Thoughts from Pastor Matt…
As the end of the year approaches, it’s already time to begin thinking about what’s ahead in a new year. (I know, I know, for some of us, just getting from now through Christmas is enough to worry about…) As I look ahead to the upcoming year for us here at Storrs Congregational, one of the things I’d like to see in 2020 is a stellar, top-notch slate of candidates, from across the breadth of our congregation, to be joining our congregation’s Governing Board as it begins its new term in February.
We will have 5 seats to fill on the Governing Board as we come into the new year. Each year, we always have 3 seats to fill, as three members of the Board complete their term of service. The three members completing their time this year are Laurie Brookes, Jan Castle, and Bryan Klimkiewicz (Bryan has been our Board chairperson this year)—and I thank each of them for their service to the congregation through their being a part of the Board. In addition, due to other time and focus commitments in life, both Peter Baldwin and Ken Doeg found themselves needing to step down from the Board part of the way through this past year—thereby opening a vacancies in the class of 2021 (i.e. a 1-year term) and in the class of 2022 (i.e. a 2-year term). So, again, we’ll be looking for a total of 5 new faces to join the Governing Board as the Board begins its new year following the January 26th annual meeting of the congregation.
What is the Governing Board, you ask…? Well, that’s relatively straightforward: the Governing Board is the chief governing body of our church aside from the congregation itself, and exercises leadership and oversight over the breadth of the life and operations of our church (aside from those items the congregation has reserved the right to handle directly, like voting for officers and adopting an annual budget, for example). In our tradition as Congregationalists, each congregation has ultimate authority over the affairs and operations of their local church—we aren’t controlled or operated by any external church hierarchies or figureheads—and here at SCC, the congregation exercises that authority primarily by electing representatives to a Governing Board that carries out oversight and leadership on our behalf. In other words, you might think of the Governing Board as something like our congregation’s ‘board of directors’ or our church parallel to a ‘town council’.
And why would you want to be a part of it, you ask…? Perhaps because you care deeply about the mission God is up to in the world through the life and ministry of SCC. Perhaps because you think you have ideas and insights, or simply just the willingness to be creative and curios. Maybe because you can bring knowledge of needs in our broader community, best practices in financial management, rising trends among today’s families, good ways of organizing and communicating, or life-giving pathways of discernment and prayer. Or—to put it even more plainly—maybe you simply love this church and want the best for it, and are willing to be an active part of leading that.
Over the last year or two, the Governing Board has gotten the opportunity to engage in some pretty interesting and even “fun” things as a part of its work. Sure, there are inevitably budgets and some “boring” policy issues to deal with. Special requests for funding of facilities projects had to be processed, and matters related to staff leave periods and departures were handled. But this year, the Board also: …spent a good amount of time trying to wrap its collective head around how to clearly articulate our church’s sense of purpose, with the new Mission Statement being brought to the congregation for adoption on December 8th being one of the outcomes of that work. …begun discussions about our church’s overall approach to fundraisers and fundraising appeals (aside from the annual pledge campaign), and how we might be more intentional, coordinated, and strategic with these. …worked this fall, within the board’s Ministry subcommittee, to address ministry leadership needs among our outreach ministries. …and devoted time to exploring what “success” can looks like for our church, in terms of participation and ministry effectiveness.
I know that I want you to seriously consider being a part of our Governing Board because I want this coming year’s Board to include the best, most creative, most loving, most curious and able-to-explore, most passionate, most skilled, most flexible, most principled, most ready-to-dream, most prayerful, most capable, and most willing-to-lead cohort of congregants that we can muster! Likewise, I want the coming year’s Board to be as diverse and representative a cross-section of our congregation as possible—old and young and in-between, from all genders, long-timers and newcomers, some who’ve been in the leadership seats recently and some who haven’t been, visionary dreamers and practical down-to-earthers, people in touch and in tune with all different segments of our congregation. We face a year ahead full of important discernments and decision—a time of change and challenge, but also a time of excitement and opportunity—and we need the best Governing Board we can put together “at the helm”. I know, I know… sounds like a high bar. But with you here, I know we can make it happen!
The Leadership Discernment Committee will be working over the coming weeks to put together a slate of nominees for these 5 vacant Governing Board seats (and any other offices up for election this year). Please, if anyone from that group is in touch with you, listen with openness and give it your most generous, prayerful, and willing consideration. And… if you feel the quiet ‘tug’ of mind or Spirit already, making you think that you might want to offer yourself up for service in this way—or you want to nominate someone else with the gifts and graces you think would serve our church well through their service on the Governing Board—please be proactive and get in touch with any of the Leadership Discernment Committee members: Stacy Malecki, Dick Roberts, Sally Doyen, Richard Cowles, and Carolyn Holmy.
Yours in the journey,