Annual Meeting Docs


Agenda of the Annual Meeting 2021, Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church, Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Sunday, January 24, 2021, 10:45 a.m. Zoom Conference

Saint Martin’s Mission is To know Christ and to make Christ known, restoring all people to unity with God and each other. 

  1. Call to Order, Opening Prayer, Appointment of Clerk Richard Stanley — John Cerrato
  2. Celebrations of Life In Memoriam 2020: Sally Adams, Margaret Ardill, Tom Boehringer, Dan Corcoran, Louise Godfrey, Skip Grip, Gail Kallock,  Jo Meyer, Gary Watkins
  3. Retrospect of 2020 — Warden Jeremy Clark
  4. 2021 Budget — Treasurer Clint Cassese
  5. Property Overview — Amanda Meitz
  6. Vestry Election 2021 — John Cerrato: Bruce Downie, Valli Porter, Robert Ware, Elizabeth Petrequin Young
  7. Acknowledgements and Thanksgivings — John Cerrato, Jeremy Clark
  8. Closing Prayer — John Cerrato 
  9. Vote to Adjourn — John Cerrato

Steps Forward in 2020/Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The major story of 2o2o was the impact of the pandemic on our community, its ministries and its mission. 

Until March 2020 active lay committees included Outreach, Congregational Development, Stewardship, Parish Life, Columbarium, Executive and Property. Ministries included Chancel Choir, South Franklin Vespers, Men’s Wednesday Study, Poetry Group, ChristCare Journeying, Pastoral Care, The Daughters of the King, Women’s Book Group, Altar Guild, Church School, Christian Formation and Communications. The rector is an ex officio member of each of these parish connected committees and ministries. 

After March 2020 the following ministries began to use Zoom on a regular basis: Sunday Prayers and Virtual Coffee Hour (April-June), Morning Prayer and Virtual Coffee Hour (November-December), Vestry, Executive Committee, Men’s Wednesday Study, Poetry Group, ChristCare Journeying, DOK and Monday Evening Parish Bible Study. The Diocese of Ohio and most other churches also adopted this response. 

2020 in Community Retrospect

2020 began with moderately strong attendance in Sunday worship, improved participation in coffee hour, a very positive annual meeting in January, a well planned Lenten series, beautification of rooms adjacent to the nave and wonderful weekly contributions from our music ministry. Our outreach was steady and our administration was effective. We were restoring the undercroft from the water damage of the fall (failed piping) and looking into the prospect of welcoming the YMCA summer program in June. 

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, our bishop called for the closure of the churches on March 15. We began to innovate in adaptation to the crisis. We started to rely on Zoom conferencing in lieu of in person meetings, including Sunday prayers and coffee hour. Vestry convened many times in March, April, May and June to monitor the situation. The rector reached out to many parishioners by telephone, text and email to assure folks and to encourage new forms of connectivity. The website was augmented with special drop down sections for COVID online ministry. A weekly clergy Sunday message video was recorded, sent out and posted on the website (0ver forty so far). Weekly Flocknote communiques and email blasts were and are being sent as usual. 

With the lifting of some restrictions in June we began offering outdoor Sunday Morning Prayer (said) on June 21, in the church yard. Attendance varied from 20-39 throughout the summer and early fall. The YMCA of Greater Cleveland offered a summer program from our buildings and grounds (under severe limitations). Outside groups such as AA, NAMI and FA chose to use online resources. We also transitioned to a new cleaning service. With the arrival of colder weather, we moved into the church nave with caution on October 4 (attendance in the 20s) until responding to the threat of the COVID resurgence and opting for a new abeyance of in person worship on November 29. 

The strength of the pandemic since December has taken us to offering Zoom Morning Prayer at 10 am each Sunday (attendance in the 20s). As we have since March, we rely on technology for connectivity and programming, including meetings of the Executive Committee, Vestry, Monday Evening Bible Study, ChristCare Group, Men’s Wednesday Study Group, Poetry Group, DOK, Clericus, Spring and Fall Clergy Conferences, CVCC meetings, Diocesan Convention and others. 

