Haverhill, West Palm Beach, Florida
Saint Christopher’s Episcopal Church is a happy, inclusive, vibrant congregation in Southeast Florida, built on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ, acceptance, and loving kindness. We enjoy being in fellowship with each other in worship and in serving one another in both good and challenging times. We are known for our hospitality, embracing both new and existing members.
We are searching for a new Rector who will guide us, inspire us, teach us, nurture us and minister to us, so that as our relationship with Jesus Christ and one another grows deeper.
We seek a compassionate leader who will challenge our notions of comfort while harnessing our enthusiasm, as we grow into the parish we are called and inspired to become. We are open to new ideas, and we are ready to accept the challenges and the responsibility required of us in order to flourish. We invite you to explore Saint Christopher’s through this Parish Profile and on our website.
And we look forward to meeting you!
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a Rector for this parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
. . . . is to become a truly welcoming church that is accepting of a diverse group of God’s children, to be forthright in the proclamation of the Gospel, and be a true servant of the people.
. . . . is to be a growing, active church of diversified and reconciling people, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, developing relationships based on prayer, mutual commitment, forgiveness, tangible care and to develop comprehensive youth and outreach ministries by focusing on our use of time, talents and treasures.
Our Goals are . . . .
To deepen our Christian commitment and our life in Christ
to be open, inviting and welcoming to all, aspiring to reach new people, fostering and maintaining a friendly atmosphere
to grow our community of faith
to be active in serving our community
to develop a comprehensive ministry to meet the needs of members and our community and encouraging ownership of the church
to maintain effective communication keeping the congregation informed and energized
What we know about ourselves
In preparation for our discernment for a new priest, our members completed the CAT (Congregational Assessment Tool), administered by Holy Cow! Consulting. Results of this survey not only highlighted our strengths but indicated where we are now. It was also instructive for the further development of our goals and in identifying our members’ priorities.
From the results of the CAT we know that there is still a need for us to work on:
quality of our worship experience
level of friendliness among members
quality of the music ministry
tolerance for the level of differing opinions and beliefs.
Identifying and implementing best practices in family ministry and reaching people with the message of God’s love.
Creating opportunities for our members to develop a better under-standing of the practice of stewardship and ways of managing the church’s financial challenges.
Strengthening our capacity
to serve those living on the margins of society.
to identify and quickly respond to those members who are not present in church, who are in conflict, or are struggling with their faith
It will therefore be necessary to form strategic teams to work on these needs and develop implementation plans
THE STORY SO FAR
Saint Christopher’s Episcopal Church is a multicultural, multiracial congregation and identified as being a regionally focused church. It is named for Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, and the property is handicap accessible. Saint Christopher’s evolved from a mission organized by area Episcopalians in 1965 with the blessing of Bishop Duncan.
When Father Batchelor retired, Father Richard Tickner was assigned to serve as Priest-in- Charge in 1971. Under his leadership parishioners built the current church. They did much of the work themselves.
The church was built to seat 250 people. The raised chancel was a later addition.
The first rector was Father Harold L. Batchelor, who was assigned in January 1966. In its initial years, the mission called several locations home. The final location was purchased from an orchid-grower in October 1968. The current Parish Hall was built by its members and served as its church for eight years. The congregation named the church for Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, because of their journey in finding a permanent location.
The first service in the new church was held on Palm Sunday, April 11, 1976.
In August 1978, Saint Christopher’s welcomed Father Christopher Kelly. During his tenure the Christian Education building was completed in September 1982. It houses the Rector’s Office, the Parish Office, six classrooms, and restrooms. There is also a fenced-in playground next to it.
Following Father Kelly’s retirement in 2002, the parish was served by a number of interim clergy, including Deacon Charles Cannon, Father David Sutcliffe, and Deacon Donna Hall. Father Terrence Taylor served as Priest-in-Charge between 2006 and 2009.
In April 2010, Father Willie Dávila was called to Saint Christopher’s from Corpus Christi, Texas, with his wife Terry. Under Father Dávila’s leadership the chancel was enlarged to accommodate musical events, youth programs, and the choir. Father Dávila was committed to the growth of the church, the development of our lay leadership team, and a particular focus on social justice issues.
