News

Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Laurie Carlson, Council Secretary

The church council met on Sunday, January 15, 2023.  One member attended by Zoom while the rest of council attended in person.

Annual Meeting Recap: Our annual meeting was held on November 13, 2022. The minutes of the meeting are available on Keep & Share now after being reviewed and approved by council.

Physical Campus Update: Completed and upcoming projects include: 

  • We are very grateful that the tree trimming/removal and the parish house roof replacement occurred prior to this stormy January.
  • The back/north-facing exterior of the church has been painted and the windows repaired.  
  • The council is undertaking an extensive review of the church’s accessibility issues. The top three areas of concern are access to the sanctuary, the parish house, and the bathrooms. These are complex and expensive issues to address. Much more information will be forthcoming.
  • The Parish House door on Washington Street is in need of repair and the Parish House furnace stopped working last week and will need to be repaired or replaced. Estimates from HVAC companies are being obtained. 
  • Placement and installation of the Land Acknowledgement plaque is being decided.

2022 Holiday Recap: After two years of not being together in person for our Christmas Concert and Christmas Eve worship services, we are grateful to have finally been able to gather as a community during the holidays. We held three Christmas Eve services (5, 7 and 9 pm without a reception) led by Rev. Lee with Heather Garland and Charles Calhoun, all well attended though not overly crowded. We had the added gift this year of gathering for Sunday worship service on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. It was a special opportunity for our community to experience our beautifully-decorated sanctuary multiple times during the holidays. Thank you to everyone who assisted in planning and decorating for these events.

Music Program Updates: As many of you have noticed, the Allen Organ has been removed from the sanctuary. A valiant effort was made to repair the organ, but as each issue was corrected, a new one was identified.  It became clear that the cost to repair the organ was not reasonable and there was no guarantee that it would ever be repaired completely. The decision was made to replace it with a baby grand piano and to continue to use the pump organ. The search is ongoing for the piano which we hope to have soon. 

Annual Giving Campaign: January is always a time of reflection, planning, and anticipation in our personal lives and in our spiritual lives. Over the next few weeks, we will be talking about this year’s annual giving effort and how you can participate. You will be receiving a letter either electronically or through the mail with a financial and a time and talent pledge form. Please spend some time thinking about how you might participate in supporting our church in 2023. You can make your 2023 pledge Online now at tiny.cc/2023pledge

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

  1. End of January – Annual Giving Campaign
  2. February 5 – Communion Luncheon
  3. February 5 – Public tours of our sanctuary to begin
  4. February 12 – Fireside Chat
  5. March 5 – Celebration of Marriage Sunday

The next church council meeting will be February 19, 2023 at 1 p.m. Any who are interested are welcome to attend.


Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Laurie Carlson, Council Secretary

Our Annual Meeting was held Sunday, November 13th from 1:00-3:00 pm. It was a glorious, blue sky day and prior to the meeting we enjoyed a delicious, plentiful lunch. Seventeen members stayed to participate in the meeting along with 2 non voting members. Reports were presented by the council president, minister, stewardship, and treasurer reviewing the activities of 2022. The 2023 budget was presented, discussed, voted on, and approved unanimously. In addition, elections were held for two council positions. The current council members Jennifer Lindsay and Lea Park agreed to run for re-election. There were no other nominees to consider and they were re-elected unanimously. The complete minutes of this meeting will be made available shortly. A link to the treasurer’s report and the 2023 budgets are available below (PDF download).


Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Laurie Carlson, Council Secretary

The church council met on Sunday, October 16, 2022.  Two members attended by Zoom while the rest of council and one guest attended in person.

PCA Meeting Recap: As many of you know, our church hosted the Annual PCA meeting last weekend, October 7-9, 2022. The theme for this weekend was “On Indigenous Lands: Finding a Path to Regeneration.”  

There were presentations from Gregg Castro, Devin Zuber, a pre-recording from Corina Gould, and meditation and readings from Reverend Lee. In addition to these excellent talks, the weekend agenda included a business meeting, wonderful meals, time for fellowship, and a regeneration walk through the Presidio. Twenty people registered for the meeting, and 5-10 guests attended the evening events. We are so thankful and appreciative of our members who made this event memorable and successful. And congratulations to our Reverend Lee who was elected as the new president of the PCA.

Annual Meeting: Our annual meeting is scheduled for November 13, 2022 following our church service. A light lunch will be provided for those attending. Approval of the 2023 Annual Budget is one very important aspect of this meeting. The 2023 budget was approved by council during this meeting and will be distributed electronically by the end of October for members to review. Members will vote on the budget as well as two council positions. Lea Park and Jennifer Lindsay have agreed to run for a second term on the council. Additional candidates can be nominated from the floor during the meeting, however prior to the meeting there will not be another slate of candidates to consider.  Additional topics for the annual meeting will include an overview of the year by our council president, a minister’s report, and reports from our various committees. Members are encouraged to bring forth any issues or concerns as well.