Safety concerns have erased baptisms and weddings for the time being. Burials and memorial services have been conducted under strict rules, mostly small outdoor graveside gatherings. 

The pandemic restrictions impacted our finances. In addition to stewardship presentations by the rector in October, a COVID Update and Appeal Letter was sent by the rector and wardens to the entire parish in November, directly asking for increases in support. The response was strong and encouraging, allowing us to finish the year with a budget recovery and gain (see Finance Report). The show of generosity from the people of Saint Martin’s was a much needed boost in morale and a good sign for our future ministry and mission. 

In December the Altar Guild ornamented the altar precincts as part of a Christmas invitation to individuals and families to enter and pray, since Christmas services were cancelled and online diocesan resources were used. A Christmas Eve Eggnog Hour was offered on Zoom. 

Special thanks are owed to our staff, especially Michele Baskette, Kent Cicerchi and Tim Cochran for their efforts in adapting to the new realities as they arose. Very many thanks also to our lay leadership: our wardens, executive committee and vestry, for the extra diligence needed in this time of danger and ambiguity. 

Profiles of New Vestry Members — Election 

Bruce Downie

As a past vestry member and treasurer, Bruce has also served in a number of capacities in our parish. He and Carolyn, along with their children Matt, Colleen and Will, have participated in and contributed to the ministries of music, communications and education. Bruce is an alum of Marietta College with a BA in Accounting and is a CPA, recently retired from The Robert Halliday Company, Ltd. in Solon. He also serves as an Executive Board Member of the Valley Art Center, Chagrin Falls. 

Valli Porter

Valli Porter earned her Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Kent State University and her MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in fiction from Old Dominion University. She spent several years afterward teaching writing and literature at the college level. She grew up at First Christian Church in Canton, where she and her parents were active in many ministries, and where she met Ken, her high school sweetheart and husband of 18 years and counting. They spent nine years in Virginia while Ken was on active duty with the U. S. Navy but moved back to Ohio to be near their families. They have two children, Emmett and Arleigh, who are 11 and 8. Valli has had the privilege of staying home with them since they were born. She volunteers as a La Leche League leader to help new parents with breastfeeding issues and support. She also founded and administrates a breastfeeding support group on Facebook, which has grown to over 23,000 members. She is active in her kids’ PTA, where she is a member of the executive committee. She is revising a novel manuscript she wrote and is also at work on a collection of short stories that explores the lines between belief and unbelief, tentatively titled The Ark and Other Covenants. One of those stories was published in Gordon Square Review, and she earned an Individual Excellence Award in 2020 from the Ohio Arts Council in support of the manuscript.

Valli and Ken started attending Saint Martin’s in 2012, when they moved back to Ohio. They were confirmed in 2016. She has been active as an intercessor, lector, and chalicist. She enjoys singing in the choir and playing her French horn with the brass quartet. When Valli began to have doubts about God and Christianity in grad school, the writings of Anglican bishop N. T. Wright showed her a different way forward. His theology and readings of the New Testament were instrumental in leading her and her family to Saint Martin’s. Also, as a child, she never heard a woman preach or pray aloud during church service, or even pass the offering plate. She is thankful that for her children, women in church leadership and behind the pulpit are normal. 

Robert Ware 

As a past vestry member and warden, Rob returns to vestry in 2021. He and Victoria, along with their children Evelyn (Michigan), Caroline (Ursuline), Anne (Tennessee) and Bobby (University School), have long been active in the life of our parish and began attending in 2000, shortly after moving to the Chagrin Falls area. Anne and Bobby were baptized in our parish. 

Rob has served as a lector, chalicist and usher, as well as helped shepherd the annual Children’s Christmas Pageant. He has also been a member of the Property Committee, Finance Committee and Christian Formation Committee. He was a youth group leader for many years. He is currently a member of the Poetry Group. 

