Staff Board Report
September 12th, 2023
Hello Dear Board,
And so it begins.
Welcome back to another church year.
I am sending you all my deepest gratitude for the gift of your leadership.
Welcome, especially to our new members.
Every month, I compile this report for you all and the rest of the congregation. This report is mostly created for leaders, for you all especially, but I also share it directly with the Committee on Ministry and the Finance Committee and then it is available on the website for anyone interested.
I begin each report with this introduction, often writing about something in the wider world, in our shared church life or in my life.
For instance, I could mention my passion for beginnings. How I have always loved this time of year. New bookbags and shoes, new classes selected from course catalogs, this time of year has always felt saturated with possibility.
We are in such a wonderful position at First Church to build on the successes of these last many years. Momentum is building, programs are returning, and the church is strong.
As you will see in subsequent reports, we have new initiatives in every corner of the church, so much going on. The staff is hard at work on programs and plans and will be sharing all this with you and the rest of the congregation in the coming weeks.
Towards the end of this introduction I highlight the pieces I will dig into in my section of the report before the following sections provided in subsequent months by the rest of the staff.
In this mini report, I will touch on my goal areas for this year, Communications, Engagement and Digital Ministry.
First off, a quick reminder around my goals. Each year, towards the end of the year I do an end of year review for all our staff which includes them each setting three goals for the coming year. I do the same process in the course of my own review performed each year by the Board Chair and the Chair of the Committee on Ministry. My goals are informed by the feedback we receive from the congregation through the feedback process shepherded by the Committee on Ministry. This year, my three goals are around Communications, Engagement and Digital Ministry.
This year, along with the communications team of Raeann and Janice, I will help to streamline and improve our communications. This will involve both evaluating our current forms of communications, printed, digital, spoken (sung even, perhaps) and then seeing where we can improve. What needs to be added? Where are there redundancies? What communication forms and frequencies are effectively engaging our folks?
We will experiment this year with new frequencies and formats. We will explore staff portfolios and ownership. We will communicate throughout the year with you all about our plans and solicit your feedback about what is working well and what you hope for. So stay tuned. This will be a fascinating piece of this year.
I am very excited about the beginning of the Shared Ministry Team, which is myself, Eliose McGaw and Pam Eggert. This group is tasked with helping to improve and deepen member involvement by working with our committees to clarify, unify and organize our recruitment, retention and turnover of leaders.
Last year there was a moment in which our stewardship committee, which we can all universally agree is mission critical, had just two members set to return next year and two other, well populate committees recruited their eighth and ninth members.
And so, we will first reach out to the committees, getting a handle on how many members each has, who will be returning the following year and what kinds of new members are needed.
And then we will share this information with the congregation, inviting folks to reach out to committees and help them connect with groups looking for new people to help.
In subsequent years we will share the abundant benefits of term limits and encourage committees to explore these benefits for themselves.
Again, I am very excited to this work with Pam and Eloise and look forward to the fruit it will bear in our system.
And lastly, we will continue to explore digital ministry.
This will mean continuing to work on the new website and the other new systems we put in place last year.
We will also explore new ways of sharing digital content connected to our seasonal themes. We are working on galleries of visual art, audio and video testimonials and more.
And we will continue to explore social media and sharing content we create through all the social media we engage with.
Finally, this winter we will experiment with simulcasting services. We will explore the staff time needs, the end result experience for the at home worshipper and together with you all we will look at the budget implications for upcoming years.
And so now we begin.
Another year of connecting and deepening.
Another year of justice making.
Another year of welcoming babies and grieving our dead.
Another year of starting new programs full of potential.
Another year of letting go of old programs which have run their course.
Together, we will chart the course for this chapter.
Together, we will respond to this unique moment we are facing together.
In this country.
In this community.
Thank you all.
For your commitment and your care.
Thank you for your leadership and your love.
For your vision, your time, and your counsel.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to build with you all.
So much love,