Physical Campus Update:  Tree removal and trimming has been completed in the main garden. The windows on the back portion of the parish house have been repaired. Painting of the exterior walls facing the back garden as well as the parish house roof repair will begin in November. All of our bathrooms will be assessed and repaired for ADA updates where indicated. Repair of the Allen Organ is ongoing; we are waiting on a part which should be arriving soon.

Coffee Hour: Health and Safety Reminder. As you are aware, we have returned to our pre-Covid coffee hour practice. We are no longer providing individually-wrapped food items or eating outdoors as safety precautions. However, we still need to be mindful of health and safety. Please always use serving utensils and limit touching food by hand whenever possible. Also refrain from using your personal fork or utensil to select an item from a communal plate or bowl, and no “double dipping.” We want us all to stay healthy as we enter the flu season. 

Mark your calendar for these Upcoming Events

  1. October 30, 2022 – Pumpkin Carving and Face Painting event
  2. November 13, 2022 – Annual meeting
  3. December 11, 2022 – Holiday Concert
  4. December 24, 2022 – Christmas Eve Services 
  5. December 25, 2022 – Christmas Day Service

The next church council meeting will be the Annual Meeting on November 13th, 2022 at 1:15 p.m. Any who are interested are welcome to attend though voting is restricted to members.


Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Laurie Carlson, Council Secretary

The church council met by Zoom on Sunday, July 17, 2022. 

Financial Update:  As you may recall, we approved a deficit budget for this year, meaning we anticipated church expenses to be greater than revenue. With that in mind, we projected an operating loss of $18,438 for the first half of the year. Our actual operating income loss was $17,699, so a little better than expected and we are generally “on budget”. Pledges and other giving have been strong although not quite as much as projected. For these first six months we have received $49,437 in pledges and giving versus the $60,000 we budgeted. We have received $31,100 in income from wedding and receptions compared to a budget of $40,000. Although both income categories are a little less than predicted, these are positive numbers and we are very thankful and optimistic. 

PCA (Pacific Coast Association) Meeting:  Our church is co- hosting this annual meeting with the East Bay Hillside Congregation on the weekend of October 7-9. The preliminary agenda includes a welcome dinner and presentation on Friday Oct 7th; breakfast, presentation, lunch, business meeting, meditations session, dinner, evening musical event on Saturday Oct 8th; and breakfast, worship service and light lunch on Sunday Oct 9th. There will be more information about the topics and registration specifics in the next months. We would like to encourage as many of our members to attend. And of course, there will be ample opportunities to volunteer to makes this a meaningful and friendly gathering. 

Fireside Chat:  A Fireside Chat has been planned for September 11, 2022 following the Sunday worship service. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend as your input is very important. Proposed Agenda: financial update, forming a Caring Ministry, PCA meeting planning, feedback on the music program, and council nominations for the 2023 term.

Caring Ministry:  As we have emphasized before in our annual financial campaigns, pledging is not only about financial giving. Giving of our time and are talents are equally important and valuable. Now that we are learning to live safely with this pandemic and are more confident that we will be able to consistently worship in person, it is time to think about ways to be more involved in the life of the church and to consider where you might be willing to serve. We plan to reintroduce the “time and talent” survey in the coming months and to establish a Caring Ministry. We have members and friends who, from time to time, need assistance in transportation, running errands, etc., and we want to be able to assist them. We will establish a way those needs can be communicated so that help can be provided and to identify members who are willing and able to assist. Many of us do this already. We want to make this ministry more visible, assessable, and available to our members in need.

Physical Campus Update:  The June Council Corner provided updates on roof repair, scheduled tree trimming, ADA improvement projects, and status of the repair of the Allen organ. We are still waiting for parts to begin the repair of the organ, and there are no updates on the other projects. One new improvement project will be the painting and repair of the exterior of the north side of the parish house. Estimates are pending.

The next church council meeting will be August 21, 2022 at 1 p.m. Any who are interested are welcome to attend.


Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Laurie Carlson, Council Secretary

The church council met in person on Sunday, June 12, 2022. 

Upcoming Events:

  • June 25-29, 2022 – Annual Swedenborgian Convention 
  • October 2, 2022 – Communion Luncheon
  • October 7-9, 2022 – PCA meeting will be hosted by our church

Physical Campus Update:

  • Roof Repair. A roof-repair company has been selected and will begin November 7th. It is expected to take 4-5 days to complete. It is being scheduled at this time to avoid interfering with scheduled wedding events and the PCA meeting we will be hosting in October.
  • Tree-trimming in the lower garden will also occur in late summer/early fall, before the roof repair. Arborists Now have been contracted to do the work needed and if permits can be obtained, tree removal.
  • ADA improvement Projects. Council is exploring what can be done to make our bathrooms and access to the sanctuary and parish house more accessible to people with physical limitations. Initial priority will be on the toilets and restrooms.
  • Repair of the Allen Organ. Fundraising for the organ repair has been successful and our goal reached. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort! The repair is currently delayed while we wait for needed parts. As soon as the parts are located and arrive, the repair will begin. 

Tours of the sanctuary. The first training session for new sanctuary docents was held on June 6th. Carolyn O’Brien led this training and 5 members and one City Guide Tour Leader attended. The next training session is scheduled for July 10th after the service. The topic for this session will focus on the treasures in our sanctuary. If you are interested in learning more about the paintings, stained glass windows, and other artifacts, please speak with Carolyn about attending that session. 

