The Vestry’s 2013 Tau Cross and Crown Awards were given at the Annual Parish Meeting on Sunday, January 26, 2014. Since 1981, 69 awards have been given and the names of those being so honored have been entered on the plaque which hangs in the Narthex. This year’s recipients are several people whose faithful service to our parish family has been exemplary. The Vestry has chosen to give the 2013 Tau Cross and Crown Award to Stephen Kahl, Chuck Huffman, Ann Huffman, Carolyn Lewis, and David Diggs. The following speeches were made during the award ceremony:

Stephen Kahl
by Chris Ayres

I dare you to spend five minutes with Stephen Kahl and not walk away talking about a man with the character you wish for in any family member or friend. Kind. Thoughtful. Dedicated. Compassionate. Smart. Witty. Steady. Faithful. A visionary and born leader. Stated more simply, a remarkably talented and giving man.

In his three years on the Vestry, his peers voted him Junior Warden twice and the Rector named him Senior Warden his last year. His legacy includes things permanently visible to this parish (like the Youth Center Renovation he helped lead with the Mitchells, Jeb and others) and things unknown to many among us. Stephen recognized this parish’s status and corresponding responsibility as a large Episcopal Church, helping spearhead our Future Ministries Planning Committee and staff reorganization; these seminal events will ensure continuity of vision and leadership in this parish for decades to come. He implemented a system whereby the Vestry focuses on three (and only three) major projects each year to achieve real results instead of unexecuted ideas. It was Stephen’s foresight to help develop the “Green Team” that has done great work for this parish and the environment. He managed the corporate restructuring of our relationship with Parish Episcopal School. Stephen worked with the Diocese to ensure (in uncertain legal times) that we would maintain our rights to property and alignment with the National Church, no matter what the Diocese may do in the future. Beyond Vestry, during his thirteen years at Transfiguration, Stephen has participated in and led a number of ministries, including work Transfigured Nights, St. Elizabeth’s, Foyer Groups, and Adult Christian Formation.

Stephen’s remarkable achievements are a testament to his love for Transfiguration, all done while feeling healthy about 1/3 of the time, yet putting the parish’s needs above his own. To me, Stephen’s 2012 Annual Report sums him up perfectly. When writing the section titled “Successes,” he used the word “We” over and over, but never the word “I.” When you look at the section titled “A Special Thanks,” you see he used the word “I,” but never “we.”

Stephen Kahl is a fan of double-entendre, so this wouldn’t be complete without one and giving me the same responsive groan that we often give him. How great it is that Stephen was called by God to share his love, vision and leadership in this parish. We are blessed to have him in our church and in our lives as guide, advisor, mentor and friend. It is my great honor to present Stephen Kahl with this parish’s highest award: the Tau Cross and Crown award.

Chuck and Ann Huffman
by Bill Edwards

Before our parish had even heard the term “Constant Steward”, this husband and wife team had been living it out among us for more than 20 years …. Giving of their time, talent and treasure … sealing their commitment to Transfiguration’s mission. She, among other things, is a vital part of the Women’s Forum, having served as its Chairwoman at one time …. always making sure every meeting is beautifully decorated, and that guests feel very welcome. She has also given of her time in the summer to teach and love our children at Vacation Bible School. However, she is probably best known for her work with the Altar Guild … but we’ll get back to that in just a moment.

He served a term on the Vestry having been elected in 2001 and then served so ably as Senior Warden in 2002 and 2003. It was during his tenure that his steady hand and business acumen helped guide the Vestry and school board through the school’s expansion as it grew from Parish Day School …. added Middle and Upper schools — transforming into Parish Episcopal School with the addition of the Midway campus. He was co-chair of our “Jubilee Capital Campaign”. Along with having served on the PES school board he currently is a Eucharistic Visitor and is on the search committee for our new rector.

But back to the Altar Guild …. She has been a faithful member of the Altar Guild for many years, and when I say she … I mean he as well. For as much as she has dedicated herself to this mission, he has been there right by her side. They have always been there to help, month in and month out, year in and year out, whether it is for just regular Altar Guild duty on weekends, for a funeral, or for high holy days. They know where everything is stored, where it goes, how it is put together and how it works. She has served as Altar Guild Directress in years past and is now currently in charge of creating the Altar Guild schedule and posting the calendar. While she is the “go to” person for anything involving the Altar, he is known as the “Technician”.

The most exceptional aspects of their service are that both of them are always thoughtful, encouraging, upbeat and cheerful. Many a new member on the Guild has probably experienced their wisdom, kindness and assistance as they learned the “ropes”. There’s no flash – just substance. So much of the work of the Altar Guild is “behind the scenes” and therefore might not be appreciated by most of us, but it takes parishioners like these two to keep every service on track and well-orchestrated.

So for being such good examples of what it means to be a “Constant Steward” it is with much love, admiration and appreciation that the Vestry presents Transfiguration’s “Tau Cross and Crown Award” to … Chuck and Ann Huffman.

Carolyn Lewis and David Diggs
by Ted Clarkson

Anyone who has been around Transfiguration for a while will tell you one thing: this church knows how to throw a party. We have receptions for just about every occasion with great food, great wine, and always great flowers. The arrangements are always beautiful, inspired, and well-planned and, most importantly, made with love by a team of dedicated women and men. This same group of people teaches classes open to everyone in the parish who would like to try their hand at a little arranging. Everyone in this group deserves our gratitude for all the hard work that they do, but today, the Vestry would like to honor two of this group’s members for their leadership and dedication. These individuals have been longtime members of the parish and have served in numerous capacities including on the altar and on our Stewardship committee. The church staff and the lay leadership both know that these two can be trusted with any task, big or small. However the reason why they are being honored today is because of a commitment they made almost two years ago. We had recently gone through a trial period looking for a new church florist. The church made a selection that we were comfortable with, but it didn’t take long before we couldn’t look at another fan of gladiolas with matching carnations and chrysanthemums. That’s when these two agreed to take on the huge task of putting flowers on our altar every week. And I think we can all agree: we’ve had some magnificent flowers over the past year. So in conclusion, for being wonderful examples of stewardship by freely giving their time and talent for many years and for the marvelous way they have brought the riches of God’s creation to our weekly worship, I am pleased to present the Tau Cross and Crown Awards to Carolyn Lewis and David Diggs.