I look out my windows and I see so much green. Although there have still been some cold and rainy days, it’s clear that Spring has come. The crocuses have bloomed, leaf-buds have begun to appear, and the moss has begun to overtake our lawns, our roofs, our roads and driveways – everywhere it is green.
Every year during the spring, this fellowship engages in a communal act of generosity called stewardship. Our campaign for the next fiscal year was meant to conclude last Sunday. We received only a little over half of the expected pledges, and I know that the stewardship committee will be calling long time members to check in about their pledges. Our congregation has been in a period of growth, visioning, with a focus on healthiness. We have done very well over the last several months. Let’s keep it up.
On April 21, the board will call together the congregation for our Annual Meeting. At that time, the congregation will have opportunities to ensure the future health and vitality of our fellowship. You will be asked to vote on a balanced budget that assumes an increase in hours for certain staff. It has become very clear in the time that I been here, that members of the congregation demand a higher level of service from our staff than the staff has had hours in which to provide said level of service. We were hoping to make two of our staff positions full-time, and to create another half-time position, but we have not yet raised enough money to do that. Our proposal is a compromise, by making two of our staff positions (Congregational Administrator and our future DRE) three-quarters time and by creating another staff position (a Facilities Manager) at one- quarter time.
Another opportunity at the Annual Meeting will be a process by which we hope to encourage more congregational participation in the area of Social
Justice. At my request, the Social Justice Committee (SJC) has developed three broad social justice themes (Hunger and Poverty, Environmental Justice, GLBT Rights). Within these three
themes, the SJC is also developing a number of potential projects that the congregation could work on together. All of these will be posted around the sanctuary, and all voting members of KUUF will have received three green dots and one red dot. You will be invited to vote for social justice projects on which you would be willing to expend your time and energy as well as a portion of our budget to achieve. Furthermore, another proposal at the meeting will be that the congregation appoint a smaller group (which could be the staff, the board, the SJC, or some combination thereof) to select charitable giving recipients based on the social justice priorities that you all had just voted upon, and to be empowered to make changes to that list based on current events. This will allow us to be more responsive to major needs (for example, in response to a natural disaster or an urgent appeal for assistance by a local nonprofit service agency) and be able to quickly make decisions on how to make a difference in the world with money that we donate.
Springtime is the season that has always denoted new growth, new life, new ideas. New time of rich, verdant vitality... The proposals mentioned above are offered in the spirit of creating inclusive, democratic processes in which all members have an equal say. These are invitations and opportunities, to encourage us to remain on the positive path that we set ourselves on months ago, as we continue into the next year.
May it ever be so and blessed be you all!
-- Rev. Mike