William Keith Symposium. Planning discussions are ongoing regarding the William Keith Symposium in coordination with St. Mary’s College. Primary consideration is being given to narrowing the focus of the symposium around Keith’s evolving treatment of nature in his work and how it is connected to the idea of “regeneration”. A possible extension of this approach may lead to a series of symposia on that theme involving not only human regeneration but also ecological regeneration. This symposium is being considered for Fall of 2022 or Spring of 2023.

Land Acknowledgement Statement. We continue to look for ways to build engagement/partnership with the Ramaytush Ohlone who are the First Nations people of the San Francisco area. A plaque is being designed with the words of the land acknowledgment statement to be placed in the garden. We are considering ways to offer financial support and we want to create opportunities to learn more about the history of the Ohlone and how we can work together on our shared vision of Nature and Spirit.

Swedenborgian’s Care or Senior Care Ministry. The committee is discussing ways we can support and assist members of our congregation who have transportation or life activity needs. More information about this and ways you can participate will be forthcoming.


Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Laurie Carlson, Council Secretary

The Church Council met this past Sunday, April 24 2022.  Two guests participated by zoom in addition to the council members

Upcoming Events:

  • May 22, 2022;  Art in the Garden Event
  • May 27-30 2022. Memorial Day Retreat
  • June 4, 2022. Resuming Men’s Breakfast
  • June 5, 2022. Graduation Celebration
  • June 25-29 2022- 2022 Annual Swedenborgian Convention 
  • October 2, 2022  Communion Luncheon
  • October 7-9, 2022. PCA meeting will be hosted by our church

Arts in the Garden Event:  Several of the talented artists in our congregation will be displaying their work for our enjoyment during coffee hour on May 22, 2022. If there are others who would like to share their work at this time, please notify Andrew Dodd (pragmatist1910@gmail.com).

Memorial Day Retreat is scheduled for May 27-30, 2022 at St. Dorothy’s Rest.  So far, 27 people have signed up to attend and it’s not too late to sign up. If finances are a concern and holding you back, please contact Rev. Lee as we have obtained some money for scholarships to support this retreat. It promises to be a wonderful weekend of spiritual and physical renewal and fun.  

Graduation Celebration:  Several of our members have graduated since the pandemic but there wasn’t an opportunity to celebrate their achievement. On Sunday, June 5, during coffee hour we plan to change that. Anyone who graduated from high school or college between 2020 to 2021 will be honored. If this applies to you, please inform Rev. Lee or Dana so no one is left out (office@sfswedenborgian.org).  It is time to celebrate!

Physical Campus Update: We have several on-going projects that we want to report on.

  • Roof Repair:  A company to repair the roof has been selected and will begin November 7. Work is expected to take 4-5 days to complete and has been scheduled at this time to avoid interfering with October events and weddings.
  • Garden Upkeep:  Staff from Nature in the City completed their work on the back garden last week. The garden refresh has created a fun, adaptive, and easy-to-maintain space using mostly native plants that are beneficial for pollinators and drought tolerant. Please take a look. 
  • Tree-trimming in the main garden will also occur in late summer/early fall, before the roof repair and after bird nesting season. 

Repair of the Allen Organ:  Congregational feedback at the Fireside Chat and via emails and conversations were overwhelming in favor of repairing the organ. Based on this input, the decision was made to move forward with the repair.  The cost of the repair will be approximately $4,200.  Several members are willing to help fund this repair, but if anyone else would like to donate to the Organ Repair Fund, please let the office know by the end of May (office@sfswedenborgian.org). This is just the first step as we continue to discuss and consider the future direction of the music program. 

Stewardship Update: Our annual pledge campaign resulted in $84,580 pledged by 24 members/friends. Thank you all for your generous financial support and to all of you who give with or without pledging.  

The church directory was sent out electronically last week. Let us know if there are any mistakes which we can address now. The plan will be to update the directory yearly going forward.

Tours of the Sanctuary:  We will be restarting this as you have read and heard about. If anyone is interested in being trained as a guide, please contact Carolyn O’Brien (carolyn1944@att.net). Training classes are being organized and scheduled.

William Keith Symposium:  Planning discussions are ongoing regarding the William Keith Symposium in coordination with St. Mary’s College. Primary consideration is being given to narrowing the focus of the symposium around Keith’s evolving treatment of nature in his work and how it is connected to the idea of “regeneration”. A possible extension of this approach may lead to a series of symposia on that theme involving not only human regeneration, but also ecological regeneration. This symposium is being considered for Fall of 2022 or Spring of 2023.

Land Acknowledgement Statement:  We continue to look for ways to build engagement/partnership with the Ramaytush Ohlone – the First Nations people of the San Francisco area.  A plaque is being designed for the garden with the words of the statement. We are considering ways to offer financial support and we want to create opportunities to learn more about the history of the Ohlone and how we can work together on our shared vision of Nature and Spirit.


Church Council Corner – February 2022

Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Laurie Carlson, Council Secretary

The Church Council met this past Sunday, February 20, 2022 by Zoom. All members were present.

