As you have heard so many times in recent months, our church doors may not be open, but the work of the church continues. I am so excited to have the opportunity to celebrate all of the amazing accomplishments of our congregation when we gather (virtually, of course) for our Annual Family Re-Union on Sunday, November 15.
Among the many accomplishments we will be highlighting will be the proposal for a trial restructuring of our council. As part of our interim strategic planning work, an ad hoc committee was formed in March of 2020 to review the current structures of our church leadership. As our church continues to grow and the demands on all our time continue to increase, it has become clear that the lay leadership structure that was outlined many years ago has now become cumbersome and often inefficient. We know that we have a lot of good and important work ahead as we move toward calling a new pastorate. We want to have effective structures in place to support that work.
The ad hoc committee reviewed our current structure and studied best practices for churches of our size. A report that included proposed revisions to our structure was presented to the council in April. Rev. Anna, Rev. Nikki, Vice Chair Milena Thompson and I reviewed that proposal and designed a new streamlined lay leadership structure based on the work of the structural review committee. The new structure which allows for a functional separation of governance and mission was brought before the full Council in September. After discussion and further streamlining to incorporate suggestions from other council members, the new structure was unanimously approved by the council and will go forward for a congregational vote.
I am proud of the work of the ad hoc structural review team, our council, and our pastors who continue to show courage and enthusiasm toward doing new things for the benefit of our congregation. It is our hope that this is a more sustainable division of labor that will prepare our congregation to navigate its upcoming duties of governance, ministry, and visioning and strategic planning without over-taxing its leaders and volunteers.
We are a congregational church, and that means that you all play an integral part in this, too. At our congregational meeting, the provisional structure will be presented for a vote. It is our intention to have a trial period of one year with the option to revise or continue in 2022. At that time, we should be working with our called, settled pastor(s), and together we can work to revise the bylaws as necessary to reflect structural changes.
On Monday, I shared a presentation with you to explain our process and proposal. On November 1, members of the council will be holding a Congregational Town Hall meeting during our virtual coffee hour to answer congregational questions about the new structure, budget considerations, and any other questions you would like to ask. Please join us at that time, and/or feel to contact me directly with any questions or concerns (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you for your continued support of and participation in this congregation. It is an honor to serve and to Be the Church with you all!
In Peace and Joy,
Council Chair, 2020