He is an alum of the University of Virginia with a BA in Economics and the University of Michigan Law School (JD). As an attorney, he is a partner at Thompson Hine LLP, where he serves on the Executive Committee. He is a past president of the Ohio State Bar Association.

Elizabeth Petrequin Young 

Beth graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelors degree in Nursing and from John Carroll, Boler School of Business, with an MBA.  Her career path has focused on health care consulting and in the past 15 years, the integration of the electronic medical record into the hospital and health care professional environments.  She presently works as a project manager with MediQuant LLC.

Beth has volunteered extensively over the years.  Presently, she is on the Corporation for Rainbow, Babies and Children’s Hospital, and serves on the boards of National Drug Awareness and Prevention, Inc. and Solon Benevolent Fund.  She is also involved as a volunteer with Solon Civic Club, Hathaway Brown School, the Harriet Tubman Movement to prevent human trafficking, and Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association.  

At Saint Martin’s, she is very active on the Outreach Committee, as well as, a chalicist and lector.  She is married to David Young, an architect in the greater Cleveland area.  They have two children, Colleen (Dan) and Scott, and one granddaughter, Olivia.

Vestry, Clergy and Parish Leadership 2020

  • Karen Swan continues to serve as diocesan president of The Daughters of the King, with effective expansion of the ministry into new parishes
  • Cheryl Gray advocates for Anti Human Trafficking program and serves as rep to NEMAC; Organization of the Episcopal Anti Human Trafficking Committee was carried on
  • Amanda Meitz continues to serve as a diocesan auditor
  • Ecumenical — our clergy has been active in the Chagrin Valley Council of Churches and in cultivating collegial relationships with local clergy

Christian Formation 2020

  • Men’s Wednesday Bible Study Group, John Meade, John Cerrato  (Zoom)
  • Women’s Christ Care Group, Jean Schmiege  (Zoom)
  • Lenten Series, February-March
  • Monday Evening Bible Study (Zoom)

Stewardship 2020

  • Sunday Stewardship Talks and Reminders: John Cerrato
  • COVID-19 Update and Appeal Letter, November 2020
  • Pledge Card Promotion 
  • Counters ministry until March 2020, overseen by Nancy McKinley


  • Altar Guild 
  • Music ministry
  • Monthly Vespers Services at South Franklin Circle, Chagrin Falls (through February)

Choral Ministry until March 2020

  • Chancel Choir ministry on Sundays and holy days, led by director Tim Cochran
  • Organist and pianist Kent Cicerchi
  • Instrumentalists at special services, including flute, violin, viola, piano, horns
  • Judy Tremain, pianist for South Franklin Vespers services
  • Guest Organists Alfred KanagaRaj and Linda Gilbert

Music Events 2020

  • Good Friday Blues and Lamentations by Gateway Band (website video)
  • Tim Cochran and Kent Cicerchi recordings (Morning Prayer services and website)
  • Rachele Schmiege, Stefan Barner and Kent Cicerchi Christmas recordings (website)

In House Outreach

We continued to offer space to outside groups: YMCA, AA, NAMI, FAA, ARC, investment groups, student music recitals. 

Ministry Reports 2020

The International Order of the Daughters of the King 2020 — Karen Swan

2020 definitely challenged Daughters of the King to explore new ways to live into our rules of life, prayer and service. This was true from our Saint Martin Chapter to National. We’ve entered the world of zoom, email, text and calls. We had a virtual Christmas get-together in December. On Christ the King Sunday, we were able to celebrate our annual rededication liturgy during Morning Prayer in the church.  

Pastoral Care Committee — Karen Swan

Pastoral care continued with cards, phone calls and knitting. Thanks to the folks who knitted items for the Seamen’s Christmas. They will find their way to the ECW, which will send them on.

