As we completed our headlong rush through Advent, the Leadership Team pondered this question at our December meeting: What would Jesus think of our celebration of Christmas today? We shared thoughts on how we each preserve meaning in the season personally, as well as how our joint worship can reflect the joy of Christ’s arrival.
This was a fitting way to transition into discussion on the care and upkeep of our historic building as its purpose in serving our mission morphs and changes. We received an update from the working group on Music and Worship Arts, and their plans to present their latest thinking on how Ripley Chapel and the Fisk Organ can be repaired, renewed and repurposed to inspire us in new ways; they will present their vision for a vote in a congregational meeting on January 8th.
The LT also began discussions on other anticipated capital needs, such as steeple renovations and ongoing maintenance. We will work closely with Treasurer Bruce Lauterwasser on this and other issues as the 2017 budget begins to develop. In the meantime, the LT voted to continue the longstanding practice of authorizing the church to continue spending at current levels until the 2017 budget is approved via congregational vote in February.
Carol Weir also joined us as a representative of the Purpose Forum, where she shared that after much reflection, the Purpose Forum facilitators have decided on a new format for this year, consisting of a dinner each season bringing together members of various ministries to share ideas and foster collaboration. We’re hoping that less frequent meetings will lead to better attendance and true representation from all ministries. The first Purpose Forum dinner in the new format will take place on January 25th, 2017. The LT will seek feedback from ministry members on the new church structure at this meeting, an undertaking we’ll continue in February as we seek to speak personally with individual members of the congregation at coffee hour.
Finally, Rev. Judy and Rev. Will sought feedback on their request to attend Standing Rock, as we anticipate there may be other opportunities to support social justice initiatives arising in the near future. The LT consensus was that their trip was generally received as a response to a request from ministers from the larger Congregational church, rather than representatives of our congregation. The general reception from the congregation was positive, thanks to clear communication, and included some individual funding.
We hope Jesus felt our welcome and love this Christmas season, and look forward to a productive and joyful New Year.