A penultimate swan song . . . .
Today I’m sending my last Moderator’s Memo. On Sunday I’ll be leading my last meeting as Moderator. It’s all so bittersweet! Am I looking forward to a slightly less-hectic life? Of course! But also I have found the job incredibly rewarding and will miss some of the regular connecting that comes with it.
I’ll start my last MM with a little bit of business: Please remember that our Annual Meeting is this Sunday, January 31, immediately following the worship service. We’ll allow everyone to grab a cup of coffee or tea and a snack, and then will reconvene in the sanctuary.
Additionally, the 2015 Annual Report is now posted in the “For Our Members” section of our website. I encourage you to review in advance of the meeting the Minutes of the January 2015 Annual Meeting, the Treasurer’s Report and supporting documents, and the Slate of Candidates for the 2016 Elected Positions. We will allow only a few minutes for review in the meeting so we can keep things moving. The remaining ministry reports are for your reading pleasure whenever the mood strikes you (although they have a plethora of information in them about what the church community has been doing, so DO read them at some point soon).
As I look back, I realize that 2015 was a period of growth for me: I came to know so many more people in the congregation and formed deeper relationships with those I already knew. I learned a little more about what it means to be a moderator, not just as a lay leader in the UCC but also in the general sense (I guess the UCC calls their lay leaders “moderators” for a reason?). I learned to listen more and reflect on whether my way was the right way — as one UCC workshop leader said, “You can always have your way if you have enough ways.” I learned to step back to put things in perspective, to recognize that – as one very wise teenager in our congregation puts it — “I have first world problems.” And, most importantly, I learned to let the spirit guide me.
I also realized that there are dozens of people in this church without whom a moderator could not do his or her job. There are a special few, however, that I would like to give a shout out to because I worked with them so closely throughout the year.
First and foremost, of course, is our amazing Pastor. Ellen is not just a remarkable spiritual leader, she is also knowledgeable, savvy and hard-working. We are so blessed that Ellen came into our lives and continues to minister to us week in and week out. I can’t thank her enough for her help, her guidance and her friendship throughout this year.
Finance team members Cindy Stewart, John Tichy, Robert Glass. John Osborne, Meg House and Ellen kept all of the trains running on time and I never had to question whether we were in good hands. I can’t thank them enough for all of the time and talent they put into their duties and for doing it with such cheer. They are all so much fun to work with!
Meg House – or “Megnificent,” as one of our members calls her – could not be a bigger blessing. She is not only skilled beyond our needs, but also innovative and willing to take on any challenge. I can’t thank her enough for putting up with and executing my kooky requests with so much grace. And what a pleasure it is to come to the church and see Meg’s smile!
The Building & Grounds Committee, under the leadership of Don Marshall deserves a huge thank you for putting in an extraordinary amount of time every year, but especially this year with the replacement of the boiler. I can’t thank them enough for dealing with this huge project in addition to all of the regular maintenance, various upgrade projects, and enormous amount of yard work that they take on.
Finally, I want to thank the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, under the leadership of Kris Davis, for so stealthily yet thoroughly putting in place a support structure for us when Ellen takes her sabbatical this year. We will indeed be in good hands (even if we will miss Ellen!).
And, speaking of being in good hands, I am very pleased – and thankful – that Anastasia Schulze will be stepping in as Moderator for 2016. She is a bright and thoughtful woman who I know will be a wonderful Moderator. I wish her the best, knowing that we all will give her our full support!
A little church humor that hits home for me . . . .
Just after getting his driver’s license, a teenage boy asked his father if he could use the car. His father replied, “Let’s see if you can raise your C’s to B’s, study your Bible and cut your hair. Then we’ll discuss whether you can use the car.”
After weeks of studying for classes and his Bible, the boy approached his father again about using the car. His father said, ”I see you’ve been studying hard, but you haven’t cut your hair yet.
“Well,” said the boy, “I learned from studying the Bible that Jesus, Moses and John the Baptist all had long hair.”
“Did you also notice,” the father then asked, “that they all walked everywhere?”