Property Report 2020 — Amanda Meitz

A synopsis of the activities of the various ad hoc property committees is provided here: 

  • Water damage to the Sunday School wing resulting from the broken water meter in November, 2019 was repaired.  A contractor did a “flood cut” to remove two feet of wet/damp sheetrock to preclude mold growth and dried the basement with numerous fans and dehumidifiers.  Work by the first contractor was completed by early December.  A construction contractor replaced the sheetrock, painted, and installed new carpet squares in all the rooms and hall. 
  • Thank you to the committee who helped move boxes of possessions from the Sunday School wing that were stored in the undercroft after the flood to closets or back to the classrooms.  The committee included Katie and Jeremy Clark, Tyler Clark, Victoria and Rob Ware, Bobby Ware, Shelley Cassese, Michael Cassese, Sam Brady, Karen Swan, Amanda Meitz.
  • Work in the undercroft was completed just in time for YMCA Day Camp for 10+ weeks during the summer.  They used the front yard, narthex entrance, great hall, undercroft, kitchen, one classroom and restrooms in the classroom wing.
  • Thanks to the dehumidifier committee comprised of Michele Baskette, Katherine Clark, Amanda Meitz who kept two dehumidifiers emptied in the undercroft.  Eliminating the damp feel and smell was important to the success of the YMCA Day Camp.
  • Moisture in several corners of the basement that continues to cause spalling of the cement block remains.   A narrow shallow ditch from the end of the asphalt outside the sacristy door to a downhill spot was dug to relieve the large puddle there.  The gas well installation left a monitoring well that had water in it at about ground level in the spring.  The water level declined in the summer.  The rust in the Solon Road parking lot also suggests that substantial water must exist in the hill.  Piping to relieve the hydraulic pressure seems like a solution, but placement of the pipes is a conundrum requiring some knowledge of geology and hydrology.  
  • The mysterious recurrent Paladin alarm problem was finally solved (we think) by a Paladin representative who found an over-pressurized tank in the ceiling above the closet in the Johnston Room that sporadically leaked a glycol-water mixture.  The glycol-water mixture is part of the dry pipe portion of the fire suppression system.  The leak impacted a smoke detector in the ceiling of the storeroom under the Johnston Room which triggered the (intermittent) alarms.
  • Thanks to Cyril and Praem Kanagaraj for removal of the half tree that broke during a storm from one of the trees at the main entrance to the parking lot and their willingness to help with some additional trees that need to come down.
  • Thank you to Bob Case for convening the fall clean up committee comprised of Don Bird, Karen Gerken, John Meade and Amanda Meitz.  Weeds in the beds along the Burroughs Room were roto-tilled, wild grape vines were pulled from trees, tightly rooted picker bushes were dug out from the bed near the upstairs kitchen door, and various bushes were pruned.
  • A COVID-19 committee evaluated various technologies for air cleaning (UV, hydrogen peroxide, surface disinfection) that we concluded are not compatible with the existing furnaces/air conditioners.
  • Two surge protectors that were installed at the main circuit panel in Jan, 2019 have helped.  But the recurring electrical failures/power outages have continued to adversely impact the elevator.  Anyone with knowledge and insight would be appreciated.  
  • Thanks to Karen Gerken and Kris Gillespie for reprograming the thermostats to accommodate the COVID situation.  Thanks to Bob Case for technical advice on furnaces and COVID filtration possibilities.  

Altar Guild — Judy Tremain, Coordinator

The altar guild works under the direction and guidance of the clergy. Our mission is to prepare the sanctuary for all services. This includes taking care of the vessels, linens, candles, flowers, as well as housekeeping of the altar area. We work in teams of two or more to cover the weekend services, weddings, funerals, baptisms and any other special services. Our current members are Lynn Buck, Ginny Fisher, Karen Gerken, Cheryl Gray, Joan and Mike Henck, Nancy McKinley, Linda Mellen, Carol Munz, Jean Schmiege, Paula Stepnick and Judy Tremain. If you are interested in a very fulfilling ministry, speak to any of the above members, or call Judy Tremain, coordinator, at 440.247.8919.