Since Father Dávila’s retirement in August 2017, we have been served by several supply clergy, with Father Earl Henry assuming as our priest-in-residence in January 2019 till June 2020. Currently Canon Winston Joseph serves as our priest-in-residence. Our ministries and outreach activities have continued to thrive and flourish under the guidance and strong leadership of our Wardens and Vestry.
With the restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus pandemic all in-person activities have had to be suspended. Once allowed to resume in-person meetings we anticipate that there will be a need for a period of rebuilding. In this profile we are presenting a general picture of our parish pre-covid and recognize that during and after this current period there will be additional challenges if our Vision, Mission and Goals are to be realized. In this context the section on Expectations and Challenges assume even greater significance.
Our pattern of Sunday worship is largely traditional with the Eucharist at 8:00 am
and 10:00 am celebrated according to Rite II of the Book of Common Prayer. At 10:00 am, our main service, the worship is accompanied by the organ and full choir, and at least once per month by our Steel Band Orchestra. During this service visitors, birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated and travelling mercies prayed for those travelling. This service is followed by a fellowship time
in our Parish Hall, courtesy of the Episcopal Church Women’s ministry. On the third Sunday of the month the anointing of the sick is incorporated into the service.
A midday service is normally held on Wednesdays and there is a weekly Bible Study on Wednesday evening.
RESPONSE TO COVID19
With the onset of the Novel Coronavirus 19 Pandemic, initially, a recorded Sunday service was shared each Sunday with our parishioners via YouTube. This service was usually viewed by over 100 persons, the majority of which are parishioners. Currently a 10am in-person service with accommodation for 33 families is being held observing the appropriate Covid19 guidelines. This service is also recorded and shared via YouTube. Live-streaming the service for those unable to attend as well as for those just wishing to share in a worship experience online is also being considered.
Acolytes: There is one senior acolyte supported by members drawn from the Youth group as part of the youth ministry.
Altar Guild and Flower Group: Currently there are 16 members whose ministry is to care for the altar, vestments, vessels, and altar linens. Members prepare the sanctuary for services, ensuring appropriate seasonal liturgical colors for all vestments and hangings, and the communion vessels for the shut-in visitation kit. They oversee the items used in worship such as the wine, bread, candles flowers and cleaning materials. There are also special tasks associated with holidays, baptisms, weddings, funerals and memorial services.
Choir and Music: Music is an integral part of our worship experience at the 10:00 am service. Led by our organist/choir master on our four-manual electronic organ which was rebuilt in 2010, the choir and congregation have the opportunity of singing not only well-known hymns and gospel songs but also parts of the Liturgy.
The choir usually presents a special piece during the preparation of the altar and receiving of the offering in lieu of an offertory hymn. At times worship is enhanced by performances of the Youth Choir, the Steel Band, and a solo rendition by the director of the Youth Choir.
Episcopal Church Women (ECW): A ministry of and for women. They are called and empowered by grace to serve our Lord in prayer, action, study and fellowship. As women members of the Episcopal Church, all women in every congregation in the diocese are members of the ECW and are invited to be active participants in the organization’s ministry. At Saint Christopher’s, our ECW is made up of a group of sisters whose activities include coordinating weekly coffee hours, spring and fall rummage sales and fundraisers for special projects around the church. The ECW supports the church’s other ministries, as members of the altar guild, the flower
guild, music ministry, outreach ministry, seniors’ ministry, youth ministry, Eucharistic ministers, lectors, oblationers, ushers, tellers and vestry ministries.
Meetings are held monthly, on the third Sunday of the month, following the 10:00 am service.
A break from duties is usually taken during July and August of each year.
The ECW is headed up by a committee of officers, four of which include the President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. Elections are held every two years.
Lay Eucharistic Ministers: Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs) are members of Saint Christopher’s who assist the priest in administering the sacrament of Holy Communion at the altar rail and in the pews for those who are unable to come to the altar rail. Saint Christopher’s presently has nine LEMs who rotate and serve at both the 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. services. We are also blessed to have a Lay Eucharistic Visitor who takes sacrament to the ill, infirm, and hospitalized members of the congregation.