Upcoming Events:

  • March 2: First Zoom planning meeting for the Memorial Day Retreat
  • March 6: Celebration of Marriage Sunday
  • April 3: Rescheduled Fireside Chat
  • April 14: Maundy- Thursday Service
  • April 17: Easter Sunday, 11:00 a.m. service only

Roof Repair: As many of you might have noticed, there are some leaks in the parish house roof which requires repair and roof replacement. Three bids were received and reviewed. After discussion the Council have selected a roofing company (Tom Lee Roofing) and work will begin as soon as it can be scheduled.

Garden Upkeep: The council has been in conversation with the staff of Nature in the City who are interested in transforming our smaller back garden by adding new plants to create a fun, adaptive, and easy to maintain garden using mostly California-native plants that are beneficial for pollinators, drought tolerant, and will thrive in this space. We are waiting for a formal proposal and cost estimate. We are also working on scheduling arborists to provide a much-needed trim to our big trees.

Music Program Update: Andrew presented a very thorough and comprehensive Power Point presentation which will be shared with the congregation at the upcoming Fireside Chat. The Allen Organ, which has served our needs well for the past 15 years, requires repairs. This presents us with an opportunity to consider what type of musical instrument will meet the current and future direction of our music program. We must consider what instrument is best suited for worship services, weddings, and also for musical concerts and events that we host. Musical tastes have changed over the years and it is challenging to find church organists. Technology has changed considerably since we purchased the Allen Organ and smaller instruments and/or keyboards now can provide a similar sound to an organ as well as being easier to play. Before we make any decisions on a purchase or repair, we need feedback from the congregation and look forward to hearing your thoughts, interests, and hopes at the April Fireside Chat.

Stewardship Update:  The Stewardship team continues to work on the areas summarized in last months council update.

  • The Pledge campaign is going well. To date $60,480 has been pledged from 10 pledging groups. This is approximately 50% of our budgeted goal. And as you can see, our song is growing!
  • Offering tours of the sanctuary to the public. We want to share our beautiful sanctuary with our neighbors and the larger SF Community. The plan is to offer these tours after service on Sunday from 1-3 p.m. A guidebook is being developed with information about the history of the sanctuary. Training for members/friends interested in serving as guides will occur. We are hoping members will see this as a fun and enjoyable opportunity and will want to participate. This will be presented and discussed further at the Fireside chat.
  • Church Directory. The plan is to produce a printed and digital church directory with the contact information of our members and friends over the next few months. We already have most of the information we need. If you DO NOT want to be included in the directory please contact Laurie Carlson, council secretary (councilsecretary@sfswedenborgian.org ). This directory will only be made available to active members and friends. The directory will be available in March.

The next church council meeting will be March 20th at 1 p.m. Any who are interested are welcome to attend.


Church Council Corner – January 2022

Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Council Secretary Laurie Carlson

All church council members were present with one church member who also attended to observe.  There were three invited guests:  Treasurer Robert Carr to provide the Year 2021 financial update, along with Song Leader Heather Davis and Former Music Director Charles Calhoun to provide feedback and guidance on the music program.

Covid Update

As you are all aware we have returned to virtual services due to the resurgence of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus. The church council continues to monitor the local SF public health data closely to determine when it will be safe to resume in-person worship. At this time, we anticipate continuing with Zoom services into February. The church council will convene via zoom again on January 26th to review the Covid-19 statistics and determine when in-person services may reasonably reconvene. During this time that we cannot meet together, a Saturday morning virtual Social Hour has been organized in addition to the virtual coffee hour offered after service each Sunday. This provides all of us with the opportunity to see each other virtually and maintain a sense of caring and community. Consider also reaching out via email or phone to members and friends to let them know they are in your thoughts. Everyone can do this simple act of connection.

2021 Year-End Finances

Income in December was strong due to congregational giving and several weddings leading to a gain of $5.8k. Overall, our 2021 fiscal year was good, in the sense that we bettered the approved 2021 budget. Income of $278k was higher than the budget of $266k. 2021 expenses of $312.2k were slightly lower than the budget of $314.4k. 2021 net income of -34.2k was better than the deficit budget of -48.4k. In summary, the church is well positioned for our approved 2022 budget, which is conservative given how weddings and receptions are already showing a healthy rebound. Thank you for your generous financial support again this year. We are so very blessed.

Music Program Update 

The congregation is in a period of discernment about the direction and vision for the music program following Jonathan Dimmock’s departure. There are many questions to be considered and the church council wanted to hear from Heather Davis, who has been serving as our song leader since September and Charles Calhoun, organist and our previous music director. The feedback, insight and expertise they shared with us provided valuable information to be carefully thought through. The next step is to hear from our congregation about your priorities and desires for the future. To that end, a Fireside Chat is being planned to allow for in-person conversation and discussion. The original date proposed for this was February 6th, however this date will now need to be postponed until we are able to hold this meeting in person. We do hope it will happen before the end of February.

