicated, enthusiastic, and capable members were appointed by Council to chair the various teams for our upcoming Igniting Connections Capital Campaign. They, with me as chair, serve as the Steering Team for our congregation’s effort to raise the funds needed to fulfill the needs identified in our long-range planning process that received input from the entire membership. We have worked closely with the Building Construction Team to refine the renovation and new construction plans that will help achieve the goals identified by Vision 2025. We held a series of forums to inform the congregation and receive their input about these plans. A great deal of preparation has been done by the Steering Team, and we will start our fundraising campaign in earnest as we enter 2024.



After using 2022 as our planning year, 2023 was the launch year for our Vision 2025 Long Range Plan. The plan calls for us to look up, in, and out, centering on Worship (up), Discipleship (in), and Service & Worship (out).

VISION 2025 • Elevate our relationships with Christ and each other • Empower people to respond to the Great Commission of Christ to “Go make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20 • Establish 100 new relationships with God's love and grace. In particular, we hope to engage with young people and families and reach out to varied racial and ethnic groups to expand our diversity. Our team of Rachel Nichols, Kyle Lotier, and Nathan Bowman worked to introduce the plan details to each team and committee where needed. We have a handful of specific goals to support our primary goal and several action items for each one. We created a solid solution detailing who is responsible and accountable for each goal and we slowly rolled that information out to everyone. While we were slightly hampered by a few open staff positions, we made solid progress in several areas and we look forward to even more success in 2024. Jason Arnold Long Range Planning Team Chair

You will learn much more about Holy Trinity’s plans and goals as the campaign gets underway. Our team asks you to pray for the campaign’s success and start your own prayerful consideration as to how you can contribute to our goal of Igniting Connections that will better spread the Gospel and share God’s Grace and Love to our congregation and our community. Joel Miller Igniting Connections Steering Team Chair



The team is comprised of Joel Miller, Bonita Ferretti, Tina Dunlap, Seth Caudle, Jodi Black, and myself Jonas Moretz. We began the year reviewing the annual stewardship campaign for 2023, giving thanks for the reasons it was a successful campaign and finding ways to improve our campaign for 2024. At our February meeting, we discussed the need to try to increase the number of members on our team to attempt to spread out the upcoming duties associated with stewardship for 2023. We were thrilled to welcome Tina Dunlap as a new member. We also appointed Seth Caudle as a member of the Construction Team from the Stewardship Team to assist in the needs of the Capital Campaign. Our February meeting also focused on the Vision 2025 plan adopted by the congregation and the impact of a Capital Campaign to accomplish goals set by the congregation. A decision was made to interview four companies whose work could help us determine the best ways to complete a Capital Campaign for our congregation. Meetings were held in February and March with each of the four companies. A decision was made to recommend to the Church Council that we hire Pastor Mike Ward and Deacon Mitzie Schafer of GSB Fundraising to help us accomplish our fundraising goals. The rest of the spring, summer, and early fall we met sporadically as work was beginning on the Capital Campaign projects. All members of the stewardship team were invited to participate in meetings with the Capital Campaign team on different levels to have input toward the projects. The campaign was delayed somewhat as further planning work was needed. As I write this, we can feel the excitement building for the Capital Campaign to get off the ground. God has so richly blessed Holy Trinity with people of vision, wisdom, faith, and courage to tackle difficult decisions to attend to what is perceived as God’s call to action. Respectfully submitted, Jonas Moretz, Chair



Stewardship $8,494

Faith Formation* $17,780 Wednesday Church Night $22,461




Benevolence $123,050


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(cost offset by meal fees)


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Parish Life $6,371


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Worship & Music* $132,650


Evangelism* $2,454 Youth Ministry* $8,174


Property* $284,662


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Other Salaries & Benefits $368,284

Caring Ministries* $29,775

Communications* $44,055

Pre-School* $110,365

Total 2023 Budget

$1,158,575 Total Offerings Received



ENDOWMENT FOUNDATION This report is for the October 1, 2022 –September 30, 2023 fiscal year. The Foundation’s funds have been accumulating since 1978 from estates, donated insurance policies, and gifts of individuals. These gifts are either unrestricted for the General Fund or restricted for designated funds. According to the current spending policy, 4.5% of the General Fund balance is made available to spend, if needed, using an average of the last three years’ ending balances, as of the year ending September 30. Expenditures from unrestricted funds are for outreach ministries beyond our congregation and unique ministries or projects within our congregation. Restricted funds are used for college and seminary scholarships and for special projects, technology, music, and other designated purposes.

OUTDOOR MINISTRIES Lutheridge Staff Scholarships $3,000 Lutheridge New Van $5,000 Lutheridge Program Director Training $200


SCHOLARSHIPS College scholarships (17 awarded) NC Synod Youth Gathering Scholarships

$11,900 $10,000


FAITH FORMATION Lutheridge Handbell Weekend $900 Registration for ELCA Youth Gathering $5,000


PROPERTY Nursery Paging System $1,801 Roof Repairs $37,500


SERVICE & OUTREACH Boy Scout Troop 381 T-shirts $300 The Dwelling $3,500 Centro Latino Day Camp $934 Centro Latino Training Facilitator $2,000 Patrick Beaver Learning Center Literary Project $2,000


OTHER HTLC Operating Ministry (Walker Fund) $2,901 Pastor’s Sabbatical Expenses $11,000 Personnel Consultant $9,000 Capital Campaign Consultant $10,000


TOTAL Grants Awarded in 2023 32


Fund Value as of 9/30/2023 General Fund $2,019,036.11 Life Insurance (2021 Cash Value) $16,383.46 Moser Fund $149,757.77 Ramsour/Troutman Fund $74,327.85 Music Fund $74,826.80 New Technology Fund $82,419.20 Robert Holland Fund $150,186.61 Walker Fund $235,948.11 Paul S. & Virginia H. Speagle Scholarship $116,168.46 Purkey College Scholarship $151,879.78 Purkey Lutheran Seminary $153,590.89 Purkey General Endowment $301,135.20 Capital Improvent Fund $112,266.82 TOTAL Funds Balance $3,637,927.06

Officers for 2023 President: Vice President: Secretary: Directors: Treasurer: Ex Officio:

Adair Bowman Jeff Gniadek Susan Quinn Tiffany Brittain, Jeff Osborne Doug Dickson Pastor Chris Webb

Officers for 2024 President: Vice President: Secretary: Directors: Treasurer: Ex Officio:

Jeff Gniadek Susan Quinn Jeff Osborne Adair Bowman, Denise Sellers Doug Dickson Pastor Chris Webb

Officers and a new director are elected annually in September. The Council approves these elections.




547 6th Street NW | P.O. Box 9580 Hickory, NC 28603 828-322-2536 | Facebook: Instagram: holytrinityhickory 36

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