Intercessors: The Eucharistic Ministers serve as intercessors in the reading of the prayers of the people. The LEM who serves at the 8:00 a.m. service serves as the intercessor. One of the two LEMs at the 10:00 a.m. service serves as the intercessor.
Lectors: Lectors are volunteers from the congregation who read the New and Old Testament lessons each Sunday. One of the junior acolytes reads the Psalm between the reading of the New and Old Testament lesson. It is read responsively by half verse with the congregation.
Fundraising Committee: The Fundraising Committee leads the church in raising funds to meet budgeted and capital expenses through entertainment. This is achieved by organizing two annual events, an Evening of Jazz and a Celebration of Mardi Gras. An Evening of Jazz frequently features well known entertainers along with local up-and-coming artists. The performances are followed by a meet and greet with the artists. Mardi Gras is held on the Friday before Ash Wednesday. This is a dinner dance featuring authentic New Orleans cuisine and music. The committee also sponsors a Friends and Family picnic in the fall as a way of bringing together the church family and community to say ‘Thank You’ for support and fellowship throughout the year.
Men’s Fellowship: The Men's Fellowship promotes the relationship between its members and God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Maintaining this constant focus allows the men to address and navigate faithfully through the daily issues of life that they will encounter. The Men's Fellowship is a brotherhood that meets regularly to plan for church activities and events such as Harvest Sunday, Maundy Thursday Fish Fry and Mother's Day Luncheon. Some activities that the Men contribute to are Rummage Sales, Church Work-days and general maintenance of the church buildings and grounds. They are dedicated and instrumental in providing support and leadership for various projects in the church and the community. Meetings are held on the third Sunday of each month
Steel Pan Orchestra: The Steel Pan Orchestra was established in November 2015, as a multi-generational ministry. Rehearsals began in March 2016 with our first performance in May 2016. Since then the orchestra has played regularly at Sunday services. It has also performed at several special functions including the Annual Mardi Gras and Jazz Concert, and was featured at the 2017 and 2019 Diocesan Convention. We were also scheduled to play at the 2020 Convention service as well.
The Orchestra’s Motto is "We walk by faith, not by sight." The age range is from 13 to 70-plus. None of our members had prior experience playing steel pans, and while a few have musical knowledge it is not a requirement for becoming a member, and recruitment is ongoing. Expenses are met through dues, donations and fundraising activities. With sufficient notice the orchestra is able to accept requests for special performances in other venues.
Ushers and Greeters: Our ushers and greeters are usually the first persons our visitors meet when they join us for worship. They greet each member and hand out the service bulletin, take up the offering, as well as giving direction and helping members during the administration of Holy Communion. Their professionalism and welcoming spirit embody Saint Christopher’s passionate sense of community.
The mission of Saint Christopher's Youth Ministry is to grow an active church of diversified people by using our energy and love of life. We rely on our family and adult church leaders to be our mentors and provide guidance through our Christian life. As members of Saint Christopher’s Youth Ministry we commit to use our time, talents and treasures to actively participate in our community, grow as individuals, develop a relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord, and share the Good News with our friends.
Youth Ministry Rules are to Have Fun! Be Safe! Be Respectful! In return the leaders and volunteers commit to share their time and talents to guide and mentor each Youth Group member.
Opportunities within the Youth Ministry include:
Acolytes: Acolytes assist the clergy in leading the Holy Eucharist and other services.
Sunday School: Sunday School shows children and youth the way of Christ, not only in the church but also in the world as Christ’s ambassadors.
Camp Wingmann is situated in Avon Park, Florida and in the Diocese of Central Florida. It is a beautiful and holy place set aside for children, youth and adults in the hope that they will meet Jesus and grow in their faith.
Summer camp is a residential program held in June and July. Camp sessions are one week long and grouped by age. Members of the Youth Group serve as Counselors at the camp.
Youth Group: The Youth Group meets weekly on Friday nights from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. There are discussions on the highs and lows of the week and lessons on the importance of exercise, nutrition, family and life skills. They also participate in game nights, scavenger hunts, prayer walks, movie nights, arts and crafts and birthday celebrations.