Church School until March 2020

Under the direction of Katie Clark, and with contributions of materials, time and talent from many, Saint Martin’s has provided church school classes for children age three to sixth grade. The weekly Church School curriculum is provided free of charge from the diocese and program supplies are provided in large part by church school teachers.


Until March 2020 the Outreach Committee continued to work diligently toward their mission of serving four organizations on a regular basis: Trinity’s “A Place At the Table,” SOAP, MedWish, and Bainbridge Food for Friends. In addition, Outreach participates in community events and fundraising opportunities as they come up.

A Place At the Table: Saint Martin’s parishioners serve meals at Trinity Cathedral. Volunteers arrive at 11:30 on a designated Sunday morning, help to set up, then serve meals for approximately 1.5 hours. The team then cleans up and is done around 1:30. Saint Martin’s volunteers always find it a satisfying experience to welcome people in from the cold and serve them a warm, nutritious meal. Those receiving the meals are always courteous and grateful for the meal and respite offered by Trinity. 

SOAP (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution): Saint Martin’s has partnered with Holy Angels church in Bainbridge to participate in this important outreach. SOAP is a hands-on outreach to fight sex trafficking in our communities. The mission is to rescue victims being trafficked at hotels, to provide victims a number to call for help, and to educate motels and hotels on the signs of trafficking. Saint Martin’s has two teams of volunteers visiting hotels and motels in Solon, Aurora and Twinsburg. Volunteers talk to management about the signs of trafficking, provide the hotels with posters and packets of information and distribute bags of soap bars for the rooms with a number for a helpline on the wrapper. The hotel staff has responded positively to these visits.

Bainbridge Food for Friends: The Bainbridge Area Food for Friends is our community food pantry cosponsored by the Bainbridge Civic Club and the The Spirit of Bainbridge. The pantry assists families who do not qualify for government or other assistance but are in need. Saint Martin’s is a regular contributor of food donations. Collections are ongoing in the Narthex and are brought up for our clergy to bless on a regular basis. The food is then delivered to Bainbridge Food for Friends. Parishioners are encouraged to continue to remember to bring non-perishable, non-expired food for our regular collection. 

MedWish: MedWish International is a not-for-profit organization that saves lives and the environment by repurposing discarded medical supplies and equipment to provide humanitarian aid in developing countries. Saint Martin’s organizes two dates a year to work from 9:30-12 on Saturday mornings sorting and packaging medical equipment to be 

redistributed to developing countries. Typically, we have about 10 Saint Martin’s parishioners participate in this important cause. Those who have participated report it is not only a worthy couple of hours of work, but a nice time of conversation and fun. 

In addition to the regular organizations that Outreach supports, the committee was involved in other activities throughout the year. 

CROP Walk: As in recent years, Saint Martin’s will again be participating in the Chagrin Valley CROP Walk. CROP Hunger Walks are community-wide events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by religious groups, businesses, schools and others to raise funds to end hunger in the US and around the world. Conditions permitting, the walk this year will be on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at 2 pm, in Frohring Meadows. The 2020 walk was cancelled.

Advent CFPCC Collection: During Advent season, the committee collected gift card donations for Chagrin Falls Park residents. Saint Martin’s parishioners donated cards for stores such as Target and Giant Eagle. Saint Martin’s has a long tradition of supporting residents in Chagrin Falls Park.  

Red Cross/Saint Martin’s Blood Drives: The American Red Cross used our facilities for blood drives on June 2, August 6 and October 28. 

Parish Life until March 2020

The Parish Life Committee coordinated and facilitated social events, parish meals and outings, as well as hosted for Sunday Coffee Hours.The 2020 Committee included: Corrine Castrini, Jean Schmiege, Marilyn Tomiello, Jane Albert, Kate Carmigiano, Terry Simko, Donna Sullivan Kidd, Pam Pray and Judy Vernon. 