Stewardship Activities

  1. The first of the year is the beginning of our annual pledge campaign. The theme for this year is “A Gift of Song” and you will be receiving more information about it through the mail and the e-newsletter. Be on the lookout for it.
  2. Offering tours of the sanctuary to the public. We want to share our beautiful sanctuary with our neighbors and the larger SF Community. The plan is to offer these tours after service on Sunday from 1-3 p.m. A guidebook is being developed with information about the history of the sanctuary. Training for members/friends interested in serving as guides will occur. We are hoping members will see this as a fun and enjoyable opportunity and will want to participate. More information about this will be presented at the next Fireside Chat. 

Church Directory. The plan is to produce a printed and digital church directory with the contact information of our members and friends over the next one and a half months.  We already have most of the information we need. This directory will only be made available to active members and friends. If you DO NOT want to be included in the directory please contact Laurie Carlson, council secretary, by March 1st at councilsecretary@sfswedenborgian.org.


In-Person Worship Services Canceled Until Further Notice

December 30, 2021

During this pandemic, the spiritual and physical welfare of our members and friends have been our two primary concerns. Just as we were beginning to feel more comfortable holding in-person services, meeting indoors, singing, and enjoying coffee hour together, the Omicron variant of Covid 19 appeared. Covid cases due to this variant among both vaccinated and unvaccinated people have risen steadily and significantly during the first weeks of December. We have not yet seen the impact the Christmas holiday will have on new cases and hospitalizations with so many celebrating, gathering, and traveling. The church council has been carefully following the San Francisco statistics and this has prompted us to make some difficult decisions to safeguard the physical health and safety of our worshipping community.

After meeting Wednesday evening and reviewing the current data and trends, we made the decision to cancel in person worship services for two weeks. We will hold online, virtual services only on Sunday, January 2nd and January 9th. Only those who are involved in the streaming production of the service, its music and liturgy will attend at the church.
We realize how disappointing this is on so many levels. We did not make this decision easily or lightly. We know we are being overly conservative with our interpretation, understanding and implementation of the city guidelines and we apologize for the short notice. The most current information on which to base decisions is only available each Wednesday, so it is challenging to be able to communicate more quickly. The council will hold an adhoc meeting on Wednesday January 12th where we will review the omicron infection rates to determine if we can resume in-person worship services on Sunday, January 16th. We expect to have to implement some stricter guidelines such as limiting attendance, pre-registration, proof of vaccination and boosters, no singing, etc. at that time.

We are very hopeful this will just be a short hiatus for us and that we will soon be worshipping together again safely in person. We do not want anyone to get sick, to be worried about risk of exposure, or inadvertently transmit the virus to others. Those are very real concerns each of us individually lives with during this pandemic. If you have questions and concerns about our decision to cancel in-person services for two weeks, please reach out to any of the church council members and/or Reverend Lee (revjclee@sfswedenborgian.org).

We wish everyone a safe, healthy and joyful New Years. 

Laurie Carlson, Church Council Secretary


Church Council Corner – December 2021

Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Council Secretary Laurie Carlson

Your Church Council met in person in the Parish House on Sunday, December 12, 2021.  All Council Members were present in person at the meeting and no guests attended. We would like to extend a warm invitation and reminder that these meetings are open to Congregational Members and Friends.  Each of you are invited and encouraged to attend. If you have any issues, questions, concerns, and/or feedback, every Council Member is available to listen and speak with you. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us.

We welcomed our new Council Member Carolyn O’Brien who was elected during the Annual Meeting on November 14, 2021.  Andrew Dodd and Ewa Robinson were also re-elected to serve a second three-year term. They join continuing Council Members:  Jennifer Lindsay – President, Laurie Carlson – Secretary, Lea Park, and Randy Wiederhold. Robert Carr continues to serve as Treasurer on behalf of the Council. Andrew Dodd will serve as Council Vice President, replacing Tom Murphy who transitioned off of Council after six years of faithful, dedicated service. Thank you Tom for all your hard work and service for the church over these past six years. We look forward to another productive year under the leadership of Jennifer Lindsay and the wise counsel of our Senior Minister, Reverend Lee. Topics discussed at the meeting as follows.

Jennifer outlined her three main priorities for this year:

  1. Continue to strengthen our participation with the National Denomination and the West Coast PCA.       
  2. Determine the future look, sound, and direction of the Music Program.        
  3. Continued progress on the sale of 2121 Lyon Street property.

Finances

October was a strong month of giving from pledges and offerings ($12,600 vs $6,500 in September). Revenue from weddings, receptions, and memorials also increased, totaling $11,400. Total income for the month was $33,400. The Staff continues to work diligently to manage our expenses and have been successful in achieving this during 2021. With continued strong giving during the Holiday Season, the church will end the year in a promising financial position. Our annual giving campaign will begin in January with a new theme and we hope everyone will be able to participate.

2121 Lyon Street Update

The monthly rent was raised on the property by $1,000 in October.  The garage survey was completed. This data will be analyzed to determine the feasibility of building a garage. There is no plan to build a garage prior to its sale, however determining if one can be built and having plans for it will be beneficial information for potential buyers. We expect to complete the analysis by the end of February 2022.