Outreach: In 2017, ten of our youth participated in a mission camp at the Duncan Center in Delray Beach. The purpose of the weeklong camp was to build relationships with youth from other churches in our Diocese, provide some assistance to Holy Redeemer by clearing their outdoor fields and organizing their closets. The experience was very rewarding. Our youth worked hard, met new friends and attended a bilingual service that was followed by fellowship with the community. Other Outreach involvement includes Church Clean Up days, JDRF Walk, CROS Walk and Vacation Bible School.
World Mission – Nicaragua
Neighbors Helping Neighbors is a partnership between St. Christopher's Mission Outreach and Nicaragua. We have been committed to ministering to people, particularly children, both internationally and locally, for the past four years. In those years, we have partnered with communities in Nicaragua for construction, spiritual enrichment and workshops. We also deliver gifts to needy children. In 2017 we delivered gifts of piano keyboards to Saint Andrew’s and Saint Barnabas Episcopal Churches, and a television to the Saint Augustine Episcopal Church youth group. We also distributed eyeglasses and clothes to families in need. We depend on monetary and material contributions to continue to provide a ministry and service to those who need it.
AA meetings are held weekly on the premises.
The Men’s Fellowship, with support from the wider church, sponsors the annual Thanksgiving Dinner. The meal is prepared by the members. Provision is made for dining on the premises or takeout if so desired. Meals are also delivered to the shut-in. Each year the number of families/persons fed increases.
A vibrant leased preschool operates within our Christian Education building. The students come mainly from outside the church family resulting in many non-members having access to the property and thus being exposed to our church. This provides an opportunity for outreach and evangelism. The school also uses the Sanctuary and Parish hall for graduation and other functions.
Pioneer’s Club - Our Senior’s Ministry: The Pioneer’s Club was launched in February 2016 following a period of discussion, preparation and planning. Officers were elected and a naming contest was conducted to select a name for the ministry. On Feb. 9, 2016, the Pioneer Club Senior’s Ministry was launched. There were 21 people in attendance. Current membership is more than 100.
The goal of the Pioneer’s Club is to minister to seniors in our church and the community. We provide an environment where they are acknowledged and valued and we tap into their talents, experiences and wisdom.
Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in our Parish Hall.
We have structured meetings which include business, announcements, presentations, lunch and a 50/50 raffle. Members often remain to play games. All of these functions are provided free of cost to our seniors.
Quarterly meetings are held at an outside venue to celebrate the birthdays of members. The birthday celebrants are recognized by being presented with a token gift from the club.
Other activities include cruises, supporting C.R.O.S (Christians Reaching Out to Society) Ministries, the Food bank and donating needed items to residents of the Lord’s Place.
Our mission is to create, grow and maintain a structured program for the seniors within our parish, thus affording them the opportunity for social interaction and community involvement while utilizing their wisdom and talents to assist seniors with mutual challenges.
Donald E. Crooks Memorial Scholarship
The Donald E. Crooks Memorial Scholarship was established in 2015. Its mission is to encourage the pursuit of academic excellence by recognizing and honoring annually, one qualified college bound senior from St Christopher’s and one qualified college bound senior from a school within the local community. The Program is funded solely by donations and since inception $7,000 has been awarded to deserving students. We are very grateful for the opportunity to play a small role in empowering youth to focus on their education and desire to succeed. Children are our future. A solid educational foundation promotes personal growth, civic responsibility and economic enrichment.
The Scholarship Program has expanded its services to include a free annual workshop to 10th, 11th and 12th graders from St. Christopher’s Church and John I. Leonard High School. It is designed to improve the skill set of students by:
enhancing their communication and interviewing skills
providing advice on the college admission process
channeling their interests and major towards a relevant career path
assisting with financial aid and scholarship applications
providing tools to navigate the challenges of college life
Application for the upcoming school year is available on January 1st and due by March 31st.
Our Faith Community
In the summary of the CAT Survey it is noted that our congregation has a:
“theological perspective which tends to be more conservative compared to other similar churches”;
“culture that values spiritual experience, flexibility and conversion”;
“high level of vitality and needs to find ways to sustain and share its many gifts”;
“Christian community where the rate of giving is high as a percentage of household income.”
The average attendance for 2015 to 2020 is shown in the Chart on the left. No in-person services were held after mid-March and totals listed for March to July reflect the average number of persons viewing our recorded service.
