Sue CaulfieldDear People’s People, on behalf of the board of trustees, I am providing important updates.  As was noted in my December News and Views article, the Board contracted with Jeff Susor to consult with People’s People regarding our continuing support of the building addition.  Jeff was scheduled to meet with People’s People on December 16, 2013 and when we know more about that conversation, we will share it with everyone.  We are all benefiting from the addition to our church and I trust that together we will determine how to best support paying off our debt.

I also noted in my December article that we would be providing you with a timeline of important dates.  Please know that the timeline is in process, as it is a combined effort of the Board, the transition team and Rev. Pam.  As I noted in the December article, the Board is now meeting twice a month.  For example, in January, the Board will look at personnel policy and in February, the entire church policy handbook.   At our “supplemental” meeting in December, we had a robust conversation about policy related to membership, based on the strong work of the membership committee, chaired by Anna Shade.

In February, the membership committee will bring recommended policy changes to the Board for action.  Meanwhile, the Board, the Transition Team, Rev. Pam and other church leaders will be in retreat on January 18 with our Ministerial Settlement Representative, Naná Kratochvil.  Naná will help up better understand how to engage ourselves in the ministerial search process.  There will be opportunities to let everyone know about the process and seek input, beginning with an all-church meeting after the service on January 26, 2014.  Please plan to stay after church that day and be part of that important conversation.  At a minimum, we will be discussing the process of forming our minister search committee.

The newsletter article from the Transition Team highlights the role they will engage in with the congregation.  Similarly, your Board of Trustees will work in partnership with the Minister, the Transition Team, the Staff and the Congregation to:

1. Review and revise church policies so as to promote up-to-date, consistent, reliable and accessible information about church practices.

2. Provide time lines and work plans to the congregation throughout the interim process, with an emphasis on transparency and common understanding.

3. Arrange congregational meetings and retreats to facilitate the necessary work of the church.

I share with you these words from Judy Brown’s poem, “Fire,” the closing words at our last Board meeting:

What makes a fire burn is space between the logs, a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing, too many logs packed in too tight can douse the flames
almost as surely as a pail of water would.
So building fires requires attention to the spaces in between, as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build open spaces in the same way
we have learned to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how it is fuel, and absence of the fuel together,
that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log lightly from time to time.
A fire grows simply because the space is there, with openings in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn can find its way.

We are the fuel that keeps alive the flame of our chalice.  Together, let us continue to do our best work in service to each other.  In peace and standing on the side of love,

Sue Caulfield

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