Planned Maintenance and Repairs

  1.  Roof replacement for the Parish house:  Bids have been requested and we have received two and are waiting for two more before determining the company to hire.  Replacement repair expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022.
  2. Garden maintenance: Council is in discussion with Nature in the City about their proposal to transition the garden to plants and shrubs native to the area, drought resistant, and pollinating plants. We will also be working with an arborist to trim the trees.

Fireside Chat 

As discussed at the Annual Meeting, a fireside chat will be held February 6, 2022. Mark your calendars. The topics for discussion are not finalized yet here are several under consideration:

  1. Further discussion, consideration, and explanation of the Land Acknowledgment Statement. 
  2. Soliciting your feedback on the direction of the music program and comments about the program from September through January.  
  3. Offering a training program for those interested in providing routine tours of the sanctuary and gardens to the community after Sunday services.

Finally, we wish you all a very blessed and joyous Christmas Season. 2021 has been another year of changes, challenges, and surprising opportunities. We hope to see you at one of the Christmas Eve Services and certainly look forward with anticipation to being together safely in 2022.


Church Council Corner – July 2021

Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Council Secretary Laurie Carlson

The Church Council held its first in-person meeting since March 2020 on Sunday, July 18th. The Zoom meetings served us extremely well over these past months, it was nonetheless wonderful to be able to meet together in person to continue with our work. All members were able to attend and no congregational members attended.

Topics Discussed:

  1. Updates and feedback on the church’s return to in person services. We have been able to worship together in person and virtually for the past 4 weeks. The worship services have gone very well and each week the live stream is improving and those worshipping in person have not found the filming disruptive. As you will have noted, we have made some modifications to be mindful and respectful of safety concerns. Communion is served in prepared cups and distributed on entry into the church. Greetings have been limited to standing and quietly acknowledging and waving to one another. There is no passing of the offering basket and coffee hour has been minimized with the focus being on fellowship versus food. These modifications will remain in place for the time being. As the Covid Delta variant is becoming more prevalent, we should prepare ourselves for more modifications. Council will pay close attention to the city and state recommendations for mask wearing, physical distancing, capacity, etc. and will communicate and implement any changes as quickly as we learn of them. Our priority is to provide both a meaningful and safe worship experience. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to speak with our pastor or any council member.
  2. Summary of the Fireside Chat on 7/11/21. Seventeen congregants attended this conversation, the purpose of which was to provide a forum for people to give feedback on the in-person services and the pump organ, as well as to provide an update on the church’s financial status and progress on selling 2121 Lyon Street. 
  3. 2021 Budget Update: As you might recall, we approved a deficit budget for 2021 which projected a loss of -$48K. However, as hoped, we did receive (as of Feb 2021) $37.5k forgiveness of the Spring 2020 PPP loan and because we do not need to repay that loan, for the first 6 months of this year the church has an operating net income of about $12K! Additionally, Rites and Sacraments (event income) is steadily increasing and congregational giving has been exceptional. Overall, for the first half of this year we are on course for the year. This is wonderful news considering everything endured over the past 2 years and everyone is to be applauded.
  4. 2022 budget preparation is beginning now. A preliminary budget will be submitted to Jennifer Lindsay, Council President by August 1st. This will provide adequate time for review and distribution to our members prior to our Annual Meeting, which is scheduled for November 14, 2021. You can mark your calendars now for the Annual Meeting.
  5. We are also in the process of submitting for a second Iungerich Grant. The application is due August 15th.
  6. Looking ahead: St Dorothy’s Rest has been reserved for our Memorial Day Retreat in 2022. Another event to look forward to.

Finally, what a blessing it is to have such a wonderful minister, operations manager, choir director, choir and each of you. It fills my heart with joy.


Church Council Corner – April 2021

Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Council Secretary Laurie Carlson

Our church council met Sunday, April 18, 2021 with all council members present via zoom.

Re-opening In-Person Worship Services

As mentioned in last month’s council corner, the church has two priorities when considering this. First, we want to ensure our members safety, well-being, and comfort when attending in person and second, to continue providing a high-quality and meaningful virtual worship experience for those unable to attend in person.

  1. We will continue to follow the San Francisco Health Department’s (SFHD) directives with regard to Covid-19. These directives are constantly being updated based on infection rates, hospitalizations, etc.  We are currently planning to offer in-door services in conformance with these and other SFHD guidelines.
  2. We will wait to begin in-person services until Reverend Lee is fully vaccinated.
  3. A Fireside Chat to discuss the Covid Re-opening Action Plan will be held this Sunday, April 25, 2021.  Details of the plan will be shared, the findings of the survey will be discussed, and members and friends will have an opportunity to ask questions.
  4. A summary of the action plan will be communicated in the E-newsletter following the meeting this Sunday.