Our members are not only from Haverhill but from several surrounding cities, townships and villages within a 15-mile radius (>40% more than 5 miles), and some traveling more than 15 miles. There are also frequent visitors at our 10:00 am service. Because of the geographic distribution and size of our membership we are characterized as “regionally-focused” rather than “community-focused” and a “pastoral-sized church” (CAT Survey).
The Wider Community
Saint Christopher’s is located in the 0.63-square-mile town of Haverhill in Palm Beach County. Estimated population (2016) is 2,094. The 2010 census showed 537 households of which 38.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them. Married couples living together were 56.1%, female-headed households were 11.5%, non-families totaled 27%, individuals totaled 19.6%, and 4,3% had someone living alone who was 65 years or older. Average household size was 2.71 and average family size was 3.12. The population has been relatively stable with average household income of $50,652 (2010).
Although our numbers are relatively small, our members are generous in their giving and because of this and other initiatives, combined with sound financial management, the parish has been able to improve its finances over the last few years. Through ongoing development of stewardship, we have been able to generate significant income from our members. Financial needs for special projects have been voluntarily funded by members either individually or as a group. Additional income for the general operating expenses is generated through rental of both the Sanctuary and Parish Hall, lease of the Pre-School building to an independent operator, and intentional fundraising. A number of our ministries are self-funding thus relieving pressure on the general income obtained. Special projects when undertaken, such as the installation of a Columbarium and restoration of the Memorial Garden, are designed to be self-funding - the Columbarium by the sale of niches and the garden by the sale of commemoration bricks.
Participation & giving trends 2013 – 2019
Our actual operating budget for the period 2015 to 2017 and that budgeted for 2018 to 2022 shows a minimal increase of less than 1%.
Income & Expenditure 2015 - 2022
THE Rector WE SEEK
EXPECTATIONS and CHALLENGES
In faith and with guidance, Saint Christopher’s seeks to discern a priest who will share a passion for Christ and compassion for all.
Prayerfully, we seek a priest who -
Shows their love for Jesus and is an example of Jesus’ life,
sharing the joy of the Gospel within and without the church
Demonstrates integrity, is dynamic, compassionate and empathetic
Is approachable and engages the congregation
Can bridge the gap between age groups
Is an effective communicator and educator
Is able to understand and work with and within the diversity of our congregation
Is open to and accepting of different races and cultures
Loves music and willing to have some input
Is a dynamic preacher
The CAT revealed that we face some challenges and we anticipate that our new priest will be able
Engage creatively with a diverse group of different cultures and backgrounds
Encourage, maintain and develop effective stewardship
Build a sense of ownership and community among parishioners
Work with the Vestry to manage the church’s financial health, giving insight
and advice in order to meet the short and long-term needs of the church
Create ways to encourage involvement of younger members and children
Develop a strong welcome program for visitors and new members
Articulate our vision and enable the leadership to make any changes that may be necessary
RELATIONSHIP & ENGAGEMENT WITH THE DIOCESE
Currently Saint Christopher’s is a mission parish, but is qualified and aspiring to parish status which we hope to achieve under our new priest and rector.
We are fully involved in the activities of the Diocese especially attendance at the Annual Convention and serving on select committees of the Diocese.
Our Steel Pan Orchestra was a special guest at the 2017 and 2019 Convention service on the invitation of the Bishop.
Currently, the Vestry employs the following staff on a part-time basis:
The property is approximately five (5) acres, with entrances from both Haverhill and Belvedere Roads.
Christian Education Building
The church is aligned in the northwest – southeast position and is one of six buildings on the property. Adjacent to but aligned east – west on the eastern side is the parking lot north of the church is the Christian Education building which houses the Rector’s Office, the classrooms, and restrooms with a fenced-in playground next to it. Further east of this building is the Youth House behind which is a storeroom.
The Rectory, a 4 bed 2 bathroom house which is situated at the northwestern corner of the property, has been completely renovated. The main entrance is from Belvedere Road. The area around the Rectory is to be fenced off from the main property to provide privacy.
Please visit https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/jobs/priest-in-charge-soon-to-be-rector/ for more information on the position and to submit an application.