“Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning….”
By Lea MacNider
“Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action and that action is service.” – Mother Teresa
These past five months have been a whirlwind of action. When you receive this newsletter, you will have most likely attended the congregational meeting on January 29 and voted on our Right Relations covenant. You have heard the Transition Team’s report of the information learned from the Listening Circles and viewed the Board of Trustees Two-Year Plan. It strikes me as I write this how much this congregation has accomplished over these past months. Let’s take a look.
First, the newly formed Right Relations committee drafted and the congregation voted to adopt our congregational covenant. We enter into many covenants within these walls such as when we welcome new babies and new members to our congregation. Each time we do so in covenant. But this is our first congregational covenant. A covenant that connects us each to each and each to all. It reminds us that we are all in this together, that we want what is best for the congregation and when divided, calls us back together to this beloved community.
Next, with the guidance of our dedicated Transition Team and Rev Jenny we have together, in small groups, listened to each other’s experiences and hopes for the future. We can now take forward what we have learned to shape our future. Building from the survey that the congregation participated in for the Interim search and the financial requirements for hiring a new minister, the Board has developed a two-year strategic plan that leads with building financial security.
Our immediate goal is to increase our budget and raise the funds necessary to conduct the search and make an offer to a new minister. This is why the pledge drive this year is critical. Additionally, we are creating financial systems that will build reserves so that we can maintain our physical assets for the future. To help achieve these goals, the board realized that the congregation would need to grow and the internal organization be restructured.
New committees have been formed including a Finance Committee to steer the creation of an endowment and support our vital financial concerns. The Social Justice Committee which is helping to support and focus the congregation’s passions in the greater community and Adult Education/Faith Development providing classes and educational forums that will nourish our minds. A Communications Committee is providing support for our efforts to inform within and outward into the greater Franklin community, expanding our social network presence and our website.
To help support the administration of these activities, the board approved the implementation of new church management software.
Our congregation is being transformed before our eyes. The kitchen has been reorganized and painted. A beautiful new sign has been installed in front of our church driveway inviting us and new visitors into our grounds while new lamps light the way in the dark. Hospitality is lighting up the appetites of the congregation with the enormously popular Souper Sunday inviting visitors and members to linger in community well after service. The expanded Welcoming Committee is embracing new visitors, working hard to grow our community. And Harry Potter is working his magic on the minds of our young people thanks to the RE Committee.
We are a dynamic congregation, embracing change and moving deliberately and consciously into our future. It is an exciting ride that I am blessed to be on with this wonderful community.