Fireside Chat Agenda

A fireside chat will occur in place of the typical virtual coffee hour following service on Sunday, April 25th. The Zoom link used for coffee hour will be the same link for this meeting. The following items will be discussed:

  1. Covid Reopening Action Plan – Lea Park and Tom Murphy
  2. Update on the 2121 Lyon street sale – Robert Carr
  3. Update on the Nature & Spirit Series – Andrew Dodd

Delegates to the Denomination’s Annual Convention

Nine members have volunteered to serve as our church’s delegates to the convention which will be held virtually June 25-27, 2021. The members are Chris Hammer, Ralph Kearns, Nick and Nancy Leras, Andrea LoPinto, Tom Murphy, Jen Pompeo, Richard Shadoian, and Devin Zuber. Thank you all for your willingness to participate as delegates.

Events Update

On an encouraging note, the church is receiving more calls and requests about holding events.

  • One wedding in the garden took place on April 10th. 
  • Two new bookings for wedding only have been scheduled, one in 2021 and one in 2022 .
  • Three memorial services to be held in the garden have been scheduled.
  • One high school graduation party in the garden has been scheduled
  • A baptism is scheduled for this coming Saturday and two more are being planned.

This is a hopeful sign about the future and the contribution these events make to our finances

Blessings to you all and please plan to join us this Sunday for worship service and the fireside chat. The next church council meeting will be May 16th at 1 p.m. Any who are interested are welcome to attend. Please contact Rev. Lee for Zoom link info: revjclee@sfswedenborgian.org


Church Council Corner – March 2021

Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Council Secretary Laurie Carlson

Our church council met Sunday March 21, 2021with all council members present via zoom. Our discussion this month focused on 3 primary topics:

  1. Update on Finances
  2. Reopening In-Person Worship Services
  3. Nature and Spirit – Reimagining our 125th Anniversary Celebration

Update on Finances

  • Our application for forgiveness of the Spring 2020 PPP loan was granted, meaning we do not need to repay the $37,500 received. This is wonderful news.
  • We received pledges totaling $77,000 during January. No new pledges were received during February. It is never too late to pledge. And again, thank you to everyone for your generous support.
  • Regarding 2121 Lyon Street, we are in the process of interviewing two real estate agencies as candidates to handle the sale of the property. One candidate was interviewed last week and the other candidate will be interviewed this coming week. Following these presentations and interviews, a decision to contract with one of these agencies will occur.

Reopening In-Person Worship Services

As mentioned in February’s Council Corner, the church has two priorities when considering in-person worship services. First, we aim to ensure our members’ and minister’s safety, well-being, and comfort. Second, we want to continue providing a high-quality and meaningful virtual worship experience for those unable to attend in person.

  • We continue to follow the San Francisco Health Department’s (SFHD) directives with regard to Covid-19. These directives are constantly being updated based on infection rates, hospitalizations, etc.
  • In-person worship services will begin once Reverend Lee has been fully vaccinated.
  • We are determining what technical equipment and personnel support are necessary to provide combined live streaming/in-person worship services. Once we have determined our plans, we will utilize a consultant being provided by General Convention, our denomination, to assist us in implementation.
  • Your input is important. A survey was included in the e-newsletter last week and will be available for the next few weeks. Please take the time to complete the survey as it will provide vital information about your wishes and concerns. Complete the survey here.
  • A virtual Fireside Chat will be scheduled in April after Easter to share information and obtain your feedback about a reopening plan.
  • In the meantime, occasional small gatherings in the garden will allow members a chance to be with each other in-person.

Nature and Spirit – Reimagining our 125th Anniversary Celebration 

The Stewardship Committee under the excellent leadership of Andrew Dodd and Professor Devin Zuber is working on creating this celebration as a virtual program. Significant progress has been made. There will be eight weeks of presentations (two each week) from the end of April until late June.  Each week will culminate with a live Q&A session with the presenters held on each Sunday May 2nd through June 20th. Many of the presenters originally scheduled in 2020 have agreed to participate in this reimagined celebration.

A preliminary budget has been approved and the Stewardship Committee is in the process of applying for grants to help fund this exciting event. Advertising and additional details will be made available shortly.  If you have any questions or are interested in helping with this program, please contact Andrew Dodd.

Our next meeting will be held April 18th at 1 p.m.  Thank you everyone and stay well.


Church Council Corner – February 2021

Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Council Secretary Laurie Carlson

Our church council met last Sunday, February 21st, 2021, with all council members present via Zoom. You will find a short summary of the issues discussed. 

The council has identified three primary goals for 2021:

  1. Ensuring Financial stability 
  2. Providing a high quality and meaningful worship experience 
  3. Maintaining strong connections with both our members and friends and with the larger denomination.

Financial Stability

  • We applied for and received our second PPP loan of $32,160. This is indeed a welcome addition to our finances.
  • We have received 21 pledges to date, totaling $77,000.00. Our projected budget for 2021 from pledging and congregational giving is $126,000. We are 62% of our way there. Thank you all for your generous support. 
  • Selling of the 2121 Lyon Street Property. A committee has been formed under the leadership of our treasurer Robert Carr and steps have been taken to begin the first phase of this project. It is premature to share much information at this time, however we do want you to know work has begun. If you have questions please feel free to contact Robert directly.