Life Milestones in 2020

  • Lizzie Carter graduated from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
  • Kyle John Christman, grandson of Cynthia Davis, is a 2020 graduate of East Lincoln High School.
  • Sarah Gielink graduated magna cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University with a Theatre and Spanish double major and English and Renaissance Studies double minor. 
  • John Roger Palmer graduated magna cum laude from Kenston High School in May 2020.
  • Margaret E. Petroski graduated from Miami University of Ohio on May 16, 2020. 
  • Kenneth P. Porter completed his Executive MBA at Kent State University.

Baptisms 2020 None

Burials 2020

  • Sally Adams 
  • Margaret Shirley Darker Ardill
  • Thomas T. Boehringer
  • Daniel R. Corcoran 
  • Louise Godfrey 
  • Louise N. Grip “Skip”
  • Gail Boardman Kallock 
  • Jocelyn Marie Ellis Meyer “Jo” 
  • Gary P. Watkins

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, 

through the mercy of God, rest in peace

Our  Years of Ministry

Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church was founded in the mid 1950s in the Diocese of Ohio through the labors of Episcopalians in the Chagrin Valley and with the sponsorship of Christ Church, Shaker Heights, Saint Paul’s, Cleveland Heights, and Saint Christopher’s by-the-River, Gates Mills. Martin of Tours, one of the most popular saints of France, known for his compassion and courage, was chosen as its patron. The Reverend Dietrich Barth Cordes was called to become the founding rector. 

The first religious service was offered on May 10, 1953. The first building was constructed on the present site in 1957. Riding the wave of the post World War II baby boom and a surge in American prosperity, Saint Martin’s, like other new churches in many denominations of the time, took root and grew in the promising soil of Northeast Ohio, that part of the state known as The Western Reserve.

Expansions to the building followed in subsequent decades, particularly the wing that is now the Burroughs Room, as well as the Ministry and Education Wing (1991). In the 1980s and early 1990s, membership swelled under the leadership of diligent clergy and an energetic lay leadership. The parish was rocked by a devastating fire in 2007 from which it valiantly fought to recover within subsequent years. The rebuild yielded a “practically new building” of magnificent proportions and usefulness.

Signature ministries of Saint Martin’s over the years have included the Chancel Choir and its related musicianship, strong Christian Formation programs and vibrant outreach. A major gift to the music ministry was added in 2001 with the acquisition and restoration of the Saint Martin’s-Miles Park Organ, a Holtkamp instrument given to the parish by The Presbytery of the Western Reserve (Presbyterian Church USA). For decades we have been a “multi-staff” parish, supported by professional educators, administrators, ministry assistants and assisting clergy. On Martinmas, Saint Martin’s Feast Day, Sunday, November 11, 2018, the parish celebrated the 65th year of its mission and ministry with a special service and reception, including the Bells of Peace, prayers for veterans, rededication of our DOK chapter and a French food coffee hour. 

Saint Martin’s, Chagrin Falls is a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, 

The Right Reverend Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., Bishop

Priests Serving Saint Martin’s    

The Reverend Dr. John A. Cerrato, Rector

The Reverend Gary A. McElroy


Michele Baskette, Executive Assistant to the Rector

Kent Cicerchi, Organist
Timothy C. Cochran, Choir Director

Custodial Care, Smylies Service

2020 Wardens   Jeremy Clark*  Amanda Meitz*

2020 Vestry  Daniel Carter, Esq., Corrine Castrini, Cyril KanagaRaj, Todd Palmer, Mary Prince, Jean Schmiege, Marilyn Tomiello/ Clint Cassese, Treasurer* Richard Stanley, Clerk of the Vestry, Former Warden, Kristina O. Gillespie*  *Executive Committee


Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church

6295 Chagrin River Road   Chagrin Falls, OH 44022 (web)   440-247-7406