Worship Experience

  • Andrew Dodd and his team have been working diligently to improve the quality of our virtual worship experience. The virtual service is going on line at 10:50 a.m. which allows people plenty of time to establish their connection and for the service to begin on time at 11:00. This seems to be working very well and substantially decreases anxiety levels.
  • A worship committee has been formed to explore if, when, and how we can begin holding in-person services again. New regulations now allow for in person worship services at 25 % capacity. However, there will still be restrictions as far wearing masks, distancing, and no singing. Our church is committed to ensuring members safety and wellbeing when attending in person and at the same time, ensuring a high quality, meaningful virtual worship experience for those unable to attend in person. This is a challenging task and one that we will be working on in the coming months.

Staying Connected

  • The 1-year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic is quickly approaching. It has been a long and challenging year. We have survived financially and we have grown in many unanticipated ways. Our members remain healthy and we continue to reach out, care for, and support each other. With the incidence of infections, hospitalizations and infections decreasing, the increasing number of people receiving vaccinations, and the gradual lifting of restrictions, 2021 offers promise and hope. 
  • Several of our members have been participating in the Swedenborgians in Action Against Racism (programs being offered by the denomination). For those attending this has been an eye-opening, educational and beneficial experience. It has also provided an opportunity to meet Swedenborgians from all over the country.
  • Nature and Spirit – Reimagining our 125th Anniversary Celebration. As mentioned in the last council corner, the Stewardship committee under the leadership of Andrew Dodd and Devin Zuber is working on creating a virtual program. Most of the original speakers are interested and excited about participating in this virtual event. Work is underway and you will be receiving regular updates in the next two months.

Our next meeting will be held March 21st at 1 p.m. Thank you everyone and stay well.


Church Council Corner – January 2021

Monthly Update from your Church Council

Prepared by Council Secretary Laurie Carlson

The first church council meeting of 2021 was held on Sunday January 17, 2021.  All council members were able to attend this meeting by Zoom.  Remember members and friends are welcome to attend these meetings as well.  A Zoom link will be provided to you if interested.  Below is a summary of the discussion.

Our new council president, Jennifer Lindsay began the meeting by outlining her three priorities for the year. They include:

  1. Ensuring Financial stability which includes the selling of 2121 Lyon St., establishing protocols/financial safeguards to protect the funds produced by the sale, and wisely investing the funds or creating an endowment in the Common Fund.
  2. Continuing to improve the quality of our virtual worship experience.
  3. Establishing a stronger relationship and participation with our national denomination. 

Reverend Lee wants to remind everyone that he is available for pastoral care and counseling. He reported that we are beginning to receive a few more couples are inquiring about and scheduling dates for weddings.  Hopefully with the availability of the vaccine, we will begin to receive even more. Rev. Lee’s priorities for this year- a renewed effort to communicate with our members and friends, to provide comforting and inspiring services and messages and to designate time to translate True Christian Religion into Korean.  He will continue to provide classes and activities which are listed in another section of this newsletter.

Payroll Protection Loans:  Our treasurer, Robert Carr submitted the loan forgiveness form for the first PP loan we received last spring.  He is very confident that this loan will be forgiven in full as we meet the criteria for loan forgiveness.  Congress approved a Pandemic Bill in Dec, 2020 which included the provision of a second PPP loan.  Criteria for qualifying for this second loan includes demonstrating a revenue decrease of 25%.  Our Church’s revenue decreased by 34% from 2019 to 2020. The online portal is now available and we submitted a request for 2.5 months of payroll again, approximately $37,000.  This will be a wonderful boost to our finances.

2021 Pledge Campaign:  The pledge letter was sent out by email a week ago with the ability to complete your pledge on line.  We ask that you prayerfully consider your response again this year.  We are so thankful for the incredible financial support we received from all of you past year and your support, nurturing, and caring for our church community during this unexpected year.

Nature and Spirit Reboot:  The Stewardship committee is working on re-imaging the 125th Anniversary Celebration from the in person 6-day experience to an online virtual format.  So much wonderful work was put into the creation of this celebration.   It seems fitting to see if we can’t somehow bring this celebration to life in 2021.  Stay tuned for more details on this. 

Lastly… We learned a lot.  We endured a lot.  We achieved a lot in 2020.  We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for.  Let us look forward with hope, preparation, and anticipation for all that this new year will bring.


Denomination Offers Pandemic Relief Grants for Individuals

The Executive Committee of the General Council of the Swedenborgian Church in the U.S. and Canada has authorized a limited number of one-time grants per household for pandemic related relief.  Applications should be directed to Rev. Junchol Lee at revjclee@sfswedenborgian.org or 415-346-6468.

Pandemic Relief Grants for Individuals

  • Up to $500 one-time grant per household for pandemic related relief.  Grants shall be initiated by church members who are 18 years or older and actively involved with a Swedenborg Church Society, Camp, or Association/Conference.
  • The President of General Convention will present the requests with attribution as to the person or household making the grant request on an as needed basis to Executive Committee for confirmation.
  • Donations to the fund to be requested starting in January from individuals who may have the capacity and willingness to assist in this effort.  Donations to be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000 in total contribution from General Convention.
  • Employees of General Convention and members of General Council are explicitly excluded from consideration of a grant request.
  • Grants will be available through 2021 Convention or until the available funds are fully expended.